The Thames, Britain’s Great River – Part Eight


“I have often amused myself with thinking
how different a place London is to different people.”

James Boswell

“London in the Spring” by Passenger (courtesy of Alessandro Brunetti):


Courtesy of Nino V. Valpiani:


In this concluding part of the Thames series, I want to show the interesting places in London that should be on every visitor’s list while planning to come here, and the post features enterprising individuals who came to this country and who settled in London. This time it isn’t architecture or philanthropy but places that are worth seeing. Always remember that there wouldn’t be London and all the magnificent places to see if it was not for one of the greatest rivers in the world, the Thames.

In connection, I would like to mention Lata Mangeshkar, one of the most famous Indian singers, who is one of my favourite singers – I listen to her every day. Lata chose a UK venue for her debut on the international stage in 1974 when she performed at the Royal Albert Hall some of her most loved melodies to a packed audience. The concert was organised in aid of the Nehru Memorial Fund, set up to bestow fellowships in memory of India’s first Prime Minister. The concert covered her biggest hits, including “Aayega Aanewala” from the Taj Mahal, and “Aaja Re Pardesi” from the Mdhumati. The recording went sold over 133,000 copies. The sell-out concert was introduced by the actor Dilip Kumar, who said:

 “Just as the fragrance of a flower has no colour, just as flowing water or the breeze has no boundaries, and just as the rays of the sun have no religious divide, the voice of Lata Mangeshkar is such a miracle of nature.”

“Aaja Re Pardesi” by Lata Mangeshkar (courtesy of LM World):


61 Old Compton  Street


Courtesy of Camisa Online Deli:

When I was working at Charing Cross Road, my lunchtime break would start in the Italian delicatessen, just down the road from my workplace. I can still recall the wonderful smell of the myriad of hams, prosciutto, sausages and cheeses displayed or hanging above the dark wooden counters. Anything Italian was filling the shelves, but the pasta had the pride of place.


Did I say pasta? Oh my, do you know –

Cassova penne
Fusillini lunghi
Casevecce gemelli
Strozzagreti, and more…

You just have to wonder at the sense of poetic romance of Italian pasta makers who created the names of seemingly ordinary food to sound like sublime poetry, especially when said with an Italian sing-song accent.


Above is Pappardelle with Mushroom Ragout

Courtesy of TED:

The Camisa family opened their first delicatessen “Fratelli Camisa” in Berwick Street, Soho in 1929.

They were amongst the first businesses to pioneer importing fresh Italian products into the UK. Originally the family catered for the local Italian community and as demand for authentic traditional food grew, so did the business.

This means that more than 98% of their products are imported exclusively from small artisan producers such as their oldest suppliers, Martelli Pasta from Lari in Tuscany and Frutti Bosco, a small co-operative in the Camisa’s family village of origin, Tarsogno, 3000 feet up in the Apennine mountains of Northern Italy.

“Passaggio (Passage)” by Ludovico Einaudi (courtesy of Matteo Righetto):


But I digress….. After a crisp baguette filled with Gorgonzola cheese, lettuce and vine tomatoes, where would you go but to a coffee shop? The best and the nearest would be –

52 Old Compton Street,
W1D  4PB


A great city like London, can be measured not only by its architecture but by the quality and extent of its historic shops and cafes which combine to confer a very distinctive sense of place. The Algerian Coffee Stores is one of those delightful specialist shops that make London such a rich and diverse world city.


Courtesy of Culture Trip:

Established in 1887, the shop has a distinctive pillar-box red front, with many of the original late 19th century fittings inside, including a mahogany counter, display cases and shelves.


The shop is filled with the wonderfully pungent aromas of over 80 different coffees from across the globe and more than 120 exotic teas with wildly romantic names – Silver Snail, Rose Congou, and best of all, Dragon’s Whiskers.


We are now aware that we must protect such historic shops for the benefit of future generations.

“Maybe It’s Because I’m a Londoner”, performed by John Williams:


Anyone interested in sampling a typical London native’s fare should visit two places of note:

94 Farringdon Road


The Quality Chop House is a miraculous survival of an early 20th century working-class restaurant of a type which was once popular in London. Outside, the shopfront has central three light strips proclaiming “Quick Service”, “London’s Noted Cup of Tea”, “Civility, Snacks”, “Progressive Working Class Caterer” and “Best Quality”.



The interior is quite remarkable with nine bays of oak benches and tables with cast-iron legs set in two lines around a central aisle. Around the walls is simple linen-fold panelling with shelf brackets, a frieze of steleorite decorative tin panels and a pendant central gasolier. At the rear the kitchen is reached through an oak screen with a carved door and sliding glazed hatch.




