Monday, 19 February 2018

Limehouse to Liverpool Street

Last week whilst enjoying some annual leave John and I decided to complete the walk from Limehouse station to Liverpool street station that we had cancelled earlier in the month because we run out of time. The weather for our walk was dry, sunny and surprisingly warm for February. Our starting point was Limehouse basin where we walked around the edge to Narrow Street. Once there we joined the Thames Path. Looking back across the river we could see more tower blocks being built.

On the side we were walking there is a major construction project, the Thames Tideway Scheme which is a huge 25 km (16 mile) sewer being built mainly under the Thames through central London

From the Thames path we walked through King Edward Memorial Park and out onto the road at Shadwell Basin. Here we crossed this amazing bascule bridge.

Here is a view of it from the other side of the basin.

This bridge acts like a seesaw rolling back on the big curve on the right hand side. The bridge no longer opens as there are no boats to pass under it. We headed over the bridge as we had planned to go to the pub for lunch.  Next to the bridge are the old buildings of the 
Wapping Hydraulic Power station built by the London Hydraulic Power Company in 1890. This power station used the water from the Thames to provide power for the surrounding docks and also throughout the central London area. It was used as a model for power stations in Argentina, Australia, New York and Europe.

The pub we had planned to stop at was the Prospect of Whitby which is said to be London's oldest riverside pub. We enjoyed some ale and sandwiches for lunch and soaked up the atmosphere. I last went into this pub over 40 years ago, however the ale and the food were just as good as I remember. 

The sign says it all

After lunch we walked back over the bridge and round Shadwell basin. This is now used for water leisure activities. On the other side of the basin we had reached Wapping woods and the path we followed has an ornamental canal running alongside it.

The canal was quite shallow and there were several ducks, mainly mallards along the route. A little further on the path we came across these two rusty replica ships. These two ships were built as part of the Tobacco Dock development in the 1980's for use as pirate themed playgrounds for children but the development fared badly because of the recession and they are now disused.

We continued on our way past the Heritage Basin with it's fountain,

and it's knotted sculpture that John had to pose by,

until we came to St Katherine's Dock. By now the weather had cooled off.

I've visited this area before but not recently and I really didn't recognise anything except The Dickens Inn.

Heading back to the Thames we turned onto the river path and ahead of us was Tower Bridge

Passing under the road that goes over Tower Bridge we we in front of the Tower of London.

The White Tower, the keep of the Tower of London was obscured by the trees on this side.

Looking across the Thames we got a good view of the Shard

and also of City Hall, the home of the Greater London Assembly.

A little further along on the opposite bank is HMS Belfast which is now dwarfed by the buildings. The ship is interesting to visit and it also hosts sleep overs for youth groups.

Although it was very nice seeing the Tower of London I didn't enjoy this part of the walk as there was just too many people. We walked along the side of the Tower going up Tower Hill to cross the road and enter the Tower Hill Memorial Gardens. Here it was very quiet with minimal people around. The memorial is to the merchant seamen killed in the war. This is just part of the memorial and the plaques are covered with the names of those who died.

There is also this anchor within the memorial.

As we left the memorial we spotted this blue plaque to Tubby Clayton. Phillip Thomas Byard Clayton was born in Australia and grew up in the city of London. He was nicknamed 'Tubby' whilst at university. During the first world war he established Talbot House in Belgium to give the soldiers some respite from the horrors of the war. The name Talbot House got shortened to TH and then to Toc H. Toc H is an international Christian movement. You can find out more about Tubby Clayton here

We passed Fenchurch Street Station and headed towards the Gherkin or St Mary's Axe to give this building its proper name. This building rises 42 stories into the air and is very difficult to take a picture of. I got this photo of it peeping through the gap between other buildings

From here we walked to Bishopsgate and took some of the side roads to investigate the old Spittlefields Market building and Brick Lane. We passed this English baroque church - Christ Church Spittlefields that was built between 1714 and 1729. 

Along one of the side streets we found another blue plaque. This time to Bud Flannagan who was born and bought up here. He was a comedian and leader of the Crazy Gang. You can find out more about him here

Back on the main road and heading back towards Liverpool Street station we came across this statue. A very much larger than life character but no indication of who it was or why it was there.

From here it was a short walk to the station and home. Another great day discovering parts of London. We don't have any more walks planned at present but we are going to try and do at least one a month. This coming weekend we are away visiting Bath and the wetland centre at Slimbridge. My hand stitching is going with me and I'm looking forward to visiting my favourite quilt shop.


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