Tag: Bank

London 2016 (the first half)

This post is really a general post about the short trip I made to London between 07 and 09 June 2016. It is somewhat disjointed because the trip was also somewhat disjointed. However this page will also serve as an index to the separate blogposts I made.

Enough waffling, lets grab our GWR train at Cheltenham Spa and get underway.

Roll the clock forward to just after 10.30 and by the magic of the internet we are at London Paddington Station.

Everybody knows Paddington Station, after all wasn’t that where a famous Bear comes into our lives?

It is also where the Great Western Railway commemorates the 3312 members of staff who lost their lives serving their country.

However, do not tarry too long here as you are liable to be walked over by a cellphone clutching maniac who has no idea of anybody around him. The loo is close to here, only 30p for a pee.

Exiting the station we come into Praed Street. This imposing building is the London Hilton Paddington, or, as it was known: The Great Western Royal Hotel and it was opened in 1854. 

And this oldie is the famous St Mary’s Hospital. It was founded in 1845 and it was the site of many discoveries, including that of Penicillin in 1928 by Sir Alexander Fleming. It has also seen the birth of many notables and Royals

I also found it a handy landmark to my hotel which was in Norfolk Place. 

Paddington station also serves the Circle, Bakerloo, District,  and the  Hammersmith and City lines, although the trains on the Bakerloo side were not stopping at the station. Having offloaded my luggage I headed for Moorgate on the circle Line which was which was where I was to start my exploration.   

My first destination was the cemetery known as Bunhill Fields, and rather than bore you with details you can go read about it yourself  (You can also click on the pic)

When I finished at Bunhill I hopped the Northern Line tube once again, ending up at Bank/Monument tube station. Personally I have never been able to understand this station (that one and Liverpool Street), but popped out somewhere and wanted to head down towards Tower Bridge.

Logically London Bridge Station would have been a better choice, but I wanted to enquire as to when the RMS St Helena was due. 

By some strange quirk I ended up outside the London Centre for Spirituality, originally known as St Edmund, King and Martyr, and I just had to take a look.

The interior of the building is magnificent, I have seen many beautiful churches but this one really stood out. They have two interesting wall memorials, one of which is dedicated to Charles Melville Hays who was president of the Grand Trunk Railway and who would lose his life in the sinking of the Titanic in April 1912.  I have a separate post about the church that I have created. 

Having left the church I headed to the Thames and Tower Bridge. It was looking decidedly gloomy outside and the weather forecast was for rain. But, I had a ship to photograph, rain or not! The staff at the bridge confirmed bridge opening was scheduled for 16H45, so things were looking up.

There were even fenders along HMS Belfast so the visit was happening.  Now if only I could find a way to occupy myself for 2 hours. The Imperial War Museum  was not too far away so I headed to London Bridge Station to grab a tube to Elephant and Castle.

My visit to the museum in 2015 had not been a very good one, and I was hoping to rectify that in the 90 minutes that I had.  My primary objective was to photograph the 5.5″ gun that Jack Cornwell had manned during the Battle of Jutland when he was awarded the Victoria Cross.

It is a large weapon and trying to photograph it all in one shot is impossible. I also wanted to see the Lord Ashcroft VC Gallery, and it was a strange place because those medals are really just tokens of extreme heroism, and I had photographed some of the graves associated with the medal and the man. Yet, it is strange to make the connection when you have read about the deed that the medal was awarded for. I can’t quite explain it though, just take my word for it. 

The rest of the museum was as I remembered it from 2015, and I was still as disappointed as I had been last time. But I felt better for the experience. Unfortunately on my walk from the station the rain had started and it was drizzling by the time I came out. Fortunately I did have my trusty raincoat with so could stay slightly dry on my way back to Tower Bridge.

While I was pondering what to do till 16H45 the bridge started to open, but it was not the ship I was waiting for. 

Instead a small sailing barge came through, and it turns out that this is the Lady Daphne,  a 1923 built sailing barge under private ownership and available for a variety of charters and day trips. 

I moved up to the Tower of London side of the bridge and parked myself there to wait out the St Helena, and that blogpost may be accessed by clicking the link or the image below 

When all was said and done I headed to Tower Bridge Station to await my train back to the hotel. Naturally I stopped at the Tower Hill Merchant Navy Memorial while I was there…..

and then I was on my way home for a shower, and to put my feet up and rest. I was bushed, and I still had tomorrow to consider.

Tomorrow (8 June 2016)

On this fine day I had planned to go gravehunting to two places I had been before. To get there I needed to catch the Bakerloo line at Edgeware Road and travel to Queen’s Park before changing trains for Kensal Green (the stop after Queen’s Park)

That is Edgeware Road tube station above, and there are actually two separate stations, one dealing only with Bakerloo Line and the other with everything else.

And here we are at Kensal Green. Isn’t the train marvellous? 

Actually the tube is reasonably easy to use as long as you “mind the gap” and know how to read a tube map. Unfortunately though it is not always easy to know in which direction a train is going, or where it’s end destination is. But, you are not alone, there are probably plenty of people down there who have been lost for years and who travel up and down looking for their stop. 

