Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Carter's Steam Fair

This photograph was not taken a hundred years ago, but on Saturday at Carters Steam Fair, to quote fromteh website: "Carters is the result of John Carters passion for collecting old and interesting items, discarded by the owners, as being too unfashionable or too derelict to preserve. Over the last thirty years a whole funfair has been collected, complete with historic vehicles to transport it from site to site". If you get the chance, do go and vist, you will enjoy it I promise you. (Unfortunately, it didn't help that it was chucking it down with rain at the time I was there)

Here is the Londonist report of the event.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

London's Elephants - No 6 In the Series

There really was only one way to mark the six month point - the Elephant series! This one is in the Jubilee Line entrance for Waterloo Station. Incongruous though it is, I think it is a hangover from one of the London Transport Art programs.

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.
Click for No 5 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:36 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, May 29, 2006

Trainee Grafitti

Life - and blogs - go on. My thoughts are with all those caught up in the Indonesian disaster.

Underneath the arches of the Southbank complex, you will normally find some kids practising - tricks on skateboards, bikes, and grafitti. Every few weeks, someone comes along from the council and washes the walls clean so it can start all over again.

And thanks to all my visitors over the last six months since I started this blog, I hope you have enjoyed it so far, I know I have.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 12

Sunday, May 28, 2006


Today was to have been the day when I celebrated six months of the London Daily Photo, but with over 3,000 dead, there is no celebration.

No blog, no photo, no links today.

posted by Ham at 00:37 -- Comments here: 0

Saturday, May 27, 2006

A: On Yer Bike!

Q:How can we move around our crowded and polluted cities?

This, is Critical Mass. On the last Friday of each month for the last 12 years, London cyclists mass together for a random ride with a simple message - "We are traffic too". It goes on around the world, there is probably a ride near you. The ride is good natured and the police generally take a very constructive attitude. Last October, they handed out leaflets saying that the ride was illegal, so a Court case has been brought which is in the News at the moment.

This picture is what happens when 300 cyclists ride around Parliament Square - look - no cars!

(Detailed description of ride with more pictures in the OnionBag or here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 11

Friday, May 26, 2006

London's Lolipop Men

Let me introduce you to Fred, the Lollipop Man at work. These men and women turn out in all weathers to look after the safety of kids going to school. Here is another picture of him.

(I'm also convinced that one day the marketing men are going to steal my idea and use the Lollipop "Stop Children" sign for a brand of condom)

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Thursday, May 25, 2006

March of the Penguins

With the March of the Penguins in the news at the moment, I had to post this even though you can tell from the coats that it was taken a few weeks ago. Standing on London Bridge watching the people pile over during the rush hour can be a little intimidating, to say the least.Oh yeah, the penguin stuff is good (enjoy the silly game).

posted by Ham at 00:13 -- Comments here: 4

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Top Marks for St Michael Cornhill

Squeezed hard between two modern buildings is St Michael Cornhill, with history dating back to 1055. Burnt down in the fire of 1666 this building dates from about 1722, although some of its magnificent bells date from 1421. They often have lunchtime concerts, which are a great way to refresh your afternoon - do try one if you get a chance. And putting this post together, I found their rector's independent mindedblog, which makes good reading.

(For the non-British readers, "St Michael" is was - thanks Helen - the trademark of Marks & Spencer)

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 7

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

The Old Dairy

This frieze is one of a series created in the early 19th century for the dairy, here in Crouch End
. What is not immediately obvious is that these are carved, in bas relief, and then the indentations painted. Do take a closer look at the detail in the larger picture, and compare this, if you will, with the Indian tradition. The scenes show the production of milk, from grazing to delivery, and extoll the "modern" methods. A more general view is here. It's a pub, now.

posted by Ham at 00:11 -- Comments here: 7

Monday, May 22, 2006

London Pigeons

Reader Pigeon Blog asked for a pigeon picture, and I'm happy to oblige. This puts me in mind of Extreme Ironing - I had never come across extreme pigeon feeding.

