Tuesday, 2 November 2010

The East Anglia of London

Wandered to Bermondsey to go on a guided London Walk through Rotherhithe, by the river and to the newly reopened tunnel build by Brunel and his father in the 19th Century, the first tunnel under a river.

Rotherhithe seems very much like East Anglia ... as it is a peninsula, unless it is your destination, there are never reasons for nearby folk to go through it. So we, as adopted Londoners, had never really explored the area. And it is quite beautiful, with old warm pubs and endless wharf buildings (Ware House And River Frontage ... who knew that 'wharf' was an acronym?!).

It was a chilly evening, and as we wandered round it was exciting when we reached the culmination of the walk ... the tunnel entrance itself.

The above picture depicts one of the banquets held in the tunnel for stakeholders, in an attempt to raise more money to finish the job. It is a remarkable story, but mostly without visuals ... as the tunnel these days is used by the London Overground line.

So how, you may well ask, could we go in the tunnel to look at it? Well, we did not see any of the horizontal tunnel, but as the Brunel Museum had managed to make a deal with the engineering contractors, a new concrete floor had been put in place so people could see the vertically cylindrical entrance hall, where people used to descend to see the tunnel, and walk through it if they were brave enough, in Victorian times. So, it was more old and musty than spectacular ... but it was more about what it meant and represented, than how it looked.

And the welcoming central heating of the old Mayflower pub was very well received by us, and we tucked into some fabulous winter fare before pootling home.

Not too inconvenienced by the Tube strike in getting home, the buses were kind to us.

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