To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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South Bank

I have made 2 trips to Europe in last 4 years and accommodation was booked over the internet: This time I exercised a veto based on location excluding those in the twilight zone north and west of Hyde Park (I pity tourists who don’t know London who disappear into this never never land ) I choose a Premium Inn which I discovered to be an extension to the historic Anchor Inn by the Thames. I remember going there in my late teens (before the internet !!). Journalists used to come over the river from Fleet Street for a pint and there was a telex machine in the bar belting out the Reuters feed. In the past the Anchor has been used as a tavern, a brothel, a chapel, a brewery, and a ship’s chandlers.

Going West

If you walk upriver from the Anchor you pass the New Globe Theatre. This recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe is a few hundred yards from its original position. Nearby is another older theatre “The Rose” associated with the bard. Further up is Blackfriars Bridge under which the Calvi, the Popes Banker was found hanging . Blackfriars on the north side owes its name to a Dominican friary now replaced by a pub with a statue of a black friar above door: Due to illiteracy many districts in London got their name from pub signs (and vice versa) eg Elephant and Castle. Just past Blackfriars Bridge on north side is a refuse facility which loads London’s trash onto barges to be taken down river for processing (well I found it interesting !!)

Further up river between St Paul’s and Tate Modern is the Millenium bridge; If you keep walking past the OXO building, you reach Queens walk and then South Bank. Across the river you can see the Shell Mex Clock. I read somewhere that this has a diameter 1.5 " bigger than Big Ben and I believe it used to be (and may still be) the largest clock in London.

Next to the South Bank arts complex is the IBM Building and virtually under Waterloo Bridge is the National Film Theatre of which I used to be a member. I used to catch a snack and film on way home from Kings. One morning walking into college over Waterloo Bridge I saw a woman jump out of her car ;ran to parapet and jump.. I don't know if she knew that there was a floating police station just by the Bridge but she was fished out in short order by the launch.

On Sundays there used to be a second hand book market outside the concert halls. I once bought a Pelican/Penguin(?) copy of Che Guevara's Manual of Guerilla Warfare - wouldn't be able to do that now.

Mum once took Eddie and I to see a performance of Tchaikovsky. Eddie used to have a fine collection of old classical records which he picked up at junk shops; I wonder what happened to them ??

Behind the concert halls there is the Courtauld Institute of Art which must be seen after the Tate’s and National and certainly before the Hayward !!.

Just past the South bank you get to the Charing Cross railway bridge and the bicycle wheel aka the eye. I remember when there was a pedestrian foot path running alongside the railway line. Granted it was narrow and would not have been able to support the volume of people going to the “eye". Unfortunately was ripped out and replaced with two monstrously ugly suspension bridges on either side of the railway. Hopefully they will fall down one night and get replaced with something a tad more classy.

Going East

If you turn the other way from the Anchor you step into "Clink" street. This is the site of a famous debtors prison which gave rise to the term “being thrown in the clink” and variations thereof. . Further up is the remains of Winchester Palace; (part of one wall) which is famous but I am not sure what for?, (see here)and a public dock in which is moored a replica of “The Golden Hinde" This was Sir Francis Drake’s boat which preyed on Spanish shipping. He was instrumental in sinking the Amada - whopped the Spanish !!); Further up past Southwark cathedral is London Bridge which if you step across leads to the Monument near Pudding Street where the fire of London started.

All in all the Anchor is a good call as a base to see London !!

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