Wednesday, 30 November 2011

A Wander round The Tower

A few weeks ago I went for a wander through Central London and on my journeys I went via the Tower of London. One of London's most visited sights, I just took a few photos before heading off on my merry way. The Tower was not my destination, merely a place I was passing through, but it is still and impressive sight!

At the moment The Tower is under scaffolding. It is an old building, so repairs are always necessary. It is one of London's oldest buildings, and for those in the know, work began on the White Tower in 1080. So at over 900 years old, it does need a bit of TLC. However, it is not the oldest structure in the area. Very close by is a piece of the old London Wall.

London began life as Londinium. The Old London wall was built originally by the Romans and so today it is probably the oldest fragment of London's past. The wall has been rebuilt several times since those periods and has shaped the early days of the city.

This fragment of London's defensive ring is probably the most visible Roman Era remnant that lies within London There are a lot of Roman treasures that are in The City. Recently the old Amphitheater was uncovered beneath the Guildhall. Tantalisingly, there are signs of Roman London to the east of the City with remnants of the old quayside being uncovered in recent years. Fascinating.

But back the the Wall. There are bits of the Old London Wall dotted around the City of London, and one day (one day, not today) it would be fun to follow the course of the old Roman Boundary and to see the bits of the wall that still remain. At nearly 2000 years old, it is impressive that in a city the size of London that bits of thi relatively Ancient past still exist.

Along with the old comes the new. At a shade under twenty five years old, the Docklands Light Railway is one of London's newest additions to its massive railway system. Continually being expanded, it ow has gone far beyond the old London Docks and has gone south of the river becoming a far more useful part of the public transport network. But an interesting point to note is that Tower Gateway was the original terminus of the system in 1987. Although the station has been rebuilt, the exterior is still the same kind of funky blue that has been around for the past 24 years.

At the time the DLR was designed as a compromise to squeeze in between buildings, but to also harken to the future. Driverless trains, a new London Docklands. I suppose today, most users of the station barely notice it, but rememeber in the 1980's this was cutting edge technology. An automatic train taking you to some of London's most derelict areas. How life has changed in the intervening years...

So there you go, a little wander round the Tower of London, and I suppose it nicely ties in with my visit to Tower Bridge. If you got the free time, take some time out to read that one in my list of River Crossings of the Thames...

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