April 16, 2013

Thatcher's funeral, St Paul's Cathedral, London

It's the former prime minister Margaret Thatcher's funeral at St Paul's Cathedral on Wednesday, and the barricades and makeshift TV studios are up and ready. My cycle route to work, which passes close to the cathedral, will be diverted tomorrow because of road and bridge closures. As I stopped to draw these coming home today (astride the bike, helmet still on) there was already a sense of anticipation in the air.

I was absolutely and totally no fan of Thatcher, for reasons that I don't have time to include here. I happened to be with a handful of people by the gates of Downing Street late one night in November 1990 when she was driven home to her growing leadership crisis: I still like to think my shout of "resign!" as she passed by played some small part in her decision to stand down the next morning. 
But there's no sense of celebration at her death: she died a rather sad figure, shallow without power. My own parents are too elderly for me to consider anyone's death something to be cheered by. The streets around the cathedral will certainly contain protesters, not least against the expense of the ceremony, but I hope that the funeral and procession will pass peacefully, however much she was disliked by many.


urban sketcher - devon said...

If we had another leader as strong as Mrs. T, the world would be a better place.

Arty Velarde said...

I like your drawings

matthew_c said...

I liked her.


I think she was as much a reflection of her times as the driver of them in retrospect.
She had a spine, which is more than I can say for any current politician I can think of in my country - of any stripe.
The trouble with elections is the government always gets back in.

;-) again.

matthew_c said...

Oh, and great sketches! I love how you can simplify and capture a strong feeling of place with relatively few broad strokes.

James Hobbs said...

Thanks Matthew, and thanks Arty. I think that drawing while still sitting on the bike encourages one to go for the essentials – and it's handy for a quick getaway.

beamish13 said...

The Thatcher admirers here are giving me the creeps. She was a bigot who advocated selfishness and preemptive military action. I don't believe in the afterlife, but if hell existed, she'd certainly be roasting there right now.

don said...

I like your stuff James, and it's good to hear that you were no fan of That Bloody Woman. As a master of perspective, it's fitting that you provided some in your commentary, as it's been all but absent from the fawning press and media coverage.

All the best.

VHein said...

This is a great post, James--and wonderful energy in the drawings.

Nicol Marquis said...

Great sketches/doodles James. Very interesting to hear your view on Thatcher.

For me growing up in the 80s I remember a lot of the pain and suffering this woman caused and the reprocussions of the years after.

I admire the strength she had as a woman and leader but it's a shame she stood for such bad beliefs and values. And I am deeply saddened that she is being given a send off likened to the incredibly man who got us through the second world war :(

Are you planning to do any more art at St. Pauls?? Would love to see :)

Shooting My Journey x

Suzanne said...

I love your drawings. So simple, but yet, everything relevant is in there. And it works wonderfully. I envy your bike&sketch rides as spring here (Montreal) is late in coming. Thanks for the always inspiring urban sketches. /
As for Mrs Tatcher : I have no respect for what she did or what she stood for as a politician. I have no clue about who she was as a mother, grand mother, etc. So that is left to her private circle. But what I do have is respect people who serve in public office. That is probably the only respect I could express toward a figure such as Mrs Tatcher and the likes.

James Hobbs said...

Well, we got through the day OK - let's all get back to normal now.
Nicol: thanks. Here's another I prepared earlier.
Suzanne: also thanks. Spring is late here, too, but warming up a bit now. Lovely to cycle in. I agree with what you say about respect for those who stand for public office - these are jobs we need great people to do, and while they need to be held to account, there are times you wonder who would be prepared to take on the media onslaught. (It helps when you agree with their policies though.)