The Art of Buildings: London's Riverscape

Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, Tower Bridge (Photos: Anne Newman)

But hop aboard with me and we will go for a little cruise along the Thames. Sit back and appreciate what London has done to bring architectural beauty to the River Thames. In fact, why don't you click on the link below and learn a little about this mighty river before we set off.

River Thames - Wikipedia

What immediately struck me on my little trip down the Thames was the successful marriage of the very new with the very old. Below you can see the top of the walls of the Tower of London with the modern skycrapers behind - the Gerkin being just visible peeping around the corner on the right side! The Gerkin is famous of course for its innovative design.

London Skyline with the Tower of London wall in foreground (Photo: Anne Newman)

And what is impressive is how restoration and the building of the new appartment blocks are created to blend in with the much older buildings which lined the Thames - most of these old buildings serving in support of the shipping trade England has been so famous for.

Restoration and recreation in the style of the past (Photo: Anne Newman)

Alongside the buildings you see below is the C16th pub The Prospect of Whitby which stands proudly as London’s oldest riverside pub. It still has its original flagstone floor, which is the oldest part of the pub.1

In the 16th and 17th centuries the pub was a notorious haunt for pirates, thieves and smugglers, and became known as The Devil’s Tavern, due to its association with criminals. In the 18th century the pub was rebuilt, in the hope that it would improve its image, but activities like bare-knuckle fights continued well into the 19th century.1

The Prospect of Whitby, London on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

And a little further along on the Thames is the Captain Kidd pub (below) named after the seventeenth century pirate William Kidd, who was executed at the nearby Execution Dock. The pub is a Grade II listed building, and was historically used as a coffee warehouse.2

The building looks a lot older than it actually is as it originates in the 19th century as a three-storey brick house, and was remodelled in the Edwardian era and didn't actually become a pub until the 1980s, having previously been a coffee warehouse.2

But it all adds to the wonderful array of buildings along the river which as you can see below adds its own touches of green algae!

The Captain Kidd Pub looking much older than it actually is (Photo: Anne Newman)

We know that architects have imagination and in my opinion they are getting better and better at this part of their trade. I love these three buildings (below) which I was told by the Captain of the boat we were on that they were designed to represent French Sailors! I'm not sure this is true but very interesting buildings nevertheless. And I am sure plenty of French sailors were part of the brawling which went on in The Prospet of Whitby!

"French Sailor Buildings" on the Thames, London (Photo: Anne Newman

Whatever you renovate or built with an eye on the future should blend in harmously with the environment and in this case the thoroughfare life of the Thames which is like a motor freeway with the huge amount of water traffic. Note the sail like configuration of the building behind the yatch.

A "Sail-Like" building adds to the scenery on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

There are nautical influences in the architecture which ever way you look. Again - a shiplike configuration makes for a very sympathetic building along this nautical highway.

Nautical influences in the architecture on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

And here I can see the configuration of an ocean liner!

An "Ocean Liner" building on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

I even saw what to me could be a lovely painting with a little Van Gogh touch about it. Vincent did visit London in 1873 but I don't remember seeing any of his works which were painted along the Thames. Perhaps one of us should give this a try?

A Van Gogh like scene on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

Of course there are some who just love to add art to their environment which certainly makes for a great deal of enjoyment for the travellers on the Thames.

Art works on the Thames (Photo: Anne Newman)

If you are lucky enough to either live in London, or to be able to visit like me, do put a trip on the Thames on your list - you won't be disappointed. You might even like to go as far as Greenwich to visit the Cutty Sark, National Maritime Museum, the Royal Observatory, the Old Royal Naval Collage, and art works in the Queens House where I saw a wonderful nautical exhibition which I will be bringing to you soon.