My favourite gates in London, or actually, now I think of it, anywhere, are at the Globe. I can’t find a photo of my own, but this should give you the idea.
The Globe, incidentally, is a fabulous theatre. Going to see a production there is a magical experience. We’re wimpier than the C17 audiences, so there aren’t any plays on in winter, though you can go on a tour, but if you are coming to London in the summer, book a ticket. Don’t be put off by the idea of being a groundling. It’s fun – except possibly when it rains, but even then, unlike the actors, you can put your hood up, though no umbrellas.
I hadn’t meant to write about the Globe at all. Gates were my subject, so you can see that I feel pretty enthusiastic about the place. We have American Sam Wanamaker to thank for this theatre. He came to London, an exile from his native country, during the McCarthy era. A fan of Shakespeare, he sought out the various places connected with the writer, and was shocked that in Southwark at Bankside, where the original Globe stood, there was just a large plaque in a side street that said that this was the supposed site of the theatre.
Armed with little more than his enthusiasm, Sam set about creating a new Globe theatre. The authorities thought he was crazy. Southwark Council (the council in charge of where I live, the council intent on reducing our library service to a meaningless thing not worth saving) fought him tooth and nail. That same council now exalts the Globe in its tourist information.
He died of cancer before its completion, but his daughter Zoe, a stalwart of the British stage and television screen, though still a US citizen, took over the reins. Apparently, and I think they owe this to their Southwark upbringing, she and her sisters, one of whom for her sins works for the council, all swear like troopers.
Next year, Mark Rylance, the first director of the Globe, returns to act. http://www.shakespearesglobe.com/theatre/on-stage If you are already in London, grab a ticket for Jerusalem. Rylance’s performance is mesmerising.
I was going to post some pix of some other gates. But I think they can wait.