The Hardy Tree
It was a cold, foggy London morning on the journey into work. Perfect for atmospheric shots at this week's destination. Except, it brightened up into a gloriously sunny day by lunchtime. No matter.
Intrepid lunchtime explorers that we are, we were venturing further afield today, so decided to treat ourselves to a black cab. We instructed our driver to take us to St Pancras Old Church. "Is that where the morgue is?" he double-checked. Morgue?! "Yes, that's the one!" we told him chirpily and hopped in the back questioning where we may end up but thrilled to be on another lunchtime adventure. We were pleased to see our trusty driver following our A to B Google map to the letter. No round the houses-get a couple of extra quid out of of 'em-scenic route messing about.
So we arrived at the church, climbed the steps, admired the big iron gates, with their scrolls and gilt highlights for a moment, and the shadows they cast upon the path.
The 19th century restoration was undertaken by Victorian architects, Alexander Dick Gough and Robert Lewis Romieu, famous for the wonderful double-gabled, gothic masterpiece at 33-35 Eastcheap that we stumbled across on our visit to see those little plaster mice. We considered for a moment how, once you start to delve, there is a lot of interconnection to be found in historical London.
The River Fleet, which is now underground, runs through the plain around the church, which we we were delighted to discover, as the Fleet is also on our hitlist. More connections!
The churchyard is the largest green space in the locality and people seemed to be making good use of it, kipping on its benches and exercising their pooches on this fine Spring day.
|Sir John Soane's Mausoleum|
One of only two Grade I listed monuments in London (the other being Karl Marx's tomb in Highgate)
Vampire writer and physician John Polidori, the composer Johann Christian Bach (brother of Johann Sebastian Bach), William Franklin (the last colonial Governor of New Jersey and illegitimate son of Benjamin Franklin) and philosophers and writers Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin were all buried here.
And The Beatles were photographed here in 1968 to promote the single "Hey Jude" and the album "The Beatles", better known as "The White Album".
On a final dash around the graveyard looking for Bach (not the one we were expecting, it later transpired - see above), we came across The Burdett-Coutts Memorial Sundial. This elaborate sundial was designed by George Highton of Brixton in the decorative gothic style and is Grade II listed. It was unveiled in 1879 by Baroness Burdett-Coutts (1814-1906), one of the great Victorian philanthropists who sought to rid London of its slums.
|Detail of the spire, showing the sun dial with the latin inscription:|
TEMPUS EDAX RERUM
(Time, the devourer of all things)
- by -SENIOR CHURCH WARDEN
- of -
22nd August 1877
|Detail from the top, showing a prancing cherub with urn and a series of faces|