But then, pigeons are part of what makes London what it is. Also, I have the answer to why you NEVER see baby pigeons - its because they are so good at rearing chicks that they don't bother leaving home till they are around 18 in bird years. Sound familiar to anyone?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 9

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Marjorie, a Thames Barge

The story of the Thames Barge is a moral for today. This boat evolved slowly, over a thousand years, as a load carrier but paradoxically it was the coming of the age of steam that led to its greatest success. It could carry huge loads, it could be sailed with only three crew and it needed no fuel! This is a more general view.

The photo was taken as the Marjorie set sail from St Katherine's Dock, by Tower Bridge.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 6

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Tower Bridge

The end of my ride down memory lane is here, London's most recognisable landmark. The view from the east side is worth the detour.

posted by Ham at 00:14 -- Comments here: 3

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Thames Walk

Moving out of the Limehouse Basin you come to the Narrow Street Pub which is here, is a top tip. Particularly good over the weekend (it is quiet) it is in easy walking distance from Tower Bridge.

Which is what this trip is all about: The Thames Path. I used to come down this part of the Thames in my first job almost 30 years ago, before it had been regenerated, and look at the empty warehouses and dream about owning one. I thought that becaue they were so derilict, they would be cheap. They were, then. I thought I would re-trace my steps.

This is the view.

posted by Ham at 00:11 -- Comments here: 3

Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Limehouse Basin

It is only a pebble drop from the Rotherhithe Tunnel to the Limehouse Basin. This used to be one of the busiest docks, where it is said you could walk to one side to the other by hopping from ship to ship. It used to be a showcase for crane and lifting machinery, in the days before containers took over the world. You can just see how the lock was made by building in the sides that were designed to take bi-i-i-i-g ships, here
It closed to shipping in the late 60's and fell into disuse until it became part of the docklands regeneration in hte eighties. Now, chi-chi apartments
are what you find.

There's a lot of history in the area, so I'll probably be back one day, but for now, a picture of the marina as it is today and I'll be on my way.

posted by Ham at 00:08 -- Comments here: 2

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Rotherhite Tunnel

By this stage of the ride, I've got an idea where I am going, but I'm stopping off for the opportunity to show you the Rotherhithe Tunnel, built at the end of the 19th century. I'm standing in the road to take the photo because the tunnel is closed for a few weeks - so they can fix a gas leak that has been going for the last two years! One identifying feature of this tunnel is that there is a very sharp bend close to each end, you can see it if you look carefully at the large picture. That's there so that horses couldn't see the light too early and bolt! History and background is here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 9

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Next stop - Abbey Mills Pumping Station

Today, you can see the victorian answer to how to get the effluent out of London.
This old pump is just outside the old pump house, and next to the new pump house, here and serves as a canvas for the less artistic grafitti merchants. The DG got there first, as ever, and has the background to them. This shot has both buildings in frame.

I suspect that when it was first used, the effluent was dumped untreated into the Thames.

posted by Ham at 08:14 -- Comments here: 2

Monday, May 15, 2006

Greater love hath no man

.. than that a man lay down his life for his friends

On Saturday, I went for a mystery bike ride. Mystery, because I didn't know where I was going before I started. Turned out OK, though, and over the next days you can follow my trip.

First stop is here, a strong contender for a "Now-I've-Seen-The-Picture-No-Need-To-Go-There" award, Three Mills Green is only green if you don't scratch too hard but it hosts this evocative memorial to men who have laid down their lives trying to help others. Beyond telling you that originally there was a cross 150 metres away that was dedicated to four men who died in 1901 in a sewer gas accident, I have been able to find little more. If you know anything, I'd be interested to hear.

This is just by the side of the canal where I took this shot.

Turns out that you can have your own copy of the sculpture, but I want the gargoyle! Link courtesy of DG.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 8

Sunday, May 14, 2006

I'm forever blowing bubbles

Only, they've all burst. The title of this post isn't an obscure reference to Michael Jackson, but the title of the anthem of West Ham United Football Club, my local team. After many recent years in the doldrums, West Ham this year are back in the Premiership and got to the final of the FA Cup against Liverpool, played in Cardiff Millenium Stadium today. We came second. I have to say, though, it was a great game, score was 3-3 through extra time and the match was decided on penalties. Never mind, another time. This is their ground, I'll leave it till later to fill in some trivia bits.

