For today’s post, I’ve included a few pictures that I took last week on my way to and from class to give you a better idea of what I see everyday.
Here’s a map of the route from my dorm (B) to campus (A). The great big brown smudge in the middle is the Thames, and as you can see I live in Southbank. In the mornings, I typically walk to Borough station, transfer at Bank, get off at Temple and then walk to Strand. After class, I usually take a bus back to Bricklayer’s Arms (a bus stop just south east of this map) and then walk back to my dorm.
The buses are usually less crowded and a much less stressful but they take a bit longer than the tube (commute time + walking distance). Personally, I like riding the bus a whole lot more. I try to get a seat up top, in the front, where I’m glued to the window like a little kid, grinning at people on the street (who probably think I’m a sociopath).
Here are a few of the buildings over near Strand, and I’ll try to give them (and a few that are not pictured) some context:
Australia House – I‘‘m pretty sure this is the Australian embassy since it includes their visa and passport bureau (and the name…) It’s just east of King’s, right across the road. I think they could really make this building more tourist friendly by adding a petting zoo full of koalas, wombats, kangaroos and platypuses! I would pay good money for that!! I would never go to class if something like that was right across the street. Fun fact: More votes for Australian federal elections are cast here than at any polling station in Australia.
St. Mary le Strand – One of the “island churches” (because it lies on a traffic island), the original church was mentioned as early as 1222 but was torn down to make way for Somerset House in 1549. The promised “new” St. Mary’s wasn’t built until 1714 by James Gibbs. Fun fact: Charles Dickens’ parents were married here.
St. Clement Danes – The second of the ‘island churches’, St. Clement was built first by Danes in the 9th century. It was rebuilt by William the Conqueror and later rebuilt again by Christopher Wren in 1682. The church was nearly destroyed in the Blitz, when the inside was ruined by fire. Fun fact: This is the church from Orwell’s novel 1984, shown to Winston Smart and described as standing near the Courts of Justice prior to the revolution.
Royal Courts of Justice (not pictured) - Located just northeast of King’s, designed by George Edmund Street in the Victorian gothic style and opened by Queen Victoria in 1882, this imposing building houses the Court of Appeals and the High Court of Justice for England and Wales. I thought it was interesting that even those without legal representation can get help here by way of the Citizen’s Advice Bureau ,which provides free, confidential and impartial advice to litigants, and the Personal Support Unit where litigants can get emotional support and information concerning court proceedings. Fun fact: Parliament paid £1,453,000 for the six acre site — in cash.
Maughan Library (not pictured) – A bit farther north from campus is the Maughan library, the main library of King’s College. Built in the 1850′s, inside can be found the Round Reading Room (inspired by the reading room at the British Museum) and the former Rolls Chapel. Fun fact: A 2007 acquisition of historical collections included Britian’s 1812 declaration of war on the United States.