London's Lesser Known

by Alexander IVANOV; March 24, 2009

Each set has a cycle, controlled by a computer
photo by Alexander Ivanov

What are most known London sights? Big Ben, London Eye, Aquarium, Tower... There are millions and millions of photos of these places in tourists’ albums all around the world.

However, what about Londoners? Do they often visit the Tower or National Gallery? Or a musical, that's been playing every day for more than 26 years?! No! It could be a really interesting exhibition or place of interest to attract Londoner’s attention. And it seems to me “mindzgap” knows these places!


A very unusual tree “grows” in the City-district of London. You can find it near the sky-scrapers of national banks and financial corporation, on the crossroad of Heron Quay Bank, Marsh Wall and Westferry Road. It is a tree of traffic lights.

"The Sculpture imitates the natural landscape of the adjacent London Plane Trees, while the changing pattern of the lights reveals and reflect the never ending rhythm of the surrounding domestic, financial and commercial activities," said the sculptor Frenchman Pierre Vivant.

It was installed in 1999. It is eight metres high. There are 75 sets of lights. Each set has a cycle, controlled by a computer. The sculpture was a winner of an international competition. Don’t make a mistake – these are not real traffic lights!

This tank was used to crush the Prague
photo by Alexander Ivanov


It’s a big challenge for historians. How did this soviet tank appear in London? Some time ago, it was pink. However now it is covered with graphite drawing. This war-machine parked up on waste ground in Bermondsey, is very close to the Old Kent Road.

The tank was a birthday gift for a 7 year old boy from his father, military enthusiast Russell Gray. Gray bought the machine in 1995.

According to Mr Gray's neighbours, it was a gift carefully selected after he lost a planning battle to build on the plot of land he owns at the end of Pages Walk. Southwark's decision did not prevent him placing vehicles on the land and within weeks the deactivated 32-ton tank was installed. Residents say its gun points in the direction of the council's offices.

photo by Alexander Ivanov


And this is Vauxhall bridge, very close to british MI-6 offices. The bridge was designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and was built by Petwick Brothers.

The bridge has five steel arches and its most striking feature is a series of bronze female figures on the bridge abutments, both upstream and downstream, commemorating the arts and sciences. In the arms of one of the figures tourists can find a model of St. Pauls cathedral.

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