Walking the Thames with a group of students from Artez, Arnhem – talking about place making, noticing sounds, a raw view of the city

we met at Southwark Cathedral and began our walk by crossing London Bridge to the north side of the Thames while discussing the myth of London Bridge…you can find more info here on The National

‘This month marks the 45th anniversary of the sale of London Bridge to an American oil baron named Robert P McCulloch, who completed its purchase on April 18, 1968. McCulloch planned to move the bridge to the Arizona desert, where it would become the centrepiece of his ambitious new Lake Havasu City development, while the vendors needed cash to fund a new bridge fit for the clogged streets of post-war London. The fact that the old one was sinking slowly into the soft Thames riverbed probably helped focus a few minds on the sale too. The legend attached to this story, however, is that McCulloch thought he was buying Tower Bridge rather than the less architecturally impressive London Bridge, which sits – the latter’s successor was opened 40 years ago tomorrow, on March 17, 1973 – a short distance down the river from that instantly recognisable Victorian Gothic landmark” Excerpt from The National

The view of The Shard endured throughout the walk…
This 1,000ft Renzo Piano building is the tallest in Europe….you can find more information about it here

Fishmongers Hall
We stopped to talk about public/private space and the opening up of river walkways to the public. If you are interested in debates about this you could read Anna Minton’s Ground Control

Hanseatic league in London
The league succeeded in establishing additional Kontors in Bruges (Flanders), Bergen (Norway), and London (England). These trading posts became significant enclaves. The London Kontor, established in 1320, stood west of London Bridge near Upper Thames Street, the site now occupied by Cannon Street station

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We walked through an art installation at Steelyard Passage…(the sound element of this wasn’t working during our walk.)..but when it is – the passage resonates with the sounds of dock workers from another time…we talked about how the main evocation in the passage is of swimming pools conveyed through the heady chlorine aroma…

At this point we went down onto the beach to hear the real sounds and smells of the Thames…the water, the birds and the trains and station sounds above at Canon Street Station…

We gathered below a working wharf above which is a waste transfer centre which delivers waste from central London…

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We walked along to Queenshythe…the oldest dock in London and looked at the remains of the barge docks…one of my favourite places in London…


We collected finds on the beach and spoke about mudlarkers…before gathering to look at what had been collected…


Before heading back into the rush again…

and ended back on the south side of the river at Tate Modern…

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