Monday, December 07, 2015

Open City London's Thames by boat and Red 330

I've been keeping alert to the schedule of Open-City over the last couple of years they're involved in some interesting things in London.

On Saturday afternoon we joined an architecturally inclined  tour of London's Thames run under their auspices..
On board the boat - as we came to City Hall

The tour we undertook was called 'Architecture on The Thames'  and I think similar tours are
run a few times in the year - here's a link to Open City tours.

What was really impressive was how knowledgeable the tour guide was, from his accent I'd say he wasn't a UK native but he knew far more about the city than many cockneys I'm sure. 

Interesting things mentioned were that London (Londinium) was a Roman settlement from about two thousand years ago, at this time the river was far wider and surrounded by lots of marshy land.

Central London largely dates back to the reconstruction that took place after the 'Great Fire of London' (1666).

The rapid de-industrialisation took past largely as a result of the 'clean air act ' and the decline of the dockyards.

There was a period in the 1960s when the city turned it's back on the river and there were some rather bland buildings erected at this time - now many exciting buildings can be seen from the river including the City Hall designed by Norman Foster . Another spectacular building is The Shard designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano.
The spectacular Shard

Sir Terence Conran has been one of the key figures who helped to preserve some of the fine old Warehouses - including a banana warehouse that is now the Design Museum (until mid way through 2016).
The Design Museum

Expansion and reconstruction is now centred on the Nine Elms district - Battersea Power Station is protected and work to repurpose it is well under way, new Northern line underground stations will be built.

De industrialisation means power goes to Art at Tate Modern 

A key tenant in the newly revitalised southern district will be The American Embassy  moving out of Grosvenor Square (the new site should be ready at the end of 2016).

A bridge illuminated
Another topic we heard about was the different bridges that cross the Thames (and a tunnel)- more are planned for the future but we saw some fine and varies examples during our trip.

Red 330

Out by the Festival Pier a great splash of red in The Shed by Haworth Tompkins.

A large expanse of Red
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