My mission at Kensal Green was to revisit St Mary’s Roman Catholic Cemetery

as well as Kensal Green (All Souls) Cemetery

You may use either the link or the image to access the relevant blogpost. 

Once I had completed my cemetery visits it was time to head back towards the Thames, although I wanted to make one stop before then. The tube passes through one station that any Sir Conan Doyle buff will appreciate:

and you can bet I heard Jerry Rafferty playing in my head as we went past.

At this point in time I headed towards Trafalgar Square as there were two statues that I wanted pics of that tied into my Battle of Jutland interest


Admiral of the Fleet John Rushworth Jellicoe,

Admiral of the Fleet John Jellicoe

Admiral of the Fleet David Richard Beatty

Admiral of the Fleet David Beatty

Trafalgar Square is somewhat of a frenetic place with gazillions of tourists, red buses and people on cellphones or taking selfies.

And,  having photographed my statues it was time to head to the embankment for lunch at my favourite Japanese takeaway. I intended to walk to the Millennium Bridge and then cut upwards to St Paul’s.

Cleopatra’s Needle

Embankment Station

Embankment Station

Zimbabwe House

Zimbabwe House

I had originally been to see St Paul’s in 2013, in fact I had even stood in the ticket line, but had turned away at the last minute as I did not really feel comfortable with the heavy atmosphere at the time. I had always regretted that decision because it was really a place heavy with history and tradition and well worth seeing. One of the things that had put me off was the “No photography” ruling, and as a result of that I do not have any interior images to share. 

Please note that the opinions in this update are strictly my own.
Trust me, the interior of the cathedral is truly magnificent, photographs will not go anywhere near doing it justice. It is huge, the amount of artwork and sculptures in it is staggering, and the lofty heights of the dome seem to reach into the stars. It is a stunning building, however, I did not find it a friendly building, if anything I felt as if I was intruding on some much greater work and was not really worthy of being in there (possibly that was the intention?). The crypt was out of this world, but it felt cold and clinical, almost too perfect. This seemed more like a space where you crept silently along clutching your hat with eyes downcast. The tombs inside it are awe inspiring, but I found it hard to reconcile some of the words I read on some of the tombs with the history of those buried there.
It was really the sort of building where you could spend a whole day and come away feeling drained and I do not want to know how you would feel if you attended a service there. I did find the staff somewhat abrupt, especially the woman in the whispering gallery and again I felt as if I was intruding in a personal empire of the staff. I did not stick around very long, although it started bucketing down shortly after I went inside.
I have visited quite a few cathedrals since I first saw St Paul’s, and they felt just that much more comfortable and accessible. I did not feel the same way in St Paul’s. Sir Christopher Wren created a fantastic building, and I wonder what he would have said had he seen it today. Make no mistake, it is probably the most stunning cathedral I have ever seen, but it will never be my favourite.
Having seen St Paul’s I now headed towards the Thames, trying to come out somewhere near London Bridge,  naturally I ended up at Bank tube station again, and promptly got lost! I do not know why I always get lost in that area.
But I eventually I reached where I wanted to be to take my last pics of the RMS. 
It was time to go back to the hotel via Tower Hill and have a shower and a rest. I was bushed. My jeans had dried out but my shoes were still kind of squelchy from the morning in Kensal Green
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Updated: 15/02/2020 — 08:42

Bank Holidays.

This morning I needed to go to the bank. But when I got there I discovered it was a “bank holiday”.  Now why do banks have holidays in the first place? I know in South Africa a bank never goes on holiday, in fact it uses your money to pay for a holiday it never takes. 
This little excursion by my local bank is a serious problem, because I need to go to Salisbury tomorrow and don’t have the train fare. In fact I barely had enough to buy a loaf of bread, after all you do need bread to buy bread. Neither could I print out the application form because my handy Mailboxes Only was closed too. Now this interview is relatively important, because according to the website it is only available in July, which is great because this is August and I am applying for a job that starts 11 months from now,  “get in there early, avoid the Christmas rush” should be the case with this job. That is assuming I survive the next few months. 
Meanwhile, back to the bank and their holidays, all the atms are behind locked doors. I could draw money from my local atm belonging to the bank of Upper-Thebes-by-the-Sea, but they would charge my as much as a South African bank does in service charges, and given the precarious state of my finances I could end up having to pay using a spare kidney. I could also go loan money from “Honest Albert” of the unseasonably big raincoat, but that could cost my other kidney plus an arm and leg. I do not want to stoop that low.  
Hopefully tomorrow the bank will be back from its hols by the seaside, and will be able to provide me with the required sterling so that I can head off to Salisbury. Of course once I get to Salisbury and am finished with the interview I can head back home and see about working my arm off loading luggage again to make up for the train trip (which really works out at 2 hours of hard labour). Sigh. I would go graving but have a ship arrival planned and I don’t want to miss that. Do ships have bank holidays? no, but they do keep un-Godly hours and arrive or leave when the early bird has just gotten back from a hard days beak bashing after worms and crumbs.  Of course the one bank they do steer clear of are sandbanks, and often are not very successful at that either. I just hope this one is on time, I have been chasing her for quite some time.
Seeing as the bank is on holiday I may as well do the park off and do even less thing, after all I did not bank on having to do much today except prepare for tomorrow.