76  High  Street
E17  7LD

Jellied eel, pie and mash shops are unique to London. They were started by a small number of families, the Cookes, the Manzes, and the Burroughs, all of whom subsequently intermarried.



Above is Michele’s first shop.

Courtesy of The Food and Drink Awards:

The Manze family was among the second wave of Italian immigrants who arrived in Britain in the late 19th century and who grew to specialise in popular catering. Michele Manze arrived from Ravello in southern Italy at the age of three in 1878. The family settled in London, making living as ice merchants and ice-cream makers. Recognising the need for cheap, nutritious meals catering for the working classes, Michele Manze set up a chain of eel, pie and mash shops. The first shop, established in 1902, still survives. Thirty years later there were 14 shops bearing the Manze name.


This is a superb survival of an early 19th-century working-class restaurant. The terrazzo floors are strewn with sawdust. At the entrance is a long marble-topped counter complete with the original cash register.


The walls are lined throughout with white ceramic tiles with a dark green and white tiled chequerwork dado divided by rectangular brown edge-tiled panels containing mirrors. A tiled frieze of green and brown garlands runs in a continuous ribbon around the top of the walls. Below, the tables are set in bays between the original mahogany benches, lit by two lines of pendant light fittings above.


As to the pies, you have to come and try them yourself.


Courtesy of BBC Travel Show:


Above are customers enjoying jellied eels.


48 Berwick Street
W1F  8JD


The historic terrace houses of 18th and 19th century London are very adaptable to accommodate many different uses. As a result, many light and craft workshops in central London can still be found in what were once elegant Georgian and Regency houses.


W Sitch & Co, art metal and lighting specialists, is a wonderfully atmospheric example. Founded in 1776, the year of the Declaration of American Independence, it has been located in a 19th-century townhouse in Soho and specialises in restoration, renovation, and replication of historic lighting and fittings from any period.


Courtesy of PlinkProps:

Every surface of the interior of the building is crammed with light fittings, lamps, and specialist metalwork. A fine early 18th-century staircase with turned balusters and ancient timber treads worn smooth by the passage of time leads to a veritable treasure trove. The upper floors are lined with a surreal array of sconces, wall lights, chandeliers, lanterns, lamps, and candelabra in a plethora of designs and styles. At the rear is a fully operational workshop and forge for the manufacture and polishing of individual artefacts. Among the company’s clients are the National Trust, English Heritage, and 10 Downing Street.


This is an ideal place to pick up something special to take back home.




Seeing how many moving memorials to beloved pets there are in London, reminded me about an especially touching story reported some time ago in the press. When Lucy Ledgeway’s beloved Jack Russell terrier, Sunny, passed away at 14 years, she went out to take some fresh air. Through tears, amazed and with great relief, she saw in the clouds above the face of Sunny. It was a message that he was going to be with her in spirit.


Bel Mooney, a renowned columnist on a national paper, wrote about her own spiritual experience, after reading about Lucy and Sunny. When her much loved dog Bonnie passed away, she could feel her presence around the house, and resting at her back, in the way Bonnie used to rest while Bel was working. Now when she feels this presence, she says ‘I know you are there, Bonnie, but I will not look behind me because I know I won’t see you.’


Bel Mooney and Bonnie in happier times.

Hidden in a corner of  London’s Hyde Park there is a pet cemetery. It is protected and you have to pay a fee to go in, but interesting nevertheless.



Above is the pet cemetery in the grounds of Marlborough House.

“When I Am Laid In Earth” from “Dido and Aeneas” by Henry Purcell, performed by Camille Thomas (courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon):


Dr Samuel Johnson, a famous lexicographer, had a black cat that he was very fond of; his name was Hodge.  After the cat’s death, the poet Percival Stockdale wrote:

“An Elegy On The Death Of Dr Johnson’s Favourite Cat”

Who, by his Master when caressed
Warmly his gratitude expressed
And never failed to purr
Whene’er he stroked his sable fur.

The statue of Hodge shows the black cat sitting next to a pair of oyster shells atop a copy of  Dr Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary, with the inscription: ‘A very fine cat indeed.’


It has become customary for visitors that walk past the statue to place coins in the oyster shells as a token of good luck. The quotation ‘a very fine cat indeed’ comes from Boswell’s writing about Dr Johnson addressing his cat in this manner.

Courtesy of Wildscapevideo:


On the front of the Thames, at Bermondsey, as a part of a group of sculptures, there is Dr Salter’s cat.



The tomb of boxer Tom Sayers in Highgate west cemetery includes a sculpture of his faithful dog, called Lion.


