The South Bank

I didn’t want to meet my Waterloo but I did have to meet the indomitable Sophie Campbell under the clock in Waterloo station.Today we went for a walk through the South Bank of the Thames from Waterloo to Tower Bridge.We began at St John’s Waterloo, home to Canon Giles Fraser – a parish of both artists and the homeless – presently undergoing substantial renovations.Situated at the southern end of Waterloo Bridge, St John’s was originally built in 1829, but after being bombed in the Second World War, was partially re-constructed and entirely refitted by Thomas Ford as the Festival of Britain church in 1951. During the South Bank exhibition it was used not just for services but for concerts and events.There is a large mural and altar piece by renowned artist Hans Feibusch, after his emigration from Germany, where his work was frowned upon by the Nazis.We walked through the Roupell estate (often used as a film set)past some Peabody flats built during the slum clearances of the1800s,along Isabella Street, populated with gardens beautifying many cafés located under the railway arches, to the Palestra House, the control hub of Transport for London. It was formerly the site of the first boxing ring, Blackfriars Ring.I was particularly enamoured with the NEO Bankside apartment complex, lots of glass, wintergardens and landscaping.This brought us to the Tate Modern.A quick visit to the Rothkos, glance at a Monetup to the roof for the view of the cityand then along the Thames, past the home of the Dean of Southwark Cathedral, the Very Reverend Andrew Nunn SCP, and a seventeenth century house whose history is detailed in the book ‘A House on the Thames’to the new Globe Theatre, where we stopped for morning tea.Next, under the building belowlies the part-excavated footings of the Rose Theatre, one of five theatres in the Southwark of Shakespeare’s time.[aerial photo of excavations prior to building construction][flooded footings awaiting restoration and further further archeological investigation]This discovery enabled the site of the original Globe Theatre to be determined, but it has not been practicable to uncover all the Globe site.[Lettering marks the external footings of the original Globe Theatre].The remains of palace of the bishops of Winchester (previously unknown to me) were preserved. The Diocese of Southwark was carved out of Winchester early last century.Great lunch with views over Borough Market.Southwark Cathedral, once the site of the Priory of St Mary Overie (over the river) was closed again for a service so I still haven’t been inside.Great city views along the river.Tower Bridge kindly opened for a photo.We visit the City Hall and see the Lord Mayor of London.The new London Bridge Station has just opened.

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