London, Part 4
Bus to north of Hyde park,
walk the Canal to Camden, return via Regents Park, British Library, British Museum & Soho area
|It's going to be a long day of walking so we take the bus a bit north to save a couple of miles.|
Standing at the bus stop across Brompton Road from Harrod's, we discovered this chunk of art: a stack of thick glass plates with an enclosed drop of red.
The building it's in front of had cleared out all of their tenants during the past year, so it may be an abandoned piece! (Dick is relieved that we didn't discover that until preparing these pages just in case someone thought of carting it home). We couldn't find the name of the artist or name of the piece.
Bus 414 takes us around Hyde Park, up Edgware Road and then left to reach Little Venice, a branch pond for the canal system. The canals are now used for recreation rather than commerce. One of the reasons they didn't get filled in and paved is because the government used the right of way to run utilities. This provided enough inertia that a strong preservation movement had time to develop.
|We're setting off to walk the north-east branch called Regent's Canal towards Regent Park (part of the south branch shows up in part 5 as we exit Paddington station)|
|Very picturesque and filled with canal boats, many being lived in.|
|The streets cross above, and we walk below...|
|Some sections don't have any mooring points.|
The clouds and reflections were wonderful
|There is even a floating house for birds.|
|A boat returning a load of tourists from the zoo.|
|Somehow it was fairly easy to tell when the moored boats were live-aboards...|
|...with "mod-cons" (modern conveniences).|
|As we neared Regents Park we hit a section with quite visible Fancy houses on the other side, and on our side was suspiciously groomed wilderness.|
Then the banks transitioned to the wild of the park
|These marks in the bridge column are from years of barge ropes|
|another boat full of tourists|
|Half-way through the park, the London Zoo occupies the southern bank. We take the opportunity to hike north, away from the zoo and canal to climb the west side of ...|
|Primrose Hill... a pleasant grassy expanse with a view back to the city.|
|Then it's back down with a drift to the east to come back to the canal...|
and more serene walking (with only the occasional bicyclist)
|Does anyone but the sign writer consider a $25/day fine to park in downtown London a threat?|
|Perhaps a pirate attack would be more useful|
|We finally get to the Camden locks/Camden market and drop in for lunch|
|Camden Market is a densely-packed warren of tent-covered food stalls of all descriptions and nationalities. We'd already picked up some Philippinean dishes, and sat down here. A vibrant young woman was enthusiastically hawking Argentinian empanadas, which brought back memories of our trip there over 20 years ago.|
|Back before petrol-powered boats they were towed by horses. Camden is where the animals were stabled and cared for.|
|A one- (detailed) frieze lesson in the care and handling of tow horses|
The below-ground stable area is now home to a chaotic street market.
Emerging from the market a few books richer/heavier, we paused at Camden Locks to watch some boats pass through
|We finally rise back up to street-level and walk a bit of Camden High Street|
|Unlike the rest of staid London, this street has exuberant building attire.
(if you look closely at these two scenes, you'll notice that almost 50% of the storefronts are tattoo parlours)
(and half of the others are T-shirts to hide them)
|We retreat into Regents Park. Many of the parks have sub-sections remembering past royalty's love of the space or the gardens. This statue is in Queen Mary's Gardens.|
|As is this topiary|
|other areas are less formal|
|or formal in a different way|
|At the southwest edge of the park is Baker Street, site of the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
The "Blue Dot" on the 2nd floor is the London County Council's marker for historic sites where people were born, domiciled or died.
|Memorabilia for the discerning collector.|
|Adjacent to the Museum we find other businesses trading on the visitor's memories. (Mrs. Hudson was his houskeeper's name, but she didn't run a restaurant)|
|Even the dry cleaner across the street claims famous patronage.|
|And, two doors down from the museum, a Beatles store(?)|
|Ah, well, we resume our walk southward. Heading east a bit we pass a school and were amused by the scooter-park. The sidewalk must be a dangerous spot when school lets out.|
|Apparently the parents need a bit of education/reminding, too.|
|We reach our next goal: the British National Library. Newton is measuring Dick's head.