Also at Highgate cemetery, there are many sculptures of cats that were loving companions to their human friends and are very much missed, for eternity.



Above is Dick Whittington’s cat.

Dick Whittington bought a property at Leadenhall Market in the City, very much worth seeing for its beautiful architecture, hundreds years old.

Courtesy of Open City:


Above is the Whittington Entrance of Leadenhall Market.

Perhaps visiting sadly departed friends?

“All Things Bright And Beautiful”, harp solo performed by Anne Crosby Gaudet:


In Piccadilly, central London, there is a memorial to Nipper, the famous dog from the HMV logo. Nipper has a number of memorials all over the country.



The little-known cat statue stands in a children’s playground in Old Gloucester Street, round the corner from Great Ormond Street. It commemorates Humphrey who lived at nearby Mary Ward House for 18 years. The sculptor, Marcia Solway, died the same year as Humphrey, in 1992.


London’s second most famous Boris is Boris the cat. His plaque can be found in Kentish Town on Anglers Lane; perhaps he was looking for fish.


These two dog memorials hide in a niche within the central courtyard of the Victoria & Albert Museum. One called Jim belonged to Sir Henry Cole, who was instrumental in the founding of the V & A.

The Golden Heart pub in Spitalfields has a plaque on its Commercial Street frontage commemorated to a former pub dog called Gizmo.


Painter William Hogarth’s pug Trump stands beside his master on Chiswick High Street.

Giro was the pet terrier of the German ambassador Leopold von Hoesch, and as such is often labelled as a ‘Nazi dog.’ Giro’s political leanings were not recorded. This tacky kennel-shaped memorial is at the top of the Duke of York’s steps leading from The Mall to Carlton House Terrace.

My own experience of an unusual, unique friendship with a wild hedgehog, is documented in a few posts in my blog. Those readers who read it were all enchanted and amazed by his intelligence, self-awareness, and ability to bond with me; as I wrote – ‘like plaster with a wall.’


My beloved soulmate, the extraordinary hedgehog, Gaby.

This is the end of the Thames series, although to be able to cover all the interesting places in London, I would have to write every week for at least a year. I hope it gave many readers an incentive to come to London, when possible, and see these special places for themselves.

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”
Dr Samuel Johnson

Courtesy of Mattia Bicchi:

51 thoughts on “The Thames, Britain’s Great River – Part Eight

  1. Wonderful as always, dear Joanna. Love the music. and photos. These dishes look absolutely delicious. Made me crave pasta, speaking of pasta thanks so much for sharing the pasta list, so fun to read.💕

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you, Grace, for your lovely comments. I was astonished by the number of pasta names, their variety, and skill required in making them, ideal for the vegetarian.


    Liked by 2 people

  3. What a wonderful series about the Thames. Makes me wish I was young and mobile again and in possession of a good pair of walking shoes! Of course I love all the pet memorials, including your sweet hedgehog.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. My pleasure. Me too . I had no idea there were so many. I always learn something from reading your posts .💕🙏💕


  5. Thank you, Carolyn, for your lovely comments. I was waiting for you to read today’s post and see all the cats! My blog started as a tribute to Gaby, the exceptionally intelligent hedgehog, and nature in my organic wildlife garden. Don’t let your cats see this post or they all will want the plaque, “A very fine cat indeed.”



  6. Such a great city. I was last there in 2012. I hope I’ll visit London again. Thanks for your fine articles about the Thames.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I ❤️ London


  8. Thank you for your kind comments. I do hope you do.


    Liked by 1 person

  9. A marvellous series Joanna. I wouldn’t have time to work if I lived in London, my time would be more than filled with marvellous adventures. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. I have added to my wish list all these interesting places in London to visit. Thank you Joanna for an informative series of the Thames. You have shared so generously, the beautiful images of architecture, places that are worth seeing, and the lovely music, so much appreciated.
    In this post, I must point out the inspiring message for me in the song, London in the Spring” by Passenger: The wish for all to be equal, absolutely beautiful, I’m in awe and very appreciative of the wonderful Spring view showed too. The Italian, yet ordinary food for sure sound like sublime poetry. The pets memorial is so sweet, sending comforting hugs to you for your beloved soulmate, Gaby. Great post as always!

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Thank you, Peter, for your wonderful comments! I like your observation, this is one reason that I am living away from London, but close enough to visit too.
    Greatly appreciated, Peter!


    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you, Henrietta, for your wonderful comments! I am happy that you have noticed so many points. And my Gaby!
    Thank you again, greatly appreciated!


