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London 06
September 30, 2008
Pete's Pics > London 06
 
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The stunningly unattractive Charing Cross station, this time from river level, was designed by Sir Terry Farrell, a leading English architect. A blend of high tech and post-modernism, his work frequently include jokes - a hallmark of post-modernism. Went right over my head...


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On the south bank, The Royal Festival Hall is one of the only remaining pieces from the 1951 Festival of Britain. Conceived and built in the post war years by a bankrupt nation, it was a brave if somewhat utilitarian effort at demonstrating recovery


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The so called "Cleopatra's Needle" on the Embankment, one of a pair - the other being in Central Park, NYC - actually predates Cleopatra by about 1,000 years. Dating from 1450 BCE, the red granite obelisks are almost 3,500 years old


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Shell Mex House, a 1931 Art Deco building, stands behind Cleopatra's Needle


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Perhaps the Needle was the architects inspiration for the inclusion of the hieratic figures at the corners


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Some old and new - the 1697 St Paul's Cathedral on the left to the Swiss Re Tower, nicknamed the Gherkin or the Crystal Phallus, right of center, which was completed in 2004


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This 1934 Grimsby class sloop operated as a convoy escort ship with the Royal Navy during WWII. The former HMS Wellington is now the HQS Wellington and is the headquarters of the Master Mariners Company


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Originally built as a power station for the Post Office, this building was purchased by the Liebig Extract of Meat Company, manufacturers of OXO bouillon cubes. Advertizing along the river was prohibited so the company added the the subtle windows to the tower


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Oops! Nearly missed this view of St Paul's


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The Bankside Power Station opened in 1947, was extended in 1963 and shutdown permanently in 1981. The building was extensively converted before opening in 2000 as the Tate Modern Gallery, the modern art offering of the Tate group


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The International Shakespeare Globe Center is part of the Shakespeare industry that continues to prosper 500 years after the Bard's death


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This is a reproduction of the circular Globe Theater built in 1599 by the playing company, Lord Chamberlain's Men. It was destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt by 1614, officially closed by the Puritan religious faction in 1642 and demolished in 1644. This copy was opened in 1996 and bears the only thatched roof permitted in London since the great fire in 1666


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Much of the river is now lined by apartments and condominiums, some with unusual architecture


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it was from the Anchor Pub that Samuel Pepys observed the Great Fire of London on the north side of the river in 1666. The pub itself was burned down a few years later and was rebuilt in 1676


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Pickford's is a cartage company and used to operate this wharf. Like so many other existing structures, this too has been converted to upscale housing. The patter of the boat guide suggests that WHARF is an acronym for WareHouse At River Front but it is more likely just a fanciful urban legend


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This tiny 120 feet long ship is a replica of Sir Francis Drake's ship, the Golden Hind, in which he circumnavigated the globe between 1577 and 1580. This ship has sailed more than 140,000 miles around the world and is now dry-docked as an educational center


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The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, commonly known as Southwark Cathedral almost slipped by unnoticed. The present building was constructed progressively between 1220 and 1420 and is one of the earliest examples of Gothic architecture in England


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This distinctive looking building on the north bank, was the Billingsgate Fish Market built in 1875. In 1982 the market was compelled to move due to traffic congestion and reopened in the newly developed Canary Wharf area someway to the east. The old building is now rented out for various events


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HMS Belfast is a 1938 Town Class cruiser that saw active service in WWII and in the Korean War. After being retired in 1963, a former Captain lobbied to preserve her and, in 1971, she was anchored in the Thames between Tower Bridge and London Bridge to serve as a museum ship attracting around 1/4 million visitors each year


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Fourteen years after the Thatcher government shut down the Greater London Council and its spendthrift leader "Red Ken" Livingston, the Labor government of Tony Blair introduced the Greater London Authority which, contrary to their plans and wishes, was promptly seized by Red Ken when he was elected Mayor. This is the building that currently houses the GLA


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The renowned Tower Bridge is the last bridge over the Thames when traveling down river


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East of Tower Bridge on the south bank is Butler's Wharf, another complex of former commercial buildings now given over to expensive residences


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The strangely named Town of Ramsgate pub on the north bank at Wapping Old Stairs seems to be overwhelmed by its neighboring buildings. In 1688 "Hanging Judge" Jeffries was caught here trying to escape down the stair to board a Hamburg collier and escape justice. He was incarcerated in the Tower of London where he subsequently died


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A little further down river is "Execution Dock" where, among numerous other pirates and cutthroats, William "Captain" Kidd was hanged in 1701. Hangings at this location were embellished by leaving the bodies in situ until three tides have washed over them - just making sure one supposes


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An inn has occupied this spot since the 15th century although the present building dates from the early 19th century. It is said, which does not mean that it is so, that Captain Cook prepared for his trip to what was later known as Australia


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The Prospect of Whitby - yet another "oldest pub on the Thames" - this one from 1520. Originally known as Devil's Tavern it was renamed after being rebuilt in the early 19th century. Samuel Pepys, the painters Whistler and Turner as well as Charles Dickens are all known to have visited at times


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Effectively all of London's docklands are long gone and have been replaced by mixed business and residential communities. Known locally as "Lego Land", this fright is yet more expensive residential space on the north bank


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Around the next bend of the river is one of the new commercial districts, Canary Wharf. Competing strongly with the traditional "city" square mile, this development is built on the site of the former West India Docks. These are the three tallest building in England, the tallest being 787 feet high


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What a surprise! Another pub, again on the north bank, this time it is The Grapes from 1720. Charles Dickens knew this pub well, having been made to stand on a table and sing to the customers as a boy. Later in life he based the Six Jolly Fellowship Porters pub in his book Our Mutual Friend on this tavern


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At their peak, the docklands employed around 50,000 and occupied this area from 1802 through 1980. At that time containerization had sealed the fate of most non-coastal dockyards and the entire area was abandoned. The new developments have provided around 7,000 jobs while the riverfront has been completely consumed with various forms of housing
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