As we strolled along the Thames one day I wondered where musicians, writers, filmmakers and artists would be without rivers and bridges. We walked from Waterloo Station along the South Bank to Tate Modern, stopping to enjoy the views from Waterloo Bridge. Waterloo Sunset by the Kinks, Waterloo Bridge, a 1930 play that became films in 1931 and 1940 about a couple who meet on the bridge.
‘Our Mutual Friend’ by Charles Dickens is set on The Thames, a lot has changed since then, but at low tide you can walk on the mud, perhaps pick up a fragment of clay pipe and get a feel for Dickensian riverside.
The Millennium Footbridge by Tate Modern has appeared in numerous television thrillers and films during its short life. The bridge is always thronged with people, walking to and from Saint Paul’s Cathedral and the City of London. Busy places are a gift to authors, our characters can make secret assignations or escape from dangerous individuals into the crowds. Anybody from anywhere could be in these well known places, so the plot is believable. Waterloo Station, the busiest station in England by passenger numbers, features in all my novels. In the Brief Encounters Trilogy the slow train to Salisbury takes characters to an anonymous little station in an unnamed village in Wiltshire. With the vast departures board flickering constantly, what reader can challenge the destinations and train times for a fictional person?
A short walk from Waterloo brings you to the South Bank, all life is here. You can ride on the London Eye giant wheel and gaze down at Westminster, go to a concert at the Royal Festival Hall, walk along the river or walk across the Jubilee Bridges, alongside rattling trains on their way to Charing Cross Station. Plenty of scope for writers and this part of London features in the trilogy and some of my short stories.
Next time you are out and about, strolling across a bridge or rushing to catch your train, remember, the people you brush shoulders with may be fictional.