Thursday, 4 August 2016
The difference between a leisurely Saturday rail journey and a middle of the week commuter rush hour one is great. Mine took just over the hour, encountered no problems and allowed me a seat to myself with few around me all the way. How different from the tired sardines crushed together as the train waits somewhere along the line because a door will not shut or someone has thrown themselves selfishly in front of the train or a signal has failed yet again. Occasionally lorry drivers like to drive 15ft tall lorries under 14ft high bridges, sometimes staff do not turn up, on odd occasions a passenger will be genuinely taken seriously ill, anything to disrupt a service involving hundreds of trains along the line. Once the line gets so far out of London it becomes two lines only for many areas with a few 'loops' at stations on the way. Any traffic problem and the whole lot between London and Colchester falls apart. No wonder people grumble yet I can understand why the rail company feel no guilt. For one many faults are not off their making on the other they are only in it for the money and it is the public and the passengers (sorry 'customers') who suffer.
Now the grime has been cleared away and a hundred or more years of smoke removed we can see the wonderful Victorian iron roof (I take it to be iron) that stretches overhead. Even better now the glass has been cleaned. Such huge cavernous spaces were wonders indeed in Victorian times and I can see why.
At Paddington a similar cross like structure exists and this was to allow for a crane to carry the small coaches from one line to another without going all the way out and in again. Sometimes horses were used to pull them into position. I wonder if this was a similar situation at Liverpool Street in times past?
Sir Henry Wilson was a man who disagreed with General Haig from the start. He was very much a French loving General who supported Lloyd George and the other War Cabinet members in their belief in French superiority. In 1918 when he took over as the top man in London he suddenly found himself agreeing with Haig and insisting to Lloyd George, now Prime Minister, that Haig was the best man for the job. Funny how things change when the job is yours. He unveiled this and other memorials but was very much a supporter of the anti IRA faction and as such he was blown up two days after the unveiling and killed.
The one thing difficult to discover in London is a cheap eatery yet on Saturday I walked into one. This place, going by the clever name of 'EAT' gave me a bacon and egg roll with coffee for £4:45 and I thought that not only did it save my life but for London this was cheap! The place was clean, the staff friendly, the service excellent and if back there I will look in again. Well done 'EAT!'
Mansion House is the place where the Lord Mayor of London is supposed to live. Personally I suspect he lives in another more acceptable mansion elsewhere and uses this for his London business only but that's by-the-by. Once a year the Chancellor of the Exchequer is paraded around here before he gives his annual speech about how he will rob the poor and feed the rich as George Osborne has done for the last six years. As the only way to get a proper picture of the pretentious structure is to cross the road I didn't bother. I blame the knees.
Opposite the Mansion House is the Bank of England (begun by a Scot) here watching the choir who are positioned over the place that caved in due to the Blitz bomb in 1941. The bank is a solid edifice but not an attractive one. In keeping with the people at the top it says "Keep away, I'm too important for the likes of you!" I stayed away caring not a jot.
Looking the other way we find this, the result of a drunken architects bet surely? I suggest the bet was he could design a building so daft yet get both a buyer and permission to erect it in the heart of the City of London, and here it is. I blame alcohol!
The Royal Exchange, founded in the 16th century and rebuilt several times, this Greek temple impersonation dates from 1840, was the commercial heart of London for many years, at least for the 150 years when Lloyds of London used it. Today it is a mixture of classy (overpriced) shops and is of course closed on Saturdays!
In front stands a classy memorial to the 'Men of London' who served in a variety of regiments, mostly Royal Fusiliers or the London Regiment, and who gave their lives in the Great War.
James Henry Greathead was as you know the man who along with Peter W. Barlow developed the Tunneling shield used in the creation of much of London's underground and tunnels under the Thames. He was railway engineer on much of London's railways and worked in Liverpool and Ireland also. The plinth he stands on hides a ventilation shaft for the underground beneath him.
Wot mean you 'Is it finished?' No there are more London pics to come!
Hello? hello? Operator, I've been cut off!