Category Archives: London

London

London, capital city of the UK and England, home of the West End Theatre and 2012 Olympics

Contents
The Queen’s Jubilee Royal Barge – Gloriana
Mid May Time Capsule
HMS Ocean Helicopter Warship at Greenwich
London Cable Cars Crossing The Thames
Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy
Chicken Noodle Stir Fry April time capsule
New Routemaster Bus Returns to London

London, capital city of the UK and England, home of the West End Theatre and 2012 Olympics

The Queen’s Jubilee Royal Barge – Gloriana

Gloriana Royal Barge Updated

The Royal Barge Gloriana was also used spectacularly in 2012 on the day of the opening ceremony for the Olympic Games, carrying the Olympic flame downstream along the Thames towards the Tower of London.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19009236

The £1m royal barge Gloriana, which led the river pageant during the Diamond Jubilee in June, was rowed by 16 crew, who were chosen from a squad of 28 on-board rowers on the day.

end update

A large size photograph of the Royal Barge being made ready for the Queen’s Jubilee river procession at the bank holiday weekend. The ‘Gloriana’ as the new royal barge has been named, was moored at Richmond upon Thames alongside a cafe boat with guarded access.

Royal Barge Gloriana from the Thames

Gloriana – the Royal Barge

 

The photograph was taken from the middle of the river Thames, on board a cruise boat from Westminster to Hampton Court via Kew and Richmond. For more views of the Royal Barge taken from the riverside see the following slide show on Flickr.

The Royal Barge Gloriana is a clinker-built hand crafted wooden vessel of the style which was common on the River Thames in the sixteenth century and featured in Canaletto’s paintings of river scenes

Canaletto painting from 1747

Canaletto painting from 1747

 

The Royal Barge is in fact a rowing boat, and will lead a flotilla of more than 1000 boats along the Thames for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Pageant On Sunday 3rd June 2012

It will be one of the largest flotillas ever assembled on the river. Rowed boats and working boats and pleasure vessels of all shapes and sizes will be beautifully dressed with streamers and Union Flags, their crews and passengers turned out in their finest rigs. The armed forces, fire, police, rescue and other services will be afloat and there will be an exuberance of historic boats, wooden launches, steam vessels and other boats of note.

The flotilla will be bolstered with passenger boats carrying flag-waving members of the public placed centre stage (or rather mid-river) in this floating celebration of Her Majesty’s 60 year reign. The spectacle will be further enhanced with music barges and boats spouting geysers. Moreover, there will be specially constructed elements such as a floating belfry, its chiming bells answered by those from riverbank churches.

http://www.thamesdiamondjubileepageant.org/

 

Even my favourite cruise boat, The Mercedes will be taking part in the flotilla as part of the passenger boat section.

The Mercedes

Mercedes

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Mid May Time Capsule

Here’s the mid May time capsule including photos from the Kew temporary garden outside the British museum, goslings at Alexandra Lake, Wanstead Flats and the London Orbit Tower.
Last year the themed garden from Kew at the British museum was Australia, with mostly the dry regions of Australia represented, because that’s what the site has been used for in previous years to best advantage, eg the South Africa garden. This year it’s going to be North America and I believe the installation is already well underway. They brought in some impressive rocks too.

Australia Garden at British Museum

Australia Garden at British Museum

Taken May 12, 2011 at 9:51 am

 

 

The memory can play tricks when it comes to thinking that the seasons are advanced or retarded, but the time capsule provides evidence. Clearly there were Greylag Geese goslings up and about around the Alexandra Lake this time last year, and at about the same time I counted 42 Canada Geese goslings. This year at just after the same date, there are 34 Canada goslings so far, and no sign of any breeding Greylags yet. Also no mallard ducklings and very few coots chicks spotted so far.

Greylag Geese and Goslings

Greylag Geese and Goslings

Taken May 13, 2011 at 11:42 am

 

 

Greylag Goose Tongue

Greylag Goose Tongue

Taken May 14, 2011 at 11:23 pm

 

 

It’s taken almost the full year but the Orbit Tower is now officially completed after having been started well before this time last year apparently. The structure is controversial as ever, not least because of the mystery surrounding how the public will be able to climb the tower. It’s going to be open during the 2012 London Olympic Games, and it seems like there will access via general tickets to the Olympic Park, which cost £10 but then recently it was announced that Orbit Tower Tickets will cost £15 and it’s not totally clear whether this is in addition to the Park tickets, but I suspect that to be the case.

The Orbit Tower 12th May 2011

Taken May 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

 

 

The Orbit Tower 12th May 2011

Taken May 12, 2011 at 12:16 pm

 

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HMS Ocean Helicopter Warship at Greenwich

There’s a bloody great helicopter Warship moored in the Thames at Greenwich!

When I surfaced at Greenwich on Thursday, there were two remarkable  ships on view. The newly reburbished and reopened Cutty Sark is looking great now, with all the scaffolding and stuff gone, so you can see the glass building that surrounds the bottom half of the hull as it should be seen. With a slight lengthwise curve to the roof, the old ship has an impression of movement, more like she’s back sailing on the water than when it was just sunk in a darkened concrete hole of a dry dock.

