The Demise And Rebirth Of The British Monarchy


At around 2pm on 30 January, 1649 one of the most extraordinary things to ever happen in Britain happened. The reigning king was executed and, more than this, the British monarchy ended as a Bill had been hastily pushed through Parliament such that no one else could succeed Charles I to the throne. Continue reading “The Demise And Rebirth Of The British Monarchy”


Banqueting House – A House of Indulgence


When Cardinal Wolsey fell out of favour with King Henry VIII in 1530 he lost his Thames-side abode, then called York Palace, to Henry. While far from a slum, Henry set about turning Wolsey’s Palace (which he renamed Whitehall) into a place fit for a king and within a short time it was the grandest and most ostentatious palace in Europe. The Banqueting House we see today (added in 1619) was but one of the many buildings within the Palace confines. Continue reading “Banqueting House – A House of Indulgence”

Monty Python’s Foot


Hanging alongside works by Michelangelo and Raphael in Room 8 (Jan 2018) of the National Gallery in London is the beautiful medieval Mannerist masterpiece by Bronzino depicted below.

The picture entitled Venus, Cupid, Folly and Time or An Allegory with Venus and Cupid was painted for King Frances I of France in the mid-1500s and depicts Cupid kissing his mother Venus. Continue reading “Monty Python’s Foot”

Edith Cavell – A ‘Glorious Specimen Of Womanhood’

52I have passed by this memorial, just off the northeast corner of Trafalgar Square and across the road from the National Portrait Gallery, many times without even noticing it much less pausing to see that it is in memory of Edith Louisa Cavell, a British civilian nurse in World War I, who was executed by a German firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium. Continue reading “Edith Cavell – A ‘Glorious Specimen Of Womanhood’”

‘A Conversation With Oscar Wilde’

45This rather unorthodox memorial and tribute to a rather unorthodox man was unveiled on 30 November 1998 by Stephen Fry, who played Oscar Wilde in the 1997 film “Wilde”.

Entitled  ‘A Conversation with Oscar Wilde’ the memorial, in the form of a green granite sarcophagus and designed as a seat, depicts Oscar Wilde, one of the most brilliant and flamboyant literary figures in late Victoria London, emerging from his afterlife, cigarette (when it has not been stolen) in hand, ready to share his renowned wit and views on anything and everything with whoever cares to sit down and have a chat. Continue reading “‘A Conversation With Oscar Wilde’”

Goodwin’s Court – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’


Wandering through gas-lit Goodwin’s Court, a delightful 17th century alley-way connecting St Martins Lane (No 55-56) and Bedfordbury (No 23-24) I could easily imagine it shrouded in one of London’s famous fogs and my steps being traced by a deerstalker-clad detective from the pages of Conan Doyle. Continue reading “Goodwin’s Court – ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times’”

Agatha Christie Memorial

I think anyone would be hard pressed to think of a better candidate to be memorialised in Theatreland than Agatha Christie. Of course, her enduring association with Theatreland is her murder mystery play, The Mousetrap, which has been running here continuously for 65 years (2017), or 60 years and 25,000 performances of the play when this memorial was dedicated in 2012. Continue reading “Agatha Christie Memorial”

The Great London Beer Flood


My review on the Great Dangaroo Flood introduced my reader to a memorial plaque in Old Compton Street, Soho commemorating a totally fictional flood. This review covers another great London flood which, while sounding equally fanciful, was a real event. I refer to the Great London Beer Flood.

At around 6pm on 17 October 1814 a 15 feet high tsunami of around 1.5million litres of beer unleashed itself from the Horse Shoe Brewery (depicted above in the mid 1800s), owned by Messrs Henry Meux and Co, in the St Giles district of London – the present day site of the Dominion Theatre. Continue reading “The Great London Beer Flood”