Central London, to me, has always had such a polished image. A place of beautiful, modern architecture brilliantly integrating with impeccably cleaned streets dominated by 18th and 19th century architecture and defined British culture. And once in a while, a piece of incredible street art.
On the other hand, Italy, where I spend much of my time, has been a place of older architecture, and older history. But last summer in London I really had a wake-up call in the form of an updated history lesson – Central London is seeping with history, and has even been referred to as the “Pompeii of the North” in reference to the significance of the archaeological digs taking place there. London is a place where the passage of time cannot be ignored.
As I explored the city on guided walking tours and just following my own curiosities, I was astounded that all it took was to pay attention just a little more, and suddenly all the clues to the stories that permeate these streets started to appear. History came alive, right in front of me, in the form of Shakespeare’s old haunts, including the church he attended, or an apartment he lived in.
Or the Roman Temple of Mithras that is literally in the heart of central London, and has been moved from its original location due to major construction projects in the area. Despite the modern and international image that London has, the significance of its history can’t be ignored, even when new developments have the potential to cover up the old reminders of its past.
I am writing this piece in response to this past week’s theme of time in the WordPress community, and a blogger I highly respect that is hosting this theme, Lignum Draco. The featured picture at the top was my inspiration for this post. It is a very modern perspective of London and the passage of time, but its very existence is representative of how far London has come since 43 A.D.. But really the scrawling of hopes and dreams for the future rooted in the past by so many people over the course of this public art installation, is time in and of itself. This piece of public art is on the South Bank, a beautiful neighborhood that has changed so much, and serves as another reminder of the passage of time and the long evolution London has gone through to bring it to where it is today.