Esoteric London

No. 162: Waterloo Bridge, SE1

Posted in Amusements, Literary London by esotericlondon on October 12, 2010

Waterloo Bridge, London, SE1. Photo © Roger Dean 2010

London Fragments – Rüdiger Görner, 2007:

The Irishman Robert Barker once erected a rotunda in Leicester Square, to display his panoramas. This was in 1793. The alternative revolution, not a storming of the Tower or Bastille, but a radical alteration of perspectives. To capture the world in the circular. Once around Barker’s Panorama in Leicester Square saved a long walk through the filth of the city. The city experience in a time warp. And now Marks, Barfield and Co have simply turned Barker’s 1793 Panorama by 90 degrees and even relieved the observer of the need to walk around the rotunda by turning the rotunda into a giant wheel (a diameter of 135 metres). The panorama pictures can also be dispensed with; after all you can see London life from these expensively constructed cabins, though you are spared the true living conditions by the grace of distance. This slow-moving (0.6 miles per hour) ride is officially called a ‘flight’, courtesy of the main sponsors, and as with an airline flight, you are given a boarding pass. You pay a considerable sum to become a captive of the ‘must see’. Never has one been able to see more of London and, at the same time, less than in this forced viewing chamber. You can see for 40 kilometres on a clear day. Forty kilometres in all directions and nothing but London.

© Rüdiger Görner 2007.  London Fragments is published by Haus Publishing.

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