Monday 22 September 2014

More London - a little bit of Manhattan beside the Thames

View of the Shard, early morning
More London is the name given to the stretch of land between London Bridge and Tower bridge on the south side of the River Thames and to the north of Bermondsey. More London is home to many cafes, restaurants and coffee shops, most of them chains, but all of them busy with the office workers and tourists here for the area's major tourist sites - Borough Market, Tower Bridge, HMS Belfast and great views across the river to the Tower of London, the Gherkin and the city skyline. 

The quarter also has a branch of the Hilton Hotel and hosts both City Hall and the Unicorn Theatre, unofficially known as the national theatre for children. The Shard, Europe's tallest building with its stunning views of London is just across the road from More London as is London Bridge Station, one of the busiest transport interchanges in the country. This development has grown up in the last ten years and transformed this part of the city. I have worked in and around this area on and off since 1988 when there were few shops, very few visitors and the only hotels in the area were hostels for homeless men that gave off an overpowering smell of bleach, urine and cigarettes. I know this because my work used to take me into the hostels to encourage the residents to use the Council's public library service. 

Corners, angles and a glimpse of Tower Bridge
The extensive use of glass makes for interesting reflections and shadows
Do I like More London? Yes, I do. Its where I buy my lunch on work days. And it also has some great architecture with it's tall buildings, sudden views of the Shard, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London through its alleyways, shadows, reflections, sharp edges and on some days, sudden gusts of wind that tare down the alleyways and leave ripples on the water in the small man made channel that runs through the main alley. Water plays a big part here.  There are mini-fountains outside the Strada restaurant that young children like to run in and out of whilst the already mentioned channel seems to be an irresistible temptation to them to remove socks and shoes and paddle in the water. The water table outside Cafe Nero is also popular and tourists like to pose beside it for photographs. Occasionally and inexplicably, some people decide to sit on it for a photograph, perhaps not realising that the table is covered in real water and they are left to walk around in wet pants all day!

The architecture is the work of a range of companies including Foster and partners. The photographs were taken either when collecting my strong black coffee on my way to work or at lunchtime when I go back for more!

Look up!
I love this sharp corner
Tower Bridge and the water channel
More London

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