Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Walkers' London

Beautifully sunny day in London, 10C, spring on the way. In Warsaw, it's -7C. And snowing.

To get to know any city, go on foot. Last November, I was in Edinburgh on a similarly lovely, sun-drenched day (as sun-drenched as is possible in Edinburgh in November), but duties made sure that my trip from the airport to the BBC studios in the city centre and back was in a taxi, so I didn't have the opportunity for walking and snapping.

Today in London, however, I did. Below: Broadcasting House, the BBC's original studios. An amazing piece of purpose-built Art Deco architecture from the early 1930s.

Below: an often-overlooked London monument, once the highest building on the skyline, now a bit old-fashioned, without the tourist charisma of Berlin's Fernsehturm. BT Tower, formerly (and to me for always), the GPO Tower. A piece of telecommunications infrastructure that for me, as a child, ushered in a new era in  satellite transmissions. And it was here, some time in the early 1990s, that I attended a press conference held by British Telecom demonstrating something called the World Wide Web. A 34-minute walk from one meeting to the next - would have taken eight minutes by taxi, quarter of an hour by the Underground - yet those minutes spent walking brought joy and enlightenment, and memories of the Spirit of Place.

Below: rush-hour evening, King's Cross - as seen from St Pancras. The two railway termini stand side by side, athwart Pancras Road. In the distance, rising off to the right, Pentonville Road.

Below: St Pancras station, seen from across the road from King's Cross station. Marvellous atmosphere as dusk falls. Let's walk right up and take a closer view at the magnificence of the old Midlands Grand Hotel.

Bricktorian Britain at its most impressive. Harking back to the Middle Ages, rather than embracing the modernity of technological progress of the Victorian age, George Gilbert Scott's structure is, like the Houses of Parliament, in the Gothic Revival style.

London as only London could be; so much of the capital is modern, yet so much timeless. Icons known the world over, such as the London Transport logo.

If you're in London on business, do plan your day to maximise the amount of walking you do. There is so much to see in this complex, multi-layered city, so many delights to charm the eye and enrich the soul.

WALKERS' LONDON UPDATE Thursday 9 February. I walk from Bank, across London Bridge, back across London Bridge, then re-crossed the Thames at Southwark Bridge, continued along the South Bank past the Globe, the National Theatre and NFT, then re-crossed the Thames for a fourth time, this time on the Golden Jubilee Bridge, across Charing Cross station, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Chinatown, Soho, Fitzrovia and on to the Polish Embassy.

QUIZ PICS - anyone like to say where I took these two photographs?

This time last year:
Deconstructing political graffiti - London and Warsaw

This time three years ago:
Europe's peripheral woes

This time four years ago:
Winter returns to Warsaw

This time five years ago:
Babcia vs. Roma action, Centrum

This time six years ago:
Reasons to be cheerful

This time seven years ago:
Skiing in the Beskid Wyspowy

This time eight years ago:
What's to be done about Warsaw's unmade roads?

This time nine years ago:
Jeziorki in the fog


Sigismundo said...

The London Chatham and Dover Railway logo is from Blackfriars Bridge in London.

The Latin inscription presumably dates from Charles II's arrival in London in 1660 on the restoration of the monarchy. He departed Europe via Breda and landed at Dover, so presumably this is somewhere on the south bank not far from Blackfriars?

Michael Dembinski said...

@ Sigismundo -

The old Blackfriars Bridge, south of the river. One point.

The Latin inscription refers to event that happened later on in Charles II's reign... and it's north of the river...