Around London: Taking to the skies over the Thames; a new plumber in Cannon Street; and, new images of war at IWM…

The proposed cable car crossing of the Thames will be sponsored by airline Emirates in a 10-year, £36 million deal announced last Friday. To be known as the ‘Emirates Air Line’, the cable car will link the DLR station Royal Victoria with the Jubilee Line station North Greenwich and will involve the creation of two new cable car stations bearing the sponsor’s name – Emirates Greenwich Peninsula on the south bank and Emirates Royal Docks on the north. It is the first time a corporate brand will appear on the Tube map. Transport for London has said the new service could be operational by summer 2012 (although whether it will be ready for the Olympics remains uncertain). It will feature 34 cable car gondolas and ferry as many as 2,500 passengers across the river every hour with an expected two million passengers to use the service each year. The journey is expected to take five minutes and will see the gondolas travelling at a height of 160 feet above the river. The sponsorship deal was announced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, along with Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, and Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground and Rail.

• The Duke of Gloucester unveiled a new statue, called Plumber’s Apprentice, at Cannon Street Station last week to mark the 400th anniversary of the granting of a Royal Charter to London’s Worshipful Company of Plumbers. Sculpted by Martin Jennings (he also created the statue of British poet Sir John Betjeman that now stands in St Pancras Station), the seven foot tall bronze statue is said to underline the livery company’s ongoing commitment to train young plumbers. The company, which was formed in 1365, received its charter from King James I in 1611. From 1690, following the destruction of the company’s previous hall in the Great Fire of London, it was based in a building on the site of the railway station. In 1863, it was forced to again move when the hall was compulsorily purchased to make way for the railway. Also present at the unveiling were the Lord Mayor of London, Michael Bear, and the Lady Mayoress, herself a sculptress and liverymen of the Worshipful Company of Plumbers. For more, see

• On now: Shaped by War: Photographs by Don McCullin. The Imperial War Museum is hosting the largest ever exhibition of the life and works of acclaimed photographer Don McCullin. The display features some 250 photographs including rarely seen before portraits of anonymous victims of war, contact sheets, objects, magazine and personal memorabilia. Conflicts covered include those of the Cold War, in places like Vietnam and Cambodia, Bangladesh and the Middle East – the latter include images from the Gulf War and the 20o3 invasion of Iraq. There is also a newly commissioned video in which McCullin talks about the exhibition. Runs until 15th April, 2012. An admission charge applies. For more, see

Around London – HMS Belfast restored, Buckingham Palace record, plumber’s new statue

• The HMS Belfast’s newly restored masts were unveiled to the public this week following an 18 month restoration project. Moored on the Thames between Tower and London Bridges, the ship is one of only a few surviving Royal Navy ships that served in Arctic convoys supplying Russia during World War II. The restoration was carried out for free by a team of more than 20 men and women from the JSC Shipbuilding plant, Severnaya Verf, in St Petersburg, Russia as a tribute to the British and Allied sailors who risked their lives on the convoys. The work involved removed and replacing all of the masts. For more information, see

A record 413,000 people visited Buckingham Palace over the summer – the highest number in 16 years. The record numbers were partly ascribed to the new Garden Cafe which served 46,000 cups of tea. Meanwhile, the palace has announced the exhibition, Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, at the Queen’s Gallery has been extended until 5th December. For more information, see

• The Worshipful Company of Plumbers has reportedly announced it will be installing a bronze statue of a plumbers’ apprentice outside Cannon Street station next year. The statue’s installation will  mark 400 years since the company first received its Royal Charter from King James I. The station was the site of the company’s livery hall until 1863 when the site was compulsorily acquired to make way for the new railway.