Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Apart from the old operating theatre, the herb garret has been converted into a museum of medicine since the 17th century and had some interesting information on the uses that have been made of herbs in medicine over the ages.

Surgical Instrument set



Well worth a visit. For further details


St Thomas’ church, St Thomas lane, Southwark

It is possible that the Herb Garret existed in the attic of St Thomas’s Church as early as 1703. It was used as a place to store, dry and cure herbs prior to their use in medicines. In 1822 the governors of St Thomas’s Hospital decided to convert part of the Garret into an operating theatre for women. This is not as strange as it may first sound as a block which adjoined St Thomas’s Church included Dorcas Ward, where prior to 1822 any female surgery had been carried out on the ward as no theatre facilities existed close by.

Plan of Old St Thomas’ Hospital

Operating table

The viewing gallery

Everyone in their proper place

The Operating Theatre Royal London Hospital 1889

The operating Theatre Royal London Hospital 1889




In 1862, St Thomas’s Hospital relocated to Lambeth, the operating theatre was closed down and was almost forgotten for about the hundred years. In 1956 Raymond Russell, researching the history of St Thomas’s, decided to investigate the church attic to see what was there and found the operating theatre almost intact. Following restoration, it was open to the public as a museum in 1962.

For further details:


Memorial to Arthur Phillip, St Mary le Bow London

Arthur Philip was born in London in 1738. He attended the Greenwich Hospital School and in 1753 joined a whaling boat. Two years later he quit the whaler and signed on for the Royal Navy. He saw action at the Battle of Menorca (1756) and at the Battle of Havana (1762) by which time he had been commissioned as a lieutenant. The following year the war ended and Philip, without a ship, bought a farm in Hampshire. However, in 1769 he returned to the Navy and by 1774 found himself as the captain of a frigate in the Portuguese Navy during their war against Spain. By 1778, Britain was a war again and he was recalled to the Royal Navy and saw service southern Atlantic and around India.

Admiral Arthur Phillip. (By not attributed (Admiral Phillip frontispiece) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

In 1786 he was appointed the governor of the new colony of New South Wales. On arrival, he chose a cove to anchor his fleet and going ashore named it after his friend, and Home Office undersecretary, Lord Sydney. It is recorded that he tried to run the colony as fairly and justly as circumstances allowed, but often government policy and logistic failings negated his decisions. He tried to keep peace with the local Aboriginal peoples and is recorded one occasion following a misunderstanding during a meeting Philip was speared in the shoulder. However, he kept calm and would not allow any retaliation by the colonial forces.

Sketch of Sydney Cove colony 1788 (By not attributed (Admiral Philip opposite p. 56) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

By 1790 the situation had stabilised and the colony was functioning. Convicts were being given land to farm when they completed their sentence in order to supplement the food available for the colony. By 1792, however, Philip unwell returned to England. He recovered and returned to Royal Naval service in 1796, being made Rear Admiral three years later before finally retiring from active service as an Admiral in 1805. He died Bath in 1814.

Memorial to Arthur Phillip, St Mary le Bow London

There are a number of memorials dedicated to Arthur Philip both in the UK and in Australia. At the dedication of the memorial in Westminster Abbey in 2014, the Dean of Westminster described Phillip as: “This modest, yet world-class seaman, linguist, and patriot, whose selfless service laid the secure foundations on which was developed the Commonwealth of Australia, will always be remembered and honoured alongside other pioneers and inventors here in the nave.

The memorial pictured here was originally in St Mildred’s church Bread Street in London but was recovered following the church’s destruction by bombing in 1941 and relocated in St Mary Le Bow.

All that remains of St Martins is the road that was named after it just north of St Paul’s Cathedral. There may have been a monastery here as early as the 7th or 8th century – it is said to have been founded by a King of Kent,  but the earliest surviving record is of rebuilding being done during 1056. It’s name le grand seems not to refer the architecture but to a large number of privileges that the Canons here seem to have enjoyed. A privilege was an exclusion from duty eg tax or a right not enjoyed by other places eg the right of sanctuary. Its charter was confirmed by William I in 1068 and included the privilege of sanctuary and an exemption from interference by Bishops, Archdeacons or their Ministers.  The bell of St Martin’s was one of those which rang at curfew time to signal the closing of the city gates. The monastery was dissolved in 1548 and unlike many monastic churches which were given over to the local population, St Martin’s was demolished. Interestingly the privilege of sanctuary within the precinct, although this no longer existed, seems to have continued after the demolition and was finally abolished in 1697.

Fitzrovia Chapel (3)

Posted: September 1, 2017 in History, London, UK

Some more photographs of the magnificent Fitzrovia Chapel in central London.

