20 May 2010

Quirky London 8 of 20: St Paul's in Vauxhall

Where is it? Vauxhall Bridge, a bridge in Vauxhall. Cross over the wide, fast bridge and you'd think it's central London's most boring crossing. But you're on a bike, not a bus or car, so stop and peer over the parapet.

What's quirky about it? You see eight large female figures depicting the arts and sciences that adorn the upstream and downstream sides of the bridge. They're all flowing art-nouveauish graces that could be advertising a safety bicycle in a 1900s-Paris poster by Mucha.

One holds a palette and a little sculpture of a person (right, who may be holding an even littler sculpture of a person, etc, in a Borges-style recursion). The best is Miss Architecture 1906, who holds a model of St Paul's Cathedral (top right).

Why bike there? Lots to see: the Pink Floyd view of Battersea Power Station's dead sheep to the west, Tate Britain on the north bank, the Eye and other postcard-London goodies downriver, or the Stalinist-cake architecture of the SIS (aka MI5, MI6) building at the south end (right). There must be some sort of pub-quiz-question you can ask here, such as, 'From which bridge can you photograph both the MI6 building and St Paul's Cathedral?', or, 'Why are you arresting me, officer?'. There's an excellent Portuguese cafe nearby, the Madeira, under Vauxhall railway arches.

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1 comment:

  1. Only MI6, I think. I could tell you where MI5 is, but then I'd have to kill you.