A View or Two from the Bridge

I had to cross London Bridge on foot yesterday lunchtime. The views of the river with the HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge beyond always lift my spirits. I pulled out my camera and took a few pictures.

I may be revealing more about my way of looking at the world than is wise, but the way the Gherkin looms out over and between buildings in the City makes me think of Godzilla. Here it is again.

Godzilla Gherkin

Billingsgate wholesale fish market relocated to Docklands some thirty years ago. All the lively noise and bustle went too. The new building can be easily identified as they copied the weather vanes from this nineteenth century version designed by Horace Jones. It’s one of my favourite riverside buildings in the City. Big organisations such as Tesco’s hire it as a Christmas party venue. You can hardly see the ironwork the next day for all the empty bottle crates piled up.

Horace Jones also had a hand in the design of Tower Bridge. A bascule bridge, it takes just ninety seconds to raise the two halves. No matter how many times I see the bridge opening, it remains a magical sight. The HMS Belfast in the foreground was built in Belfast at the Harland and Wolff shipyard, where the Titanic was also built. The Belfast was commissioned on St Patrick’s Day and after service in both the Second World and Korean Wars has become a floating outpost of the Imperial War Museum. For some reason, its guns are pointing at the Scratchwood Service Station on the M1. A bad snack perhaps?

Although quite small and cramped, the Belfast had a reputation as a very happy ship. The sailors had ships cats to keep down the mice and rats, and protect their stores. The cats had their own little hammocks. But my favourite cat story and the Belfast is about a cat called Frankenstein. He got his name because he spent so much of his life at sea, that when he went ashore, he still had his sealegs and would lurch about.

21 thoughts on “A View or Two from the Bridge

    • Ooh let me know what you find please. I believe there are lots of stories about ships’ cats. There was one who was shipwrecked several times during the Second World War and was rescued, going on to serve on further ships. There’s also a very sad sequel to the Belfast in the shape of Oscar and Kilo. It upset the staff on board dreadfully.

    • Well, I may never get you aboard das Boot, Val, but perhaps a walk around London one day? 🙂
      It is strange when you take pix in popular spots in London. many passersby assume you are a tourist and can be quite smug and patronising. I want to tell them to look at what they passing and realise what a great place it is!

  1. I haven’t been to London, at least to visit and sightsee, for some years, but we used to visit on a regular basis, family live there, and my mother was born there, so almost every weekend, we were running about there.
    Yes, I’ll get down there, soon.

  2. I hate that name ‘Gherkin’ almost as much as I hate the words ‘bendy bus.’ They make me think of how much I detest Ken Livingstone and everything he stands for.

    It’s the Swiss Re and articulated buses for me though the buses are mostly gone now, thank God but Swiss Re greets me every time I leave the gates of my Green, looming at the far end of Whitechapel Road like some giant 50 cal bullet, and how in the evenings when the sun is shining one side of it seems ablaze.

    My favourite view of the city is Wordsworth’s, as I walk from the south bank at St Thomas’ to the north to the clock tower; I’m always surprised at what a WHITE city London is.

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