Impressive map of all London rail lines – Tube, Overground, DLR and National Rail

Visiting the City Metric website I happened on an article about London’s abandoned tube stations.

Fascinating in itself, though more impressive is a link within the article to a map of showing the entire National Rail, Tube, Underground, Overground, and DLR lines stations, and platforms in and around London. Oh, and it includes past stations and lines too. The nearest stations at the limit of the map to us in Surrey Heath are Virginia Water, Longcross, and West Byfleet, which shows just how extensive is the coverage of Central and Outer London rail lines.

The map is a creation of French designers at Carto.Metro. Below is a screenshot from the map. Being copyright protected it’s not possible to post the complete map here. You can, though, freely download the map and explore its content at your leisure.

It’s not Eros in Piccadilly Circus. Do you know who it depicts?

Everyone knows that the statue in Piccadilly Circus is the statue of Eros – mostly that’s because it’s the name to which it’s commonly referred.

Well, the truth is that it’s not a depiction of Eros, but Anteros, his twin brother. Londonist explains why our confusion over the name,

Gilbert [the sculptor] spent a long time considering how to celebrate the life of Shaftesbury, a philanthropist and social reformer. Lord Shaftesbury campaigned against many injustices, such as child labour conditions, limiting child employment in factories and mines.

For five years Gilbert considered various ideas to celebrate the charitable life of the Earl. He eventually decided on a fountain, topped with the winged figure of Anteros, the ancient Greek symbol of Selfless Love.

Gilbert described Anteros as portraying “reflective and mature love, as opposed to Eros or Cupid, the frivolous tyrant.”

But the English, with our unhelpfully generic singular word for ‘love’, whether its love for your grandma, your hot new boyfriend or your baby niece, struggled with this idea. The boy with the bow and arrow was Eros, and neither explanations nor re-branding exercises were going to change that.

It was the first sculpture in the world to be cast in aluminium and is set on a bronze fountain.

Diego Delso, delso.photo, License CC-BY-SA

Phew, terrorist incident on Westminster Bridge, just where I was with friends yesterday

Terrorist incident on Westminster Bridge this afternoon, just where I was with friends yesterday. The area around the London Eye, Embankment, Westminster Bridge and Parliament Square was immensely busy yesterday, and I imagine the same today. Do hope none to seriously injured – that’s apart from the madmen causing the mayhem. [My photo of the bridge from yesterday]

Explore the London Blitz with Bomb Sight web-mapping

Builders continue to uncover unexploded WW2 bombs in London building sites. The London Evening Standard reported on the finding of a 500lb just last week.

Below is a photo of the bomb, and a screen capture of a website and phone app that shows bomb locations in London. Click on the map screen capture to link to the website. We mostly know that many thousands of bombs were dropped on London, to see this in the Bomb Sight onscreen map is a reminder of those numbers.

Here’s what the authors of the website say about their website,

The Bomb Sight project is mapping the London WW2 bomb census between 7/10/1940 and 06/06/1941. Previously available only by viewing in the Reading Room at The National Archives, Bomb Sight is making the maps available to citizen researchers, academics and students. They will be able to explore where the bombs fell and to discover memories and photographs from the period.

ww2-bomb bomb-sight

Answer to Photo Quiz No.42: Queen Mary’s Steps by Ministry of Defence

Apologies for being a touch late in posting the answer to the latest Photo Quiz. I note that Dr Grumpy and Cllr Adrian Page both knew the answer. Bright sparks, both.

The steps and terrace in the photo are know as Queen Mary’s Steps. They provided access for Queen Mary II and her officials to reach the State Barge on the Thames. They were part of the Palace of Whitehall, the official London home of the royal family from 1538 to 1698. The palace burnt down by fire. British History Online describes the history of the steps.

The steps can be seen on the Thames embankment side of the Ministry of Defence, not far from the Houses of Parliament. The descriptive plaque by the steps says,

In 1691, Sir Christopher Wren designed for Queen Mary II a terrace overlooking the Thames in front of the old river wall of Whitehall Palace built by Henry VIII.  This terrace, projecting about 70 feet into the bed of the river, was about 280 feet long.  As it involved the destruction of an earlier private landing stage a curving flight of steps was made at each end to give access from the Royal Apartments to the State Barge.

In 1939 excavations for the new Government Building revealed the river wall of the Tudor Palace, the later terrace wall and the Northern flight of steps.  The upper portion of the steps has been repaired and can be seen.  A reconstructed length of the terrace can be seen immediately to the left of the steps and a rebuilt section of the river wall behind and above the terrace.

Here’s my photo of the steps, and a photo of the steps being uncovered in 1939, [click on images to expand]

An afternoon of culture-vulturing in London

Tate Britain is currently hosting exhibitions by Paul Nash [1889 -1946], and David Hockney. Being an art lover, I couldn’t resist visiting the opportunity to see both exhibitions. Storm Doris wasn’t going to put me off, I visited yesterday afternoon.

I’ve got enough favourite images from both exhibitions for Painting of the Week blog posts for weeks to come. I ought to say right away that I prefer Paul Nash art to that of David Hockney, and I’ll explain why later.

nash-hockney-exhibitions

Another City skyscraper approved – confidence in London unabated

I don’t quite know why I like skyscrapers, maybe it’s being brought up in the suburbs. Or perhaps how the Skylon at the 1951 Festival of Britain reaching for the sky amazed a young boy, and the liking for tall structures just sort of stuck with me.

No matter, I just do like ’em. So, it’s a pleasure to see that another skyscraper has been approved in the City of London, albeit only 36 storeys. It’s 1 Leadenhall. Here’s an artists impression of the City with this new skyscraper – it’s the one in the middle nearest to the Walkie-Talkie on the right.

1-leadenhall