London walksLondon walks homeMountain indexbooks




































 

 
 London walks

Hillwalking
St Katherine's  dock
St Katherine's dock was built in 1827-8 by Thomas Telford and Thomas Rhodes to provide berths for ships bringing tea, rubber and marble to its warehouses. 11,000 people were displaced by its construction, the slums of "Dark Entry", "Cats Hole" and "Pillory Lane" being demolished in the process. The dock company was capitalised at 1.8 million pounds but when the dock was sold in 1968 it only raised 1.5 million. Today a daily berth for an average sized cruiser will cost £2.50 a metre (2002). 
Return
Millennium Bridge
Designed by Ove Arup the 325m pedestrian bridge crosses the Thames between Bankside Power Station (Tate Modern) and St Paul's cathedral.
Nicknamed "The wobbly bridge" after "synchronous lateral excitation" occurred when it opened.
Return
The Palace of Westminster or Houses of Parliament
Designed by Sir Charles Barry, the neo-gothic palace was built between 1840 and 1888 on the site of Edward the Confessor's earlier palace that dated from the 11th century. In 1941 an incendiary bomb destroyed the House of Commons and it was rebuilt in the same style in 1950. The bell tower is often referred to as "Big Ben" actually its 13 ton bell. 
Return
County Hall
Designed by Ralph Knott and begun in 1909, County Hall was opened in 1922 as the offices of the London County Council (LCC). In 1964 it was succeeded by the enlarged Greater London Council (GLC). Political control of the GLC alternated between the two main political parties and during a period of Labour control  it was abolished by the opposing Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher in 1986. Although use of the building as a University was mooted it was sold off and is now used as flats, hotels and restaurants. City Hall has now been built as a new home for the resurrected elected London government, the Greater London Authority (GLA). Return
London Eye
Designed by Julia Barfield and David Marks and opened in January 2000 the London Eye has been the instant success that eluded the project favoured by Government, the ill fated white elephant of the Millennium Dome. The wheel rises 135m (450ft) and weights 1600 tonnes. A ride gives unsurpassed views of London.
Return
The International Brigade
A small memorial sculpture (Ian Walters) dedicated to those who made their way to Spain to fight in the Spanish civil war against Franco's forces.
Franco's nationalists had invaded from Morocco in 1936, supported by the German and Italian fascists and by 1939 had defeated the divided and often poorly armed forces of the second republic. Western governments stood by, only the Soviet Union supplying arms to the Republic. Spain remained a dictatorship until Franco's death in 1975.

IN HONOUR OF OVER 2100 MEN AND WOMEN
VOLUNTEERS WHO LEFT THESE SHORES
TO FIGHT SIDE BY SIDE
WITH THE SPANISH PEOPLE
IN THEIR HEROIC STRUGGLE
AGAINST FASCISM 19361939
MANY WERE WOUNDED AND MAIMED
526 WERE KILLED
THEIR EXAMPLE INSPIRED THE WORLD.

"They went because their open eyes could see no other way"

Return
Shepherd's Market
Shepherd's market is a charming small square and piazza developed in 1735-46 by Edward Shepherd. Until fairly recently it was a "red light" area frequented by prostitutes.
Return

"I Am The Only Running Footman"
This pub commemorates the last of the running footmen, who proceeded their masters coach at a fast run to pay tolls and at night to carry a light. The forth Lord Queensbury was the last to employ servants in this way until about 1800.
Return

Curzon Street, Mayfair
This is the territory of the very rich. If you fancy a bite to eat perhaps try the restaurant "Sketch" in nearby Conduit Street by Saville Row, dinner  for two, costs about £500! (2002)
Return

Marlborough House
The town house of The Duke of Marlborough, built by Wren between 1709-1711. The duke's wife, Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough and Lady of the Bedchamber to Queen Anne, took a great interest in the progress of the building.
Return

St. James's Palace
The senior royal residence, home of the monarch for 300 years until 1837. Built by Henry VIII between 1532-1540 on the site of St. James's hospital. Not open to the public. 
Return

Cabinet War Rooms
The WW2 underground war rooms used by Winston Churchill when London was being bombed. Open to the public. 
Return

St James's and The Green Parks
Purchased by Henry VIII and landscaped in the English picturesque style. 
Return

Buckingham Palace
Built by the Duke of Buckingham in 1703 and purchased by George III in 1762. George IV had Nash build a new palace round the existing building. Marble Arch was originally the entrance but is now situated in Hyde Park. Queen Victoria made it the principal London palace in 1837. The palace is sometimes irreverently known as "Buck House" by Londoners. 
Return

Trooping the Colour
Trooping the Colour originally had a serious purpose. Performed daily, it was the method by which it was ensured troops could recognise the regimental colour (flag) which was used as a rallying point in battle.
Since 1805 the ceremony has been used to celebrate the Queen's official birthday in June by her personal troops, the Household Division. The ceremonial regiments of the British army are The "Blues and Royals" (formed from the amalgamation of the Royal Horse Guards [raised by Cromwell] and The Royal Dragoons in 1969) and the Life Guards who are the senior regiment in the British Army having been raised by Charles II shortly before his restoration. These troops are not merely ceremonial. The Household Cavalry are equipped with armoured scout cars when on active service. 
Return

Horse Guards
The clock on Horse Guard's Parade has a golden number 10 in a black circle next to the 2 o'clock position. This commemorates the execution of Charles I in Whitehall nearbye.The day of Charles execution was cold and concerned that shivering might be taken as fear he wore two shirts.
Return

Trafalgar Square
Built in 1829-41 to commemorate Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar. Nelson's column stands in the centre (175 feet tall) surrounded by Landseer's lions. The square is flanked by the National Gallery and St.Martins in the fields. 
Return

The Cenotaph
A tapered monolith of Portland stone designed by Edward Lutyens, simple inscibed "The Glorious Dead", it commemorates the dead of two world wars.There is an annual two minutes silence and poppy wreaths (to represent the poppies of Flanders fields) are laid at the Cenotaph and at war memorials nationwide. "At  the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month we will remember them."

"They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them". 

 Laurence Binyon 
Return
London Books
return to Walking in London homepage