Your ideas, com­ments and ad­vice

Who Do You Think You Are? Magazine - - CONTENTS -

I knew I should have brought along a hat. The rain was heavy, the wind was brisk and my new cheap um­brella was al­ready in the near­est bin, bro­ken and way be­yond re­pair.

Wet and with a lack of en­thu­si­asm, I made my way to the en­trance of Lon­don’s Shard. With such bad weather, would there be any­thing to see?

There was not much of a queue, but then I had pre-booked my ticket so I did ex­pect to fast-track my way to the first lift. Straight up to level 33 with a group of fel­low trav­ellers with an on-board at­mos­phere charged with an­tic­i­pa­tion. Then into a sec­ond lift and with mount­ing ex­cite­ment, but with­out any real sen­sa­tion of move­ment, we were head­ing fur­ther sky­wards. The doors opened and there we were; the 68th floor of the Shard.

The weather was not be­ing kind but the dark storm clouds did have gaps, large gaps, and this meant that some views were cloud-blocked but oth­ers were much clearer. Tourists were ea­gerly cap­tur­ing on cam­era vis­tas that only a few min­utes ear­lier had not been on show. I also started tak­ing pho­tos but I was not just tak­ing the panorama around me as oth­ers were do­ing. No, I would be mov­ing around the view­ing plat­form look­ing for all the land­marks to work out where my an­ces­tors had dwelt go­ing back seven gen­er­a­tions and more. In the dis­tance I could work out where I had spent the first six decades of my own life but more ex­cit­ing was see­ing close to the Shard the lo­ca­tions where gen­er­a­tions of my an­ces­tors had lived and worked.

Some of them had been based south and north of the Thames and oth­ers right next to it as for gen­er­a­tions they worked on the river it­self. Be­low me was the street where so many of my Thames water­men kin had lived and worked. What would they think if they looked up at the sky? Would they have been able to grasp the idea that many gen­er­a­tions later their di­rect de­scen­dant would be up there so proudly look­ing down at her very own roots? Fran Sales, by email Edi­tor replies: Thank you for send­ing this in Fran. I hope you en­joy our fea­ture about maps. It sounds as if a trip to Lon­don’s Shard would work well with a his­toric map in hand!

A view over cen­tral Lon­don from the iconic Shard build­ing

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