We’re all moving about a lot less these days than in the past, so I thought I’d revive my series of posts from a visit to London in 2015 to seek out 19th century and Steampunk sites. Hopefully, you’ll get a little lift from this virtual visit. If you’re in the area and can visit in person, the high ceilings and glass ceiling do give the impression of being outside even if you are in.
Tower Bridge is of course worth visiting all on its own, but when I spent a day exploring the area I also found some other great things to tickle your Steampunk fancy. I could see on the map that St. Katherine’s Marina was nearby, and on my way I found a hidden treasure tucked away inside a Hay’s Gallery. In it’s heyday in the 19th century, the then-named Hay’s Wharf received 80% of the tea shipments bound for the Pool of London. Today the amazing glass ceiling provides shelter to restaurants, homes and shops in Victorian-era buildings, as well as an amazing sculpture called “The Navigators.”
The combination fountain and sculpture by David Kemp was installed in 1987 and has a decidedly Steampunk feel. The 60-foot homage to the shipping history of the area is made of bronze, which has been pleasantly oxidizing. Some parts of the piece have been selectively polished, and the pool has been painted blue, which detracts somewhat from the artist’s original intention to combine “Gothic fantasy, sea monsters, man [and] machine in this Kinetic Sculpture,” but it is still a lovely piece installed in a historic setting that reflects the Steampunk aesthetic from around the time the term was coined.
This website has some cool concept art to go along with early photos of the kinetic sculpture.
Have you ever visited The Navigators? What did you think of it?