My Visit with Archie – Page 9
“Rollin’ on the River”
It’s now Day 8. We decided to go to Grenwich to see the Zero Meridian. The best way to do this is by a river boat cruise on the Thames River,
Here’s another panhandler getting a ticket. Everyone was quite civil.
We took the “tube” to Westminster and came out of the station and saw the “Eye”.The London Eye is a giant Ferris wheel on the South Bank of theRiver Thames. The entire structure is 443 ft tall and the wheel has a diameter of 394 ft. It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. When erected in 1999 it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world.
Note the river cruise boat below the Eye. That’s what we cruised on to Grenwich.
The London Eye can carry 800 passengers per revolution – equivalent to 11 London red doubled-decker buses. Each of the 32 capsules weighs 11 tons. Each rotation takes about 30 minutes. Each capsules represents one of the London Boroughs, and holds up to 25 people, who are free to walk around inside the capsule, though seating is provided. It does not usually stop to take on passengers; the rotation rate is slow enough to allow passengers to walk on and off the moving capsules at ground level. Tickets cost about $45.00 each and advanced reservations are required. Archie and I didn’t ride it.
We left on our cruise at Westminster below Big Ben.
We passed “The Shard” (This is a post card view.).The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass is a 72-story skyscraper in London. Its construction began in March 2009; it was topped out on 30 March 2012 and inaugurated on 5 July 2012.
The Shard contains premium office space, a hotel, luxury residences, retail space, restaurants, a five-story public viewing gallery, and a spa. The public viewing gallery is located between the 68th and 72nd floors, with its highest section at a height of 804 ft, and is expected to draw over two million visitors a year. The adult entry fee is about $37.00.
London Millennium Footbridge, is a steel suspension bridge for pedestrians crossing the River Thames.near Saint Paul’s Cathedral. It was opened in 2000. Londoners nicknamed the bridge the “Wobbly Bridge” after participants in a charity walk felt an unexpected and, for some, uncomfortable swaying motion on the first two days after the bridge opened. The bridge was closed for almost two years while modifications were made to eliminate the wobble. It reopened in 2002. We cruised under the bridge, but I thought this picture was interesting because ti showed St Paul’s..
At the near end of the bridge is the Shakespeare’s Globe is a reconstruction of the Globe Theater, an Elizabethan playhouse on the south bank of the Thames that was originally built in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then demolished in 1644. The modern reconstruction is an academic approximation based on available evidence of the 1599 and 1614 buildings. It was founded by the actor and director Sam Wanamaker and built about 750 ft from the site of the original theater and opened to the public in 1997, with a production of Henry V.
We also passed The Golden Hind or Hinde which was an English galleon best known for its circumnavigation of the globe between 1577 and 1580 and captained by Sir Francis Drake. On 1 March 1579, off the coast of Ecuador, the Golden Hind challenged and captured the Spanish galleon Nuestra Señora de la Concepción. This galleon had the largest treasure captured to that date: over 360,000 Pesos ($?).
On 26 September 1580, Francis Drake sailed his ship into Plymouth Harbor with only 56 of the original crew of 80 left aboard. Queen Elizabeth I personally bestowed a knighthood on him. Her share of the treasure came to almost £160,000: Enough to pay off her entire foreign debt and still have £40,000 left over to invest in a new trading company.
We cruised under the Tower Bridge. The bridge (built between 1886 and 1894 )consists of two towers tied together at the upper level by means of two horizontal walkways, designed to withstand the horizontal forces exerted by the suspended sections of the bridge on the landward sides of the towers.
The bridge is 800 feet in length with two towers each 213 feet high, built on piers. The central span of 200 feet between the towers is split into two equal bascules (remember the Pegasus bridge in Normandy? Same type of bridge.) which can be raised to an angle of 86 degrees to allow river traffic to pass. The bascules, weighing over 1,000 tons each, are counterbalanced to minimise the forcerequired and allow raising in five minutes.
The original lifting power was done with steam drive hydralic pistons. Now it’s electricly powered.
Here is some detail of one of the Towers. Note the Gherkin building in the background. More on this later.
