Saturday, 5 December 2009

London by night (2)

Just about everything in the City looks more dramatic by night...

St Paul's Cathedral

The Royal Exchange

The Monument

Tower Bridge

London by night (1)

Last night I was so engrossed in my book that I missed the bus stops at Cemetery Lane and Erwood Road - the next thing I knew I was in Woolwich at John Wilson Street. Just what I needed on a wet Friday night! I did get this very dramatic shot of the tower on the Town Hall.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Great Yarmouth (2)

Until the arrival of the railway Great Yarmouth was mainly a busy port and fishing town. Steam locomotion at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries brought the tourist trade to the promenade.

The promenade is over a mile long; boasting two piers and a number of other attractions, including a Sea Life Centre and Model Village. For those who can't face the walk their is a motorised train or horse drawn carriages travelling the length of the sea front.

Below are some fine examples of Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian architecture, mostly with some modern additions tacked on the front!

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

The Norfolk Broads

The trip along the Broads started in Wroxham. The round trip down stream was about an hour and a half. I thoroughly recommend the trip as not only was it extremely relaxing but the captain of the boat also gave an extremely informative commentary.
On the left, the first birds of the day, looking for lunch in Wroxham.

The Norfolk Broads (which actually are located in Norfolk and Suffolk) consist of around 50 shallow lakes (broads, from which the Broads get their name) connected by several tidal rivers.
The character of the area varies from semi-urban around towns and villages to rural and peaceful in the countryside. It is always extemely busy with river traffic, however.
The conservation of the area (which is equal to that of a National Park) is assisted by the imposition of speed limits on the waterways, this helps to limit 'wash' from water craft which erodes the banks and destroys the habitat of wildlife.
Some of the craft still seen on the Broads are the wherries. These are traditional boats (inspired by the Viking long-boats) and have been used historically as trading boats and pleasure craft.
Pictured here, the Solace - a privately owned pleasure wherry usually found moored in Wroxham.
This wherry is the Albion, a trading wherry - characterised by the black sail; blackend traditionally with tar for protection from the harsh envrionments in which the boats operated. The hulls are also black with a white patch on the prow - though to come from the eyes painted on Viking long-boats to ensure that the boat always has safe passage.
Here we are out on an open broad. Although most of the land surrounding the Broads is in private ownership and often subject to privacy restrictions the Broads themselves are public waterways with the right of navigation.
These reeds are used for thatching the roofs of buildings, not just in Norfolk but all over the UK.
Some of the bird life on the Broads.
Another Wherry - this is the Ardea with her unique teak hull
An urban part of the Broads
Back at Wroxham, different local wildlife!

Monday, 17 August 2009

Horsey Windpump

A windpump looks like a windmill, but instead of grinding grain it pumps water. This fine example was built on the site of a previous pump at the turn of the last century and was fully operational until struck by lightning in the 1940s.

It is quite a climb to the top but inside are the original workings of the pump and there is a fantastic view once you reach the viewing platform.

View of the windmill from along the path.

The sails at the top - apparently they used to be re-painted with lead paint until it made them too heavy to turn!

More at the top.

Part of the gears.

It's a long way up!

View from the window.

It's a long way down too!

Gears at the bottom.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Great Yarmouth (1)

Whilst shopping in Great Yarmouth today we took a trip out along the banks of the River Yare to the sea and saw what on any day except Sunday is probably a hive of activity.

Britannia Monument (Nelson's Column)

This is a splendid example of a Victorian Gasometer.

This is a panoramic shot of the opposite shore of the river.

Just visible here the wind turbine down at Lowestoft.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Monument and some churches

Walking from St Paul's to London Bridge takes you down Cheapside (one of the City's busier thoroughfares) and along Poultry to Bank and Mansion House.

On the way along Cheapside you'll pass St Mary-le-Bow - home to the famous 'Bow Bells'. It is London tradition that those born in the sound of the Bow Bells are 'true' cockneys. St Mary-le-Bow was originally re-designed by Sir Christopher Wren following the Great Fire (one of many London churches so to be) and was re-built again following severe bomb damage in the Second World War.

The churches of the City could take a day to see by themselves. I visited three today and passed by four or five more without stopping!

Next I took a shortcut through Number One Poultry and onto Queen Victoria Street. On the south side of the street you can see the Temple of Mithras. This ruin of a Roman Temple was discovered in 1954 when excavations for nearby Bucklersbury House were being undertaken. The ruins were painstakingly reconstructed some 18 feet above the level of their original discovery on Walbrook on the bank of the original Walbrook stream. These ruins date from the second century AD.

After this I re-crossed Queen Victoria Street to visit the church of St Mary Aldermary. Another Wren church this is notable for it's beautiful plaster ceilings.

Heading south from here onto College Hill I encountered the church of St Michael Paternoster Royal, Seafarers Church. A more modern building than the Wren churches the interior was still enhanced by some beautiful stained glass windows.

After this I headed along Upper Thames Street (famous for rush-hour traffic jams) to visit the Monument. Built between 1671 and 1677 the Monument commemorates the Great Fire of London which burned for three days in 1666 destroying most of the City of London. The Monument is 202 feet high and if laid down flat would reach the exact spot in nearby Pudding Lane where the fire started.

A rush of blood to the head led me to think that it was a good idea to climb the 311 steps to the viewing platform. The views from the platform (160 feet above London) are fantastic. A complete panorama of London is laid out pretty much unobstructed (apart from the nearby cluster of tall buildings in the City).

Ready to go... and starting the climb
Going up!
Views from the top
The flames on the very top

Going down
You get a certificate when you get back to the bottom, and I certainly felt I deserved it!

Monument is a short walk from St Paul's Cathedral, London Bridge and Southwark.