Published: Alex Hertz, Jülich
Swan pond, town hall & bank
This is a postcard of a painting, The Pool of London by George Vicat Cole (1888) in the Tate Gallery. The card is about 25 years later.
This view seems to be just west of London Bridge (rougly here), because if it was east, you’d be able to see a bridge. (I think the Southwark Bridge predecessor is hidden by ships.)
A pool (in this context) is a deep and still place in a river – and thus a good place to moor a boat. London’s pool is divided into upper and lower parts, which are respectively west and east of Tower Bridge. For centuries, cargo vessels traded at riverside wharves in and around the City of London. When these quays grew increasingly overcrowded many boats took to mooring in midstream and loading or unloading with the assistance of barges. The Pool was a perennial forest of bobbing masts. As early as 1586 William Camden boasted: “A man would say, that seeth the shipping there, that it is, as it were, a very wood of trees disbranched to make glades and let in light, so shaded it is with masts and sails.”
As Britain’s empire expanded and the industrial revolution took hold, the Pool became the busiest section of river in the world, crammed not just with ocean-going ships bearing exotic produce from foreign lands, but boats full of immigrants and emigrants, skiffs bringing oysters and fish from the Thames estuary or North Sea, and colliers transporting coal from Tyneside. The first police force was formed at the end of the 18th century to prevent theft and fraud in the Pool of London. Around this time the riverbanks began to fill with imposing warehouses, several of which survive, notably at Butler’s Wharf and Hay’s Wharf on the south shore of the Upper Pool. With the construction of inland docks such as West India and East India, and later Royal Victoria and Royal Albert, the largest ships found new berths but the Pool remained a hive of activity until the ineluctable decline of London as a port in the mid-20th century.
Caernarfon Castle (Welsh: Castell Caernarfon) – often anglicized as Carnarvon Castle or Caernarvon Castle – is a medieval fortress in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, north-west Wales cared for by Cadw, the Welsh Government’s historic environment service. It was a motte-and-bailey castle in the town of Caernarfon from the late 11th century until 1283 when King Edward I of England began replacing it with the current stone structure. The Edwardian town and castle acted as the administrative centre of north Wales and as a result the defences were built on a grand scale. There was a deliberate link with Caernarfon’s Roman past and the Roman fort of Segontium is nearby.
While the castle was under construction, town walls were built around Caernarfon. The work cost between £20,000 and £25,000 from the start until the end of work in 1330. Despite Caernarfon Castle’s external appearance of being mostly complete, the interior buildings no longer survive and many of the building plans were never finished. The town and castle were sacked in 1294 when Madog ap Llywelyn led a rebellion against the English. Caernarfon was recaptured the following year. During the Glyndŵr Rising of 1400–1415, the castle was besieged. When the Tudor dynasty ascended to the English throne in 1485, tensions between the Welsh and English began to diminish and castles were considered less important. As a result, Caernarfon Castle was allowed to fall into a state of disrepair. Despite its dilapidated condition, during the English Civil War Caernarfon Castle was held by Royalists, and was besieged three times by Parliamentarian forces. This was the last time the castle was used in war. Caernarfon Castle was neglected until the 19th century when the state funded repairs.
The statue in front of the building is of William Wilberforce; it was moved to Queen’s Gardens in 1935.
Excursion Steamer landing Passengers, Qunicy, Ill.