Saturday, September 19, 2009

Immortalized on Walls

Most of yesterday's adventures will be shown in photos (now on Flickr). It was a morning of solitary roaming through Southwark to see more Dickens sites, most notably the one remaining wall of the Marshalsea Prison where his own father was imprisoned as a debtor and where much of Little Dorrit is set. I also saw places where gaols had once been, and saw Dickens immortalized as a primary school and Little Dorrit as a street. Near the beginning of the walk, I stopped into Borough Market to get portable food -- a spinach and goat cheese tart and lovely banana cake.

By early afternoon I had reached Waterloo to begin my walk through Lambeth to see the various projects of Southbank Mosaics. I started by circling St John's churchyard, where there are several mosaic benches and some other sculptural works in progress. I cut down Lower Marsh Street and nipped into I Knit and to Crockatt & Powell Booksellers -- didn't buy anything at either, but was tempted at the bookshop (50% off going out of business sale, which is quite sad as this independent bookseller is a much-loved institution in the neighborhood). On my route, I found about half of the mosaics I was looking for. The ones I didn't find included seating and a mural in Archbishop's Park (I think they are in the kiddie play area, and it's uncomfortable being a lone adult with camera in a playground) and a fountain that I thought was at the junction of Lambeth Palace Road and the Albert Embankment, but I sure didn't see it.

What I did find were the mosaics in four street underpasses (going under the railway tracks that lead into Waterloo Station). The first was Salamanca Street underpass, where the mosaics commemorate the Battle of Salamanca, the Spanish city itself, and the Duke of Wellington. Next was Black Prince Road, where the mosaics have to do with the Black Prince himself and with Doulton ceramics (the former Doulton factory is in this road -- the facade is still decorated with impressive tilework). Working my way back towards Waterloo, I next saw the Blake mosaic murals in the Carlisle Lane underpass. Blake, who lived for 10 years in nearby Hercules Road had written that he wanted his works to be enlarged and hung for the public to see. I think he would have approved of the mosaics.

I knew that I'd see the mosaic I worked on (by putting in a half a dozen glass bits) in the Centaur Street underpass, but I got the best surprise -- at the very end of the row (the west end, as I was coming from Hercules Road) is a plaque that names all the people who worked on the mosaics of Project Blake, including my five mates and me. So, my name is now on a wall in London. I'm chuffed.

The day ended with tea near the Coliseum with a Flickr mate, and then back to Belsize Park for drinks on Greg and Esther's roof terrace and a great dinner at a French restaurant.

Our plan for the weekend includes working in a bunch of Open House locations (all north of the Euston Road for Saturday, south of it on Sunday) and theatre tonight.

Distance covered: 32,655 (13.40 miles)
Expenses: 50p to use two loos (one in a church -- they shouldn't be charging)
£2 spinach and goat cheese tart
£2 banana cake
£4 Garden Museum
£10 to top up my Oyster card
£20 drinks and dinner


  1. Looking forward to seeing the mosaics - hope you got a pic of your name!

  2. Banana cake :-)
    Bookseller bites dust :-(
    Pal immortalized :-)
    Fountain unfound :-(
    Dinner :-)
    French ?!?!
    Open House :-)
    Greedy loo-gooders :-(

    But how was the Garden Museum?

  3. Wondering if the 50p is equivalent to the 50 & 60 cent euro we had to pay to use the WCs. Man; what a money maker!

  4. We also paid to use the WC in Mexico. I think the cost was 3 or 5 pesos. Family runs a little snacks shop with WCs and lives right there. Very clean spaces although they hand you the TP, which you're not supposed to flush, but put in the bin. Have to admire the enterprise.

  5. Yours is the only blog I read for which I need to consult a dictionary...for things like "chuffed."