St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk – 17.04.2011

Marathon day and the streets of London town were very busy.  It was very difficult to walk around the city as the crowds were extremely difficult to navigate.   Unfortunately I do not have any photos of the marathon for which I apologise, as it was difficult to find a particular to stand (we were a little late!) but can refer you to the following official site for some lovely shots of the runners 🙂

Whilst we were walking along the marathon route, we had to take a few necessary diversions – which led to some interesting discoveries. One of them being a strange stone font which seemed to be in the middle of nowhere. The stone font actually stands where the first Swedish Lutheran church stood on this site from 1729 to 1911. When this church closed, a Swedish Seamen’s Church in Rotherhithe opened in 1899. The font still stands as a memorial today of the Church that once stood here.

We continued onto “Narrow Street” – which still has some of the old dock/wharf buildings which are still standing but are no longer used in the London Dockyards. Which are in stark contrast to the newer buildings of Canary Wharf just along the way!

From 2011 – 17.04.2011 – St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk

This was our turning point – we decided to leave Westferry behind to make our way to the finish line in St. James Park – (we did not walk this park we took the train – yes we cheated! sorry guys!) Sadly we discovered that the finish line had a meet and greet only for runners friends and family only so we were unable take any photos of the finishing line 😦 but well done for all runners who finished it! Leaving St James Park behind, we made our way to Waterloo.

We walked by Westminster Abbey – which has an amazing amount of people commemorated there – such as Jane Austen, Geoffrey Chaucer, William Blake amongst others – and of course many British Royal Weddings have taken place there.  We made our way to the Thames and across Westminster bridge. As I turned to take a photograph of these quite amazing buildings I saw that they were silhouetted against the sky, so daunting, showing their grand Gothic Structure in a spectacular fashion 🙂 .

From 2011 – 17.04.2011 – St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk

These grand buildings are actually known as the Palace of Westminster, these particular structures have only been standing here after 1834 and are known to be built in a “Perpendicular Gothic” style. I could easily imagine a Harry Potter or Hammer Horror Movie being set in these buildings rather than the corridors of British democracy!

We continued our journey towards Waterloo road which took us past the Old Vic theatre. This theatre has stood here since 1818 and despite being partially destroyed in the blitz it still stands today and has  a survived potential sale. The  Old Vic Company has enjoyed actors such as Michael Redgrave, Sir Alec Guinness and Sir Laurence Olivier.

We passed the Waterloo Millennium Green – which has been created from an old disused playground the residents of Waterloo and was opened in 2000.   The green includes a wildflower meadow which attracts an abundance of wildlife – it was a shame we did not stop to enjoy this lovely “breathing space”.  At this point, we decided to return to the Thames.   As we approached Waterloo Bridge, I noticed a strange wire sculpture of a Wolf ! (I was quite surprised to find this outdoor piece of art!) However, I am unsure who created the lovely sculpture – if anyone knows – please feel free to comment!

From 2011 – 17.04.2011 – St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk

As we wandered across Waterloo bridge,   despite it being only the afternoon,  I was reminded of the song “Waterloo Sunset” (**partial quote**)

“Dirty Old River, must you keep rolling, Flowing into the night
People so busy, makes me feel dizzy…
As long as I gaze on Waterloo Sunset
I am in Paradise” © Davies, Raymond Douglas, The Kinks

Although no longer as dirty as it used to be over 50 years ago!  It is reputed to be one of the cleanest rivers in the world, that flows through a city!  We had a wonderful view along the river to St Paul’s Cathedral and even as far as Canary Wharf.     The other side of the bridge provided the view back across to the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye. It was so nice to be able to gaze along the winding river Thames on such a clear day.

Our walk passed Somerset House which is quite rich in history, from housing  the Royal Academy of Arts, the Royal Society, and the Society of Antiquaries at various points.  Maintaining thousands of historic family documents (the registrar general for Births, Deaths and Marriages)  The house now more famous for it’s large outdoor ice rink and outside movies and concerts!

The walk continued onto the Strand, passing a small building once occupied by William Lilly a master Astrologer.    Apparently he caused much controversy when he had predicted the Fire of London 14 years earlier!    As we literally turned the corner we discovered an abandoned underground station – “The Strand”,   which is  better known as  “Aldwych” by London commuters.  The Piccadilly line branch that served the station was opened in 1907  – the station was closed during the war and used as a air raid shelter – the tunnels as storage for art and treasures.   Eventually the station closed in 1994.  Although it is still in use but mainly by TV / Film crews  – Films such as 28 Weeks Later, Patriot Games, Creep and even a pop video Prodigy’s “Firestarter”

From 2011 – 17.04.2011 – St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk

Passing a lovely restaurant which looked enticing (particularly as I was starting to feel hungry) I noticed that it was not only a restaurant, but it was set inside the only building which had survived the Great Fire of London of 1666! We continued past the Old Bailey and the scales of justice and on to yet another famous street – Fleet Street.  Once brimming with newspaper journalists – but alas no longer, as all the papers have now left the street behind – but the memories remain. The odd  painted advert  such as “Dundee Evening Telegraph” and possibly the Express building seem to be all that hint at previous residents of the street.  Even the Old Bell pub tells the tale of how the Fleet Street printers and how they would meet there (although it was orignally built for Sir Christopher Wren’s workmen who built St Bride’s Church)

Obviously this was a street full of history, we even noticed a site where two famous clockmakers had resided at one time (!!) – Thomas Tompion – who is regarded as the “Father of English Clockmaking” and his partner George Graham. Tompion made scientific instruments as well as watches and Graham continued to use Tompion’s work after his death in 1713.

As we left Fleet Street behind, it was nice to reach St Paul’s Cathedral which was built and designed by Sir Christopher Wren.   This magnificent cathedral built after the fire of London, A huge achievement in engineering.    Built between 1675 and 1710 – this building was designed with the St Basilica in Rome in mind.  The dome was the largest in the world.    We did not venture inside – that is for another time when I will go more into it’s history.  Our walk then moved us onto Mansion House where we finished our walk.

All my photos for the day are –

2011 – 17.04.2011 – St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk

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6 responses to “St Dunstans Wharf – St Pauls Cathedral Walk – 17.04.2011

  1. In 1967 Hammer films made Quatermass and the Pit and used Aldwych Station for most of the movie.

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