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Thread: More London

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    More London

    I was impressed with Hilly's and Frisco'ss walks around their area and wanted to do the same. Not being in Thailand at the moment I thought I would instead give you a tour of the area where I work. Not Thailand of course and no naughty night life so get off here if you want to.
    The route I am going to take is to walk for ten minutes in roughly N S E and W directions noting some of the more prominent landmarks.
    To set the scene I work just outside the city of London, by that I mean the City proper and not the urban sprawl that is referred to as Greater London.



    Starting in the centre of the picture, South goes down to the Tower of London which is just visible at the lower left, East takes me to the Bank of England, North up Brick Lane to Liverpool Street station and West along the Whitechapel Road to the Blind Beggar pub. Along the way there are a few Thai connections although some of them are a bit tenuous to say the least.
    Being on the edge of the City the differences in the four areas can be quite striking.

    Starting out in South direction then.



    This was the local hospital. Built in 1858 according to the plaque, it is now a trendy wine bar.


    And this house, two doors down from the old hospital, was once probably a merchant's house and now - yes, you guessed it - it's a trendy wine bar.
    Last edited by Dougal; 10-03-2006 at 03:53 AM.
    Lord, deliver us from e-mail.

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    Most of the buildings to the south are imposing rather than attractive and it is difficult to get a decent shot of them, both because of their size and my inability to get far enough away to get it all in.
    This one, the Ibex building, I pass everyday and is a good example of 1920s Art Deco style.


    Just to prove that this really is on the edge of the city, this is a section of the Roman Wall, probably constructed about 2000 years ago, the top couple of meters were added later though. Not surprisingly there is not much of the wall left, most of it having been demolished for building materials and what not over the centuries.



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    Here we have the Tower of London a nice place to take the kids for an educational day out. Loads of web sites on this place if you are interested. Although I pass it every day I have to admit I rarely even notice it now.



    Taken from the same spot but looking West, the building with the green spire is the church of All Hallows by the Tower. The church is the oldest in the City of London and is dedicated, in part at least, to the Merchant Navy.



    William Penn, founder of Pennsylvania, was baptised in the church and educated in the schoolroom. John Quincy Adams, sixth president of the USA, was married here in 1797.
    Being so close to the Tower, the church has always been associated with ministereing to those who were imprisoned in the Tower
    http://www.allhallowsbythetower.org.uk
    The low red brick, square building with gold lettering to the right of the church is a pub called The Hung Drawn and Quartered in recognition that in earlier more enlightened times that was the spot where such executions were carried out. Here is an example of a description of sentence as taken from the court register:
    "Then Sentence was passed, as followeth, viz. That they should return to the place from whence they came, from thence be drawn to the Common place of Execution upon Hurdles, and there to be Hanged by the Necks, then cut down alive, their Privy-Members cut off, and Bowels taken out to be burnt before their Faces, their Heads to be severed from their Bodies, and their Bodies divided into four parts, to be disposed of as the King should think fit."

    And a short quote from the diarist Pepys who witnessed more than one execution:
    "To my Lord's in the morning, where I met with Captain Cuttance, but my Lord not being up I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn; and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition."

    South is the least interesting quarter, but maybe that is just because I walk it twice a day to get to and from the station.

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    Starting again from the middle but this time heading West into the city.



    Just around the corner from Brick Lane is the Whitechapel Art Gallery and next to it the Passmore-Edwards Library with the Aldgate East tube station built into it. The library is looking very run down but that is because it is being moved to a new building further west. Hopefully the old building will now be restored.

    There is a tenuous Thai connection here, in that Prince Bira died of a heart attack on the London Underground on Dec 23rd 1985. The Bira International Circuit at Pattaya is named after him.



    This pub is the White Hart. The sign says established 1721 but I am sure that is not the date that this building was built. Anyway the White Hart is significant for the fact that on Aug 8th 1888 Martha Tabram was found dead in the back yard of the pub. Martha was probably the first victim of Jack the Ripper, the notorious Whitechapel serial killer. At the time of the murder a Polish emigre, Severin Klosowski was living in the pub and running a barbers shop in the cellar. Klosowski had also trained as a surgeon, he was later exceuted for poisoning two of his wives. There has always been a huge amount of specualtion about the identity of the Ripper but Klosowski is a good candidate, and there were no more killings ascribed to Jack the Ripper after his death.