(Follow to the Geezer's post to read some more about the atmosphere)

posted by Ham at 00:00 -- Comments here: 7

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Tobbacco dock - real or fake ships?

Fake, I'm afraid. This photo is of a ship in Tobacco Dock, which is another of London's Elephants - a white elephant this time. The building is Grade I listed, but nobody has found much to do with it, except for the occasional party and TV Show. There has been an effort to put on a pirates theme, thankfully they aren't real either.

posted by Ham at 00:31 -- Comments here: 5

Friday, May 12, 2006

Gaslight in The Mall

I've moved 100 yards from yesterdays photo, but over 100 years, because The Mall is lit by gaslights, still. I don't think many Londoners realise it, but do visit after dark because it gives the area a wonderful old world feel. The phrase "In the limelight" comes from when the brightest light on a stage was a centrally places gas light, with a lime mantle. A couple of days ago, Hong Kong Daily Photo showed us a gas light there, as well.

posted by Ham at 00:28 -- Comments here: 5

Thursday, May 11, 2006

What secret is buried here?

When I was in Waterloo Place for the Sultan's Elephant, I took the opportunity of taking a photo of this odd gravestone, in a glazed cabinet set behind a wall and some railings in Carlton House Terrace. I can assure you you will never see it if you don't go looking for it, but it echoes a key point in London's history.

It is where, in 1934, the then German Ambassadors dog, Giro, was buried: "ein treuer Begleiter: a true companion". In the embers of the Weimar days, when this ambassador died in 1935, he was given a full diplomatic funeral with a 19-gun salute in St James' Park. Picture the scene, with a coffin borne by the Grenadier Guards carring the body past the embassy staff giving the Nazi salute. Some more history is here.

I don't know if it still is, but this obscure piece of London trivia used to be part of the London cabbie's Knowledge. Any cabbie out there care to comment?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Fun with FAT - the Blue House

This is the Blue House in Garner Street was designed by FAT. And yes, it is supposed to look like a dolls house. Enjoy their site - don't miss their Guide to Become A Famous Architect.

posted by Ham at 00:44 -- Comments here: 8

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Menier Chocolate Factory

Over the weekend Mrs Ham & I visited The Menier Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately, we were about 100 years too late for chocolate. Fortunately, we were in time for the excellent play Breakfast with Johnny Wilkinson, in this sympathetically renovated factory. If you want a light hearted evening of food and entertainment, this is excellent value.

Just round the corner from the Tate Modern, it is proper fringe theatre. Expect to sit within feet of the stage and enjoy the evening.

P.S. - The small movie I made of the Sultan's Elephant little girl rising is now available un-squashed (!!) on Google Video here.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, May 08, 2006

Green grows my garden-O

Gardens. I suspect the British afinity for them is because we are so crowded on our little island - especially in the cities - and we value our little space and wish to make the most of it. I like gardens - they are places you can drink Gin & Tonics, amongst other things. We have some fantastic gardens in the UK, grand ones like Sissinghurst, my favorite Furzey and a small ones like in the National Garden Scheme that let you poke your nose into your neighbour's unusual garden (I may well join the scheme soon).

Today I was passing and visited the Royal Horticultural Society garden in Wisley (free to RHS members). It is vast and varied, it has all manner of gardens and plants - each plant clearly labelled, and the whole place felt as if it was on the verge of exploding into life; I knew I had to share it with you. We have excellent places to buy plants around London and those like Cants of Colchester that are to be avoided.

Definition of London? Anything inside the M25, or in stone throwing distance outside. Which is good, because it lets me show and talk about Wisley, which is Here.

(early visitors to this page may have noticed that the picture has changed, because I couldn't make up my mind which to post. If you are interested, here are 1 2 3 4 more.)

posted by Ham at 00:08 -- Comments here: 9

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Oyez Oyez! Spread the word...

