Richmond 7

World Rivers Day 28 September

I discovered yesterday via twitter that today is World Rivers Day.  London (England), to my mind, boasts one of the loveliest rivers in the world: the River Thames.

world rivers day - river thames london
The Thames is liquid history – John Burns

The River Thames;  centuries old and first identified as a discrete drainage line as early as 58 million years ago, has seen invaders, pirates, wars and plague, the Great Fire of 1666 and many others besides, been part of Naval celebrations and seen both military and pleasure craft sail into the Pool of London and moor alongside her banks from source to sea.

world rivers day - river thames london
HMS Enterprise

The longest river entirely in England, from a tiny stream in the Cotswolds to the vast stretches of the Thames Estuary between Essex and Kent, the River Thames, at approximately 215 miles, flows through many famous villages, towns and cities; Oxford, Henley-on-Thames, Reading, Windsor and of course lovely London.

world rivers day - river thames london
QRB – Gloriana

She has carried Saxons, Romans, Kings and Queens, statesmen, architects, poets both up and downstream, as well as the Queen’s 2012 Diamond Jubilee Flotilla and the 2012 Olympic torch along her reaches.

world rivers day - river thames london
The Olympic Rings on Tower Bridge; London 2012

The River Thames contains over 80 islands ranging from large esturial marshlands; Isle of Sheppey and Canvey Island to small tree-covered islets like Rose Isle in Oxfordshire and Headpile Eyot in Berkshire.
Islands are found all the way from the Isle of Sheppey in Kent to Fiddler’s Island in Oxfordshire.
Some of the largest inland islands, for example Formosa Island near Cookham and Andersey Island at Abingdon, were created naturally when the course of the river divided into separate streams, while Desborough Island, Ham Island at Old Windsor, and Penton Hook Island were artificially created by lock cuts and navigation channels.   In the Oxford area the river splits into several streams across the floodplain; Seacourt Stream, Castle Mill Stream, Bulstake Stream and others, creating several islands like Fiddler’s Island and Osney.

world rivers day - river thames london
one of the many islands in the Thames, scene in Richmond

Historically interesting islands include Magna Carta Island at Runnymede, Fry’s Island at Reading, Pharaoh’s Island near Shepperton while Chiswick Eyot is a familiar landmark on the Boat Race course, and Glover’s Island forms the centrepiece of the spectacular view from Richmond Hill….a protected view. More recently Platts Eyot at Hampton was the place where MTBs were built, Tagg’s Island near Molesey was associated with the impresario Fred Karno, and Eel Pie Island at Twickenham was the birthplace of the South East’s R&B music scene.

world rivers day - river thames london
a foggy day on the river; mid-stream is Eel Pie Island

Historically famous Westminster Abbey, the Royal Church and the Palace of Westminster (commonly known today as the Houses of Parliament) were all built on what was known as Thorney Island, which used to be an eyot, and the London Stone at Staines, built in 1285 marked the customs limit of the Thames and the City of London’s jurisdiction.

world rivers day - river thames london
Palace of Wsstminster & Big Ben built on an area once known as Thorney Island

The River Thames has historically frozen over on many occasions ( link to a website with dates).  Frost fairs were held at London on the tideway of the River Thames when the river froze over during some winters between the 17th and early 19th century; a period known as the Little Ice Age. During that time the river was wider and slower, impeded by Old London Bridge and British winters more severe than now, one of the earliest accounts of the Thames freezing comes from AD 250, when it was frozen solid for nine weeks.

world rivers day - river thames london
Behold the liquid Thames now frozen ore…

The River Thames is managed by the Port of London Authority, covering 95 miles of the River Thames between Teddington Lock and the Estuary.

I first set eyes on this fabulous old lady in 2012 from the back of a taxi cab as we drove across Lambeth Bridge from Victoria to New Cross Gate on my very first day in London!  The second time I saw this wonderful river was from the ramparts of London Bridge when I ventured into the city on my own for the very first time.  I was immediately entranced.

world rivers day - river thames london
the River Thames as seen from London Bridge looking downstream

EARTH has not anything to show more fair:
Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth like a garment wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
Never did sun more beautifully steep
In his first splendour valley, rock, or hill;
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!
The river glideth at his own sweet will:
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;
And all that mighty heart is lying still!