    Oh! and they sell Thai food here.

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    Further west you come to the City of London proper. There is no gate but usually some sort of sign by the side of the road to mark the boundary.



    This is Leadenhall Market where Londoners used to shop for their daily groceries. A sort of equivalent to Robinsons. Now preserved, it is more of a lunchtime drinking venue for City yuppies, but there are some quite nice pubs here none the less.



    Over the road from the market is St Mary Axe, home to Bangkok Bank - see I said there would be lots of Thai connections in this thread.

    Note the nice shiny state of the building, not just because banks like to be nice and shiny but because the whole street, including Bangkok Bank was rebuilt after being blown up by the IRA in 1992.

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    Walking further west along Leadenhall Street and looking back towards St Mary Axe, note how narrow the streets are.

    The buildings are typical of the city of London. Too small for many large corporations and with preservation orders on them, some have been converted into wine bars, but it is hard to see what the long term future for many of them is. The tall steel and glass thing in the distance is Lloyds of London.





    This is as far as I am going to walk. This is pretty much the hub of The City at Bank underground station. The building ahead is the Royal Exchange; if you want to corner the world market in copper or orange juice or something this is one of the places that you can come to do it in.

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    So crossing the road and standing on the steps of the Exchange. On the right is the Bank of England. The taller of the two buildings with flags is one of the high street banks. If you have ever seen the first Harry Potter film, the interior of this one looks very much like Gringotts Bank in the film, but without the goblins serving. The film scenes for Gringotts were done in Australia House in London, by the way, I suppose they just roped in a few Ozzie backpackers that were on hand, to play the goblins.

    Next to that, the sort of pink building is 1 Poultry. There used to be a rather nice Victorian building on this site but the owner, Lord Palumbo, wanted to build a skyscraper. Legal wrangles ran on for years and eventually arived at this compromise.

    Further round to the left the building with the Palladian portico is Mansion House, home of the Mayor of London. The proper mayor, not Red Ken. If you get invited to lunch here you can say that you have well and truly 'arrived' socially.



    Here is a closer view of 1 Poultry. The old building had some very nice architectural frescos and if you look on the right of the picture one of them has been incorporated into the '/\' shaped entrance arch.
    The spire of the church on the right of the picture belongs to St Mary Le Bow. If you are born within the sound of the bells you can call yourself a cockney. These days if you are lucky enough to be born within earshot you can probably afford to call yourself whatever you like.

    http://www.cityoflondonchurches.com/stmarylebow.htm



    nd here is a close up of the fresco, all that remains of a very nice Victorian landmark.

    During the construction the opportunity was taken to excavate the site to examine the Roman history of the site, click the link for more details if you want.

    http://www.archaeology.co.uk/ca/time...on/poultry.htm
    http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/lea...n_life/s1.html

    And there are a couple of Thai restaurants down on the left - piss poor Thai link, must do better.

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    Going back to the starting pointg but this time walking East down Whitechapel Road.

    The East End of London has always been very poor compared to being inside the city and this becomes very obvious as soon as you cross the city boundary.



    This house is just off the Whitechapel Road.

    However it is a very up and coming area. take a look at this rather nice Georgian terrace which is also in the Whitechapel Road a few yards away. The sort of houses whose owners would have employed Mary Poppins.




    And Contrast the wide tree lined street with the crowded city streets just a mile to the west.




    The road East out of the City of London was one of the main thoroughfares for travellers and here is an example of an old coaching inn, now sadly turned into a dscount electrical shop. Coaches would have been kept around the back through the archway on the right. Maybe Mr Pickwick started out from here on one of his jaunts.



    And this is the Blind Beggar built 1895. Students of british criminology will recall that on March 9th 1966 Ronnie Kray shot George Cornell here. I went there for lunch but they weren't commemorating the event in any way.




    Just along from the Blind Beggar are these Alms Houses, there could be worse places to end your days I suppose.

