within plain view
Weekend wanderings with Gaynor Daligan
For me, one of the joys of living in the capital is the endless scope for exploring and finding previously little known places and rarely noticed sights. Starting with the alleyways and courtyards of Marylebone and Covent Garden, my husband, Mike and I have travelled along the Lea valley Trail from Waltham Cross in the north along the river and canal to Limehouse in the east. Then, from Limehouse via Shadwell Basin to the Thames at Tower Bridge. From Hanwell Locks in the west and down to the Thames at Richmond, Kew and Barnes
Along the way, we’ve taken in Eel Pie Island, Johnson’s Island, Deptford Creek and Cody Dock. We’ve also visited such gems as the Art Deco grandeur of Eltham Palace, the underground river in Gray’s Antiques off Bond Street, the site of the first Texan Embassy in a courtyard off Haymarket and the ‘Magnificent Seven’ Victorian Cemeteries of Highgate, Nunhead, Tower Hamlets, Kensal Green, West Norwood, Abney Park and Brompton. From the catacombs of the first two of these to the beautiful Art Nouveau casket, by Edward Byrne-Jones, in the last. We’ve Identified the gravestones of Sylvia Pankhurst, Douglas Adams, Malcolm Maclaren and Alan Sillitoe to name but a few. Although we’ve planned most of these, it has often been those that we’ve come across totally by accident that have been an added joy. These have included Raines Mansions and St Peter London Dock Church in Tower Hamlets and the beautiful Bonnington Square near Vauxhall Station, with its community garden and cafe. Most recently, down Ratcliffe Cross Stairs in Wapping, to the little beach on the Thames within a stone’s throw of Canary Wharf that features above.
Most weekends, driven by our curiosity, we set off on a new adventure, often prompted by something we have read or heard about with the promise of those we have yet to find. This latter, notably, includes the canal boat graveyard in West London. Only three things are certain – one, that we will always find something of interest, two, that there will always be tea or coffee and cake at some point and, lastly, that we will arrive home rather footsore and tired. We will, however, always have a story to tell.
So, I hope you enjoy the posts and comment on them. I also hope that you might add suggestions of your own so that we can broaden our horizons even further. If you like what you see and would like to see more, please look in the Archive.
Yesterday we walked a short section of the New River walk which starts in Hertfordshire and finishes near Sadlers Wells Theatre in central London. You can find the history of this 17th century water supply aquaduct (not a river) and maps and a description of each...