Archive for the ‘London’ Category

Keith was staying with us for the weekend and so on Saturday, we visited some of our local nature reserves.

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Our first stop was at Footscray meadows, a mixture of grassland and woodland along the banks of the river Cray.

One of our first sightings was of a Little Egret fishing in the river, but otherwise, it was fairly quiet – at least as far as wildlife was concerned – Saturday is probably not the best time to visit as it is a favourite place for dog-walkers and families.

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We made our way up river towards the five-arch bridge, which forms the head of a lake in the river, where Mallard and Tufted Ducks congregate together with Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swans and Egyptian geese. We also saw a Terrapin basking in the sunlight. These now seem to be a permanent resident of many of our lakes in the area, released by pet owners who no longer want them or who can’t house them when full grown. Walking further upstream from the lake, we heard a couple of Cetti’s warblers calling, but there was little evidence of any small bird migration.

 

Terrapin (left), Mute Swan (top right) and Egyptian Goose (lower right) 

Our next stop was Sutcliffe Park LNR. Here it was evident that the vegetation had grown well this summer as the marsh area was completely covered and impossible to see into. The highlight was a Little Grebe on the Lake.

 

Our final stop was my home patch around the Tarn. here we found 2 Little Grebes, probably an adult and a juvenile along with a Grey Heron. Keith heard a Grey Wagtail, which winters here each year, but we could not locate it.

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Little Grebes – adult (left and top right) and probable juvenile (lower right)

Grey Heron (left) and Coot (right)

 

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Rock Dove [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Cetti’s Warbler [sp] (Cettia cetti)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

As you travel around London at ground level it is difficult to appreciate just how green our city is. Only when looking at maps or aerial photographs can you really see the true picture, so I was very interested to see this article from Stephen Liddell about a new designation for London recognising its natural environment.

 

One way or the other, London is famous for many things. Whether it be History, finance, empire, culture or just the weather. One of the things that might not spring to mind when you think of London, however, is just how green it is even though by area, it has by far more green and […]

via London – The first National Park City in the World — Stephen Liddell

This sculpture is found in Whittington Gardens in the city of London. It was presented to the city of London as one of a pair in 2005 by the President of Italy. They were originally sculpted by Cambellotti in 1924. It depicts a herdsman on horseback.

The stained glass in Southwark Cathedral dates from Tudor times to that replaced after the damage caused by bombing in the Blitz during WWII.

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Fragment of Tudor stained glass window

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Window above the high altar

 

Perhaps the most famous memorial in the Cathedral is to William Shakespeare, who performed many of his plays at the Globe Theatre, a few hundred yards from the Cathedral.

The Shakespeare memorial and window which contains characters from his plays

The organ, the font and some roof bosses from the 15th-century wooden roof

In the SW corner are a fragment of the original Norman church and the memorial to the Marchioness Tragedy in 1989, which happened on the river not far from the Cathedral

Medieval tombs in the Cathedral

 

Last night Sue and I did an evening tour of Southwark Cathedral.

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Southwark Cathedral sits at the south end of London Bridge. Its pre-Norman origins are mostly legends with very little historical proof. It has been claimed that its foundation as a church was in 606, but this seems highly unlikely. Another story claims there was a nunnery here in pre-Norman times and also a college of priests founded by a noble lady called Swithene. Some historians have actually suggested that a more likely founder was actually Bishop Swithern of Winchester, who held office from 852 to 863. Certainly, there must’ve been an established church here as the Domesday book (1086) records the ‘Minster at Southwark’, controlled by Bishop Odo of the Bayeaux, the half-brother of William the Conqueror. However, it was the Bishop of Winchester who founded a Priory dedicated to the Virgin Mary on this site, close to his London Palace, in 1106. Its actual dedication is to St Mary Overie (St Mary over the water) to distinguish itself from the churches of St Mary in the city of London on the other side of London Bridge.

The Priory was damaged by fire in 1212 and 1390 and in 1496 the stone ceiling of the nave collapsed and was replaced by a wooden one. However, despite all of these calamities, repairs were carried out and in 1520 Bishop Fox installed a new altar screen, which is still present today, at the west end. The Priory closed in 1540, as part of the dissolution of the monasteries, and the church was first leased to, and later granted to, the people of Southwark for use as a parish church. It seems however that the cost of upkeep was beyond the parish and by the 19th century, much of the church was in a bad state with only the west end in use. A major effort was made to restore the church to its former glory and much effort to ensure that the Victorian rebuilding was done in the style of the Medieval original. Thus today when you look at it, there is a continuity between the 13th-century elements and those added by the Victorian rebuilders. In 1905, with the expansion of population south of the river, a new diocese in the Church of England was created and the church was redesignated as The Cathedral Church of St Mary Overie and St Saviour.

