More Looking around in London

Monday 17th August

Today is our last full day in London and so far we have spent it hunting down Southwark Cathedral.    An easy task I thought …just take the underground to Southwark and ask someone where the Cathedral is.  Turns out the only Southwark Cathedral they knew was St George’s Southwark Cathedral (Catholic) which is itself an ancient Gothic cathedral in the process of substantial renovation. Inside it has an unusual painted roof with the chi rho symbol repeated and in general it is a restrained Gothic style interior with a beautiful modern stained glass window on the West face.

painted ceiling of St George's Catholic Cathedral in Southwark. Ancient Gothic currently undergoing major external renovation

painted ceiling of St George’s Catholic Cathedral in Southwark. Ancient Gothic currently undergoing major external renovation

Glorious fairly new stained glass window at St George's Catholic Cathedral Southwark

Glorious fairly new stained glass window at St George’s Catholic Cathedral Southwark

We retraced our lengthy walk back to Southwark metro and found the map at the station we should have looked at in the  first place and saw that Southwark Cathedral is actually to be found at London Bridge, one stop closer to London central. We arrived there through the busy Burrough Market at lunchtime and found a ready welcome from all staff.  Southwark Cathedral lays claim to be the oldest Gothic cathedral in London and who am I to argue?

Southwark Anglican Cathedral exterior view

Southwark Anglican Cathedral exterior view

Front entrance to Southwark Anglican Cathedral near London Bridge

Front entrance to Southwark Anglican Cathedral near London Bridge

Side view of Southwark Anglican Cathedral with unusual slate finish

Side view of Southwark Anglican Cathedral with unusual nabbed flint finish

Ann with close up of slate pieces used to provide the external finish of the Southwark Anglican Cathedral

Ann with close up of the sedimentary chalk and amazing semi-crystalline sedimentary flint found in South east England used to provide the external finish of the Southwark Anglican Cathedral

It is beautifully cared for and has many historic associations with old London. It is one of the sites of Chaucer’s pilgrimage in the Canterbury Tales,  Dickens writes about it  and Will Shakespeare and his brother allegedly were members of this parish in the C16th.  In addition Bishop Lancelot Andrewes, a Biblical scholar who was part of the Westminster team who worked on the King James Bible is buried here as is one John Gower, who was poet laureate to both Richard 11 (when he was not away fighting or imprisoned in Europe) and to King Henry1V. The Cathedral also has a magniicent new stained glass in honour of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee.  There is a very swish cafe here and we had a light but excellent lunch there.

Window dedicated to Geoffrey Chaucer whose pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales would have visited Southwark Cathedral in the C15th

Window dedicated to Geoffrey Chaucer whose pilgrims in The Canterbury Tales would have visited Southwark Cathedral in the C15th

New window in Southwark Cathedral in honour of Queen Elizabeth 11's Diamond Jubilee

New window in Southwark Cathedral in honour of Queen Elizabeth 11’s Diamond Jubilee

Memorial scupture and window above not in photo dedicated to William Shakespeare who with his brother allegedly were members of Southwark Parish for a time in their day

Memorial scupture and window above not in photo dedicated to William Shakespeare who with his brother allegedly were members of Southwark Parish for a time in their day

Glorious stained glass in Southwark Anglican Cathedral. Most of the glass is new as much was destroyed in WW11 bombing

Glorious stained glass in Southwark Anglican Cathedral. Most of the glass is new as much was destroyed in WW11 bombing

Tomb of John Carr, Poet Laureate to Richard !! and Henry !V in Soutwark Anglican Cathedral

Tomb of John Carr, Poet Laureate to Richard !! and Henry !V in Soutwark Anglican Cathedral

Tomb of Lancelot Andrews Bishop and Biblical Scholar who was part of the Westminster team who helped to create the King James Bible

Tomb of Lancelot Andrews Bishop and Biblical Scholar who was part of the Westminster team who helped to create the King James Bible

The Cathedral has a mellow and warm  feel with clearly a very caring congregation busy in and around the Cathedral in many roles. The interior is marked by a remarkable bronze and wooden screen behind the altar which features individuals who have played a significant role in the church’s long history. The simple pulpit and modern brought down communion table make an impact as does the beautifully painted and sculpted ceiling in the Crossing. This is an ancient Gothic church with warmth and love.

