27 January, 2013
Idolatory in a London Park? Yes. I wasn't sure whether to begin this post with 'Rhoda Rhoda had a pagoda, Selling tea and coffee and soda Buns and biscuits and bread of bran In the pretty Pagoda Rhoda ran!' except that this pagoda doesn't sell anything, or 'There’s a one-eyed yellow idol to the north of Battersea, There’s a little marble cross below the town; There’s a broken-hearted woman tends the grave of Mad Carew, And the Yellow God forever gazes down.' The gods are quite yellow too. It's called the London Peace Pagoda and it stands in Battersea Park. Battersea Park Station was a surprise destination on the East London Line this morning - so surprising that Sonya ('cos she get'S ON YA nerves') can't even say the words 'This train is for ___. The next station is ___.' The day started at Canary Wharf Ideastore with a quick look at MS Stubnitz a music and performance art venue currently moored in docklands. Battersea park station is a short walk from Battersea Park, with the LCC monograms carefully concealed by Wandsworth Borough Council. Battersea park has some nice things like the Pump House Gallery (closed when I called) and some very peculiar statues, including a war memorial to the 24th (East Surrey) Division described by Lord Edward Gleichen. He states that the plinth is pleasantly low. There is also a statue of a brown dog, although this is hidden away and I came upon it quite by chance, disturbing an amourous couple in the process. Lord Gleichen doesn't deem this worthy of comment, but is a controversial monument to those noble animals that have laid down their lives to the improvement of humanity. There is an Old English Garden in the park although not as good as the one in Danson Park and was looking rather sorry for itself when I visited, although the water feature was in full flow. Battersea park was the site of the Festival of Britain pleasure gardens and there are still some remnants of this there, although refurbished in 1994. The ponds with fountains present a playful panorama and the tea terrace with its steel frills and flounces make a humourous place to have your tea.