.... by mobile phone! Peter Moore, the London Town Crier (make sure your sound is on when you click the link)was at the Elephant's Arrival yesterday, and I couldn't help myself grabbing this shot of a thousand year old tradition, brought bang up to date!

His London's Town Crier website is full of interesting stuff like pictures, history of how town criers were used well into the 19th century to proclaim laws and news - because people couldn't read. Here is a more conventional pose.

posted by Ham at 00:39 -- Comments here: 9

Saturday, May 06, 2006

London's Elephants - No. 5 in the series

Anyone who has been tuned in to London News would have guessed that I would bring you the Sultan's Elephant today.

For those that can't get here. let me briefly sum up the experience. This is street theatre at its best. It involves and touches people in thousands of different ways. The sight of the buckled road where the spacecraft has landed astonishes the viewer and sets the expectation that something great is going to happen. When the alien girl appears, spontaneous applause breaks out, and she is off on her exploration.

Meanwhile, the magnificent elephant, who has been sleeping for some time, is waking and is walking around Horse Guards Parade, looking realistic in every way including the ability to squirt water! The story will unfold over the weekend. I think it is particularly fun that this french troupe started the show - invasion? - in Waterloo Place.

I should mention that the Londonist put me on to this som edays ago, and they have a video of the elephant here. Lots of bloggers love the elephant!

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:52 -- Comments here: 13

Friday, May 05, 2006

A bog standard van

The UK obsession with personalised number plates is strange, but a little endearing. In the States, you can register your own word, in Europe you don't get much choice. Here, people put their names on the plates, why? In case they forget? However I did quite like this plumber's van, though. For the foreigners, "bog" is slang for a toilet. Bog standard, on the other hand, just means basic, with slightly derogatory overtones, and has nothing to do with toilets.

Here's the result of a quick search for Ham, or maybe pork
would be cheaper.

We have had several revisions of the number plate format, each helped put more words on cars. Two of my favorites I've seen - First, years ago, on a beat up BMW, driven by a bro', BOL 1 X (normally swear words don't get issued -they missed this one!) and the second three days ago on a motorbike TU 05 LOW.

posted by Ham at 00:21 -- Comments here: 19

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Unexpected Architecture

Come to the wastelands of Holloway Road, and amongst the anonymous sixties concrete blocks and the hangdog looks of victorian buildings past their prime, you will find the London Metropolitan University Graduate Centre.

This is Orion, designed by Daniel Libeskind, the same person who won the World Trade Centre rebuild, and the Jewish Museum in Berlin. That he accepted this commision is quirky to say the least, that it is here is astonishing. This article is an interesting (if somewhat sycophantic) summary, but it amuses me that they don't seem to understand the connection with Orion, and Libeskind played up to it. It LOOKS like Orion. Simple really.

posted by Ham at 08:42 -- Comments here: 9

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Bricks in Brick Lane

I took this in Brick Lane. For a change, the picture says it all. Oh, except for the fact that I grabbed this at around 09:00, so he was probably going home. Oh yes, and the wall is London Yellow Stock Brick, too. Kind of appropriate for Brick Lane.

posted by Ham at 01:14 -- Comments here: 12

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


It was the first of May on Sunday, and I thought it would be good to talk to you about Mayfair, whose origins are the ancient May Fairs. However, my favorite modernday Samuel Pepys got there before me - as usual. I'll leave you to read his excellent piece if you would like some well researched background.

I will instead take you into Mayfair, into Shepherd Market, into a maze of little streets of what used to be a den of iniquity. If you are in the area, make the effort to come; these streets are hidden from all sides. Its racy past is now long gone, however I still managed to find you a little blonde girl, a nude and a secret society.

posted by Ham at 00:38 -- Comments here: 12

Monday, May 01, 2006

Southwark Cathedral

As you cross over London Bridge you could easily miss Southwark Cathedral, which is a shame. It is in the Pool of London, which is is the first point that the Thames could be crossed in pre-history time. Even now, walking the Thames, you feel how life used to go on in the past, with the church cheek by jowl to the markets, the prostitutes and the prisons.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 8

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile

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