This is Her Majesty’s Royal Palace and Fortress, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the river. It was founded towards the end of 1066 as part of the Norman Conquest of England. The White Tower, which gives the entire castle its name, was built by William the Conqueror (remember the Bayeux Tapestry?) in 1078, and was a resented symbol of oppression, inflicted upon London by the new ruling elite.
The Tower has served variously as an armory, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. Despite its enduring reputation as a place of torture and death, popularized by 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century writers, only seven people were executed within the Tower before WWI..
The entrance in the lower right is the “Traitor’s Gate” where prisoners were brought in by boat from the river.
This is the MV Havengore. It is a former hydrographic survey launch re-registered as a passenger vessel for up to 40 passengers. She is best known for her association with Winston Churchill. It carried Sir Winston’s body on his last journey by water along the River Thames from Tower Pier to Festival Pier during his State Funeral. This event was broadcast live to an estimated worldwide audience of 350 million viewers, one in ten of the then world population.
The area, known as the Canary Wharf, contains around 14,000,000 square feet of office and retail space, of which around 7,900,000 square feet is owned by Canary Wharf Group. Around 90,000 people work there and it is home to the world or European headquarters of numerous major banks, professional services firms and media organisations including Barclays, Citigroup,, Credit Suisse, HSBC, J.P. Morgan, KPMG ,MetLife, Morgan Stanley, State Street and Thomson Reuters
This is Great Britian’s Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. It is the counterpart to the US Naval Academy in Baltimore, MD, USA.
I have to add these pictures below because one of my nieces is a Cadet at the US Naval Academy. Yes, Laura, they did have women in the Navy way back then! With snappy uniforms, too.
The Cutty Sark is a British clipper ship. Built in 1869 , she was one of the last tea clippers to be built and one of the fastest, coming at the end of a long period of design development which halted as sailing ships gave way to steam propulsion.
The opening of the Suez Canal (also in 1869) meant that steam ships now had a much shorter route to China, so Cutty Sark spent only a few years on the tea trade before turning to the trade in wool from Australia, where she held the record time to Britain for ten years. Improvements in steam technology meant that gradually steamships also came to dominate the longer sailing route to Australia and the ship was sold to a Portuguese company in 1895 and renamed Ferreira. She continued as a cargo ship until sold again in 1922, and was used as a training ship until 1954 when she was transferred to permanent dry dock at Grenwich.
The blue glass represents the ocean and allows the hull’s bottom to be lighted.
Here are a couple of pictures of tea boxes and wool bales, the Cutty Sark’s cargos.
The ship is actually in a dry dock suspended and supported by huge braces connecting her hull to the dry dock walls. There is a snack bar beneath her. Notice that the hull is sheathed in Muntz metal which is a form of brass with about 60% copper, 40% zinc and a trace of iron. Its original application was as a replacement for copper sheathing on the bottom of ships, as it maintained the anti-fouling abilities of the pure copper at around two thirds of the price.
At the far end of the dry dock there appeared to be a group of peopleclisening to a talk. On closer examination, it was actually a collection of ship’s figureheads.
One figurehead was above all the others. It was the figurehead from he Cutty Sark. It depicted a woman all in white holding a horses tail. What’s the story here?
Here’s the story:. Robert Burns, a Scottish poet wrote the poem “Tam O’Shanter’ in 1790,
First published in 1791, it is one of Burns’s longer poems, and employs a mixture of Scots and English. It tells the story of Tam, a farmer who gets drunk with his friends in apublic house and then rides home on his horse Meg. On the way he sees the local haunted church lit up with witches and warlocks dancing and the devil playing the bagpipes. He creeps into the churchyard to watch and on seeing a pretty witch in a short dress he shouts,`Weel done, cutty-sark!’ (cutty-sark : “short shirt”). Having drawn attention to himself the dancing stops abruptly and the witches chase him and Meg to the River Doon. The witch cannot cross the water but she come so close to catching Tam and Meg that she pull Meg’s tail off just as she reaches the bridge over the Doon. Now you know.
Read the poem. It’s on the internet with a modern translation. It’s really neat!
Page 10 follows our return up the river and back to Archies for my last night.