Come to London!

Another find from Greenwich market: a curious snapshot of nineteenth century London where Nelson’s column looms over the Tower and factories nestle beneath St Paul’s. It’s a city on the move, powered by horses, sails and steam. I am naturally drawn to the chimneys and funnels, painting the sky with their smoky plumes. Come to(…)

Of Sea Monsters and Giant Cranes

On the Chimneys & Tunnels walk we visit the launch ramp of SS Great Eastern, Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s massive iron sailing steam ship. Faced with a rather sad row of wooden sleepers in a quiet backwater of the Isle of Dogs, it’s hard to imagine the astonishing spectacle of the boat’s construction there in the(…)

Praise the lack

An unexpected boon of the London Olympics – at least in Greenwich – has been its effect on road traffic. Fears of hellish gridlock, record smogs and wheezing, under-performing athletes seem to have been overblown. Drivers by and large have avoided the capital, the streets have been quiet and the air clean. Well, cleaner than(…)

Cryptic connection

Here is another Thames Tunnel picture found in Greenwich Market from another, equally strange perspective (see Underground, Overground peculiar cross section). This plan illustrates nicely the dot-to-dottiness of our chimneys and tunnels walk. The two dots here mark the grand entrance hall and stairwell either side of the river. I like to think of them(…)

Black smoke over the Thames

Unfazed by such landlubbing civilian niceties as the Clean Air Act and London Low Emission Zone, HMS Ocean has been exhaling black smoke constantly since her arrival in Greenwich on 4 May. She is here as part of a major national exercise to test the Armed Forces role in the Olympics security effort. The vast(…)

Underground, Overground

Passing through Greenwich Market the other day, I stumbled upon this nineteenth century print of Marc Brunel’s Thames Tunnel (Into the Void). It shows, in charmingly peculiar perspective, the tunnel ‘as it appeared when originally opened for traffic’: a popular destination for well-to-do Victorian pedestrians. That was before it became a dark, dank den of(…)