London Journals

Sweet Thames, Flow Softly

Best of IgoUgo

A June 2004 trip to London by Idler

Father Thames Photo, London, England More Photos
Quote: John Burns, a London politician, once declared, "I have seen the Mississippi. That is muddy water. I have seen the St. Lawrence. That is crystal water. But the Thames is liquid history." After exploring this magnificent river and its surroundings, I couldn’t agree more.

Sweet Thames, Flow Softly

Best Of IgoUgo

Overview

Southwark Bridge Photo, London, England
Quote:
Since returning from London last summer, I’ve been haunted by a lovely ballad from the sixties:    "I met my girl at Woolwich Pier,    Beneath a big crane standing    And oh, the love I felt for her    It passed all understanding."I’ve long loved London, but until recently I never appreciated how central the Thames is to the city. Indeed, without the river, there would be no London."At London Yard I held her handAt Blackwall Point I faced herAt the Isle of Dogs I kissed her mouthAnd tender...Read More

Odessa Wharf

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel

Odessa Wharf Photo, London, England
Quote:
Anyone who’s run the hotel gauntlet in London knows the difficulty of trying to find reasonably priced accommodations for four in late June. Wearily, I researched budget hotels near Paddington, Bloomsbury, and other low-priced areas, knowing full well what I’d end up with: cramped rooms and shared toilets. However, when a condo rental in Rotherhithe turned up for approximately the same price as two budget hotel rooms in central London, I was intrigued. Odessa Wharf features 14 apartments in a converted brick warehouse set on the banks of the Thames. Hmmm... Rotherhithe? I had to search for it on a map of Greater London, but it was...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 31, 2005

Odessa Wharf
7 Odessa Street
London SE16 7LY
0207 237 2277

The Ship and Whale

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant | "The Ship & Whale"

The Ship and Whale Photo, London, England
Quote:
We were delighted to find the Ship & Whale, a lovely historic pub, just next to our rented flat. Few things beat relaxing at a pub, and we made full use of this congenial ‘local.’ Neither of the kids had been to an English pub before, and the Ship & Whale was a fine introduction. It’s a classic pub with a low-beamed ceiling, gleaming bar, and wide assortment of games, both electronic and traditional. Outside, the walled garden was a choice spot to relax on our first sunny afternoon. We commandeered a table and chose lunch from the chalkboard menu. I have to confess a weakness for traditional pub fare. There are all sorts of newfangled dishes on offer at upscale pubs these day...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on February 1, 2005

The Ship and Whale
2, Gulliver Street
London, England SE16 7LT
(020) 7237-7072

Museum of London Docklands

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "The Museum in Docklands"

Museum of London Docklands Photo, London, England
Quote:
When the last of the upriver docks and wharves closed in the late 1970’s, the Museum of London targeted a splendid but run-down Georgian warehouse in the West India Docks to be the site of a museum devoted to the story of London’s river and the people who made their livelihood from it. The result, the largest museum to open in London in twenty years, presents 2,000 years of history in exhibits as thought provoking as they are well presented.If the Museum in Docklands were in Central London, rather than off the tourist radar in Canary Wharf, it would undoubtedly attract throngs of visitors. However, I practically had the place t...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on February 1, 2005

Museum of London Docklands
No. 1 Warehouse, West India Quay Hertsmere Road
London, England E14 4AL
+44 0870 444 3855

A Bend in the River: Rotherhithe

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

The Greenland Docks today Photo, London, England
Quote:
"Near to that part of the Thames on which the church at Rotherhithe abuts, where the buildings on the banks are dirtiest and the vessels on the river blackest with the dust of colliers and the smoke of close-built low-roofed houses, there exists the filthiest, the strangest, the most extraordinary of the many localities that are hidden in London." This was Rotherhithe as described by Charles Dickens, a vile slum set in a wretched landscape. Before coming to Rotherhithe, I confess I expected something vaguely Dickensian. Instead, I found a peaceful, almost suburban, community full of shops and terraced houses, interlaced with lovely landscaped parks and byways. Where had that ...Read More

Thames Crossings

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Music from the Diaspora Photo, London, England
Quote:
The morning we arrived in London was glorious – a cloudless June day that banished all thoughts of taking a nap to recover from our red-eye flight. Instead, after dropping off our luggage, we took the Tube to Westminster, joining our fellow tourists surging in great throngs around the Houses of Parliament. But just across Westminster Bridge, past the curiously sexless stone lion (who was ‘altered’ when he was moved from his former home outside Lion Brewery, which was demolished in 1950 to make way for the Festival of Britain), and then past the gauntlet of ice-cream shops hudd...Read More
Canary Wharf Tower Photo, London, England
Quote:
"The docks are impossible to describe," wrote Paul Verlaine in 1872. "They are unbelievable! Tyre and Carthage all rolled into one!" To the French poet, the bustling docks of London symbolized cosmopolitanism and innovation. The docks were indeed engineering and commercial marvels. Nineteenth century London was the richest city in the world, its wealth chiefly derived from overseas trade. It was an age of seemingly limitless expansion, accompanied by a succession of wet docks moving progressively eastward along the river. It began with the digging of the Great Howland Dock in 1697, but expansion truly picked up pace in the 19th century with the construction of eight major dock areas, con...Read More