A postscript.
It seems as if my well earned dosh wasn’t altogether wasted as I was made an offer and will be heading off to Salisbury in the very near future, 


Updated: 13/12/2016 — 19:41

Greenwich and the National Maritime Museum

My exif data puts this series of images as having been taken on 13 March 2013, and it was quite a story and half to get to where I wanted to be. I was in Lewisham at the time when I saw the Dockland Light Rail station. Naturally my curiosity got the better of me and I discovered that it does go into the Greenwich area where the Cutty Sark is preserved. I had a reason to go after all!

This was my first time on the DLR so it was all new to me, and frankly I expect it could be very full at peak hour because this was not a very spacious train.

The ride was interesting because it was above ground and it gave me a glimpse of areas of London that I knew nothing about and which I will never pass through again. 

How much history has that bridge seen? and where is it anyway? I had no real clue where I was. 

Eventually we arrived at what seemed to be the appropriate station to the Greenwich and Cutty Sark and I bailed out, suitably impressed what my short jaunt. My first port of call was the Cutty Sark, everything else is a bonus. I have covered my visit to the ship in another blogpost so won’t really expound on it here. She is a wonderful old lady that thankfully still survives, although her future at one point was very clouded. 

Having visited this famous clipper I decided to head off to the National Maritime Museum which was not too far away. I had heard many good things about the museum, and it was about my favourite topic, so how could I go wrong? 

The building above is the Old Royal Naval College, and I did not investigate it closer. I had my eye on that museum instead. Looking back on my images I have to admit that I do not really remember the area too well, there were plenty of extremely impressive buildings around and trying to find the right one could prove somewhat difficult. I am going to gloss what I saw between the College and the Museum suffice to say that I found a graveyard in the grounds of one of the buildings!  

Our destination is right ahead. Let us not tarry or our ship will sail without us.

The very impressive building has two anchors on either side of the entrance, one of which was a spare for the Union-Castle Line. 

I do not recall much about the museum though, and I took very few photographs. There were quite a few models of interest but trying to get images of them inside their cabinets was almost impossible because of the reflections. 

And of course almost anything to do with ships is large and you can never get faraway enough to get the complete object in the frame. The gilded state barge above was built for Frederick, Prince of Wales  in 1732. 

Miss Britain III was a powerboat built in the 1930’s to compete for the Harmsworth Trophy. It is also the first single-engined boat to travel at over 160 km/h, and this record remained for 50 years.

One of the larger exhibits is a full sized marine propeller that turns languidly in the air. It is a very good indicator of how big ships can be.

The models were excellent but I have no real decent photographs of them, 

SS Rawalpindi  of the P&O Line, that was converted into an armed merchant cruiser, and was sunk in a surface action against the German battleships Scharnhorst and Gneisenau during the first months of the Second World War. This is her peacetime livery. 

HMS Grimsby  was the lead ship of her class. She was in the 1930s, entering service in 1934. She was deployed as an escort along the East coast of the Britain and in the Mediterranean Sea during the Second World War, and was sunk by dive bombers off Tobruk on 25 May 1941. 

The stern gallery below bears the name Implacable, but I don’t think that it is a full size gallery. This was officer country and woe betide any Jack Tarr that went into that area unless it was to clean up!  

HMS Victory in Portsmouth has a similar gallery. 

To me though, the best of the Maritime Museum was outside the building.

The museum did not leave much of an impression on me. My interests are geared towards merchant ships and warships to a lesser extent, and this museum did not really meet my expectations. But, I have seen it so can scratch one more off my bucket list.

Exiting the museum my next port of call was the Royal Observatory in Greenwich

Unfortunately during my visit there was a school group at the observatory, all were busily texting each other and very few were actually interested in the history all around them. The Greenwich Meridian passes through this area. Did I stand astride of the Meridian? I think I did but don’t have any pics. I do know that the one area you had to pay to get in and I decided against it. 

The view from the hill is fantastic though, remember I said there were many impressive buildings? 

The ugly skyscrapers do not fall in with my impressive building category. They are part of the Isle Of Dogs developments and that is yuppie and banker clone territory. Wind back towards the 30’s and 40’s that was dockland, and ships abounded. The pano below shows a broader view of the skyline. The spikey round thing on the right hand side is the Millenium Dome. 


At some point I had had enough and headed for home. Using the DLR to take me to Bank Station. Had I known about it at the time I would have crossed under the Thames using the tunnel, but I really planned to return here at some point because I wanted to do the trip to the Thames barrier. However that never happened so I do have this area in the back of my mind if/when I am in London again.

Random Images.


And that more or less concludes Greenwich.

The cemetery? It ties into the Royal Hospital Greenwich. 

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Updated: 04/12/2019 — 20:27
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