    Liked by 1 person

  13. Another post that is simply excellent, as always, dear Joanna, the result of a patient research and collection of information, images, videos
    I loved the music. the videos and photos and, as an Italian, I enjoyed the list of the various types of pasta.
    As an animal lover I was enchanted by the last part of the article, for which I thank you from my heart, together with my dog Sissi💞

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Thank you, dear Luisa, for your wonderful comments! I knew you will love pasta, as I do. I don’t need to have anything but a few vegetables and a bit of cheese for a good meal I think, it was legendary Sofia Loren who said that she owns everything to pasta. Animals make such special friends, Luisa, my big hug to you and Sissi.


    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dear Joanna, you pull at my heart! Your London posts just get better and better! I desparately want to be there, eating pasta, drinking coffee and meeting you in EC1! 🤗🌹💖💝💌🙋‍♂️


  16. Dear Ashley, I cannot thank you enough for your wonderful words! Yes, pasta is a must, and we will meet sometime!
    Thank you again, Ashley, greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  17. Thanks again, Joanna!
    You are right: I love pasta, animals, rivers and London, where I spent magical moments


  18. The concluding part of the series on the Thames is mesmerising, as it covers topics ranging from music to food, art and pets. It was a pleasant surprise to find the mention of Lata Mangeshkar and one of her lilting songs in the very beginning of the post. Not a single day of mine passes without listening to her songs. A reference to Nipper of HMV logo took me down memory lane. I still have some records of HMV with that logo.

    For a foodie like me, references to pastas (so many varieties), eels, hams, sausages, coffee, icecream and other mouth watering edibles are really incentives to visit London, apart from those artifacts and pet cemetery (something new for me).

    The stories of Lucy-Sunny, Bel-Bonnie, Hodge and others are heart-touching. These go to show how emotions and play a crucial role in establishing a relationship that make even pets as the essential parts of families. And finally your Gaby, so cute and sweet!

    Really I enjoyed the whole series on the Thames. It was presented in a very lucid and systematic manner. Your reasearch on the subject, as hitherto, is far and wide with beautiful and relevant images and videos. In brief, it’s informative and entertaining. Much much appreciated!!

    Liked by 2 people

  19. I’m really sorry that this is your final post on London Joanna. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them from beginning to end. I’ve loved the way you’ve written them, the pictures you’ve added and the videos you’ve included.

    You’ve also introduced me to places that many of us wouldn’t know about. In this post alone you’ve taken me to places like W. Stitch and Co, which the next time I’m in that area, I will have to seek out. I just love places like this.

    I never read your post about Gaby the hedgehog, but I’ll try and find it and check it out. Is he named after you – or is there another reason behind your avatar of Gabychops? 😊

    It may be the end of your posts on the River Thames, but I can’t believe that there aren’t more gems to follow.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Thank you, Kaushal, for your wonderfully analytical comments! As you introduce me to Lata Mangeshkar in your post on the day of her death, I thought you would like to know about her visit to London. I listen to her every day too. It is a shame to finish The Thames series as I could go on for at least a year but I must. Next week another place away from this part of the world.
    Gaby wasn’t just sweet and cute, he was the exceptionally intelligent creature who has changed my perception of animals.
    Thank you, Kaushal, again. Greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 2 people

  21. Thank you, Malc, for your wonderfully kind comments! If you read my reply to Kaushal, you will know why I have to finish now or it could go forever. There are more interesting posts
    to follow up on. Gaby’s name comes from Gabriel, the angel, as the little young and sick hedgehog that collapsed one late autumn morning was so grateful to be saved (angelic!), that it was an obvious choice. There is more than one post about his extraordinary abilities – “talking”, communicating, astonishing memory and much more..
    Next week there will be a post about a faraway place and it will be interesting.


    Liked by 1 person

  22. Thanks for the explanations – and I’m looking forward to the next series already


  23. You’re always welcome, Joanna! It was a truly a delight to go through the series. Looking forward to fascinating posts on other places from the next week onwards.


  24. This is just fabulous, Joanna. Your header photo alone is gorgeous. I’d love to visit London someday. And I think I’m craving pasta now. 🙂 It was interesting to see the pet cemetery, too, and the fact that a fee is required. Our pets become precious family members, so it makes sense. Incredible photos and text, thank you!


  25. Thank you, Lauren, for your lovely comments! The fee is necessary because in th past some silly youngsters vandalized the graves. Pasta is a wonderful, fast meal.

    Thank you again, greatly appreciated.



  26. This post warmed my heart, Joanna. I love that you mentioned your Gaby as well as the various cemeteries and other memorials to animals. And the businesses you shared that have survived the test of time are the kinds of places I like to visit when I travel. The architecture, whether simple or fancy, has so much character. Thanks for all of the time and energy you put into this Thames series. It is truly one of a kind! 🌞

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Thank you, Lisa, for your wonderful comments! The new ventures are going interesting too.