    This is as far as I can walk in ten minutes so crossing the road and walking back the way I came -



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    Also in the Whitechapel Road is this old brewery. It is now the local health centre.


    And here is the brand spanking new Whitechapel Library or The Idea Factory as the authorities would like it to be known. I prefer the old one myself.



    Non-descript buildings in the Whitechapel Road, but note the number of solicitors. Getting visas and assistance with housing and social security benefits is their bread and butter.



    Rather more interesting is the Whitechapel Bell Foundry. Acording to their web site they are the oldest continuous business in the UK having been founded in 1570. Amongst other famous bells, The Liberty Bell and Big Ben were both cast here.

    http://www.whitechapelbellfoundry.co.uk/

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    A little bit of the East in the East End. This mosque is one of the largest in London. This shot was taken on Friday as the faithful are coming out from prayer, all collecting their copy of Jihad Illustrated or whatever it is, on the way home.



    Now if Smeg really wants to make a contribution to raising educational standards, he can come to East London and investigate some of these pseudo colleges that seem to exist solely for the purpose of providing visas to would be economic migrants. There are probably 50 or so colleges within a few hundred yards radius all affiliated to some university or other and all supplying degrees which have about as much value as toilet paper.

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    Finally North

    North from the crossroads leads you up Brick Lane. This is another area that has always been realtively poor with various waves of immigrants and refugees. French Hugenots settled here after Louis the XIV of France revoked the Edict of Nantes, that had provided them with a degree of protection under the law. Amongst other things the Hugenots established the silk weaving trade here.

    Later the Jews arrived as a result of pogroms in Europe and carried on the weaving trade, and then most recently Bangladeshis have virtually taken over.

    The weaving trade is now all but gone with just a few cloth retailers left. The old weavers houses are being renovated and snapped up by bright young city workers.

    The most important trade in the street now is the restaurant business with nearly 100% being Bengali curry houses.



    So heading North up Brick Lane, here is an opportunity to view one of London's newest landmarks juxtaposed with one of our older style buildings. The Swiss Re building, otherwise known as The Gherkin and a Victorian school, typical of the type thrown up at the end of the 19th Century.

    http://www.30stmaryaxe.com/index2.asp




    Brick Lane is now becoming a tourist attraction but God only knows why. Most of the restaurants are pretty samey, the hygiene only so so and the staff ignorant and brusque. I think they resent the recent influx of tourists.

    http://www.bricklanerestaurants.com/



    To maintain a Thai link with this thread I have included a piccie of what I consider to be one of the better restaurants, this chap serves delcious Thai/Lao food but being outdoors means I can only eat here about twice a year.

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    About half way up Brick Lane and more or less marking the end of the reaturant section is the old Truman Brewery. Now given over to studios for advertising companies and trendy shops, it is a bit more upmarket than the lower section. The block on the immediate right often holds photographic exhibitions and showcases work by the students of various colleges, most recently the television series Hells Kitchen was produced here.

    Turning left now off Brick Lane I can walk you through the section where the weavers lived.



    Here are a nice terraced row retaining many of the original charming features including typhoid, tuberculosis, outside toilet, no heating and ten to a room.

    Note the bobbin hanging from the wall denoting the trade of the original owner. If the current owner wanted to keep up to date I guess he would probably have to hang a laptop outside.

    The house with the grey painted ground floor is on sale; a snip at 1,300,000 quid.



    Passing out into the Commercial Street we have the Spitalfields Market building ahead. This was once one of the major fuit and vegetable markets in London. With the difficulties of getting into and out of London by truck the market was moved some years ago and the building has so far resisted attempts by developers to have it bulldozed to make way for yet another glass box.

    http://www.visitspitalfields.com/
    http://www.fazed.com/fashion/spitalfields_market.html
    http://www.spitalfields.co.uk/index....cid=82&list1=y



    There are many small units on the outside of the building now making homes for interior designers offices and numerous other upmarket businesses while inside are assorted ethnic food shops. As you can see this one is Thai.

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    A hundred yards further on is the main terminus of Liverpool Street Station on Bishopsgate.



