Where: Corner of Crooms Hill and Burney Street, Greenwich, SE10
Daniel Day-Lewis is currently starring in cinemas as former US president Abraham Lincoln in Speilberg’s epic biopic. And it would be a real shock if he didn’t pick up his third Best Actor Oscar for the portrayal. Back in November I read a fascinating article in the Evening Standard where his sister, Tamasin, recounts their childhood together and their relationship with their father, Cecil, who became Poet Laureate in 1968.
It is lesser known that the children spent their early childhood in Greenwich and that Cecil was the first President of the Greenwich Society. In recognition of his work for them, the Society planted a tree in his honour in 1973 (a year after his death from pancreatic cancer in May 1972).
And yet, you could easily hurry past the tree and miss the plaque at its base – especially in the months when leaves carpet the land around it. If you’re in and around Greenwich – perhaps heading to the Park – then spare a second to find the tree planted for a national poet whose son is favourite to soon add to his collection of golden statuettes.
Wren’s domed spire of St. Paul’s is one of the most iconic features of the London skyline. City suits and trapsing tourists buzz around the cathedral that saw the wedding of Prince Charles and Diana as well as Winston Churchill’s funeral.
Yet how many realise that there is actually a second St. Paul’s Cathedral in the middle of the Thames further upstream? Granted this second version is much smaller, so small it can be held aloft by a two tonne woman.
This diminutive copy of St. Paul’s can be seen on Vauxhall Bridge, which boasts eight impressive bronze statues installed in 1907 and dedicated to the arts and sciences. Around halfway along the upstream side (left hand side if crossing from Vauxhall) you’ll find the maiden dedicated to architecture. In her hands she holds a copy of the famous Cathedral.
Those crossing the bridge by car would never see the statues or St. Paul’s – they are best viewed from the river itself. However, if you are willing to peer over the edge, pedestrians can easily spot both.
Hidden amongst the white townhouses of Belgravia is a unique policeman who stands and watches the throngs as they bustle around the bars and cafés of Elizabeth Street.
But this uniformed law enforcer isn’t going to arrest you any time soon – he is a bollard. ‘PC Broxap’ stands on Gerald Road, just round the corner from Victoria Station, and outside apartments that were once Gerald Road Police Station between 1846 and 1993.
We found out about this strange and hidden part of SW1 from the Bollards of London blog – well worth a visit if you’re interested in these often overlooked stalwarts of the street.