Main purpose: cross Millennium Bridge on its opening day
With a One-Day All-Zone Travelcard from the ticket machine, I caught the 08:31 stopping train to Kings Cross for 09:30 (actually 4 mins. early), then the Piccadilly Line to Holborn and the Central Line to St Paul's.
I walked clockwise around the Cathedral this time and down St Peter's Walk to the Millennium Bridge.
Rather than walking back to a Tube station I decided to walk eastwards and follow
|[ 11-Mar - 2-May - 12-May ]|
I chose to go via Monument Station and its long pedestrian tunnel to Bank Station. This was even hotter than my Central Line journey - I should have gone via the surface, where is was sunny but a comfortable temperature. The train to London Bridge was even hotter.
[London SE1 news article;
Save the Borough Market Area Campaign.]
In the archway under Southwark Bridge there was a busker with a lute in fifteenth(?) century dress, playing a more interesting selection of music than most.
In Tate Modern I looked around the shop before taking a lift to level 5. This time hardly anyone was using the lifts though there were plenty of people around.
The displays on this floor were less interesting, as I suspected, with some highlights such as a gallery devoted to Bridget Riley.
I left at 11:30 and again had a half of Young's Triple A in the Founders Arms (it now cost £1.13 - someone's cashing in on the Tate).
As the Millennium Bridge was about to open to the public, I made my way through the crowds to the entrance steps and slowly people shuffled on. The charity walkers had been using it in modest numbers all morning but suddenly at noon the bridge filled.
|[On Sunday Police controlled access and on Monday evening the bridge closed for engineering studies by Arup. More...; Pics]|
Contrary to the subsequent assertions of the engineers, the swaying of the bridge came first, seemingly caused by the natural movement of the bridge in response to the large numbers on it. As the swaying increased, people had to modify their gait to compensate. Walking in time with the movement became necessary when the swing became so great as to prevent progress otherwise. People did try to walk normally and only then switched to nautical mode.
I hadn't been on such a surface for abour 35 years but soon got the hang again of walking with splayed legs and then of timing my steps to match the movement. I only went as far as the first pier, mainly as the bridge was so full. As I came off the bridge, the charity people were preventing any more people going on and then controlled the numbers.
I walked back downriver and went into the Wheatsheaf. It's a charming little Victorian-style pub with a Lounge and Public bar, separated by a divider which can be folded away.
|[Old London Bridge Brewery is at the corner of Park Street, in the former Bishops Brewery, opposite the Market Porter. Multimap]|
I walked around towards Southwark Bridge and went in the Cathedral. I was surprised at how small it is, showing its heritage as a more modest church. Inevitably a Millennium revamp was in progress.
Instead I decided to look for the Kirkaldy Testing Museum,
|[Multimap - George Inn]|
|[London SE1 review]|
The Kirkaldy was featured in the current series of Local Heroes (BBC2).
[ BBC Web sites: Local Heroes
- David Kirkaldy;
The Kirkaldy Testing Museum]
Next I wanted to take the Jubilee Line Extension to Canary Wharf to see Norman Foster's station. I couldn't find the JLE in Waterloo station so instead travelled to Elephant & Castle and then to London Bridge. There I changed to the Jubilee Line but there was a signals failure eastbound and no trains were moving in that direction, so I gave up and travelled west back to Waterloo, finding the Jubilee Line station is south-east of the main station. I walked there via the surface, discovering where the famous Hole in the Wall pub is after all these years (in the viaduct east of the main concourse).
Via the walkway towards the Shell Centre, I went back towards
the river and rested on the grass of Jubilee Gardens for about an hour.
I travelled to Tottenham Court Road station at 16:10 and
|[Greek Street is for me associated with Hot Neon]|
It's a wonderful old theatre, with funny little doors and staircases at the rear to loos and boxes. Of the 12 boxes, the top two were in use for lights. My seat was on the lower of the two cicles.
|[I ordered my ticket via the Ticketmaster Web site and it arrived in a couple of days, with a bonus of a £3 Amazon voucher.]|
My brother & partner met me afterwards and we walked through Leicester Square to their car. The area was full of lager-swilling types and the statue of William Hogarth in the north-east corner of the grassy centre now looks very out-of-place and forlorn.
[William Hogarth set up shop in the then-newish Leicester Square in 1733.
Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Joshua Reynolds also lived there.
Earlier comments on the Square...]
The Norman Foster Partnership in Battersea was having an open evening the following Friday so we agreed to meet up at the Old Father Thames again.
|[The studio is on the right (SW side) just before the end of Abbey Road, where it meets Hall Road. Lord's cricket ground is to the SE.]|
I caught the 21:55 stopping train, returning at 22:55. It was full till Cambridge.