William Wordsworth

I have since enjoyed many a happy hour either walking, strolling or meandering along her banks, sailing up and downstream on a tall ship,

world rivers day - river thames london
Tall Ships 2014

kayaked from Chelsea Harbour to Westminster Bridge and back again, taken a lunch cruise with City Cruises, sailed across the river via the Hammerton’s Ferry, the Emirates Cable car and walked beneath the river via the Greenwich Tunnel, seen in a New Year from the decks of a boat in 2011, followed the QRB Gloriana during the Tudor Pull in 2013 and 2014, watched the Great River Race, Admiral of the Port’s Challenge, Thames Barge Driving Challenge, The Doggetts’s Coat & Badge Race and the X-Changing Boat Race, seen the Gloriana sail majestically beneath Tower Bridge during the Lord Mayor’s Show in 2012 & 2013, and the cherry on top; I have travelled from St Katherine Docks to Bankside in the ever so delightful Trinity Tide (ever grateful thanks to @rowjoelane ).

I have visited a number of towns and locks along the Thames, Moseley Lock, Teddington Lock and Richmond Lock

watched the tide come in and go out from numerous points, watched high tide swamp the banks at Greenwich, Richmond, Twickenham and Hampton Court filling the moat of Hampton Court Palace in early 2014,

walked along the beaches at Gabriel’s Wharf, Tower of London, beneath Cannon Street Bridge and viewed the river from all the bridges from Hampton Court Palace to Tower Bridge, chased the sunset across each bridge from Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge and saw in the first day of the New Year’s 2014 by walking across each bridge from Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge between 7am and 11am.

I have viewed the river from the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, The Monument, Tower Bridge walkways, Tate Modern, the O2, the London Eye, and The Shard and watched ships sail through the Thames Barrier.

Wherever you go in London you are in one way or the other in contact with the river and the lifeblood of the City depends on this river and has done since Roman times and before.  London Bridge, although not the oldest bridge across the Thames is located in most certainly the oldest river crossing and the subject of an age old nursery rhyme: London Bridge is falling down.

world rivers day - river thames london
London Bridge

London Bridge is falling down,
Falling down, falling down,
London Bridge is falling down,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with wood and clay,
Wood and clay, wood and clay,
Build it up with wood and clay,
My fair Lady.

Wood and clay will wash away,
Wash away, wash away,
Wood and clay will wash away,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with bricks and mortar,
Bricks and mortar, bricks and mortar,
Build it up with bricks and mortar,
My fair Lady.

Bricks and mortar will not stay,
Will not stay, will not stay,
Bricks and mortar will not stay,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with iron and steel,
Iron and steel, iron and steel,
Build it up with iron and steel,
My fair Lady.

Iron and steel will bend and bow,
Bend and bow, bend and bow,
Iron and steel will bend and bow,
My fair Lady.

Build it up with silver and gold,
Silver and gold, silver and gold,
Build it up with silver and gold,
My fair Lady.

Silver and gold will be stolen away,
Stolen away, stolen away,
Silver and gold will be stolen away,
My fair Lady.

Set a man to watch all nigh,
Watch all night, watch all night,
Set a man to watch all night,
My fair Lady.

Suppose the man should fall asleep,
Fall asleep, fall asleep,
Suppose the man should fall asleep?
My fair Lady.

Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
Smoke all night, smoke all night,
Give him a pipe to smoke all night,
My fair Lady.

A great number of organisations are connected to and linked to the River Thames; The Worshipful Company of Watermen, Thames Alive, Port of London Authority, RNLI (who rescued 372 people in 2013 – enough to fill four of London’s double decker buses), Totally Thames (an annual series of events in September), Thames21, Thames Traditional Rowing Ass, Trinity House (located on Tower Hill) and many more.

