London’s South Bank, Geographically Inexact

The famous bends of London’s river mean that at a point where you are actually on the east bank of the Thames, you’ll find the South Bank.

Not that it seems to worry anyone.

Geographically inexact, the South Bank Arts Complex and river side walk, is a brilliant, yet undersung, part of the capital, whatever the compass point or season.

Here, sixty years ago people gathered for the Festival of Britain; a concerted effort to cheer a population who had endured the dark days of the Second World War, and the austerity that followed.

My parents went. Married three years and pretty penniless. I imagine my mother, in the first weeks of pregnancy, strolling wide-eyed, seeing a glimpse of this future world where her child, my older sister, would grow up.

Today, even in recession, people on the South Bank look look well fed and well dressed.

They are enjoying a festival to remember that festival of 1951, which was itself a conscious echo of the Great Exhibition of 1851, an event that spawned Expos around the globe.


I had a meeting on the South Bank the other morning. Arriving early, I took the opportunity to use my camera.

I’ve been admiring the Urban Fox sculpture for weeks, every time I’ve crossed Waterloo Bridge on the bus.

Urban Fox Sculpture

I think he looks rather sad, but I was amused to see how the pigeons were using him as a roost. Continue reading