St Pauls has a problem with fires. The first one burnt down at the hands of the vikings in 675 and was rebuilt by 962. In 1310 the next one was completed and lasted until the Great Fire of London destroyed it in 1666. Sir Christopher Wren was then commissioned to design a new one and the current version was completed in 1710 and survives to today, having survived the bombing of WW2.
Tate Modern holds the Tate collection of modern art from 1900 to date. The conversion from Bankside power station to gallery was undertaken by Herzog & de Meuron and opened May 2000. The old turbine hall space is superb, almost breathtaking. Some say the quality of the art is less so, but modern art would not be modern art if it didn't court at least some controversy. Entry is free but contributions are always welcome. Although a massive building, the staircases and lifts are crowded down one side, so try to avoid busy weekend days.
Completed in 1894 Tower Bridge made it possible to have a bridge below London Bridge without restricting access by ships. Originally steam powered the hydraulic bascules are now oil powered. It is now possible to visit the towers and high level walkways, which were originally designed to allow pedestrians to cross while the bridge was open.
By the way, don't scoff at those old films showing the villain meeting a sticky end as he tries to escape the police by jumping the opening bridge in his Morris Oxford, because in 1952 it happened to a London double decker bus! (The bus made it).
When nondiscript London bridge
was replaced some years ago, the old structure was sold to an American
millionaire to be rebuilt in Arizona. It's a London urban myth that he
believed he was to recieve the gothic magnificence of "Tower" rather than
dull "London" bridge.
The new City Hall has been designed by Norman Foster and opened in July 2002. The globular design is intended to minimise surface area and therefore make heating more efficient. Cooling is achieved by circulating natural ground water and, a novelty in modern buildings, opening windows. What will architects think of next?
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