London Lockdown – Hushed Hibernation

Calm, gentle, deserted and stuck in a hushed state of hibernation, London during COVID-lockdown proves that every cloud has a silver lining.

Millennium Wheel – from Golden Jubilee Bridge

So much so that for those of us lucky enough to live within walking distance of central London, the daily lockdown opportunities very much dove-tail in with Virginia Woolf’s (1882-1941) famous 1930 observation that “to walk alone in London is the greatest rest”.

Trafalgar Square

Offering a yesteryear flashback to a similarly quite street life, I have been out snapping away with my camera. Enjoying empty roads dominated by congestion-free red double-deckers, a smattering of black cabs, free-wheeling cyclists, emergency service personnel and a sprinkling of other Londoners escaping home to stretch their legs.

Tower Bridge from The Queens Walk – south bank

As my photos show (all taken over the past week), when walking through the city’s streets and waterways even the most iconic of locations are surreally people-free and peaceful. A world away from the usual bustling crowds and traffic gridlock.

Cenotaph with Remembrance Sunday wreaths

Travelling down from Regents Park, via Oxford Circus, Regent Street, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, The Mall, Whitehall, Horse Guards, Downing Street to the Palace of Westminster, I was able to stand in the middle of roads and criss-cross between some of the world’s most iconic venues without a care in the world.

With the odd security person, policeman, pedestrian, drag queen, street-cleaner, and horse guard for company, my journey’s flow continued to take me across a peaceful Westminster Bridge, via the Millennium Wheel and a relatively busy Southbank to the Tate Modern, Borough Market, City Hall and Tower Bridge.

Regent Street

Walking through the financial areas of the City I was equally struck by how deserted the mid-week street-scenes were around the Bank of England, Fleet Street and St Paul’s Cathedral. Visiting St Paul’s at midday, the famous entrance square was empty. Which further gave me the unprecedented privilege of being the only visitor to enter Christopher Wren’s masterpiece for a period of masked private contemplation.

St Paul’s Cathedral

The pedestrian-only ‘Wobbly Bridge’ (Millennium Bridge) from St Paul’s to the Tate Modern, was equally deserted giving the impression of stepping across a private shiny fairy-tale flyover from north to south banks. Continuing eastwards along the Southbank to the bee-hive City Hall and Tower Bridge area, my stroll continued with mix of seagulls, the odd runner and rain clouds for company.

Cutty Sark – Greenwich

I wandered on to an equally tranquil Greenwich; I enjoyed a sunlit Cutty Sark, Pier area, Maritime Naval College and Royal Observatory. Which offered open views down across Greenwich Park along the Meridian Line (Longitude Zero) to the National Maritime Museum and modern Docklands developments beyond.

My advice, if you are a Londoner, seize this moment to escape for some lockdown exercise and explore your local street-scene. It is as breath-takingly bizarre as it is eerie.

Bank of England

BBC Broadcasting House

City police – Cheapside (Bank of England in background)

Oxford Street – from Oxford Circus

Upper Regents Street – from Oxford Circus

Eros – Piccadilly Circus

Churchill getting a spray down – Parliament Square

Downing Street

Golden Jubilee Bridge view

Haymarket

Horse Guards

St Paul’s Cathedral reflection – from St Paul’s Church Yard

Westminster Bridge walkway

Shaftesbury Avenue – from Piccadilly Circus

Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre

Millennium Wheel – south bank

COVID testing – Greenwich

Chinatown, Soho

Towards Borough Market

Wobbly Bridge – towards St Paul’s Cathedral from Tate Modern

Whitehall

Women of WW2 Memorial

Regent Street

Paparazzi outside Cabinet Office

The Mall towards Buckingham Palace

Tower Bridge north side

St Paul’s Cathedral entrance square

Parliament Square with scaffolding over Big Ben

Cabot Square – Canary Wharf, Docklands

Westminster Bridge north side – across to Millennium Wheel

City view over Thames from Southwark

Bakerloo Line tube

Trafalgar Square from The Strand

Canary Wharf

Westminster Bridge from south bank

Greenwich Park down towards Maritime Museum and Docklands development

Leicester Square

City Hall and Tower Bridge

Wobbly Bridge (Millennium Bridge) looking east towards Tower Bridge

Piccadilly Circus

South bank looking across to the City

Greenwich Observatory

Westminster Bridge from Palace of Westminster (Parliament)

Leicester Square towards Covent Garden

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8 replies
  1. Rob Debenham says:

    Absolutely loving this Jono! Some tremendous images, sad but strangely hypnotic! A great city with the pause button pressed… Stay safe pal

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