What a fantastic day this was! Deciding to walk along the Thames River, we were able to explore some amazing sites while enjoying the beautiful sunshine. Between the Milennium Bridge and the Tower Bridge, perhaps not much more than mile as the crow flies, there were so many places of interest, we could have easily spent a week in just this area. What is presented here are just the highlights of our day's journey:
"The Globe Theater" - in 1970, the American actor Sam Wanamaker founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust dedicated to reconstructing this famous Elizabethan theater. No documents remain as to the exact nature of the original structure. However, several proposed structural drawings do provide some insight that indicate other theaters of the time were polygonal in shape. Excavations at the original site of the Globe theater seemed to indicate that it was actually a 20 sided building measuring 100 feet in diameter. Wanamaker's Globe Trust began construction of the new Globe Theater according to 16th century building practices. The design for this reconstruction was based on existing buildings of the same age. Many experts feel that, without the actual design specifications, this is as close a representation of The Globe Theater of Shakespeare's time as we can get. Performances of Shakespeare's plays are held twice-per-day (afternoon and evening) here and prices range from 5 pounds for standing positions to 43 pounds for box seats.
"Southwark Cathedral" - just a short walk along the Thames, from the Globe theater, is the Southwark Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St. Savior and St. Mary Overie. This is the Mother Church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. Religious structures of some sort or other have been on this site for over 1400 years. In 1106, a church dedicated to St. Mary was built here but was destroyed by fire in 1212. Reconstruction was quickly started and was completed in the first half of the 14th century. There is even a tie to Boston, as John Harvard, founder of Harvard University, was baptized and worshiped here.
"The Borough Market"- situated next to the Southwark Cathedral is the oldest and most renowned marketing London. It features exceptional British, as well as international, produce and food products. Last year, the Borough Market celebrated its 1000th birthday.
"The Tower Bridge" - originally described to us as the London Bridge (which actually is the bridge next to this one and is rather plain looking compared to this one), the Tower Bridge was constructed between 1886 and 1894. It is a bascule ( or leaves which could be raised to allow marine traffic to pass) and suspension bridge. At one end of the bridge is the Tower of London, which provided the name for this structure. The two central towers are connected near the top by horizontal walkways. The current Red, White, and Blue color scheme was created in 1997 for Queen Elizabeth II's silver jubilee. In 1877 a committee was formed to develop a design for this bridge but one was not approved until 1884. Since much of London was destroyed by World War II bombings, we asked how the Tower Bridge made out. Apparently, the Germans felt that this landmark made an excellent orientation point for locating other structures to bomb, thus they left it alone.