Monday, January 24, 2011

The Wasteland

For one of our assignments in my Great War and Modernism class we took a walk around the city, retracing T.S. Eliot's daily path to Lloyd's Bank where he worked from 1917-25. This path is also included in part of his famous poem, THE WASTELAND. So, after class one day Rachel and I took a tour of the "Unreal City, / Under the brown fog of a winter dawn."

First stop: Southwark Cathedral--where Shakespeare attended church, just south of where Chaucer's pilgrims gathered at the Tabard Inn, and the finest example of Gothic in London beyond Westerminster Abbey.

Then on to London Bridge: "A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many... London Bridge is falling down."

We crossed the bridge and listened for Wagnerian Rhine-maidens lamenting the loss of their gold "Weisalala leia / Wallala leialala," and wondered if that lovely brown river really does "sweat / Oil and tar." Wouldn't surprise me...
Back on solid ground we came to St. Magnus Martr, designed by the awesome Christopher Wren, with an interior of "Ionian white and gold." According to Eliot, "The interior of St. Magnus Martyr is to my mind one of the finest of Wren's interiors."

Back up King William Street we came to Wren's Monument to the Great Fire of 1666. The column is 202 feet high because it is located 202 feet from the place where the fire started on Pudding Lane.

Next, The Lord Mayor's church, St. Mary Woolnoth or St. Mary of the Nativity, rebuilt 1716-27 by Wren's pupil Hawksmoor, at the junction of Lombard Street.

Cool clock, right? The church "kept the hours / With a dead sound on the final stroke of nine."

And on to Lloyd's Band, now The Runner's Bar.

But you can kind of still see Lloyd's Bank across the top there.
Dr. Tate said he'd give extra credit for bringing back one of the letters, and you know I so would have done it--if they were still there and not just shadows...

And beneath there green squares is Eliot's old office--not the best place to work in my opinion.
Not to far from Lloyd's bank is "The Heart of the City," London's financial district.
At the heart of London you find cool buildings like The Royal Exchange:

And the Bank of England:

In front of the Bank of England is the Duke of Wellington Memorial:

As well as another WWI Memorial:

Oh, and this is by far my favorite picture from the day's outing: so, all these buildings are pretty much right next to each other, right? Yeah... Rachel and I are directionally challenged, thus this crosswalk was frequently used by us as we continually got lost... again and again and again and again... :)

1 comment:

Tana Willis Johnson said...

You have the photographs of The Royal Exchange and Bank of England muddled!... you should reverse their captions.