    I’m happy that so many readers liked my Gaby!

    All your words, Lisa, are greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  28. I love the personal recommendations and the animal pictures and annectdotes. I’ll miss this magical series. 🪄🪄🪄🌈🌈


  29. Thank you, Pat, for your generous comments! Next week there will be a post about a faraway place as much interesting as the Thames. Thank you again, greatly appreciated.



  30. How much London loves you or it must be the great Thames that bestowed upon you, we could see in this extraordinary series that is going to be by far the most evocative, explanatory and structural, and varied as London itself- your this series on Thames my dearest Jonna.

    Someone who is so far even in thought with the western world, i absolutely walked with you to each and every place like an explorer, with your shared music flowing through my ears, i or i must rather use we, are grateful for such a treat.

    One of the things i loved about London, also which, your able senses acquired so well only to share with us, is the way city has grown in ways like a divine tree carrying everyone together; even a cemetery for our loved ones. Gaby’s mention as everyone even notified in their comments made me/us melt and I met you there, i met your most intelligent friend there as i too was speaking to him.

    I did not know about the memorable debut of Lata Mangeshkar, if not the best i must certainly write on record, one of the best Playback singer in the world. Its a shame that oscars missed mentioning her, or a tribute to her voice, not that she needed it. But greatly appreciative of you to mention it as London itself welcomed her first.

    Thank you dearest Joanna, for this breathtaking experience of River Thames, one of my most loved series by you, i can say. Accept my wishes and deep thanks.

    Also, i think i missed writing, about the Pasta. I love it too.

    Narayan x

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Thank you, Dearest Narayan, for your exquisite expression of comments! I find it difficult to tell how happy your words make me, especially you “talking” to Gaby,
    and listening to Lata Mangeshkar with me! It would be wonderful to share a bowl of pasta with you one day! I think that you will find interesting my next post next week which touches on immortality.
    Thank you again, Dearest Narayan, greatly appreciated.

    Happy Rama Navami!

    Liked by 1 person

  32. Thank you, Dearest Narayan, from the bottom of my heart for this magnificent review!

    Joanna x


  33. Each week, every post is being waited for dearest Joanna.

    Thank you


  34. What a wonderful write, Joanna! Now I must listen to Lata Mangeshkar as I rustle up some pasta. ❤️


  35. Thank you for your lovely comments and for making me smile! Perhaps, you will grace my posts with your presence often, you will not be disappointed, just read other comments.

    Greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  36. Thank you Joanna for taking us to this wonderful tour of Thames. I’ve learned about it through your blogs. I must say, it’s definitely should be in the list of anyone visiting London.
    All those pictures you’ve shared are so amazing and makes anyone go visit there.

    Also, a special thanks for mentioning the legendary Lata Mangeshkar. Her song you’ve shared “Aaja re pardesi’ is one of the favorite song that my mom keep listening to.


  37. You are welcome, Joanna! Glad to make you smile.
    I will surely visit more often from May onwards once NaPoWriMo is over. Till then I will drop in whenever possible. Take care.


  38. Thank you, Ritish, for your heartwarming comments! Greatly appreciated!


    Liked by 1 person

  39. Greetings, Joanna. I was so pleased that you’ve joined me at annieasksyou, as I’ve seen your thoughtful comments on other blogs. I love thoughtful comments. I came here to welcome you and have been enchanted by this rich and detailed post about London–a wonderful city. I suspect I can easily spend a day here, going through all the videos. A treasure trove! I’m now happily signed on with you as well.


  40. Joanna, I never knew people are so much devoted to their pets in London. You definitely observe things very minutely and describe them in a very interesting way!


  41. Thank you, Deeksha, for your kind comments. There are many interesting places in London but after eight parts I had to move too far away places in the world. Thank you again. Greatly appreciated.


    Liked by 1 person

  42. Joanna this is a Reminisces of a kind.
    The Antiques that raise the eye brows.
    The food displayed is mouth watering.
    The river Thames is just Wonderful.
    Your comment section is full of Praise.
    Hats Off


  43. Joanna,
    Thames #8 is as transporting as Thames #1. If (when) I get to London I will know to go to Soho for food (Italian & traditional Pies & mash) and Arabian Coffee. At Hyde Park I’ll survey the pet cemetery and peruse the Leadenhall Market for an unusual gift. Thank you again for a pleasant tour. I did notice that “Passaggio (Passage)” by Ludovico Einaudi included images that were neither from London nor Italy. Our own Grand Teton National Park was featured at the beginning. Stewart


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