Sunday, July 14, 2013

Day 3: London Bridge to Chelsea Bridge (Section 3)

Feeling refreshed after lunch I continued my walk still making frequent photo stops. This is the Hungerford bridge I am now walking beneath. The main part is the railway bridge taking the trains into Charing Cross. On either side are public footbridges, known as the Golden Jubilee bridges.

The 'Udderbelly' is a temporary arts theatre which is here just for the Summer months. The tall building behind is the Shell building housing the London offices of the Shell group. It was opened in 1962.

The gardens in front of the London eye are called Jubilee gardens and were designed to celebrate the Queen's silver jubilee.

Carrying on along the walkway we go past a beautiful building which used to be County Hall home of the Greater London Council. Although it still has the name above the door it ceased that function in 1986.

It is now the home of 'The London Dungeon'

and the 'London Aquarium'

The foundation stone for this building was laid in1912 but the building wasn't completed until 1922 due to the first World War. If you are wondering where  Boris the mayor and his gang meet now then look back to yesterday's walk at that glass lobsided building opposite the Tower of London.
This is Westminster Bridge. Painted green,the same colour as the seats in the House of Commons. This was the second bridge to be built in London (the first being London Bridge). The original one  just couldn't take the increase in traffic and began to subside so a new one was built in 1862 which is the oldest road bridge across London.

On the opposite bank sits the Palace of Westminster. Built as a palace in 1050 by Edward the Confessor and used not only as a palace but also as a meeting place for the court. This continued and parliament was developed to include the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Fire destroyed the Palace in 1512 and again in 1834. The present building was opened by Queen Victoria in 1847 with the famous clock tower and Big Ben ready for business in 1858.

Behind the wall on the left is St Thomas' Hospital. This hospital was first established in Southwark 800 years ago but moved to this site in the 1860s

These highly decorative  benches are raised, allowing you to sit and view the river.


This is Lambeth Palace, the London home of the Archbishop of Canterbury (leader of the Church of England) since the 12th cent. The great hall that we can see here was rebuilt around 1660. Next to the tudor building is the former parish church of St Mary at Lambeth which has now become the garden museum. Needing a drink and knowing there is a cafe there, I called in for some water to be told they didn't sell bottles of water. However, they did have jugs of water for me to just help myself and in fact the lady took my water bottle to refill it for me. This may not sound strange to readers but this is London and to find free water and a kindness like this I'm sorry to say is rare.

The next bridge I encounter is Lambeth Bridge. The name Lambeth can be traced back to Norman times and means 'landing place for lambs'. Lambeth bridge is painted red which is the colour of the seats in the House of Lords .Significant or coincidence I don't know.

With a ship seemingly emerging from the door this could only be the home of the International Maritime Organisation. An agency of the United Nations whose members meet here to dicuss matters maritime.

A row of 'Boris' bikes which you can hire to ride around London. There are lots of docking areas to pick up or leave the bike. I have yet to be brave enough to face the London traffic on one but I will one day.

This is part of the headquarters of the London Fire Brigade where training as well as the coordination of the service takes place.
Fire fighters would launch the boats to fight any fire on the Thames from here.

Along the embankment here there used to be many docks including the White Hart dock which can be traced back to the 14th cent. This dock was never cleared and closed so in 2009 it was cleaned and refurbished and the timber structures put in place as a reminder of how important docks were in this area.

I am now seeing more and more cormorants on the river.
This boat has been converted into a bar and is often very busy on a warm Summer's evening.

Here is the 'Duck' the amphibious vehicle. These vehicles were originally developed to take the troops ashore for the D day landings in WW2. They tour the usual sights on land before going down the Thames as far as the London Eye before returning to dry land.

This next bridge is Vauxhall bridge

Each of the piers is decorated with a bronze female statue making eight statues in total. They each  represent a different area  such as engineering, the arts, science and so forth.

My first heron sighting of the day.

From here I have to leave the path and go along a few main roads.
Interesting arch but I don't know why it is there

Across the road is Nine Elms which is the new Covent Garden fruit and veg market. It moved here in 1974 as vehicle access to the old one was becoming impossible. Not sure why it is still referred to as new nearly 40 years later.
This is quite a new section of the Thames path leading to another new development.

Just so I know I am back on the Thames path there is this relief of Father Thames wrestling with serpents, lobsters and even an octopus.

Another long detour as the notice on the fence informs me that investigations are being carried out prior to a new Thames tunnel for sewage being constructed in this area Most of our sewers were built in victorian times and are in great need of renewal.

The detour also takes me around Battersea power station which ceased generating electricity in 1983. Since then it has been used as a backdrop for numerous films and record albums but has had no real function until now. Finally it has been bought by a Malaysian consortium and will be converted into apartments and leisure facilities. Good job there was a small gap in the huge fence so I could squeeze the camera through!
Work has begun this month on the restoration of the listed building to include the art deco structure both inside and out, reconstruction of the chimneys and the refurbishment of the jetty to make a new  water taxi stop. They are hoping to complete by 2020.

After passing the dog's home I turned right back towards the river.

As I reach Chelsea bridge it is time to make my way home. This time I need to get a bus to Sloane Square where I can pick up the underground which will take me to Charing Cross railway station and the train home. I have stopped so often on today's walk to look and photograph places of interest that it has been a long day. In reality I have not covered that many miles, it just feels like it.


  1. How long a trip is it to home from the end of this walk?

  2. Great rendition of the walk just a shame some of the photos are a bit dark.

  3. At last some familiar sights for me! Love the ship's prow emerging from the building. I'm busy planning my trip in September. Can't wait!

  4. Thanks for taking me on your walk with you. I was lazy today and didn't get my exercise... SO---going with you made it all worthwhile. ha ha... Great photos and info. I have heard of so many of the things you talked about. Wonder if I'll ever get to see them.


  5. I see a lot of things in your walk where I have been, it is nice to walk with you. But a lot of work for you to do the photos and all the research! Thanks for that.

  6. You have documented your walk so well that I felt like I was walking right along with you...

  7. Thanks for your visit. Yes, it's wonderful to meet bloggers, isn't it?!
    Your post is so interesting. I have often been in London but every time I learned something new. Rivers are very important and necessary. London has many great bridges. There are some similarities between London and Rotterdam. We have also an amphibious vihicle in the river:a bus! It's a funny thing to see it moving in the river.
    Have a great week and a happy meeting with your blogging friend!

  8. Great sequence of shots on your walk. You captured the sights so well.

  9. It also looks like you walked miles and miles as there is so much to see.


Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my blog.