(Old engineer's dictum: F=ma
... and "you can't push a string". (Newton's unwritten 5th law?))
|Sort of the equivalent to the US Library of Congress it holds all works published in the UK. But it also serves as storage of many older historic works . Here's a model of the deep vaults.
A display room (no photos allowed) featured a Gutenburg Bible, many original manuscripts by famous composers (Handel's Messiah, works by Purchell, Bach, Mozart, Gluck, Puccini, Elgar, Debussey, Bartok (to name a few)). A display of a few illuminated manuscripts and a wealth of their printed equivalent as literacy and reading became wide-spread... and even then half the room was empty as they were renovating it.
|Coming back out to breathe, we found grand old St. Pancras Hotel.|
|And gardens even where there is no soil.|
|Walking south we reach the British Museum.|
|Inside, its relatively-recently roofed central courtyard melds together several buildings. For more of its collections, mostly archeology, see part 7|
|Just steps away down Charing Cross Road is the most famous (at least to us) science fiction bookstore in England: Forbidden Planet.|
|Then we walk through the theatre district|
|Harry Potter and the Cursed Child will be opening on July 30th, 2016,
with the book of the script being released the next day.
|And the small Chinatown, centered on Gerrard Street|
|which has 3 major gates within a couple of blocks of each other.|
|as well as other artwork|
|We pass Carnaby Street, happening place of the 60's|
|To find the home of Liberty fabrics (which has been on Karen's bucket list for a long time). Unfortunately, it was a bit disappointing: all of the displayed fabric patterns Karen liked were "last season" and no longer in stock!|
|From upstairs we had a good historically-tinged view of the street.|
|As we neared Hyde Park, we stopped by Hamilton's Gallery on the last day of its Guido Mocafico photography exhibit (if you want an array of gorgeous jellyfish for your wall they sell limited editions of his prints). He went to museums all over the world taking pictures of Leopold and Rudolf Blaschka's glass models of invertebrates (see part 7 for our photo of one of their glass models from the British Natural History Musesum). We eagerly await publication of his book.|
Speaking of things scientific, the next stop is Burlington House, home of the various Royal Academies
|We were able to visit the Geological Society|
|Which had a very small display of rocks in an impressive library.|
Burlington house is also home to the Royal Academy of Art.
Initially we thought this was a smoke stack or something similar...
... until it started to move.
Next door was Burlington Arcade, an enclosed walkway of small, luxury shops. It is one of four similar we walked through when we tripped over them.
Quoth a guidebook: "Built for Lord Cavendish in 1819 to prevent garbage from being thrown into his garden. It is still patrolled by beadles who make sure an atmosphere of refinement is maintained."
|With interesting jewelry (at only slightly astronomical prices)|
|and displays. (Rolex, anyone?)|
|We had lunch at Selfridge's, a famous department store ranked a bit below Harrod's. The view reminded us of the Parisian stores' restaurants, as did the Crêpes we were able to enjoy.|
|Back down on the street, we never knew what sort of building ...|
|... would appear ...|
|... in the next block.|
|Or what sort of strange mode of transport.
(A Peel P-50 from 1962)
You'll never guess whose doorstep it was parked upon.
|a cyclist who wants to be sure you see him|
We close with another department store display: the clock strikes 3
|and the men go back into the houses on the wall of Fortnum and Mason|
|Their display windows were a celebration Alice in Wonderland.
We'll let this photo serve as a wonderful way to close this section.
|1: Local area||2: Thames river trip||3: To the Tower||4: Canal to Soho||5: Further afield by rail: Reading, Kew|
|6: Chelsea Gardens
||7: More Museum||To Iceland|
all text and images copyright Karen and Dick Seymour 2016,
and may not be reproduced without written permission
Back to the Seymour Stained Glass website:
|DIY Book &