Disturbing the Universe

David L Clements, science and science fiction

London’s Historical Depths

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A two hour stroll around the City and the East End covers a multitude of things. I started on the canals, which provide a fantastic network of cycle and pedestrian friendly routes around the city. There’s been a lot of building along the Regent’s Canal since I last went along it towards Islington. Much of it is fairly generic canalside apartments, but some are more architecturally interesting than others. My favourite, though, is still the place on the right of this picture, which has been around at least since I moved back to London 10 years ago.

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A bit further on, as I was going through the backstreets to the south of Shoreditch Market, I came across The Soup Kitchen for the Jewish Poor, built in 1902. Image

The building has been converted into expensive flats now, but is a reminder of the vastly multicultural background of this area and of London as a whole – something a lot of politicians would rather forget. The Soup Kitchen is within spitting distance of the site of one of Jack the Ripper’s murders, now the site of a rather hideous 1960s multistorey car park.

The whole experience of walking around London looking at the buildings can be summed up in this image, taken on a previous wander.

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This one picture encompasses nearly a thousand years of architecture, from the Erotic Gherkin 30 St Mary Axe building to St Helen’s Bishopsgate, a church that dates back to the 11th century. I know of few places in the world where ancient and modern rub shoulders so effectively. There’s a lot of history in that single image. IN just the last century the area has been bombed by the Kaiser, Hitler and the IRA. In fact the Gherkin probably wouldn’t have been built without some unscheduled explosive demolition.

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Author: davecl

Astronomy, science, science fiction

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