Looking up at London

On Saturday I did one of my Jack The Ripper walks with a particularly brave and sporting Australian lady who wanted to combine an amazing history walk and a way to see a bit of London that most tourists wouldn’t go near. All this on Halloween!

As I get there a little early I took the time to walk almost just round the corner to take a close up look at some of the skyscrapers that are shooting up.  It is incredible to contrast the obvious wealth and comparative lack if it between the areas which are really only a 2 minute walk apart.

The wealth gap was just as large 130 years ago but obviously the poor were even worse off than today.

Here is some great street art… I wonder who this might be? 

It’s ok in the day light but you can imagine what this alley was like with no lighting, the famous London fog and a maniac serial killer on the loose. He definitely went down here and a possible victim left the pub in the right and was found murdered 100 metres behind this spot.


So you might not want to walk here at 2am in your own and you can see it is a bit run down to say the least but not the worst place in the world.


But then you turn round a corner and you see this. 18th/19th century buildings and The Gherkin all in the medieval and often Roman era street plan. 

The City of London beckons… This is the City – the financial square mile as opposed to just “London”. 

I really like the curvature of The Gherkin.


Many people in the U.K don’t like skyscrapers and there are very tight restrictions on their placement and various environmental factors. You won’t find any boring and generic rectangular towers here, to get planning permission they all need to have unique and I testing designs.

This is Tower 42, it dates from the 1980s and was a precursor to the 21st century skyscrapers.

Not a tall building in London but this Lloyds of London building is interesting as all its piping, heating, water and electrical systems are on the outside rather than being hidden away. You can see the Deathstar/Walkie Talkie in the distance. 
This is The Cheesegrater, one of the new icons and most recognisable after The Gherkin and the breathtaking Shard. 

I don’t even know what this is but it’s said there are more cranes in London than the rest of Europe but together and when you see all the construction going on almost everywhere, it’s easy to believe it. 

Where else in the world can you get a view of a medieval church and a building like this? I love it. I can’t help but wonder what the people of  the 1880s would make if it. No doubt amazed but also saddened that nearby Whitechapel seems so near yet still far from the real money.

Just over the river is the fantastic 95 storey The Shard which looks like a piece of broken, shattered glass. Isn’t it incredible?

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About Stephen Liddell

I am a writer and traveller with a penchant for history and getting off the beaten track. With several books to my name including a #1 seller, I also write environmental, travel and history articles for magazines as well as freelance work. Recently I've appeared on BBC Radio and Bloomberg TV and am waiting on the filming of a ghost story on British TV. I run my own private UK tours company (Ye Olde England Tours) with small, private and totally customisable guided tours run by myself!
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5 Responses to Looking up at London

  1. Rosemarie says:

    That skyscraper certainly dwarfs the Tower Bridge.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Grandtrines says:

    Reblogged this on Lost Dudeist Astrology.

    Like

  3. Malla Duncan says:

    Never know whether I like the onslaught on modern towers on London or not. Sometimes I think it looks all wrong and what a shame – and then I’m so impressed by the beauty of the design that I love it. It’s excruciating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am exactly of the same opinion as you Malla. I prefer the old over the new but some of the new is so beautiful in its own way. As long as they preserve the old I guess it is what makes London, London. It always adapts and goes forward whilst others like Paris or Rome stay somewhat in the past. I guess it is what makes it special yet still a leading city.

      Like

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