Thursday, May 04, 2006

St. Paul's & Greenwich

We spent an amazingly lovely day in London this week.

This was our greeting as we came up at the tube station at St. Paul's Cathedral. Even London is filled with beautiful flower beds like this.

Walking toward St. Paul's, we could easily appreciate how tall the dome of the Cathedral is.

This is Temple Bar, the only remaining original city gate for London (although it was moved here from its original location).

Juxon House, pictured here, frames Paternoster Square, the plaza in front of the Cathedral. The busts atop the pillars give the building a pleasant neo-classical feel.

Here's a side view of the Cathedral. . .

. . . and here are the front steps at the great West door. Rebuilding this church was one of the larger jobs taken on by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of 1666. It was in this church that Wellington is interred, where Winston Churchill's funeral was held, that Prince Charles and Lady Diana were married, and where Mary Poppins sang "Feed the Birds." It is the cathedral church of London.

This photo is taken from directly under the dome looking into the choir towards the high altar.

This is the dome, second in size only to St. Peter's Basillica at the Vatican.

Here's a nice view of the arches of the South Transept from the crossing.

This view of the choir shows the spectacular Victorian ceiling mosaics; you may also be able to make out the high altar, erected as part of the restoration following damage the church suffered during the Blitz in WWII.

The lovely arches in the aisle windows give evidence to the influence on Christopher Wren's architecture of his training as a mathematician!

This evocative 'Madonna and Child,' sculpted by Henry Moore in 1982, sits in the north aisle of the choir.

We decided to climb the 159 steps to the Stone Gallery (at the base of the Dome) and take a look. Here's the view to the south towards the Thames: in the foreground is the Millennium Bridge with the Tate Modern Museum on the opposite side of the river.

We then got very ambitious and climbed the remaining
371 steps to the Golden Gallery at the cupola. The views of London from the top were wonderful. Here you can see the London Eye towards the west. The building just to its left obstructs the view of Big Ben, but just to its left is the Victoria Tower at the Palace of Westminster.

This is the view to the northwest. In the center is the BT Tower in Camden Town. We were extremely high up!

The weird rocket-shaped building is the Swiss Re bank buidling, affectionately called 'the gherkin.'

Here's another view of London from the Golden Gallery. We are looking up Aldersgate Street towards Shakespeare Tower in the Barbican Estate.

This is the clock tower at St. Mary-le-Bow, another of Wren's church buildings, in the shadow of St. Paul's.

We then descended down the 530 steps, and more, into the crypt of the Cathedral. There are more than 300 monuments and memorials at St. Paul's.

Here's the memorial to Arthur Sullivan, of Gilbert and Sullivan fame. We also saw tombs and memorials for William Blake, Florence Nightingale and Christopher Wren himself. Unfortunately, the lighting was too dim to take good pictures.

Wellington's tomb holds a place of prominence here. He is best known for defeating Napoleon at Waterloo, but he also served as Prime Minister in the 1820s.

After spending the morning at St. Paul's, we crossed the Millennium Bridge. This is a view of Blackfriars Bridge across the Thames.

In this picture from the Millennium Bridge, you can see Tower Bridge in the distance.

Here is the Tate Modern Museum as seen from the Millennium Bridge. We had time to see only one floor of exhibits in the museum (including a number of fine paintings and other installations by, among others, Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Pollock, Calder, and Rothko) before catching the train to Greenwich.

This is the view north along the Millennium Bridge with St. Paul's Cathedral in the background.

Right next to the Tate Modern is the reconstructed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, now holding permanent exhibits on the Bard and productions of his plays.

Here's another picture of the Globe Theatre.

This picture of St. Paul's dome indicates just how high we were in the Golden Gallery, right at the top of the dome!

We then took the DLR train out to Greenwich. It was a nice ride along the Thames, across the Isle of Dogs and through Canary Wharf, the area of the old West India Docks, now newly remodeled as an office, retail, and residential center. We were able to see some of the less touristy parts of London.

We got off at Cutty Sark station, and look what was there: the Cutty Sark itself!

A short walk brought us to the National Maritime Museum and the Royal Observatory. This building here houses the Maritime Museum.

This is the Queen's House, another museum on the grounds. We didn't have time to go through this museum since we wanted to get to the observatory.

There's the Royal Observatory, on top of the hill.

The Queen's House is in the center of this picture, and the National Maritime Museum is on the left. In the distance are the office towers at Canary Wharf.

This plaque of measurement standards is on the wall outside the Observatory.

This 24-hour (official) clock hangs above the measurement plaque.

Here we are, doing what all tourists must do here: Deb is standing in the Eastern Hemisphere and Danny is standing in the West. The Prime Meridian runs between us. (And the kind Dutch gentleman who is taking our photo is neatly reflected in the window above us!)

In this picture you can see the line of the Prime Meridian running along the ground in front of the building.

Here's a close-up of the engraved strip alongside the Prime Meridian line. Names of cities around the world are etched here with their longitudinal coordinates.

This is a close-up of the Prime Meridian clock (above the door where we were just standing).

We took this picture from the Royal Observatory hill: you can see the crown-like Millennium Dome stadium, the largest single roofed structure in the world and is scheduled to host the gymnastics events at the 2012 London Olympic games.

We came across this most unusual street sign outside the University of Greenwich on our walk back into town for a pub meal at the Gipsy Moth (next to the Cutty Sark) and then the train back to Cambridge. Anyone care to guess what Humped Pelicans are? We haven't a clue!


At 11:21 PM, Blogger The Purvis Family Blog said...

Re humped pelicans. As I say, two nations divided by a common language!

At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great pictures! You seemed to hit all the best spots of London! Just to clarify one thing, the Royal Shakespeare Company has never performed at the [reconstructed] Globe theatre, the theatre has its own company. (Incidentally, the season started last night with Coriolanus) The RSC has its homebase in Stratford-Upon-Avon though they do perform in London and have their own theatre there as well in the West End.

At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Thax said...

Not only is the kind Dutch man reflected in the glass, he's neatly split in half by the PM.


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