“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life;
for there is in London all that life can afford.”
~ Samuel Johnson
Yesterday’s diary entry was about yet another trip to London. The main reason was to pop into the Bankside Gallery to “Meet The Artists”. Bankside is home to the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers. It is situated near the Tate Modern Gallery. I always forget how far down Southbank this Gallery is when walking from Westminster. A Saturday is probably not a good day to choose to visit as the paths are normally swamped with people and the pace is very slow.
I did not really know what to expect from the event at Bankside. The artists had set up their materials and sketchbooks on tables. I quickly dove in and started asking questions. I find looking inside artists’ sketchbooks really interesting. They show the building blocks of ideas and give a glimpse into the creating process.
Jewel Tower Sketch - Art Journal
Starting the day with a walk through St James Park towards Westminster from Green Park underground station, the first stop of the day was Jewel Tower. It is situated directly opposite the Houses of Parliament. As members of English Heritage we were able to get in free. I am not that sure that we would have bothered visiting if we were not members. The small building is tucked away and gets over-shadowed by the other impressive buildings surrounding it. The quick visit of 20 minutes was pleasant enough. That was plenty of time to climb the circular stone staircase up to the second floor and to learn that this is where the imperial weights system was developed.
By fluke we managed catch Big Ben chiming at twelve. The Houses of Parliament hold special memories for me as a few years ago one of my friends had her twenty-five wedding anniversary in one of the function rooms there. Apparently British citizens can apply to their local MP for permission to use the function rooms. If I remember rightly it was not that expensive considering the historical pedigree of the building.
At the end of the day, whilst walking towards Liverpool Street Station, we spotted St Mary Le Bow Church. Being born within the sound of Bow Bells means that I am a true London Cockney and I felt compelled to take a closer look inside. Strange thing is I have never bothered to visit this famous church before.