Thursday, 3 January 2008

Now and Then VI


The view north from the Campanile shows how things have changed since 1911, when the Campanile was the tallest structure on the London skyline. In the older photograph, Victoria Street is shown clearly leading up diagonally from bottom left towards the Houses of Parliament at the top right. The Victoria Tower of the Palace of Westminster is still clear, as is (further left) the pointed lantern over the crossing between the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The pinnacle of Big Ben is directly behind the left tower of Westminster Abbey.

Further off, however, St Paul's Cathedral - clearly visible in 1911 at the top of the picture - is now only just to be seen squeezed between two dark tower blocks, and dwarfed by skyscrapers beyond. Below it, in 1911, the dome of the Methodist Central Hall is being contructed - it can only be partially glimpsed now between the two dark blocks. This was, briefly, the home of the League of Nations (predecessor of thre United Nations) after World War I. Not much else survives; the mansion block of Artillery Row (centre right) endures, looking rather dark in 1911 but actually faced in light coloured stone. In the centre of the older picture, a bridge links the two sites of the famed Army and Navy Store - the essential stopping off place for any expedition to the furthest reaches of the world. The Store is still there, and a bridge between the two sites, but now manifested in modern blocks (and, more shockingly, rebranded as 'House of Fraser').

Above the central tower block can be seen one of the newer additions to the London skyline, the London Eye - the huge Ferris Wheel which was the scene of a magnificent firework display on New Year's Night. If you enlarge the newer picutre, you will see another newcomer between the London Eye and the top of Big Ben; 30 St Mary Axe, better known (for obvious reasons) as 'The Gherkin'!

1 comment:

stcolumba said...

The view of "then" must have been more impressive and interesting than "now".