On my daily walks in central London, finding empty places is proving less easy as the warm weather encourages people out from their self-isolation. There are lots of walkers, runners and cyclists all around. Public transport is still very empty as more people return to work using their own cars. Perhaps they will finish the roadworks on London Bridge and at the Bank of England before peak traffic returns.
These photos are of nearly empty, litter-free spaces, a quiet River Thames, lonely statues with no tourists, and the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral – a beacon of calm each time I pass by.
I am reminded of Wordsworth’s, ‘Composed upon Westminster Bridge’:
“Dull would he be of soul who could pass by
A sight so touching in its majesty:
This City now doth, like a garment, wear
The beauty of the morning; silent, bare,
Ships, towers, domes, theatres and temples lie
Open unto the fields, and to the sky;
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air”.
On May 12th, my neighbour organized for images to be projected onto the Houses of Parliament and one of the walls of St Thomas’s Hospital to recognize 200 years since the birth of Florence Nightingale. I joined my neighbours briefly at the riverside to view the spectacle and enjoy my first night out in 6 weeks. This was also in thanks to the NHS who had nursed his sister-in-law through critical CV for several weeks at a hospital in Newcastle. She is now safely back home so our 8pm Thursday evening clap for the NHS is even more significant.
You will know these places, but perhaps not as they currently look. Isobel Pollock-Hulf
Image Credits: all images taken by Isobel Pollock-Hulf in May 2020 during the Covid-19 Lockdown of London and the UK.