For more information about World Rivers Day.

world rivers day - river thames london
The River Thames London

 

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more london riverside

Free Theatre – The Ring Cycles Plays – A Tale of Gods and Monsters!

Free Theatre – London’s Free Open Air Theatre
Date: 6 – 31 August 2014   –  Time: 18:00 – 22:15
Location: The Scoop at More London   –  Admission: Free
The Ring Cycles Plays – A Tale of Gods and Monsters!

the scoop The Ring Cycles Plays - A Tale of Gods and Monsters!
The Ring Cycles Plays – A Tale of Gods and Monsters! coming soon to The Scoop, More London Riverside

Every Wednesday – Sunday
18:00 – 18:45 – The Rhine Gold
19:00 – 19:45 – The Valkyrie
19:45 – 20:30 – Break
20:30 – 21:15 – Siegfried
21:30 – 22:15 – Twilight of the Gods
Richard Wagner’s celebrated adaptation of Viking myths, presented on this occasion without the operatic scores, remains one of the most powerful and influential tales of sword and sorcery ever written, directly inspiring The Lord of the Rings and many other fantasy and sci-fi classics.
Join us as we bring an extraordinary cast of gods, giants, nymphs, dwarfs and humans to life, revealing how mortals and immortals fall under the spell of a powerful ring, possession of which brings the chaos and glory of absolute power! The story unfolds over four hours interspersed with generous intervals and builds into an unforgettable, family friendly evening of mythical romance, comedy and drama. Catch them on different nights or see them all in one epic visit.
A unique opportunity for opera buffs and fantasy fans alike to gain fresh insight into Wagner’s extraordinary chronicle by encountering The Ring Cycle operas performed as plays.
A new theatrical adventure from The Scoop’s award-winning, resident company Gods and Monsters Theatre. Devised by Phil Willmott and Mervyn Millar; Produced by Suzanna Rosenthal
Adapted from Richard Wagner’s librettos by Lisa Kuma.
Post show chats with the Company: 14, 21 & 28 August
STAGETEXT captioned performance of all four plays 21 August.
Audiences of any age are welcome, however as this is a magical tale of sword and sorcery parents are advised that the first play is best suited to those aged 9+ and the last three plays contain some darker themes.
Boring But Important Stuff
In the event of rain the show may have to be cancelled. A cancellation decision will be made 30 minutes before the performance is due to start. Seats are on a first come, first served basis and cannot be reserved. The Scoop at More London reserves the right to refuse entry and to make last minute changes to the programme for reasons beyond our control. No glass is allowed in The Scoop and for the comfort of everyone we ask that you do not smoke in the amphitheatre.
Cushions are available for hire a £1 donation
Purchase hot or cold food and beverages at More London outlets or bring your own picnic
No glass allowed
Pushchair and wheelchair accessible
Free disabled accessible toilets 75 metres from The Scoop at More London
For further information on this venue and other events http://www.morelondon.com/events/calendar/free-theatre/?eID=1996

more london riverside
a play at The Scoop, More London Riverside

Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk – nearest station: London Bridge on tube and national rail

more london riverside
More London Riverside

What to see in the area:

Books About Town – till end August 2014
HMS Belfast – Museum
Hays Galleria
Tower Bridge
Tower of London
Tower Poppies from 5th August 2014 – 11 November 2014

 

 

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poppies in the moat at tower of london

888,246 Poppies in the Moat at Tower of London

‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’  Poppies in the Moat – Historic Royal Palaces – Tower London

poppies in the moat at tower of london
Tower of London – the moat

From 5 August 2014 to 11 November 2014, a major artistic installation entitled ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ will see the Tower of London’s famous dry moat filled with 888,246 ceramic poppies to create a powerful visual commemoration for the First World War Centenary.

The ceramic poppies will be available to buy for £25 each from 5 August 2014 and the net proceeds, hoped to be in excess of £15 million if all poppies are sold, will be shared equally amongst a group of carefully selected Service charities.