Lynx helicopter

Lynx helicopter

And out on the river Thames itself,  before embarking the motor cruiser to see the Cable Car Crossing and the Thames Barrier, the scene is dominated by an enormous grey warship. From the waterside, the shape of HMS Ocean is disorientating. The superstructure is asymetrical, and the main hull looks like it’s been sliced lengthways, revealing two big holes at the side. Seeing the platform jutting out on the port side, it looks a bit like a traditional aircraft carrier, but it isn’t. It’s a helicopter ship, carrying eight Lynx helicopters there to patrol the no fly zone during the London 2012 Olympics.

HMS Ocean at Greenwich

HMS Ocean at Greenwich

According to information I looked up later, there are both Army and Navy Lynx helicopters onboard, as well as serving as a base for anti terrorist units during the period of the Games. Greenwich is used to seeing large Navy ships moored in the Thames, such as HMS Illustrious last year.

HMS Ocean The Combined Operations badge

Combined Operations badge

 

 

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London Cable Cars Crossing The Thames

It was back in 2010 that I reported the London Cable Car Thames Crossing may go ahead, and now here it is. stretched over London’s River Thames between North Greenwich ( The O2 Millennium Dome) and The Royal Victoria Docks for the Excel Centre, the ‘Emirates Air Line’ consists of 34 cable cars suspended 50 metres above the river taking 10 people each. That’s up to 2,500 passengers an hour, equivalent to 50 buses or the hourly number of people passing through the nearby Blackwall Tunnel by road.

The slender suspension masts were erected last month and after weeks of testing, the gondolas have now been attached and can be seen slowly passing each other in the videos and photographs I took from the deck of a cruise boat en route to the Thames Barrier yesterday.

So the cable car gondolas are in place and operational, the next question being will the service be fully tested and open to the public in time for the London 2012 Olympics starting in less than 100 days time?

For the duration of the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics the Emirates Cable Car Crossing  will help to transport spectators and athletes between two Olympics venues: The O2 dome (renamed North Greenwich Arena for the Games) where gymnastics and basketball  will be competed, and the Excel Exhibition Centre, temporarily(?) home to combat sports.

But what about after the Olympic Games are over – the legacy? Will enough  Londoners  find a cable car more useful than the Jubilee Line, DLR or buses on a daily basis or will it become little more than a compliment to the Orbit Tower, a visitor attraction for tourists and photographers?

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Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy

You can see the Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy building from the train between Manor Park and Ilford, on the mainline from Liverpool Street Station to Shenfield, or intercity to Ipswich and Norwich. I saw the earthworks when it was being built, but didn’t know what it was at the time. Now there’s an enormous black shed over the site, with large red lettering which reads “Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy” The words are so big I couldn’t even fit them into one photograph with my camera set to widescreen!

Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy building

Tunneling and Underground Construction Academy

Tunneling and Underground Construction Academy
So what is do they do there exactly? Well, pretty much what it says on the tin, but what they omit to say in the title is that it’s all linked to the Crossrail project.

The establishment of a Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) is central to Crossrail’s delivery plans and its legacy to the industry.

What is TUCA?

The Tunnelling and Underground Construction Academy (TUCA) is a purpose-built training facility that supports the key skills required to work in tunnel excavation, underground construction and infrastructure.

By building and establishing TUCA, Crossrail is contributing to the development of new qualifications and Health and Safety standards across the industry.

Crossrail is working with industry, professional bodies and other organisations with a requirement for skilled underground workers, to ensure that the facilities and training at TUCA  are aligned with the needs of the industry.

from http://www.crossrail.co.uk/delivering/skills-employment/tuca/#.T55h6sRYuco

Crossrail itself is the huge engineering project to build a new underground east west railway line underneath London, connecting Heathrow and Paddington through to the City and Docklands, and out through Manor Park and Ilford to Shenfield. Its the beginning of an extra deeper, faster layer to the London undergound system which should really have begun in the 1970s like the RER in Paris. The first trains running on part of Crossrail are due in 2018 with a full through service sketched in to commence in December 2019.

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Chicken Noodle Stir Fry April time capsule

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry – Steamy

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry – steamy

Taken April 5, 2011 at 5:19 pm

 

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

Taken April 6, 2011 at 3:51 pm

 

Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients

Chicken Stir Fry Ingredients

Taken April 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm

 

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

Chicken Noodle Stir Fry

Taken April 5, 2011 at 5:20 pm

 

Wanstead Park

 

via posterous

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New Routemaster Bus Returns to London

The Routemaster bus will be back on the streets of London from Monday 27th Feb 2012. Londoners’ favourite bus – the only one you can hop on and off ( except this one has  doors) – has been redesigned by British designer Thomas Heatherwick.

New Routemaster Bus

New Routemaster Bus in the rain

Thomas Heatherwick (born 17 February 1970) is an English designer known for innovative use of engineering and materials in public monuments and sculptures. He heads Heatherwick Studio, a design and architecture studio, which he founded in 1994.

By incorporating an open platform at its rear, the bus reinstates one of the much-loved features of the 1950s Routemaster which offered a ‘hop-on hop-off’ service. The new design will also have three doors and two staircases, making it quicker and easier for passengers to board.

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Thanks for reading Andy Roberts articles about London on the DARnet Blog