Monday, 19 March 2012

Chimneys In The Sky


This morning, on my way to my coffee, I started looking at the sky. I was in this sort of mood, I suppose. Today is a beautiful winter day, cold and crisp, with a bright blue sky.  While looking up, I noticed that London roofs were full of chimneystacks. 



Every building has some. Apparently, during Victorian times, there was one chimney in every room, to keep everybody warm (I dread to think about how people were surviving the winter in such harsh conditions). This is because most houses were rented by the room. You could have one musician in a room, and a seamstress in another one. They probably invented flat sharing before we thought we did.
Once you notice something, you can’t help looking at it again and again. 
This is exactly what happened to me. And here I was, counting the stacks on each building and wondering why on earth they were kept as surely the chimneys are not in use any more. Satellite dishes were often stuck on them. Maybe that’s why we keep the stacks then? Some chimneystacks are so long that they seem to defy gravity. I hope that they are checked regularly and don’t fall on pathways from time to time. It is probably better not to think about it too much.
Chimneys used to be cleaned by young people called sweeps. It wasn’t a job for the faint-hearted.


 Lost in my thoughts, looking at London’s roofs from the street, the unavoidable happened: I bumped into a lamppost. It was a solid, metallic lamppost, with a cryptic design on it.


Here I was, on a Monday morning and before my coffee, admiring London’s architecture and patting my forehead. That’s when I saw it and it made my day: the most iconic chimneystacks of London – Battersea Power station. No doubt it will be a good week...

16 comments:

  1. Hi, Muriel...Lovely photos, especially the Battersea Power station. Felt as if I were taking a walk thru London with you! Thanks for the YouTube clip of Dick Van Dyke..brought me back into my young-er days! Hope your day is lovely and enriching. Take good care!
    Dody

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    1. I am glad you liked my post Dody. London is full of specific features and I love it too!

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  2. Do you know the nursery rhyme that ends with "sally go round the chimney pots on a saturday afternoon" ?

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    1. No, I don't know this one...It looks like you are ahead of me here!

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  3. The chimney stacks in your picture have had the pots reduced and capped. We had to take down the pots on our chimneystack (our place is Victorian). The surveyor didn't think much of their chances of staying up there for another 100 years.)

    The pots were over a metre tall. We gave some of the pots to friends and saved one as a planter in the front garden. It looked quite nice and ivy grew up it quite decoratively. One day I looked and saw that the ivy still looked decorative but the pot had disappeared. There was , I suppose you would say, the concept of a chimney pot within the hollow tube of ivy.
    Oh well, a London story :)

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    1. I love London stories. Keep them coming! We also live in a Victorian house with huge chimney stacks. I hope they won't fall :-))

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  4. I well remember coal fireplaces where all the heat went up the chimney and one's front was hot whilst one's back froze! I also remember my parents having their chimney's cleaned. Even with the necessary precautions it made such a mess! I remember my mum telling me that the house she grew up in had a central living room with 5 doorways leading into it. Imagine the draft in that room... I have to be honest, I much prefer wood stoves. The radiant heat they produce is amazing and when you want to clean the chimney there's a product you simply throw a handful of into the stove to ensure there's no kreosote. In case you're wondering, I did 'Woodstoves 101' in the colonies with my ex-husband (many times.)

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    1. Ah, memories! We never use the chimney here. Just like you, I am not a huge fan...

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  5. They used to send kids up the chimneys to sweep them in Victorian times.

    I remind my kids sometimes how lucky they are. They just yawn. :)

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    1. Mine too. I think that they don't really care. Gosh, I sound like my mother now!

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  6. Lovely photos. Thanks for sharing. That is my favorite song from Mary Poppins.

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    1. It is a nice song isn't it? I just love London. Maybe I am British, after all..

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  7. So, that cryptic design on the lampost isn't familiar to you? And you in particular, as a French lady?! Legend has it that when Coco Chanel was dating the Duke of Westminster he begged her to marry him. She declined stating that there will be many Duchesses of Westminster but only one Coco Chanel. His broken-hearted response was to add her signature of two inter-locking C's to the lamposts across his borough. Not particularly romantic but a nice thought...!

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    1. You are such a fountain of knowledge! I shamefully admit that I didn't know. How did you find out about this? I can't believe that Coco Chanel could have become a Duchess of Westminster. It is a small world, isn't it?

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  8. I just got back from London yesterday and was also fascinated by the chimneys. What was so funny is that the same song popped into my head when I looked at the chimneys. Had such a great time in London!

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    1. I am glad that you had such a great time in London. If you noticed the chimneys, you are ahead of me (I have just really stared looking at them...). Give me a shout next time you are in London if you have some spare time!

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