St. Paul’s Cathedral, London EC4

Above: viewed across River Thames from Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1. Foreground: “in the shadow of St Paul’s”, the City of London School, which relocated to this site from 19th March 1987.

From: Ships of Heaven (2019),by Christopher Somerville:

“If you looked across the Thames from Bankside in the 1960s, you saw the London waterfront of Bill Sikes and Sherlock Holmes: wooden wharves where the dirty old river slopped and slapped, slimy loops of chain, flights of steps leading to alleys where the sun never shone, and dingy warehouses eight storeys high framing the grimy dome of St Paul’s Cathedral far beyond. Today you cross the Millennium Bridge and it is all change, with skyscrapers so tall you question how they stay upright, and so Polaroid of window glass you wonder what the occupants have to hide. The warehouses might still be there under the balconies and sun decks that have been stuck all over them. The river wall is still as slimy and sloppy as ever, though, and somehow, miraculously, the view of St Paul’s is better than it was, a Taj Mahal prospect, the eyes and the feet led forward by converging lines above the water to the newly scrubbed dome gleaming like a lighthouse over the city.”

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