The east end from where doors led to the Hospital. The door seen here led to the Accident and Emergency department

This door now opens onto a glass window set in the wall of a restaurant next door. When there is no function in the chapel it is often left open and must be a wonderful view for the diners whose table is on the other side.

The Font

Memorial to the Architects


I knew about the removal of railings during the war. My Grandmothers house had a wall which still contained the bases where the railings had been sawn off. But I had not heard about the use of old stretchers post war as a replacement. What an excellent example of recycling.

Stephen Liddell

Famously many of the iron and steel railings in the U.K. were removed and melted down to help the war effort in WW2.  Whether a large city park or a private residence, chances are if there was a traditional style railing or gate then it would have been melted down and recycled into things like Spitfires, guns, ships or tanks.

These old iron railings were very expensive to replace and both money and metal were scarce commodities in the 1940s and 50s.  However, life moved on and people needed new fencing, particularly in the social housing estates in East and South London that were sprouting from the ashes to house the homeless and refugees.

As it happened, there just happened to be a ready to hand and free replacement, ARP stretchers.  These stretchers were originally made so that Air Raid Protection officers could carry injured people during bombing attacks in…

View original post 612 more words

Fitzrovia Chapel (2)

Posted: August 25, 2017 in London, UK
Tags: ,

I do love marble and here are some photographs of some of the great variety of types of marble found within the Fitzrovia Chapel.

Fitzrovia Chapel (1)

Posted: August 18, 2017 in History, London, UK

The Fitzrovia chapel, as it is known today, is from the outside an unassuming brick building in the middle of a modern office and residential development in the centre of London. It unassuming character ends though once you enter the door. The chapel is all that remains of the Middlesex Hospital which stood on the site from 1757 until its demolition in 2006. One of the conditions of the redevelopment was that the chapel was maintained and restored and this involved supporting it whilst the hospital was demolished around it including the lower floors of the building in which it stood.

It is in the greatest of High Victorian styles and was completed by the Father and Son architects John and Frank Loughborough Pearson, the later taking over after his father had died in 1897. There are many oddities about this chapel. It was never consecrated as a church and so although it is now available for hire, it is not licensed for religious ceremonies such as baptisms or weddings.

The chapel re-opened in 2015 following restoration paid for by the developers of the site and is now run by a charitable trust. It is usually open on a Wednesday from 11 am to 4 pm if there is no booking.

Sue and I were back at the IAAF World Athletics Championships over the weekend.

A full crowd as there has been for each Session

Men’s 110m Hurdles race in the Decathlon

Men’s 110m Hurdles race in the Decathlon

Alyson Felix (USA) – one of the worlds best sprinters over the past decade prepares for the sprint relay heats

Changeover for USA and GB teams in women’s 4x100m relay heat – both qualified for the final.

Good to see Adam Gemili back in GB team after injury

Men’s 4x100m relay heat

Usain Bolt preparing for a 4x100m relay heat

Jamacia leads out in men’s 4x400m relay heat.

Kevin Meyer of France in the Discus section of the men’s decathlon.

I imagine this is not what the organisers had in mind for the Long Jump pit. Hero the Hedgehog and friend enjoy the sand.

At present both the Big Butterfly count and the national Dragonfly survey are both running and so I decided to combine counts for these with my weekly counts on the local patch. It was a warm but quite windy day and so conditions were not ideal and this was reflected in the low butterfly count – just a Small White and a Speckled Wood seen. However there is always something to find and today it was two new records for me – the first of these was a female Tufted Duck and 4 young. Although the Tufted Duck are present all year round on the Tarn, this is the first time I have seen evidence of successful breeding. The youngsters are quite large now and look very healthy so hopefully, they will make it to adulthood.

The second new record was 2 Jersey Tiger Moths. This bright, colourful day flying Moth is a relative newcomer to London. In a 1903 survey, it was found only in one location in Devon and in the Channel Islands, but in recent years it has spread throughout southern England and arrived in 2004 in London where it is now regularly recorded.

Jersey Tiger Moth. Photo by AJ Cann (

Jersey Tiger Moth.

Young Grey Heron on Tarn


After completing the weekly survey I went onto Eltham Palace to check out the moat for Dragonflies and was pleased to find a number of Small Red-Eyed Damselflies plus a single Migrant Hawker

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Small Red-eyed Damselfly

Bracket Fungus

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)


Small White (Artogeia rapae)
Speckled Wood [sp] (Pararge aegeria)

Jersey Tiger Moth (Euplagia quadripunctaria)

Small Red-eyed Damselfly (Erythromma vindulum)
Migrant Hawker (Aeshna mixta)
Common Darter (Sympetrum striolatum)