Friday, January 18, 2013

Towers in the snow

I ended up leaving work at 2pm this afternoon - the trains were slowly starting to get a little more dodgy-sounding, the snow had been coming down for 5 hours, and people living near home and halfway up the line were saying they had reasonable quantities of the stuff... and I was completely unable to concentrate on what I was meant to be doing...

It's been so long since I left for the day in the light!  And apart from that, I thought I'd take a couple of pictures of work in the snow... this is the little camera, but probably just as well - it was so slippery underfoot I'd have been worried about getting the big camera out.

First, here's the classic: the Elizabeth Tower, formerly the Clock Tower (as we're instructed to say at every turn, Big Ben is the name of the bell which tolls the hours); the tower was designed by Charles Barry and opened in 1858, and the bell was completed in 1859.


At the other end of the Palace, a marginally younger and somewhat larger structure - the Victoria Tower, also by Barry, opened in 1860 and housing the Parliamentary Archive.


The buildings at the other end of the London part of my journey home are also Victorian with clocks; first of all St Pancras (or, more properly, the Grand Midland Hotel which was added to the engine shed later), opened in 1873 and designed by George Gilbert Scott; more Gothic, this time in brick.  Gorgeous structure, and one narrowly saved by campaigners including Sir John Betjeman;  the station pub is named in his honour.


And one which is about to cast off its horrible 1972 concourse and show itself in its rather stark beauty; King's Cross station.  Surprisingly to me, this is the oldest of the four; designed by Lewis Cubitt and opened in 1852.  Network Rail's grand plans for this one should be complete at the end of this year; I think it's going to look splendid.


Looking at all these structures brings home to me how recent the current London landscape really is in comparison to, say, Cambridge's, and quite how much building work was being done in the 1850s and 1860s...  It's not surprising London is a real and vibrant character in Dickens's novels...

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