The evening I returned to London from Manchester, after a short rest following my visit to the Wellcome Collection, I took a long walk along the Thames to the Dennis Severs’ House, an immersive, living painting of sorts. Yes, if you are looking at a map from the Victoria Station area to the Dennis Severs’ House, this is quite a long journey, but I prefer to spend most of my time above ground while traveling and sacrifice my shoes to the streets. The Thames is a particularly interesting walk, with plenty of nautical touches, like this fish lamp (or dolphins?), as well as some other interesting sights.
There were some great iron benches supported by sphinxes and camels, all with views of the south bank of the Thames, where the London Eye turned and the Tate Modern loomed.
There are a couple of large sphinxes guarding a large obelisk, which, like the one in Central Park in New York, is called the Cleopatra’s Needle. It was a gift in 1819 from the then-ruler of Egypt to commemorate British victories in Egypt. However, it wasn’t moved to London until 1877, although the boat on which it was traveling faced some tumultuous seas and nearly capsized. It was finally put in its place in 1878. Beneath it was placed a time capsule which had a ridiculous list of items that I just have to quote here from Wikipedia: “A set of 12 photographs of the best looking English women of the day, a box of hairpins, a box of cigars, several tobacco pipes, a set of imperial weights, a baby’s bottle, some children’s toys, a shilling razor, a hydraulic jack and some samples of the cable used in erection, a 3′ bronze model of the monument, a complete set of British coins, a rupee, a portrait of Queen Victoria, a written history of the strange tale of the transport of the monument, plans on vellum, a translation of the inscriptions, copies of the bible in several languages, a copy of Whitaker’s Almanack, a Bradshaw Railway Guide, a map of London and copies of 10 daily newspapers.”
There were many interesting monuments along the Thames, the names of which I unfortunately did not note. I especially liked all the tiny anchors on a wall with this woman hold a mirror.
Here is another creature that caught my eye along the Thames. There were actually quite a few of these dancing dragons around the city. You might recognize them from the crest of the City of London.
Eventually, my path to Dennis Severs’ House brought me back into the streets of London, where I found myself below St. Paul’s Cathedral. Adjacent, I saw this statue of a woman with a skull by her foot on the St. Lawrence Fountain, a Victorian structure that was actually dismantled over 40 years ago before being restored in the 2000s.
I then walked up by the London Stock Exchange, and noticed this curious detail on a building of four hands grasping at a point. A symbol of unity, I’m sure, and I like how the character of each of the hands makes them represent and individual person.
Here was another symbol on a nearby door, even less subtle with a sheep in a sunburst, no doubt on the door of a religious household.
It began to rain, and even though I’d walked quite a ways, I found myself in the neighborhood early, so I took a short jaunt by the Spitalfield’s Market to see some street art. This whimsical monster was my favorite.
Here is some more delightful graffiti, although a little more scary than the whimsy monster.
Finally, it was time to go to Dennis Severs’ House…. TO BE CONTINUED