Sunday, 7 June 2015

A Year in Pictures – 2, 3, 4 and 5 June 2015 – Cars, People and Trees

The evening commuter crowd in Lombard Street on Tuesday, 2 June. A man runs to avoid an incoming taxi under the gaze of Gresham's grasshopper (at upper right).

The legend in the Gresham family (who were from Norfolk) was that the founder of the family was abandoned as a baby in long grass and that it was a grasshopper that alerted a kind woman to his presence. Whatever the truth (or probably otherwise) of the story, the grasshopper was adopted as the crest on the family arms. Sir Thomas Gresham (c.1519–1579), the most illustrious of the family, was a merchant and financier who served Edward VI and the boy king's two half-sisters, Mary I and Elizabeth I. His portraits show him to have a confident bearing, a sharp taste in clothes and a gimlet eye. He founded Gresham College and the Royal Exchange, whose present building on Cornhill has an elegant golden weathervane is in the form of a grasshopper.

The Sainsbury's on the left of the shot is on the site of what was (from 1691) the second incarnation of Lloyd's Coffee House, a meeting place for sailors, merchants and ship owners, to whom William Lloyd, the proprietor, provided reliable shipping news. It was in this social setting that Lloyd's of London, which remains an insurance market, had its origins. In the late 18th century, some decades after Lloyd's death, the market relocated to the Royal Exchange.

By late evening on Wednesday, 3 June I had not managed to bag the daily photograph and so I took my camera into the street outside my house and fired off several shots at a sycamore that a week or so previously had been drastically pruned by council operatives wielding chainsaws. I have run the photograph you see through a number of digital processes dreamed up by people far cleverer than me.

Dunster Court was, on Thursday, 4 June, the site of a private vintage car event. The courtyard, my normal short cut between Mark Lane and Mincing Lane, was closed to the public from 2pm and so I took this shot through one of the gateways. The car is a Riley and I had been able to get close to it on my walk though the courtyard in the morning—at the time it was the only car there and being watched over by the security man you see in the photograph. As the day went on, more cars arrived and the champagne duly flowed.

On Friday 5 June I wandered into Richmond around lunchtime to do some shopping. It was a very warm day, actually distinctly muggy, but the shade of the trees surrounding Richmond Green was a pleasant spot to park myself for a while, have a sandwich lunch and watch people taking the air in what felt like the first warm day of the year.

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