In August 1963 I was working in marine insurance for the Committee of Lloyd’s . As I always went for a wander during my lunch hour, I imagine that the second slide in my posterity collection was taken during one of those walks. I am hard put to determine the vantage point from which I looked out across the Tower of London landscape. Lloyd’s building itself would have been somewhere near the correct position, but I worked in the old ‘room’ which would not have been a tall enough structure.
I am going to plump for The Monument, the full title of which is Monument to the Great Fire of London. It was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke. Situated at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street Hill, 62 metres from the site of the outbreak of the fire in Pudding Lane on 2nd September 1666, it is the same length in height. The observation point at the top is reached by a narrow winding staircase of 311 steps. My younger colleagues and I would challenge each other in a timed race up to the top. I managed it once, but doubt that could have been the day I took the photograph. I think there would have been some camera shake.
The foreground and middle distance of my picture hasn’t changed much in the intervening fifty years, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, and HMS Belfast have stood firm. The massed cranes that lined the far distance have done their job and moved on. Had I the skill I might be fascinated to superimpose today’s skyline on this historical record.
The colour of the slide itself has deteriorated into an overall deep pink. Applying iPhoto I have regained a little colour and eradicated numerous age spots. This and another picture of Tower Bridge are the second and third of my posterity collection. Each needed a considerable amount of restoration work. As if preserved in amber, a microscopic insect is embedded in the clouds a little below the top left hand corner of the second picture. I hadn’t the heart to eject it with the myriad of other little specks on the scanned image.
After a day on the computer we dined on scrumptious cottage pie and vegetables followed by rice pudding with a dollop of jam. Just the thing for sinus pain. I finished the chianti and Jackie had a glass of Roc Saint Vincent sauvignon blanc 2012.
P.S. I am indebted to Jackie for pointing out that the London Bridge I stood on was sold to Robert P. McCulloch of Arizona in 1967. The replacement was opened to traffic in 1973. Whether or not I took this photograph from the old bridge, I certainly stood on it. There is of course an urban myth that states that Mr.McCulloch thought he was buying the Tower Bridge I photographed. He strenuously denied it.