Lunchtime at London’s Petticoat Lane

It is the most famous street market in the City and despite two world wars, it’s still standing and getting more and more popular so that Parliament declared it as a London institution in 1936 to prevent it from getting wiped away as a consequence of the construction boom!

Petticoat Lane market is just few steps from our hotel and a stone’s throw to H’s office tower block so I reckon it would be the perfect place to start the day’s photoshoot. Well, I actually got more than what I hoped for. I went at the right time when The City’s lunch hour was just picking up so it’s amazing to see the yuppies and their seniors looking like they just stepped out of their conference rooms, queueing up for street food and filling up the tables and chairs that were instantly set up like dining halls in open air!

Good for them. It’s very expensive to eat out all the time and the only cheap way is to feed on cold sandwiches that gets boring after a while so Petticoat Lane comes as perfect alternative!

 

The streets are lined up with fashionable clothing and shoes that don’t hurt the wallet too much.  I also imagined that office workers come here to buy their outfits for some cocktail parties or even as emergency solution when their suits are accidentally smudged with coffee!

So while munching on warm falafel sandwich, one’s eyes could be browsing on the clothes on display to buy for the missus!

Notice the “Gherkin” in the skyline, it’s cheap dining with an expensive-looking view!

 

Combing through London’s Soho district

If you are visiting London and you think you have seen all the sights e.g., Tower Bridge, The Parliament, Big Ben, London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Picadilly Circus…..think again, maybe you are not aware that there is a very popular area that every visitor to this vibrant city goes to.

What’s the attraction, you may ask.   Well, it has everything you can possibly ask for –  fashionable shops, ethnic, high-end and popular restaurants,  pubs, theatres,  nightclubs, gay clubs, recreational centers, churches (one of them, the Notre Dame Church where you can find Jean Cocteau’s murals),  gastronomic shops, gifts-for-every-occasion shops, Chinatown,  and even the Red Light district!

Okay, okay, I already love this area.  Where is it  SOHO!

Let’s go on Soho virtual sightseeing now.  Enjoy!

Noticed theater-like rope barriers like this infront of pubs, wonder what they are for.  Oh, something to keep customers in line.  They have to queue up, post-office style, to buy their drink at the bar, and limited to only two drinks at a time, mind you!

 

 

Chinatown

Hitting the table tennis ball in Golden Square Park

Sculptures of friends entitled “Interaction” by Bruce Denny in Soho Square

This is where I found the perfect birthday gift for H, something vintage!

 

 

St Paul’s Cathedral and its gardens

Previous: In search of Saint Paul’s Cathedral

 

Voila!  I am finally standing infront of the glorious cathedral, a 17th century masterpiece, now one of London’s most iconic attractions!   Those steps towards the portico were seen around the world in July 1981 when Princess Diana walked up with her 8-meter gown to marry Prince Charles!

 

 

This is the West Front flanked by two towers topped with a pineapple – a symbol of peace, prosperity and hospitality.    The right side is the Clock tower and above it hang “Great Tom”, the hour bell, and ‘Great Paul,’ a 17-ton bell believed to be the largest in Europe.  The bells ring everyday at 1pm and toll especially at the deaths of any of the royal family, the Bishop of London, the Dean of St. Paul’s or the Lord Mayor.

 

 

 

I went in and could snap only as far as from this spot because photography is not allowed.  There is a huge entrance fee so I thought I better return another day, in the morning, to maximize  my visit.  Besides, I read that one has to  climb up around 500 steps to get to the Dome!

I barely managed to photograph this version of  “La Pieta” located just on the left side of the left entrance door.  It is surrounded by grills and I had to do it subtly lest the roving guard catches me!   I have started quite recently to build a photographic collection of the sculptures of the Dying Christ with His Mother that I see in all the churches I go to.

Seen at the door on the right entrance.

St Paul’s has one of the worlds largest checkerboard floors!

The beautiful dome can be seen up close from the entrance to the garden.

“Becket”
by Edward Bainbridge Copnall

At first,  I found this sculpture bizarre but it’s actually the frozen final moments of Thomas Becket when he was brutally murdered by three knights in 1170.  Becket was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1162.

 

 

The bust of priest and poet John Donne  who was  Dean of St Paul’s in 1621.

These are enormous iron supports!  Must be 300 year old, too!

One of the sculptures at the base of St Paul’s column

At the north-east stands the column with a gilded statue of St Paul commemorating the public preaching of the Christian faith in this location.

Standing from the base of St Paul’s column facing the Thames, you can see the Shard, the tallest building in Europe.

From Paternoster row’s entrance door, this round stone serves as memorial to the people of London who died in the blitz 1939 — 1945.

 

It is carved from a 3-ton block of Irish granite where inscribed the words…“Remember before God the people of London 1939-1945”,

Just next to the stone memorial is this statue of John Wesley, the founder of Methodism. Here he is shown  preaching and holding a book, probably a bible.  Inscribed on the base are these words:

“By Grace ye are saved through Faith
John Wesley ,  Father of Methodism , 1703 – 1791
Priest, Poet, Teacher of the Faith”

 

 

London: In Search of St Paul’s Cathedral

It’s Day One of our 6-day sojourn of London and my itinerary is jammed full of  sights to see and things to do.  So while H attends to his business meetings, I go on an exploratory trip of the city  taking in the most famous sites that London is known for.  And the first destination on my list is St Paul’s cathedral with its iconic Dome.  It is the second largest dome in Europe after St. Peter’s in Rome and, in fact,  the only domed cathedral in the whole of England!  Like I said a few posts ago, I have been to London a few times but I have yet to see this masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren.  And today is my chance.  But first, I have to find out how to get there!

I have a 7-day Oyster card (Zone 1-2 at 29GBP) so I could hop on and off any public transport within the zone limit for as many times as I like!  I took the Tube up to Blackfriars Station and the quest began on foot, of course, with my camera on shoot mode!

 

Just off Queen Victoria Street is the gently-snaky gently-slopy road of  St Andrew’s Hill which, according to my map, will take me towards St Paul’s.

I stumbled upon this Georgian-style building with its classical looking door frame.  This architecture was prevalent between 1700 – 1780 and you still see buildings of this era dotting London’s cityscape.

The name “Shaw Booksellers” might lead you to think that you could buy the latest book of JK Rowling here but read again, it’s a pub!

At the end of St Andrew’s hill off Carter Lane is this pedestrian road which is barriered by bollards.  I see these street posts widely installed all over London with the purpose of blocking the entry of vehicles or directing the flow of traffic.  They are quite photogenic though.

This glorious building with the Latin words “Nostri Jesv” written above would suggest that it is a religious establishment but  the Youth Hostel Association’s logo says otherwise.  From the late 19th century, it was a school for the St Paul’s Cathedral choir boys, until 1967 when it closed down.  It reopened soon afterwards as a backpacker’s hostel.

I finally arrived at St Paul’s churchyard and was greeted by  five large sculpted angels’ heads (one of them on the picture) sitting atop columns set beneath the portico of 100 Juxon House facing the Cathedral.

Angel II (2003), by Emily Young

The sculptures are carved of Purbeck marble.  No, this head is not vandalized.  It’s just  Young’s way of showing how the stone was formed by nature.

The statue of Queen Anne infront of the cathedral.  It has been standing there since 1886,  a replacement of the original one that was erected in 1712 to commemorate the completion of Saint Paul’s Cathedral.  (Francis Bird, sculptor)

 

Next:  St Paul’s Cathedral and its gardens