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©John R. Turner

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Somerset House, spread along the Thames, figures in many Victorian novels as the epitome of British bureaucracy.

Though some government offices are still located there, much of it is now taken up with three large art galleries. Its huge courtyard, with fountains sprouting out of the central pavement is one of the more impressive sights in London.

If you walk through the information office at the rear you'll come out on a verandah where coffee is served and you can peer across the river to Southwark. And then, just a few steps upstream, brings you to Waterloo Bridge. The vista from the center of the span offers a reminder of what London was and what it has become.

The view downstream, which I've posted here, shows both the dome of St. Paul's and a considerably more recent spike -- an insurance building, so I was told -- which Londoners have affectionately dubbed "the gherkin."
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Somerset House