Sunday, December 11, 2016

Thoroughfares and short cuts

click photo to enlarge
On a recent day in London we spent a lot of time on the highways and by-ways of the central and north central area of the city. Highway as its name implies means "main way" or route, and a by-way is a route other than the highway i.e. a side road or a less frequented, subsidiary route. We were using the main roads to get to smaller roads and passages to see some of the less obvious architecture of London, and some of the placenames and relics of former times. The terms thoroughfare and short-cut seemed more appropriate to describe what were doing because in the hierarchy of roads, Fleet Street was as big as we got and St Swithin's Lane the smallest. "Thoroughfare" today often implies a main road because its derivation is from the word "through" and "passage", in the sense of a route that is open and unhindered. And taking short-cuts down narrow lanes was what we were doing quite frequently.

The line of many of the routes in London would be familiar to medieval city dwellers because the properties that line them are still there in some instances and have been respected by later buildings in others. St Swithin's Lane, connecting Cannon Street with King William Street, is a case in point. However, that medieval person would wonder where the old church of St Swithin that bordered the lane has gone. The answer is that the medieval building was burned down in the Great Fire of London in 1666, rebuilt in the Renaissance style by Christopher Wren, and that this building was badly damaged by bombing in the second world war, and its remains were cleared from the site in 1962. Today the buildings along the lane date from the nineteenth, twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Our evening walk between Tube stations took us down this modern short-cut, brollies up to counter the heavier rain, our passage lit by light spilling from brightly illuminated, empty offices.

photograph and text © Tony Boughen

Photo Title: Evening, St Swithin's Lane, London
Camera: Sony RX100
Mode: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 10.4mm (28mm - 35mm equiv.)
F No: f4
Shutter Speed: 1/30
ISO: 5000
Exposure Compensation:  -0.3 EV
Image Stabilisation: On