Impressive carved and modelled bronze and wooden screen behind the high altar with figures prominent in the church's long history

Impressive carved and modelled bronze and wooden screen behind the high altar with figures prominent in the church’s long history

Well maintained painted and carved ceiling in the crossing of Southwark Cathedral

Well maintained painted and carved ceiling in the crossing of Southwark Cathedral

Interior of Southwark Anglican Cathedral

Interior of Southwark Anglican Cathedral

View of east wall from centre of Southwark Cathedral

View of east wall from centre of Southwark Cathedral

Simple modern pulpit and communion table in Southwark Anglican Cathedral

Simple modern pulpit and communion table in Southwark Anglican Cathedral

After lunch we watched the boats plying their trade under London Bridge for a while then ventured back into the city for a final wander through the streets of old London Town. We got out at Oxford Circle which is at the junction of Oxford and Regent Streets and absolutely retail centre. We walked the length of Regent St on one and a half sides including past Piccadilly Circus and down to Waterloo Place and the astonishingly tall tower of the Duke of York looking out over Green Park and Buckingham Palace.  The traffic of mainly double decker buses and taxis was busy as ever in London and the fashion shops like Burberry and Calvin Klein were in full expensive swing. We managed to resist buying anything and returned to our pad at the Barbican.

New skyscrapers emerging from the London skyline as seen from the south bank of the Thames

New skyscrapers emerging from the London skyline as seen from the south bank of the Thames

All Souls Langham Place Anglican Church at the top end of Regent St made famous by John Stott's work as Vicar and Vicar emeritus. John's evangelican leadership in the second half to the C20th was second to none and his preaching, writing and Biblical scholarship is of the highest standard and has been a help to vast numbers of Christians around the world

All Souls Langham Place Anglican Church at the top end of Regent St made famous by John Stott’s work as Vicar and Vicar emeritus. John’s evangelican leadership in the second half to the C20th was second to none and his preaching, writing and Biblical scholarship is of the highest standard and has been a help to vast numbers of Christians around the world

Extraordinary height of the Duke of York Statue in Waterloo Place London, a square celebrating England's wartime leadership heroes

Extraordinary height of the Duke of York Statue in Waterloo Place London, a square celebrating England’s wartime leadership heroes

Icons of London traffic..black cabs and red double decker buses

Icons of London traffic..black cabs and red double decker buses

Another view of Waterloo Place with Edward V11 as military leader extraordinaire on horseback

Another view of Waterloo Place with Edward V11 as military leader extraordinaire on horseback

Picadilly Circus in full flight

Picadilly Circus in full flight

Tonight we had a very happy reunion  dinner with Beaconhills staff Colleague Amara Jensen.

Ann and Amara Jensen from the staff at Beaconhills College currently on leave and working in London

Ann and Amara Jensen from the staff at Beaconhills College currently on leave and working in London

Tomorrow we train to Maidstone to pick up a car to travel to Frinstead Village in Kent, home of Ann’s cousin Joyce and her husband Brian. Not sure what the wifi situation will be there so there may be a five day gap in the blog. Regards to anyone who is still reading occasionally!

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2 Responses to More Looking around in London

  1. wschuller says:

    Wow – wonderful reflections Richard. I’m there with you! 🙂

  2. Christine Woolley says:

    Hi Richard, Martin says it is Flint not slate on the Southwark cathedral 😊
    Seriously I just wanted to say I have enjoyed reading you journey thus far so don’t stop….I need to know what happens in the five day gap or the story will be incomplete 😳😳😳😳
    If you get this while with Joyce, please say hi from me.
    Cheers
    Chris

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