On a rare day off work, I decided to spend time exploring London by foot, starting with the Imperial War Museum. Friends had often recommended the museum as a place worth visiting so I thought it was about time I went to see what all the fuss was about.
The building itself is grand and inspiring. It is noticeably different from the terraced townhouses which surround it, with it’s copper domed roof and the tell-tale cannons grounded by the entrance. The Shard, close to completion, pierces through trees in the distance and glimmers in the sunlight.
Although I wasn’t with any friends, I spent a good hour and a half walking around the museum, taking photos as I went and spending time just observing the incredible machinery on display. I am amazed by the design and engineering behind weapons of war. I have friends who are currently serving in the armed forces and to think of them at the wheel/control panel of one of these vehicles fills me with equal measures of pride and fear.
The museum is a fantastic day out for the whole family; there are lots of hands on exhibitions for everyone to get involved with. While you walk through the exhibitions you cannot help but imagine the fear, the courage, the commradery soldiers throughout the ages have felt whilst at war. It’s a strange feeling, but one I’m glad I have felt.
Walking away from the museum towards Kennington high street, I spotted a townhouse with a blue door and matching blue plaque, which as you can see from the photo below belongs to William Bligh, commander of The Bounty.
My photo-walk continued to Victoria, where I came across some unusual architecture near Channel 4 Headquarters on Horseferry road. Outside the front of the building stands an enormous sculpture, made of different parts of metal, each coming together at a certain angle to form the iconic 4 – just like the infamous idents.
Victoria is a great area to walk around and photograph, with its mix of old townhouses and new office buildings. The Feathers, a pub in the Nicholson chain, is particularly interesting and reminded me of the old brownstone buildings in New York city which are surrounded by modern buildings. I love the mix of old and new with architecture: it gives you a sense of history and I admire both very different styles equally.
On I walked and eventually I arrived at Hyde Park, one of my favourite spots in London. Sometimes I feel as though all my weekends and photo walks revolve around this famous park, but can you blame me?! I took a few gorgeous shots of cherry blossom, people enjoying the sunshine on the boating lake and horse riders parading through the park in unison.
From Hyde Park corner, and now with a very tender shoulder and toned calves from all the walking, I headed up to Picadilly in search of a particular plaque. Not blue in colour this time, but black, and placed in an iconic street just off Regent’s street. The plaque in question comemmorates the legendary glam rock chameleon, Ziggy Stardust and in particular where a photo was taken for the album The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and The Spiders from Mars, taken by Brian Ward in 1972. The album has become one of the most iconic in modern music and the plaque celebrates David Bowie as one of the UK’s most influential artist of recent times.
As I stood in the very spot Ward stood in 40 years ago, I tried to imagine the motivation behind the shoot and the mood ‘on set’. I’m pretty sure Ward and Bowie had no idea at the time how influential the image would be in months, years and decades to come.