 

This statue was placed in St James’ Park in 1903 as a memorial to the Royal Marines who had died during the actions in South Africa and China. During world war 2 it was removed for safekeeping and in 1945 was relocated to a site in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea, moving again 3 years later to its current site in the Mall.

Adrian Jones, the sculptor, had first hand experience of the campaign in South Africa. He had qualified as a Veterinary Surgeon and joined the Royal Army Veterinary Corps, serving in Abyssinia, Ireland, Egypt and South Africa before retiring with the rank of Captain in 1890. He then decided to pursue a career as a sculptor and perhaps his most famous piece of work is ‘ Peace in her Quadriga’ which sits on top of the Wellington Arch.

Wellington Arch. Photo by Matt Brown (https://www.flickr.com/photos/londonmatt/)

The Monument is located close to London Bridge and commemorates the Great Fire of London, which began on 2nd September 1666 and burnt for 5 days before it was eventually stopped, in the process destroying 13200 houses, St Paul’s Cathedral and 87 other churches.

The Monument was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and Robert Hooke and was erected between 1671 and 1677 on the site of St Margaret fish St which had been destroyed in the fire. It is 62m tall and stands 62m from the site of Thomas Farriner’s bakers shop in Pudding Lane, where the fire started. There are over 300 steps from ground level to the observation cage near the top, which gives a good view over London.

 

William Tyndale was born in Gloucestershire in 1494. He attended Oxford University and obtained a first degree in 1512 and his master’s degree 3 years later. He began studying Theology. In 1517 he moved from Oxford to Cambridge where he remained until 1521. He then took up a post as chaplain and tutor to a family in Gloucestershire, but after 2 years left to travel to London seeking permission to translate the Latin Bible into English. Finding no support in England for his project, he travelled to Wittenberg in Germany where he began working on the translation. The first copies were printed in Antwerp and Worms in 1526 and some of these found their way back to England. Bishop Tunstall obtained some copies and promptly burnt them, although this proved to be a controversial action even amongst those who opposed the translation from Latin. In 1529, Cardinal Wolsey declared that Tyndale was a heretic and the following year Tyndale wrote an essay opposing the annulment of Henry VIII’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. Infuriated, Henry petitioned the Emporer Charles V for Tyndale’s arrest and extradition. Tyndale was eventually arrested in 1535 and put on trial at Vilvoorde near Brussels on a charge of Heresy. It is interesting to note that one person who urged the court for clemency was Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister.  Tyndale was found guilty and sentenced to execution. His last words were reported as “Lord, open the eyes of the King of England”. By 1540, Henry had commisioned the production of ‘The Great Bible’ an English language translation to be used in all churches in the new Church of England. Its core source was Tyndale’s translation.

This Bronze statue of Tyndale was erected in Victoria Embankment Gardens in 1884. Beside Tyndale is an open Bible resting on a printing press.

The afternoon at the London Anniversary Games continued with a para-athletic 200 metres for men and a Women’s 400m Hurdles. The Women’s Javelin competition was partially hidden from our sight by a scoreboard and all we really saw was the Javelins appearing from behind it to arc into the centre of the field.

Then followed the heats of the 100 metres, first for the women and then the men.

In front of us was the Women’s Long Jump, which included the UK’s talented trio of jumpers, Lorraine Ugen, Shara Proctor and Jazmin Sawyers, who are all currently in the world top-10 this year, plus the World Indoor Pentathlon Champion, Katarina Johnson-Thompson.

Shara Proctor (top), Jazmin Sawyers (bottom left), Katarina Johnson-Thompson (Bottom centre) and Lorraine Ugen (Bottom right)

The competition was won by Shara Proctor with Lorraine Ugen in second and only a few centimetres between them.

The Men’s 400 metres followed and was won by Abdalleleh Haroun of Qatar, who came from no-where on the last straight to storm past the leaders. After this was the slightly more sedate pace of the Men’s 5000 metres.

In the Men’s 400m hurdles Karsten Warholm of Norway won, but worryingly from a UK perspective Jack King landed badly from a hurdle and appeared to injure himself. Not what you need a few weeks before a major championship.

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Jack King clears a barrier in front of us 

The final events of the afternoon were the Men’s and Woman’s 100-metre finals.

A great afternoon of athletics.