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The Embankment

The Embankment

Photographer: Coburn, Alvin Langdon (1882 - 1966)

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1914

Shelfmark: Cup.400.g.27

Item number: 4

Length: 14.5

Width: 8.9

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Gilbert Keith Chesterton introduces Alvin Langdon Coburn photographic views of London with a story about "an aged farmer and his daughter" travelling round and round the Underground Railway in a "sad circle, and failing to light anywhere, partly because of the impedimenta of country parcels, but partly also because they were almost satisfied with the staring names of the places...They thought the 'Mansion House' was rather a dark place for the Lord Mayor to live in. They could detect no bridges through the twilight of 'Westminster Bridge,' nor any promising park in 'St. James' Park Station.' They could only suppose that they were in the crypts of 'The Temple'; or buried under the foundaations of 'The Tower.'

Nevertheless, I am not quite so certain that this cockney tale against countrymen scores so much as is supposed. The rustic saw the names at least; and nine times out of ten the names are nobler than the things...He would pass on to the Temple; and surely the mere word 'Temple' is more essential and eternal than either the rich lawyers in its courts, or the poor vagabonds on its Embankment."

Text by Gilbert Keith Chesterton from the book 'London'

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