The Legion is been one of the selected charities along with the Confederation of Service Charities (COBSEO), Combat Stress, Coming Home, Help for Heroes and SSAFA (formerly the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association).

“The significance of the vital work that these charities provide is one we must not forget and is especially poignant as we mark the anniversary of the First World War and remember all those who lived and fought during this time”. General the Lord Dannatt, Constable of the Tower.

The installation, in collaboration with ceramic artist Paul Cummins and theatre stage designer Tom Piper, will be unveiled on 5 August 2014, one hundred years since the first full day of Britain’s involvement in the First World War.

The poppies, a symbol of Remembrance in the UK, will encircle the iconic landmark, creating not only a spectacular display visible from all around the Tower, but also an inspiring setting for performance and learning activities, as well as providing a location for personal reflection. The scale of the installation intends to reflect the magnitude of such an important centenary.

poppies in the moat at tower of london
poppies – www.worcswildlifetrust.co.uk

There will be 888,246 poppies installed, one for each British and Colonial fatality during the war.

Visit the Historic Royal Palaces website for more information. http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/stories/firstworldwar/TheTowerofLondonRemembers

The poppies will be free to view from the outer perimeter of the Tower of London, however there is an entrance fee for visiting.

Tower of London, Tower Hamlets, London, EC3N 4AB
Nearest tube station: Tower Hill – Circle and District lines
Bus routes: 15, 42, 78, 100, RV1
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

Nearest rail stations: Fenchurch Street or London Bridge
Follow directional signage from either station. Fenchurch Street is approx a 5 minute walk to the Tower, London Bridge 15 minutes.
Plan your journey: http://nationalrail.co.uk
– See more at: http://www.hrp.org.uk/TowerOfLondon/planyourvisit/gettinghere/

The Tower is also served by all major sightseeing bus tours.

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Information on London Events, Exhibitions, Embassies, Places of Interest & much more

 

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes no longer accept cash.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/cash-free-buses?intcmp=17374

oyster card travel in london
Oyster Card

 

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.
http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/oystercard/product/oyster-card.html
Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travel card or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.

 

To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post your Oyster card to them
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays

 

the royal british legion lights out

Lights Out Britain – August 4th 2014

LIGHTS OUT – The Royal British Legion are encouraging everyone in the UK to turn off their lights between 10pm and 11pm on 4 August 2014 – leaving only a single light or candle for this symbolic act of reflection and hope.

“The lamps are going out all over Europe, we shall not see them lit again in our lifetime”. – Sir Edward Grey, Foreign Secretary, uttered these words on the eve of  Britain officially entered the First World War.

Exactly 100 years later The Royal British Legion are inviting millions of individuals, households and companies to join together in a national moment of reflection.

Limited edition Centenary candle – A limited edition Centenary candle is available from M&S stores or online for £4, with all profit going to The Royal British Legion.

the royal british legion lights out
Lights Out candles

They hope to light one million candles across the UK to remember each and every one of those Service men and women who gave their lives in the war to end all wars. Please join together with them to create a unique national moment for the United Kingdom and The Royal British Legion. Find out how you can get involved here.

At 10pm on August 4th, Westminster Abbey will be leading the nation with a First World War vigil liturgy which will be broadcast live on the BBC.

lights out britain westminster abbey
Westminster Abbey, North Apse

They’ve put together some resources to help you organise a commemorative event in your local area. Find out more about how to organise a LIGHTS OUT event here.

LIGHTS OUT is a headline project of the cultural programme 14-18 NOW and was initiated by the Department for Culture, Media & Sport; 14-18 NOW is a curated programme of new art works across the UK that forms part of the official commemorations of the Centenary of the First World War. Visit www.1418now.org.uk/whats-on/lights-out/ for more information

free 3 days in london app
3 Days in London
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A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes no longer accept cash.

http://www.tfl.gov.uk/modes/buses/cash-free-buses?intcmp=17374

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.
http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/oystercard/product/oyster-card.html

oyster card travel in london
Oyster Card

Oyster cards no longer needed

If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post us your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays

 

The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80

The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80 Opens 7 August Queen’s House, Greenwich

The Art and Science of Exploration, Queens House, Greenwich
The Queen’s House, Greenwich

From their website: “This August, The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80 opens in the newly refurbished rooms at the centre of the Queen’s House. Exploring the crucial role of artists on Captain Cook’s three voyages of discovery, the exhibition will be the first time that Stubbs’s Portrait of a Large Dog (Dingo) and The Kongouro from New Holland (Kangaroo) will be on display since they were acquired by the National Maritime Museum in November 2013.

