Another London Walk


Dazzling spring weather today, so it was off to bumble about Bishopsgate in the City of London before seeing my artist friend Polly. Here are a few of the things I found. Some may enlarge if you click on them, others won’t as I used different formats. The pics are rubbish, of course, because I was mostly using my phone and darting between commuters to remove the people from shots, but I like to think it adds to their homely charm, my photographic abilities being roughly what they were when I was seven.

The Victorian Turkish Baths, now a restaurant, survived the Blitz and the property developers, and remains hidden between faceless office buildings.

Looking for the original Petticoat Lane (which I had only been down on a Sunday with my Dad when I was very small, to buy a canary) I found the road unrecognisable now. London’s obsession with tucking statues away in every nook and cranny has stranded a horse on top of this tower in Petticoat Lane.

Between Petticoat Lane and Frying Pan Alley are still lots of little backstreets and alleys full of pubs and cafes that look as if they belong in Eastern Europe.

Yet another statue that counts as new (20 years old) in Devonshire Square, Bishopsgate. The horse’s livery is covered in large blue jewels.
The square is covered in a yet another vast glass canopy.

From a great many streets the Gherkin can be seen, as loved for its grace as the Shard is hated for its vulgarity.

Walking toward Old Street, a wall of posters and graffiti, topped with a glamorous giantess, just out of sight.

And I finally arrive at Polly’s house/studio, tucked away in a tiny backstreet in the heart of the City, housing several cabinets of wonders – most of which (like the chandelier) she filled with objects she made herself.

8 comments on “Another London Walk”

  1. Vickie says:

    Great, as usual, not only the pictures but the mini-history accompanying each. I especially enjoyed the horse topping the tower. And Polly’s home/studio is wonderful!

  2. Dan Terrell says:

    Really like your bumble about and like the looks of that studio. But what is the structure in the 5th photo down? Did you call it a Gerkin? It looks to me more like a Rafflesia bloom, aka the corpse or stinking flower, and it’s evolved to draw flies. Of course that’s only my Yank estimate of it.

  3. Helen Martin says:

    I’ve always felt the Gherkin is too smooth to match its namesake. It does show up almost as much as St. Paul’s. Those little passages between Petticoat & Frying Pan must really be what much of London was like originally. Well, not originally, but you know what I mean.

  4. Gretta says:

    I heart the old Swiss Re building. I seem to recall when it was first built that it was called the ‘erotic gherkin’, but commonsense(and decency) prevailed and it got trimmed back to just ‘the Gherkin’. I hope the designers are on some sort of commission every time it is shown in shots of London. Even at 50p a time, they’d make a fortune within a year. I have a photo somewhere of construction blokes hanging off guy ropes, and not much else, at the very top of the Gherkin, putting the last bits of glass in. Compelling and terrifying. I also seem to recall that the only piece of glass that’s actually curved is the one at the very tippy top?

    Anyway, I am very taken with those Turkish baths(I seem to have a thing about striped buildings…if there is some Freudian explanation to that, I’d rather not know), the Knight, and that stunning piece of garage door graffiti.

    I love your saunters about town, admin.

  5. Alan Morgan says:

    I like the gherkin, smooth almost organic lines. I like the city hall building, as I liked the ark in Hammersmith when I used to work round the corner from it. Drape them in descending vines, let the hover-bus drift by and have chippies puttering from window to window and we can enjoy The Future. But the shard is just awful. Worse perhaps because I’ve been out of the smoke as it rises so it will come as a horrid surprise when I’m next down. It’s right in my old stamping ground too so it’ll be horribly out of place amongst all I know, as if the Vogons landed and are telling me that the plans have been available, had I cared to look.

  6. jan says:

    i didn’t know people had taken against the Shard! isn’t it weird how both these would be iconic buildings are very close to ancient sites. The Shard takes us very close to the Maze just by the tower block hospital(yes i am starting to forget names) and St. Mary Axe was the home to one of Londons primary medieval maypoles. When i wandered away from town there was still a bit of one of the replica maypoles in an alley just off St Mary Axe. i wonder if this is all coincidence ……….. No one mentions how bloody windy it is around the base of the gherkin its like the base of the Ark over in hammersmith (if thats still there i can’t see that surviving somehow) hope all well me dear

  7. Helen Martin says:

    Love Jan’s note. Those who enjoy the incredible graffiti painting above could go to Rick and choose the weekly Rant. It is always filmed slantwise down a graffiti strewn alleyway. I don’t know who does the paintings but they are quite incredible.This past Tuesday’s rant was itself very good and could be of interest to citizens of other countries.

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