South bank, north bank

Let it not be said that we never go south of the river. Today is a case in point.

Hays Galleria, early
Hays Galleria, early

We started by going to Hays Galleria. It was quite early when we arrived and almost deserted, as the above photo shows. Knowing us, you will be unsurprised to hear that we were looking for breakfast.

Café Rouge at Hays Galleria
Café Rouge at Hays Galleria

We enjoyed a leisurely meal (to be honest, more brunch than breakfast) at Café Rouge. While we were eating, the scene began to change as more and more people arrived.

Hays Galleria became more crowded
Hays Galleria became more crowded

This site was originally Hays Wharf, specializing in the importation of dairy produce, lamb, tea, coffee and cocoa. This role ended with the closing of the docks and in the 1980, Hays Wharf was provided with a glass roof and given new life as a residential and retail centre.

HMS Belfast
HMS Belfast

Here too is moored HMS Belfast, a Royal Naval light cruiser that served in WWII and the Korean war and is today a museum ship and very popular with visitors.

Canoes on the Thames
Canoes on the Thames

We walked along the Thames towards Tower Bridge, reaching London City Hall. The design of the building and the expense of building were criticised, and so was its siting here in a prime riverside location.

City Hall
City Hall

Personally, I consider it an ugly lump and a blot on the riverside landscape. It looks as if it’s about to fall over and the sooner it does so, the better.

Nearby is a small rough garden called Potters Fields Park. It has grasses, herbs and flowers and attracts a lot of pollen-gathering insects. Here is a selection of the ones I found.


roundhover bumblebee

The main landmark hereabouts is of course Tower Bridge. Opened in 1894 and designed in a style to harmonize with the nearby Tower of London, it quickly became one of the most famous bridges in the world and an icon of London.

Tower Bridge
Tower Bridge

We went to the road to catch a bus across Tower Bridge. However, it was at this moment that the bridge was opened to allow a tall ship to pass through and all the traffic was halted for some time.

Trinity House
Trinity House

Back on the north bank, we went on a general ramble that nevertheless led us eventually to Liverpool Street where we could catch a bus home. Trinity House, pictured above, is the central authority for lighthouses for England, Wales and the Channel Islands. It received its original charter from Henry VIII.

Pub sign: the Crutched Friar
Pub sign: the Crutched Friar

This is the the sign of of a pub that today stands on or near a site once occupied by the Crutched or Crossed Friars, a mendicant order. To me it looks as if he is about to enjoy a nice mug of tea!

A mixture of architectural styles
A mixture of architectural styles

The notable thing about this scene is the variety of architectural styles and the span of time that the buildings cover, from the stone tower of All Hallows, dating from 1320 to the glass bullet of the Gherkin, completed in 2003.

The Gherkin looms
The Gherkin looms

From a distance, the smooth, vase-like, shape of the Gherkin somehow disguises its size and it is only when you begin to approach it that you realize how big it is. It tends to dominate the skyline from all points in the central area and even farther out.

A new rival: the Heron Tower
A new rival: the Heron Tower

These days, the Gherkin has a rival in the shape of the Heron Tower. The shape is not as appealing – in fact, it is definitely nondescript – but it tops the Gherkin with ease.

A beetle on the bench
A beetle on the bench

One of the fascinating features of our world is the contrast between the big and the small. As an antidote to these monstrous buildings, here is a picture of a beetle walking along a bench in Potters Fields.

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger, https://tigergrowl.wordpress.com, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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8 Responses to South bank, north bank

  1. Reluctant Blogger says:

    We did much the same walk a few weeks ago but kind of in reverse. We started at Liverpool Street Station and walked up to the London Eye, criss-crossing the river as we went along.
    Harry took lots of photos too – some of which are very similar. He was very taken with getting shots with very old buildings and new ones in the same shot which of course it is easy to do all over London. He was keener on the Lloyds building than the gherkin.

    • SilverTiger says:

      The Lloyds Building is the one I hate the most. If ever they blow it up, I would like to be the one to press the plunger. It is ugly and inhuman, brutalist and a blot on the physical and mental landscape.

      The fact that people actually like it shows how far taste has been corrupted by modern architects who should be rounded up and left to play among themselves on a desert island.

  2. AEJ says:

    I agree that your City Hall is not attractive. Scary, I’d say. I’d definitely not want to go inside.

    • SilverTiger says:

      We did once go inside. In London (and some other cities) there is an annual open-doors day when many institutions open their doors to the public.

      One year, City Hall opened its doors and we went inside. I wasn’t all that much impressed as the accommodations seemed cramped. The best part was being able to go onto the balcony which goes all around the building and allows views over the city.

  3. Catz says:

    I loved the picture of the Hays Galleria great shot! Ugly city hall agreed!

    • SilverTiger says:

      Thanks for the compliment. The Galleria is quite a good place to go as long as you don’t go too often, if you catch my drift.

      It’s an impressive building, though, with the massive pillars supporting a glass roof that a mainline railway station could be proud of.

  4. Andy says:

    Your photos are great! I actually like the BeeHive though. Funnily enough, my wife and I enjoy walking this section of the South Bank so much that we recommend tourists do it in a free guide we’ve written for London…..

    http://www.free-city-guides.com/london/

    • SilverTiger says:

      Thank you.

      Taste of course is a variable feast but as far as what people these days like, see my remarks above about the Lloyds building.

      I don’t usually allow advertising on my blog but as the your city guides are free access, I’ll let it pass.

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