Thursday, 19 February 2015

The great cord of humanity

The final leg of my first journey crossing the bridges of the River Thames.....a watery world, a palette of soft blues, greys and browns, reflections of water and sky, changing colour as the sun comes out and goes in.....

In Thames: Sacred River, Peter Ackroyd describes London Bridge as 'a great cord of humanity' linking the past to the present:
"It is the most frequented of all bridges, the great highway of the city. If we may speak in an Aboriginal sense of a songline, or dreamline, of London, then it is represented by this path across the river. It is a great cord of humanity. It creates the great stream of human beings, contracted and innumerable, which in itself becomes a river echoing the Thames. For a brief passage, vehicles and people are brought into relation with the push and flow of the sea. The wind and the dust, the noise of the traffic and the cry of the gulls, are brought together.
There are no buildings upon it, as there were in past ages of the bridge. Now the pedestrians are outlined against the sky and framed by the water beneath their feet; they are caught between immensities. They become frail and evanescent, a pilgrimage of passing souls suspended between the elements. Over the bridge cross all the varieties of human character with no complicity, or community of interest, between them. They are together but alone; they evince expressions of endurement or of merriment, of suffering or of abstraction. It is the most suggestive of all bridges; it has evoked in many writers and artists, phantasmal or oneiric images."
On the day I was there, the passage of souls was relatively modest, but I have witnessed the huge surge of humanity streaming across the bridge at the end of the day, headed for home, each trapped in their own little bubble, heedless of their travelling companions. It is a sight to behold and marvel at!


  1. Last one: a neat geometric rebuke to the eccentricities of the city towers. The 'walkie-talkie' looks more like a rubber cosh here - squared-up but.......

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