LONDON Strolls … #3. Waterloo

Waterloo Walk

On Revisiting the gentle London strolls of my Youth . . .

 

  1. WATERLOO

I set off excitedly, without trepidation, from Waterloo Station.
Via Hungerford Bridge, I briskly traverse the Thames.
At a jaunty pace, I cross The Embankment,
before enthusiastically undertaking the short climb of Villiers Street.

Swiftly crossing The Strand,
I tread vigorously into St Martin’s Lane.
Almost strutting into Charing Cross Road,
I pause to browse the books in Cecil Court’s shops,
soon afterwards  cutting through Garrick Lane.
I drift back now to St. Martin’s Lane
to take a welcome break in Goodwin’s Court Georgian Tea rooms.
 
Then on to plod the length of Long Acre
before lazily cutting through James Street to reach Covent Garden.
Ambling sluggishly, I pass the Royal Opera House,
from where I step out with determination,
although somewhat less purposefully now.

Thus I return to the Strand,
following it along into the length of Fleet Street until,
visibly wearying, I reach St. Paul’s Cathedral and turn right
to cross the Millennium Bridge over the Thames.

Now, heading languidly westwards,
I sluggishly wend my way upriver,
along the South Bank of the Thames,
past the Globe Theatre, Tate Modern Gallery,
Oxo Tower Wharf and the Royal Festival Hall.

Meandering now, very slowly and decidedly weary,
until, much relieved, and decidedly thankful,
I find myself back at Waterloo Station.

 

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LONDON Strolls … #1. Chelsea

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On Revisiting the gentle London strolls of my Youth . . .

 

  1. CHELSEA

I leave, with joyous expectation, from Lots Road
to retrace one of my favourite London walks.
Stepping out brightly along the Kings Road
to the World’s End,
I soon move sprightly into Cheyne Walk.

I trip blithely along the Embankment to Albert Bridge,
from where I head purposefully along Royal Hospital Road.
Onwards then, slowing somewhat, to Chelsea Bridge Road,
thence to amble into Sloane Square,
from where I cross, a little hesitantly, to Brompton Road.

Soon I’m trying, unsuccessfully, to pick up the pace into Fulham Broadway. 
I cautiously stretch my legs past Stamford Bridge Football Ground.
Aching a little now, and wavering somewhat,
I head along the North End Road.
Eventually I stumble haltingly into Fulham Palace Road.

Bearing south, with a definite degree of stress now,
I continue to where, near Putney Bridge,
I take a left into the New Kings Road.
Gasping feverishly, I trudge past Parsons Green
until, breathing intemperately,
and desperate for liquid sustenance and my chaise longue,
I return, my curiosity both battered and sated,
but with undisguised relief, to Lots Road.

 

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Winter Holds Court

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The River Thames at Chertsey, Surrey:  Photos – WHB   ©

 

Bare limbs against the furnace of the sky
The stillness of the river mirrors all
Winter holds court in autumn’s dying sigh
Bringing its own beauty to the ball

 

The River Thames Around Hampton Court

As well as the beauty of the riverside and its wildlife, there is much history to be discovered in walking the short space of just over a mile  from the west downstream along the tow-path on the south side of the River Thames towards King Henry VIII’s Palace of Hampton Court.  David Garrick (1717 – 1779) the famous English actor, playwright, theatre manager and producer, also a pupil and friend of Dr Samuel Johnson, built a mansion on the North bank of the Thames here.  Next to it, in 1756, he built a ‘Temple to honour William Shakespeare’.  Further along the river towards Hampton Court Palace are an ancient cricket ground and the famous Molesey Boat Club, who count the Olympic Gold medallist Searle brothers  among their many distinguished rowers.

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David Garrick’s ‘Temple to Shakespeare’

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Garrick’s Temple and his mansion

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Close-up view of the Temple from across the river

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Old Edwardian houseboat – once a floating restaurant

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‘Thyme By The River’ cafe

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Waterfront outside the Molesey Rowing Club

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East Molesey Cricket Ground

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Pleasure craft moored approaching Molesey Lock and Hampton Court Bridge 

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Hampton Court bridge from the West

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Front façade of Hampton Court Palace

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One of the smaller Golden Gates at the Palace

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Looking to the East from Hampton Court Bridge to the River entrance to the Palace

 

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Two Londons

 

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View from Decimus Burton’s Wellington Arch, Hyde Park Corner,  Adrian Jones’s sculpture of ‘The Angel of Peace Descending in the Quadriga of War’

LONDON  2017

In all that bright and glorious sunshine,
Amongst those trees, those parks, those sculptural delights,
Hidden below that Impressive skyline,
Beneath and among those imposing sights,
Is as much deprivation still concealed
As that which was to Blake revealed?

( Pen and Wash drawing and the accompanying verse above are by WHB) 

What was revealed to William Blake as he wandered the streets of late 18th and early 19th Century London, he wrote about in the following poem.  It was first published in his ‘Songs of Experience’ in 1794.
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London-Seven Dial early 19th Century – Sketches by Boz

London    . . .   By William Blake

I wander thro’ each charter’d street
Near where the charter’d Thames does flow.
And mark in every face I meet
Marks of weakness, marks of woe.
In every cry of every Man,
In every Infants cry of fear,
In every voice: in every ban,
The mind-forg’d manacles I hear
How the Chimney-sweepers cry
Every blackning Church appalls,
And the hapless Soldiers sigh
Runs in blood down Palace walls
But most thro’ midnight streets I hear
How the youthful Harlots curse
Blasts the new-born Infants tear
And blights with plagues the Marriage hearse.

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