    This is the Great Eastern Hotel attached to Liverpool Street station.


    nd on the other side of the road, this Victorian faux baroque building used to be a firestation, now obviously Tescos.

    Ooh look! Is that chap on the right Smeg with his exclusive ID round his neck?



    A couple of doors down from the firestation is another London landmark: Dirty Dicks
    http://www.pubs.com/dirtec2.htm

    Nathaniel Bentley was an ironmonger who had a shop in Leadenhall Street. On the eve of his wedding, tragedy struck. His bride-to-be died. So distraught was Nathaniel that he locked up the room in which he had prepared the wedding feast, never to enter it again.

    A broken man, he neither washed or changed his clothes. When his cats died he just left them. It is thought that Dickens used this tale as the inspiration for Miss Haversham in Great Expectations.

    The English love an eccentric and his notoriety meant his business flourished. When Nathaniel retired in 1804, the landlord of the Old Port Wine Shop in Bishopsgate bought the contents lock, stock and dead cats. He put them on display at his pub and renamed it 'Dirty Dick's'.

    In 1870 the pub was rebuilt from ground level, the wine vaults are part of the original building. The 'dirty' contents were carefully relocated in the new pub. Sadly it was decided in the mid nineteen-eighties that a clean up was in order and the dirty artefacts were cleared away.
    It is now rather a Rather Antiseptic Dick's but serves pretty good food.



    This rather odd looking building was originally a Turkish bath and stands in Bishopsgate Churchyard, currently the home to Ciro's Pizza Pomadoro. The owner seems to make a speciality of meeting famous people as the walls are lined with photographs of him shaking hands with celebs.



    And completing the Thai link on this point of the walk is Gow's fish restaurant.

    nd that completes the tour, so it's back to work for me.

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    Great report Dougal. Aint been down that way for a long time,brings back a few memories.

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    Nice one Dougal.
    Even though it only takes a couple of hours to get from cardiff to london, I have only been there a handful of times.
    Always felt far more foreign to me than Chiang Mai or Ankara.

    How long is your daily commute Dougal?

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    I like to cycle around those araeas when I am in London. Even my wife likes it too!! as long as it is a nice day

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    Excellent post Dougal.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ChiangMai noon
    How long is your daily commute Dougal?
    Just over an hour door to door. I would hate to live in London, or any city for that matter. If you live in the suburbs of London it takes about the same time to get into the centre as it does if you live further out and catch the faster commuter trains.

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    Nice read and excellent photos!

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    Excellent post Dougal. Never been to London. From your post I can see London is a city sturated with history and a most interesting place. Almost makes me want to go.
    So when's the best time? You know, when the temperature is about 30 - 35 degrees?

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    Quote Originally Posted by friscofrankie
    So when's the best time? You know, when the temperature is about 30 - 35 degrees?
    Thank you for the comments everyone.

    It surprised me when I started looking just how much there was in such a short walk from the office. Made me feel guilty at spending so many lunch times in the pub.

    You may find a couple of days when it reaches 30 here Frankie but don't ask me to guess which ones they will be. The weather here is so unpredictable, I have had BBQs in the garden in February and been frozen in June - no wonder we talk about it so much.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    Nice read
    Thanks Hilly, did you ever get a boat for the klong by the way?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dougal
    Quote Originally Posted by hillbilly
    Nice read
    Thanks Hilly, did you ever get a boat for the klong by the way?
    Yes, I did. The action packed afternoon is about to be unveiled.

    However, I do not want to steal your thunder. You know I was in England once myself. Well, the Heathrow Airport anyway.

    More shots of the pubs, please. Hell, go inside...

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    Interesting thread, a part of London I know, but don't really know well enough to find my way.... 1 thing though..

    Why can't I see the photo's!!!?

    All I've got is little boxes with red crosses.. grrrrrr.


    I'm going to do a short walk around the West End with some pictures that I did last weekend, but better make sure I've got the format right first.

    Help.

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    I cant see any pictures ???
    Having been based in the city for a few years I would like to !
    Any ideas why ?? I can normally get posted pictures with no problem !

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