When Cook’s first expedition to the South Pacific returned to Britain in 1771 he brought back accounts and images of extraordinary lands, people, flora and fauna. Returning twice more over the following decade, Cook established a pattern for voyages of discovery that combined scientific investigation with artistic response. The newly-acquired Stubbs paintings will be joined by portraits, landscapes and scenes of encounters with Pacific islanders by William Hodges and John Webber as well as botanical prints and original drawings by Sydney Parkinson.

Artists played an essential role on Captain Cook’s three voyages, producing both scientific records and imaginative responses to the unfamiliar lands that they encountered, forever influencing how the British public saw the Pacific. William Hodges was to become the first professional English painter to meet people previously unaffected by European contact whilst John Webber’s painting of Poedua, the Daughter of Orio is one of the earliest portraits of a Polynesian woman by a European painter. The artists’ works were crucial to how places and discoveries were brought back and interpreted by those in Britain. Hodges paintings, particularly Tahiti Revisited, show how artists adapted the techniques and styles learnt in Europe to depict these exotic scenes for a British audience.

The middle section of The Art and Science of Exploration, 1768-80 looks at the work of Hodges, the artist who experimented and developed the most during his explorations with Cook and shared an interest in climate with the scientific men on board. He produced bright, vibrant studies that were on-the-spot responses to his environment with none of the classical allusion added to his later finished paintings. On display is Hodges’ A View of the Cape of Good Hope, Taken on the Spot, From On Board the Resolution, exhibited at the Free Society of Artists before he returned, along with eight of his small sketches, including the last oil study made on the second voyage, View of Resolution Bay in the Marquesas.

The third aspect of the exhibition focuses on the 30,000 dried plants and 955 botanical drawings by Sydney Parkinson that were brought back from Cook’s first voyage. The sheer quantity of new plants recorded was a defining feature of this expedition. Parkinson died during the return journey but his patron, the naturalist Joseph Banks planned to produce a book, employing a large group of artists to complete watercolours and engravings based on Parkinson’s sketches. However, it was not until the 1980s that all 743 prints were made. On display will be Parkinson’s original drawing, the watercolour, copper plate, engraving proof (all on loan from the Natural History Museum), and final print of two specimens collected at Endeavour River, Northern Queensland in 1770.

This exhibition shows the important role that artists had on the Cook voyages and on the European understanding of these faraway lands. They produced extraordinary images which worked both as scientific records of carefully planned exploration as well as sensitive representations of an unfolding new world”.

Exhibition information for visitors:
Venue: Queen’s House, Romney Road, Greenwich London SE10 9NF http://www.rmg.co.uk/
Dates: Opens 7 August Admission: Free
Opening times:Every day, 10.00 – 17.00. The Queen’s House occasionally closes for private events, please call or check online before making your journey
Visitor enquiries: +44  (0) 208 312 6565

Nearest tube station: DLR for Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich
Buses: a number of buses service the area.  Plan your journey: http://tfl.gov.uk

What you can see in the area:
Cutty Sark – £’s
The Royal Observatory – free
National Maritime Museum – free
Old Royal Navy College – the Painted Hall & the Chapel in particular – free
£’s for some exhibitions
The Fan Museum (highly recommended) £’s
http://www.thefanmuseum.org.uk

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Information on London Events, Exhibitions, Embassies, Places of Interest & much more

A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes no longer accept cash.

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.

Types of refund
Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post us your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays
Please note this does not apply to Travel Cards, one day or otherwise. It is only for Pay as you go Oyster Cards.

 

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