Under Big Ben

Emerging from one of the most impressive tube stations, deep beneath Westminster, we stood in the shadow of Big Ben and before long we were wandering off the beaten track, away from the tourists.

Westminster Tube Sign London The VibesPalace of Westminster The VibesThe Palace of Westminster is an impressive riot of Gothic fakery, every buttress and spire insisting on it’s medieval origins. The Houses of Parliament are a testament to the great Victorian illusion that the establishment was rather more established than it really was. But just behind the familiar sight of Big Ben is a quiet empty park free from coach parties and cameras.

Victoria Tower Gardens Westminster London The VibesStone Lion Westminster The VibesBuxton Memorial Fountain victoria Tower Gardens London The VibesI had no idea Victoria Tower Gardens were hidden behind the bustle of buses and mounted police. A single stone folly, the Buxton Memorial Fountain stands on the great stretch of green which runs parallel to the Thames.

Designed in 1865, the fountain has been moved, ransacked, and renovated. It’s original statues have been stolen, but it remains a monument to the abolition of slavery in The British Empire. (Although there are some clubs in Vauxhall where slavery is alive and well and something of a vocation!)

The metal spire is unusually colourful for the period and has more in common with Gaudi than the grim preserve of the Victorians.

Stone lions guard the fountain which used to spout drinking water under the beautiful vaulted marble roof.I can see the place is more suited to a Vogue fashion shoot now, than the pomp and pageantry of the past.

London fizzes with energy, so finding an oasis like this is a relief, even if the sun is hiding and May feels more like November.
Westminster Folly interior The VibesBuxton Memorial Fountain Victoria Tower Gardens London The Vibes
Big Ben London Clock Tower The VibesSovereign's Entrance, Palace of westminster The VibesMark Wallis London Red Telephone Box The Vibes

“Hello? London? Big Ben? Sovereign’s Entrance? Are you avin a larf?”

Way Out Sign Westminster Underground Station The VibesLondon Underground Station Architecture The Vibes

The Palace of Westminster The VibesThis is why I love London. You can wander just a few yards and the scenery around you is transformed, from Nu Industrial Deco to Gothic Revival in a matter of seconds. I think I made the first one up, but the Capital is alive with hidden wonders, and taking a wrong turn is the thing to do.

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Categories: Photography, Travel, Vibe Monitor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

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18 thoughts on “Under Big Ben

  1. I love your photos. You turn the ordinary into the extra-ordinary by giving them a little twist. Fab stuff.

  2. Richert Manjarres

    Beautiful imagery and perspective.

    • Thanks, Richert. I’m trying to be more experimental and trying different angles. It seems to be working for me!

  3. I love the detail in your photos and I’m glad you’re still finding those hidden places. I’m always taking wrong turns and it’s really more fun that way. Also loved your line about the great Victorian illusion.

  4. Glad you like the pictures, Sheila. People are always surprised to discover that Big Ben is so much younger than it looks, and the Victorians obviously wanted it to look like it had been there for hundreds of years. A beautiful building, all the same.

  5. Great shots! Wish I’d known about the Victoria Tower Gardens earlier, but I’ll check them out next time I’m in the city!

    • Thanks, it’s so strange to find all that open space right in the middle of the city. Lovely place.

  6. Absolutely with you there about taking the “wrong turn”. I love just wandering around the capital. What were you doing sneaking around the Queen’s secret passage into Westminster :P

    • I pay my tax, so the Sovereign’s Entrance is public property as far as I’m concerned! It’s just a rumour that I was removed by 3 police vans and a helicopter…

  7. The colours in the fountain spire are so unvictorian, yes definately Gaudi, they are vibrant and beautiful, great angle shots.

    • I do love those colours. The stone lion is my favourite shot, though. It’s so simple. Wish I could remember how I did it…

  8. What i love about these pictures , are that they aren’t how people usually take. As in, of the Big Ben.
    Great stuff man.

    Oh and i love the layout of your blog. Bravo!

    - Janaki.

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