Of Parks, a Palace, and a Power Station

November 10, 2011

October was really busy for me with a conference paper to deliver in the middle of the month and a deadline for an article at the end of it keeping me on my toes. But as soon as November came around, things were looking up as I packed my bags, boarded a plane and went to visit [m] in London.

Autumn Trees just outside Tate Britain, Millbank, London

During my stay, [m] had some lectures and seminars to attend, which left me with quite some time to spend on my own. But, of course, there’s always something to do in London, so I took the chance to visit a few museums on my own and to check out my two favourite buildings in the city…

Winchester Palace, Clink Street, London

One of them is Winchester Palace, the former city residence of the Bishops of Winchester, located on the South Bank of the Thames just next to Southwark Cathedral. The palace is said to have been built by bishop Henry de Blois in the 12th century, though what you actually see today is a bit younger, dating mostly to the 14th century. Not that there is too much to see today, anyway. What’s left of the palace is basically just the western wall of what used to be the Great Hall and a whole in the ground with traces of medieval foundations still visible.

The other of my favourite London buildings is Battersea Power Station (pictured above), built from 1929-1933 (and expanded from 1945-1948). Designed by architect Giles Gilbert Scott (1880-1960) it is a strange yet highly impressive piece of industrial brick architecture in an Art Deco style, though with neo-classicist overtones and ties to Cathedral architecture. After all, Scott’s first major work had been the planning of Liverpool Cathedral, begun in 1904, though he is best remembered as the designer of Britain’s iconic red telephone boxes. And, of course, he also was the architect of London’s other famous power station, Bankside Power Station (1947-1963) which was converted into Tate Modern in 2000. While this conversion saved Bankside Power Station from impending demolition, the future of Battersea Power Station looks more dire: It may not be as ruinous as Winchester Palace but it’s certainly derelict and in desperate need of restoration.

Both of these decaying buildings, of course, fit in rather well with the autumny mood of the season. And when we weren’t busy visiting lectures and museums (both alone and together), [m] and I took the opportunity to enjoy the season’s atmosphere by taking walks in the city’s many parks…


…watching the leaves turn red…

…and the squirrels gathering their provisions for the upcoming winter.

2 Responses to “Of Parks, a Palace, and a Power Station”

  1. Annie said

    Beautiful photos of London in the autumn :)

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