May Day by the Thames

The 'green man' on London Bridge in 2007
The ‘green man’ on London Bridge in 2007

Sunday 1 May is May Day when the Deptford Jack in the Green will be seen on the Thames Path.

There the Jack, or the ‘Green Man’, is being dressed the night before from 8pm at The Dog & Bell in Prince Street which is also the Thames Path at the back of Convoys Wharf.

The traditional procession with music sets off from the pub on Sunday morning sometime after 11.30am. The route is at first inland along Stowage to cross Deptford Creek at the road swing bridge.

The Thames Path will be followed from the new Sail Loft pub (12.30pm) downstream to the Cutty Sark stopping for lunch at The Gypsy Moth pub (1.15pm).

Shakespeare on the Thames Path

Thames Path at Shakespeare's Globe on anniversary eve
Thames Path at Shakespeare’s Globe on anniversary eve

This Saturday 23 April is the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death and the place to be is the Thames Path in London.

Next to the river on Bankside there is the Shakespeare’s Globe theatre and Southwark Cathedral where Shakespeare’s brother Edmund is buried between the choir stalls.

Over the weekend there will be 37 screens on the Thames Path between Potters Fields and Jubilee Gardens showing Shakespeare’s plays filmed where he imagined them.

The Duke of Edinburgh, a long supporter of the Globe rebuilding, will be at the cathedral at 11am on Saturday for a special service.

All tickets have gone but the cathedral will be open in the afternoon for viewing of the flowers at the memorial where the Shakespeare effigy holds rosemary ‘for remembrance’.

In the cathedral at 2.30pm Arthur Smith reveals the truth about Shakespeare’s first publishers and Jane and Rick Jones perform lute songs from the plays; admission free.

Queen’s 90th birthday on the Thames

The Queen’s 90th birthday on Thursday 21 April will be marked along the Thames.

A 62 round gun salute will be fired across the Pool of London from the Tower of London at 1pm.

Her Majesty will be at Windsor Castle where she and Prince Philip are due to go into the town.

In the evening the Queen will light a beacon outside the castle. Soon after another will be llt at the Copper Horse at the end of Windsor Great Park’s Long Walk.

The 900 chain of beacons includes one on Wittenham Clumps near Dorchester which should be visible around 8.15pm not only from the River Thames below but as far away as Oxford.

Whistler’s Thames views on show

The largest exhibition of prints by James McNeill Whistler can be seen at the Fine Art Gallery in Bond Street.

James McNeill Whistler Prints as expected includes a significant number of Thames scenes. Most are dated around 1859 and so there is Old Putney Bridge and Old Hungerford Bridge.

The view from Billingsgate Market shows Old London Bridge seen through a row of masts. The location is confirmed by Southwark Cathedral’s tower in the corner. Whistler who spent a lot of time on the south bank would have known it as just Southwark’s large parish church.

Two men sitting in The Angel pub on Bermondsey waterfront have sight of St Paul’s free of skyscrapers upstream.

Other surprises include a view from Chelsea across the water to Price’s candle factory at Battersea.

But Whister also visited the upper Thames. The Storm records driving rain at Mapledurham above Reading. He was on a camping trip and had rowed there from Sunbury with fellow painter and etcher Matthew White Ridley whose painting of the Pool of London is in the Tate collection.

This is an unusually rich exhibition and marks the Society’s 140 anniversary.

James McNeill Whistler Prints continues at the Fine Art Society, 148 New Bond Street
London W1S 2JT, until Thursday 28 April.