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Historical Artifact

We were standing on a WWII Destroyer in the Thames last night, looking over the south London skyline. None of the three of us knew what that distinctively-shaped tall building was, although I felt certain I had asked rosamicula about it before, not that she had known either.

In any event, the one Android phone we had between us seemed like the best tool for figuring it out, even if the internet connection was as slow as treacle. We used Google Maps, with satelite view, slowly scanning the south of London for three very distinctive white wind turbines atop what looked like a distinctively-ovoid silhouette from above. Nothing.

We didn't spend that long looking, but the building was mysteriously hard to pinpoint. We enjoyed the wedding party, and celebrated into the still-warm darkness. South London faded into crypticness, and we made new friends and saw older ones. Usefully, I was introduced to the reviews editor for Vector, because London is a small place, really.

But we also went back to searching as soon as we were home again, C. to perusing the map, and me to rapid brainstorming. The puzzle was resolved by means of the search terms "south London skyscrapers". There, on the Wikipedia list of London's tallest buildings, at #15: Strata SE1. To be the tallest residential structure in the city once it's completed, theoretically this month. Distinctive white wind turbines installed in May 2010. Too recently for the last satelite photos on Google.

Google Maps are forever out of date a little out of date, just as all maps are.


Congratulations to coughingbear, hano, eulistes, margotmetroland, and drpete on their respective weddings yesterday!



( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 6th, 2010 10:48 pm (UTC)
Weirdly, I got asked about that last weekend. I didn't know the answer.
Jun. 6th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Conveniently, now you know.
Jun. 6th, 2010 11:14 pm (UTC)
There's a destroyer in the Thames now? The only WW2 era destroyer I've seen was HMCS Haida now in Hamilton.
Jun. 6th, 2010 11:32 pm (UTC)
Now that I reread the invitation, I see it says "escort destroyer". On the page of the HQS Wellington itself, it claims no more than convoy escort service in the war, assisting in the destruction of one U-boat.

It occurs to me that I don't really know how to define a Destoyer, even after skimming the Wikipedia article on subjet.
Jun. 7th, 2010 12:03 am (UTC)
Defining a destroyer (in WW2 terms)

Has turbine engines unlike corvette, frigate, sloop built in civilian yards, thus has better than 30 knot speed

Likely more oriented to anti-sub, anti-aircraft role than anti-ship thus guns 4-8 4.5 or 4.7 inch, more or less. The Tribals are almost light cruiserish in having 8 x 4.7 inch guns (which couldn't be elevated to engage aircraft). The later war fleet destroyers had 4 X 4.5 inch dual purpose guns and far more anti-sub gear.
Jun. 7th, 2010 12:06 am (UTC)
Wellington is a sloop. It has a reciprocating rather than a turbine engine. This makes her one of the largest of the classes of escort vessels which were built in yards used to building merchant steamers. Slow relative to a destroyer with turbine engines I 'd love to see her though. I think very few corvettes/sloops/frigates from that era are still around.
Jun. 8th, 2010 09:23 am (UTC)
Wellington was indeed an escort corvette. She was decommissioned by the RN in 1946 before being handed over to the Worshipful Company of Master Mariners in 1947 who have used her as their headquarters ever since, hence she's now HQS Wellington. And, a top place for a party :)
Jun. 7th, 2010 11:43 am (UTC)
I go past the building on a regular basis by bus and train, but haven't yet seen the turbines turn. I'm still somewhat bemused that it's being built in Elephant and Castle, but then the attempted regeneration of the area has been underway for a couple of years now.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )