London as a city probably has more landmarks and features instantly recognisable world wide than any other city in the world. While some of these are major buildings and monuments some are items of a rather more mundane nature. Everyone knows about London’s red buses, its black taxis and the Tube. Continue reading “London’s Telephone Boxes – A Dying Breed”
If you have seen my introductory London entry and you have any knowledge of the Knights Templar, even if it be via Dan Brown’s novel, the Da Vinci Code, you will have recognised the main picture there as being the symbol of the Knights Templar – a horse carrying two knights. This symbol is situated atop a column outside the Temple Church. Continue reading “Temple Church and the Knights Templar”
This is a relatively recent and perhaps overdue addition to the many memorials of London.
This memorial/cenotaph to the Women of World War II was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 9 July, 2005 some 60 years after the end of World War II. The memorial, dedicated by Baroness Boothroyd, former Speaker of the House of Commons, commemorates the contribution of some 7 million women to the war effort, both in uniform and on the home front. Perhaps not well known, conscription for women began in 1941 and by 1943 nine out of 10 single women aged between 20 and 30 were working in factories, on the land or in the armed forces. Continue reading “Women of World War II Memorial”
The Wellcome Collection (named after founder Sir Henry Wellcome (1853-1936) an American businessman, collector and philanthropist who ended up a British knight) describes itself as “a free visitor destination for the incurably curious” and “explores the connections between medicine, life and art in the past, present and future”. I like to think of myself as incurably curious and I think “a destination for the incurably curious” sums the place up splendidly. Continue reading “The Wellcome Collection”
As you enter the Hunterian Museum, in a niche just past the reception desk, you will be confronted with the skeleton of Jonathan Wild one of London’s most notorious criminals.
Wild, hailing from Wolverhampton arrived in London in 1708 and soon (1710) landed himself in jail for a debt offence. While in prison Wild really began his short life of crime and befriended both other petty criminals and his warders who (the warders that is!) awarded him with “the liberty of the gate”, meaning that he was allowed out at night to aid in the arrest of thieves. Off course this award was of mutual benefit to warders and Wild. Continue reading “Thief Taker General – Hunterian Museum”
Freak shows of any variety were a mainstay in the entertainment of London society in Georgian times (1700s), the odder and more extreme the better.
In 1781 George Byrne left his home in Northern Ireland to join ‘the circus’. Continue reading “The Irish Giant at the Hunterian Museum”
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to this rather unorthodox museum and highly recommend a visit if interested in the subject matter. While it is not without its controversy the museum is not in the slightest macabre, disrespectful, commercialised, freakish, sensationalist or tacky (adjectives often used in referring to it). Continue reading “The Hunterian Museum”
Greenwich Market operates from Tuesday to Sunday and has about 120 stalls selling arts & crafts, antiques & collectables, clothing, curiosities, vintage items, some fresh produce and takeaway food (with a few tables) – something to suit everyone. Don’t overlook the shops around the periphery of the market – mainly arts and crafts in nature, as well. Continue reading “Greenwich Market”
Wandering around the exterior of the Old Royal Naval College (a naval hospital until 1873 and now the University of Greenwich) and a look at the grandness of the buildings in a setting next to none will leave the visitor with little doubt that this was no ordinary hospital for convalescing seamen in the late 1700s. Enter some of the buildings and most notably the Chapel or the Painted Hall (dining room) and you will be in no doubt. These buildings were built in the days when Britain ruled the waves – the days of Rule Britannia, when the navy was the premier service and money was no object (though I will come back to that latter comment about money). Continue reading “Old Royal Naval College Chapel – Not All That It Seems”
While this review is to draw your attention to the former Greenwich Palace commemorated by an easily missed stone plaque I will also outline, in a very summary form, the royal connection with Greenwich. Continue reading “Greenwich Palace (Placentia) and the Royals”