The Secret Chimney

Well thanks to Deborah for 2 weeks of awesome blog posting!  The only issue is - now the pressure is on! My humble posts from small beginnings may not live up to the competition! Well I shall do my best!  Apologies to our viewers - if in fact we do have any - but we skipped a week with our Secret London Lunch Breaks due to my annoying flu-like symptoms!  Sorry!  But no fear, I am here to report last week's jaunt, and will carry on as usual next week. 

We were blessed with another bright sunny day, isn't March turning out to be sun-tastic?  A perfect day for our trip to Tower Hill.  So we jumped on the Circle Line, which was late. As usual. But we arrived in pretty good time, only 3 stops from Moorgate. 

So, first port of call, a HUGE bronze sundial directly outside Tower Hill tube station (commissioned by London Transport), encircled by a bronze band illustrating 2000 years of the history of London from AD 43 when London was founded right up to 1982 when the Thames Barrier was built.

The illustrations around the sundial are extremely entertaining, including depictions of the City walls being built, the founding of the Tower of London, the Great Fire, the Thames freezing over, the construction of the Houses of Parliament, the first Underground service, to name a few.

A great view of the Tower of London could be had from the sundial, perfect photo opportunities!  And together with a view of The Shard in the background, an impressive mix of old and new.

So after admiring the lovely sundial for a reasonable amount of time, and mingling in with the tourists quite nicely, we headed in the direction of Tower Bridge.  Now you may think - 'Tower Bridge? That's rather predictable isn't it?!'  'I thought you were Secret London Investigators, not boring old tourists!'.  But hold your judgement all you doubters out there!  We came, not to see the beautiful bridge itself, but a rather small feature of it...  We were looking for the Secret Chimney!  Yes!  A secret chimney!  Passing by, you'd never notice this hidden feature, but here we were hunting for it.  As we approached, we stuck to the right hand side of the road, examining each of the Bridge's lampposts as we went.  Then suddenly, we spied a lamppost without a lamp!  It appeared thicker than the other lampposts and was obviously something different.  We had found the secret chimney! 

Hunting for the chimney - can you spot it?

The chimney cleverly disguised between two lampposts

Deborah and the elusive chimney

The chimney is connected to the Royal Fusilier's room under the bridge which would've been used by the guards when on duty protecting the Tower of London.  The room would've had a coal fire and what we see above on the bridge is where the smoke would've come out (obviously). The London Clean Air Act came into force in 1956 and smokeless fuel could only be used in urban areas, which probably signified an end for the use of the chimney. We ventured under the bridge to see if we could find some sort of doorway to this secret room in the arches.  Hey presto!  Not only did we find the doorway, but a handsome man posed for us whilst demonstrating some dynamic ballet moves.  We wanted to break the door down and explore, but we would probably have been arrested.

Running out of time, we ventured over to the east side of the bridge to see David Wynne's 'Girl With A Dolphin'.  David Wynne was born in London, and seems to have had no formal art training. His figurative sculptures concentrate on movement, and includes most notably 'Girl With Doves' (1970), 'The Dancers' (1971) and 'Dancer with Bird' (1975), all in Cadogen Square Gardens. Other works in London are this 'Girl with a Dolphin' and 'Boy with a Dolphin', the latter being at the Chelsea School of Art. In the 1950s Wynne was concerned mainly with animal sculptures, and his Guy the Gorilla is in the Crystal Palace Gardens (Guy was the most famous gorilla at London Zoo).

So another adventure came to a close and we headed back to the office, but refreshed and entertained and excited to plan the next one!!


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