The original Blackfriars Railway Bridge was completed in 1864 to carry the London Chatham & Dover Railway. Four tracks soon proved to be inadequate, and a second railway bridge was opened in 1886. The original bridge was demolished in 1984.
One of the restored cast-iron shields from the original bridge bearing the insignia of the LCDR is on display on the South Bank.
St Paul's Cathedral is the fourth church on the same site, and was designed by the court architect Sir Christopher Wren. It was built between 1675 and 1710 after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London of 1666.
(I know that St Paul's is situated on the north bank of the Thames, but the pic was taken from the south bank.)
My first visit to London was when I was about 13, and my aunt took me to St Paul's. We went right to the top of the Dome, very impressive for a girl from the country who had never seen a big city before. On the way up we went to the Whispering Gallery, where a whisper against the wall one one side can easily be heard on the other side of the dome.
This rather rude individual is painted on the wall of the Tate Modern, and he's an obvious favourite with tourist cameras. Britain's national museum of international modern art is housed in the former Bankside Power Station which closed in 1981. And like all great galleries, it's FREE!
Lots of great stuff in here... and lots of stuff I really don't appreciate too... well, that's modern art for ya!
Lerner and Loewe's musical "My Fair Lady" is based on Shaw's "Pygmalion", and I was half expecting the actors to burst into song at any minute, but of course they didn't. Now I shall have to watch "My Fair Lady" again, just to satisfy my curiosity, and to remind myself of all those lovely songs.
My London wanderings drew to a close with dinner with cousins and a performance of "Pygmalion" by George Bernard Shaw at the Old Vic Theatre. This Grand Old Lady was built in 1818, and sported many names and owners, finally being known as the Old Vic 100 years later. Canadian "Honest Ed" Mirvish owned the theatre from 1982 to 1998, restoring the old building to it's former glory.
Current artistic director is Kevin Spacey... remember him? He won the 1999 Best Actor Oscar for "American Beauty".
For previous posts about my vacation in England, scroll down.