Long before the Isle of Dogs was filled with tower blocks, it was seen as a cheap plot of derelict land, and ideal for sticking a major road bypass through.
A marvel of the industrial age, a mighty iron footbridge permitting safe and quick passage for pedestrians over congested and dirty streets. At least, that was the plan.
Over the years there have been many attempts to build a bridge across the Thames near St Paul's Cathedral, and this is the story of one of them.
London's famous three - Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Regent's Circus. Hang on, Regent's Circus? Yes, the huge circle at the top of Regent Street lined with expensive houses. Haven't you seen it?
When Old London Bridge was finally destined for the knackers yard, one of the many replacement proposals would have seen two mighty bridges constructed side by side.
In the dim and distant past, when Battersea Power Station was more ruin than construction site, a proposal was shown off that would have seen the old building become a major football stadium.
When culture seekers walk along the south bank admiring the views and skateboards, they should do so under a giant glass and steel canopy weaving its way along the Thames.
What was officially known as the Metropolitan Sepulcher, but more widely as the Pyramid of Death -- was a proposed massive pyramid built on Primrose Hill, which would have stood a staggering 950 feet high.
Is it a plane? Is it a train? No, it's Railplace! Racing above the streets of London carrying passengers from city centre to airports, to Brighton, to Glasgow, all at unbelievable speeds.
Today where a classical Victorian hotel stands overlooking Trafalgar Square, there should be a massive white curved pyramid -- the Blob.
Where the confection of the MI6 building currently stands, there should be a gigantic tower block -- the green giant.
Had plans gone as planned, London Underground's Central line should look more like the Circle line running in a loop, not a long single line passing through the centre of London.
Had things gone according to plan, instead of an old power station full of art, there would be an outpost of Mars on the south-bank of the Thames.
Imagine a railway, working without steam, running on tall columns along the banks of the Thames -- for that was a scheme created to link Blackfriars with Charing Cross in the 1840s.
Rather than full of glassy offices and a testicle, the south bank of the Thames by Tower Bridge should be a neo-Venetian folly.
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|London's weekly railway news #188|