“There’s no story behind this,” writes London Drinker editor Tony Hedger about this month’s cover photo.
“The Dog & Bell is simply a very good pub. It is a privately owned free house usually with six beers on handpump. You will find it not far from the Thames at 116 Prince Street (off Watergate Street) in Deptford, SE8 3JD.”
Five of JMW Turner’s Thames paintings are being shown at his house for the first time.
The artist, obsessed with the River Thames and wanting to be nearby, designed and built his own house just over the bridge from Richmond. He moved in with his father in 1813.
Sandycombe Lodge is under half a mile from the river which Turner could see from his bedroom. Fish caught in the Thames were transferred to one of the two ponds in the garden.
The area, now known as St Margarets, is covered with late Victorian houses but during Turner’s thirteen years there he was able to enjoy the river on two sides of the house.
He would have seen nearby Marble Hill House to the south where the only other building was The Crown inn next to his vegetable garden.
To the east he could see over the river to Richmond Hill with the houses on top where artistic rivals Sir Joshua Reynolds and Thomas Gainsborough had lived.
There was a halfpenny toll to walk across Richmond Bridge to the town.
The tiny Turner and the Thames exhibition in the tiny bedroom of Turner’s father is just five tiny paintings.
They are dated 1805 which is two years before Turner purchased the land for his new house.
The oil paintings are really sketches which Turner made on mahogany boards -recycled furniture. In his Walton Reach painting some wood is left bare to covey a little reddish reflection in the water.
Turner is on the water for this painting as he is for WindsorCastle from the River although it is possible to stand on the edge of the Brocas meadow as other artists and photographers have down the decades to show the rising castle.
Sunset on the River 1805 is an example of a picture where, like Walton, one cannot be sure of the exact location even if in a boat.
Another is called The Thames near Windsor (?).
The pictures, usually in storage, are on loan from Tate Britain.
Visiting the house and seeing the bedrooms and kitchen are as rewarding as the exhibition which continues until Sunday 29 March.
Sandycombe Lodge, Turner’s House, 40 Sandycombe Road, Twickenham TW1 2LR is open Wednesday to Sunday 12-3pm; admission £8 (child £3).
Next Sunday 12 January will see the annual blessing of the River Thames on London Bridge.
This is London’s oldest river crossing point and this year has an added resonance since it is where the recent terrorist attack took place.
On Sunday 12 January, Baptism of Christ Sunday, processions will set out from St Magnus the Martyr Church in the City (the old Bridge pavement runs under its tower) and Southwark Cathedral to meet at 12.30pm in front of The Monument at London Bridge’s north end.
Here there will be a ceremony for the Removal of Flowers laid following the deaths of Jack Merritt and Saskia Jones in the terror attack.
(The floral tributes will be made into compost to be made available to the families of the victims.)
The processions will then merge to proceed to the middle of London Bridge for the River Blessing.
After prayers, for those who work on the river and have died in the water, a wooden cross will be thrown down to the rising water as in the Orthodox tradition.
The bridge once had a chapel on its middle downstream side dedicated to St Thomas Becket whose 850th anniversary is this year.
During 2020 many Becket pilgrims will be setting out from here to Canterbury on foot whilst others will be walking upstream on the Thames Path which passes below the south end.
Earlier on Sunday morning a decorated cross will be hurled into the Thames estuary at Margate and retrieved by members of the Kent Greek community in the presence of the Greek Orthodox Archbishop.
The future of much loved weeping willows on the Greenwich Peninsula appears to be uncertain.
The trees, existing and renewed at least since 1970s, are alongside the Thames Path just as it returns to the river after Bay Wharf. The path with trees is on the former Primrose Wharf at the northern end of Morden Wharf.
In recent times terraced beds were created and planted with reeds.
There are more than a dozen weeping willow and crack willow trees on the river bank.
A planning application for the site has been submitted for “Provision of hardstanding and wheel washing facilities, conveyor belts and associated refurbishment works to jetty, and revised boundary treatment”.
This involves overhead conveyors.
At present the trees do not appear to be safeguarded.
St Saviour’s Dock footbridge will be closing on Tuesday 3 and Wednesday 4 December from 9am to 3.30pm.
This is to allow for further restoration work on the crossing.
The alternative route is:
At the west end of Bermondsey Wall West, bear left to follow Mill Street past Vogan’s Mill to the main road.
Holy Trinity Church Dockhead is to the left. Go right past the Co-op to have a good view (right) down St Saviour’s Dock.
Go right again to enter Shad Thames which into the late 20th century was noted for a strong smell of spices. Here are Jamaica Wharf, St Andrew’s Wharf and Java Wharf.
At the far end the road bears round to the left past Tea Trade Wharf (right) and under a bridge (the old Design Museum) to a junction. Turn right up steps for the River Thames and rejoin the main route on Butler’s Wharf.
The Pilgrim Fathers sculpture at Rotherhithe has been relit by the restoration of its lamp.
The artwork, placed at the upstream end of Cumberland Wharf, is encountered by walkers as they turn inland to go through Rotherhithe village.
Rotherhithe resident Peter McClean who created the work in 1991 was present on the Thames Path just after dark last Saturday to see the integral lamp turned on.
The work is called The Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim’s Pocket because it depicts an open mouthed ‘back from the dead’ Pilgrim Father looking in astonishment over the shoulder of an early 20th-century boy reading a copy of The Sunbeam Weekly.
The two figures were originally standing under a lamp post.
This light has been replaced with a working replicas now shining ready for next year’s 400th anniversary of the Pilgrim Fathers leaving Rotherhithe for America.
The light restoration is the result of pressure by local activist and historian Sheila Taylor and funding from Southwark Council.
The switch-on countdown was led by technology entrepreneur and philanthropist Michael Tobin.
The information board alongside has recently been updated following research by Bermondsey historian Debra Gosling.