Posts Tagged ‘London’

This article was originally posted in 2013. I am re-posting it as an introduction to some new blogs on the interior of the Palace.

The medieval moated manor house with extensive parkland was acquired by King Edward II in 1305. In 1470 King Edward IV added the Great Hall (which survives to this day). The last monarch who regularly used Eltham Palace was King Henry VIII. Afterwards, monarchs tended to prefer Greenwich Palace, probably because of easy access along the river from central London. In the mid-17th century Sir John Shaw, who by now owned the property, decided to build a new house, Eltham Lodge, about half a mile away from the current Palace site. The Palace fell into disuse and was used as a tenanted farm. The buildings fell into disrepair and it was only following a campaign in 1828, that the Great Hall was restored to a safe condition. It continued, however, to be used as a barn for the farm.
In the 1930s Stephen and Virginia Courthold had an ‘ultramodern’ house designed in the art deco style and built adjacent to the medieval Great Hall. They also had the gardens completely redesigned. They lived here until 1944 and at that time the building passed to the Army educational unit, who used it as a college until 1992. In 1994 English Heritage, having been given management of the property, started a four-year restoration programme to restore the building to the state it had been in the 1930s. The newly restored art deco house together with the Great Hall opened to the public in 1999.

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For details about visiting please go to: http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/daysout/properties/eltham-palace-and-gardens/

London Churches: St Benet

Posted: July 7, 2016 in History, London, UK
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St Benet Church. Photo by Manhattan research (https://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlecamera/)

St Benet Church. Photo by Manhattan research (https://www.flickr.com/photos/seattlecamera/)

St Benet is a small church which stands in the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. Since 1879 it has been the home to the Welsh Anglican Church in London. It is also the church of the College of Arms.

John Salmon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

John Salmon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

John Salmon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

John Salmon [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Its history goes back to the 12th century but like many city churches, the medieval building was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present Church was built by Christopher Wren and is unusual for a Wren church in that it is almost square with a flat ceiling.

Roof top view of London (2)

Posted: August 10, 2015 in London, UK
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Some more pictures from Westminster Cathedral Tower.

Roof top gardens are becoming common on London's office blocks

Roof top gardens are becoming common on London’s office blocks

Post-office tower

Post-office tower

Hidden gems only seen from above

Hidden gems only seen from above

Qyeen's Tower at Imperial College

Qyeen’s Tower at Imperial College

I knew you could see a long way but all the way to Paris! (only joking)

I knew you could see a long way but all the way to Paris! (only joking)

Roof top view of London (1)

Posted: August 8, 2015 in London, UK
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The Tower of Westminster Cathedral

The Tower of Westminster Cathedral

Looking at any city from a tower or other high place always give a completely different perspective to the view from the ground. These are some pictures of London from my recent trip to the top of the tower at Westminster Cathedral.

The old, the new and the yet to come.

The old, the new and the yet to come.

Cranes are much in evidence on the London sky-line

Cranes are much in evidence on the London sky-line

Houses of Parliament

Houses of Parliament

Buckingham Palace from Tower of Westminster Ctahedral

Buckingham Palace 

Buckingham Palace from Tower of Westminster Ctahedral

Buckingham Palace 

Battersea Power Station

Battersea Power Station

The City at Night

Posted: February 15, 2015 in Landscape, London, UK
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Two photos taken by Sue with her phone of the City of London from the southbank of the River Thames

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City Sunrise

Posted: January 20, 2015 in London, UK
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A couple of photos taken by Sue this morning on the way to work showing the sunrise over the pool of London.

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St Clement Danes Church

Posted: September 28, 2014 in History, London
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St Clement Danes, Strand, London WC2R 1DH
Photo by Mikey (https://www.flickr.com/photos/raver_mikey/)

St. Clement Danes Church sits on an island in one of central London’s busiest roads opposite the Royal Courts of Justice. The name is said to derive the fact that the current church is on the site of a ninth century church built by Danes who were living in London. St Clement had been a bishop of Rome, who was martyred during the reign of the Emperor Trajan by being tied to an anchor and thrown into the sea. He thus became the patron saint of Mariners and this was his connection to the Danes, who themselves were great seafarers. Records certainly record that there were two other churches on this site prior to the current building, dating from the 11th century (reputed to have been built by William the Conqueror) and the Middle Ages.

St Clement Danes
Photo by Lawrence Lew (https://www.flickr.com/photos/paullew/)

The current church was built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1682, although the steeple was added later in 1719. On 10 May 1941 the church was badly damaged by bombing with only the walls and the steeple left standing. At the end of the Second World War the Royal Air Force launched an appeal to restore the church and the work was completed in 1958 and the church was be consecrated as the central church of the Royal Air Force.

Its history. Of course, means that there is little historical value prior to 1940 within the church, this having been destroyed by the bombing. However, there are a number of interesting features to it. One of these are the over 800 badges of RAF squadrons and units sculpted in Welsh slate, which form part of the floor.

Clement Danes Floor (Take 3)
Photo by Mike Freeman (https://www.flickr.com/photos/mikelegend/)

The church is also a resting place for a number of books of remembrance, which record the RAF personnel killed during both world wars. One book on the south side records those who have died in RAF service since the end of World War II. This book is updated every six months. Other memorials in the church include one to the airmen of the United States air force were killed during World War II, while stationed in this country and one to the Polish squadrons, who flew as part of the RAF during the same war.

St Clement Danes Church
Photo by Maureen Barlin (https://www.flickr.com/photos/maureen_barlin/)

The church also contains a number of gifts from foreign governments and air forces, including a granite baptismal font, which was the gift of the Royal Norwegian air force and the altar which was a gift of the Royal Netherlands air force.

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Apart from its historical significance, both in its history and in its remembrance of those airmen who have given their lives in the service of their country since the formation of the Royal flying Corps in 1911, I think I also marvel at the wonder of the restoration. It certainly doesn’t look or feel the sale you in the church, built in the 1950s.

it would be hard nowadays to consider Nelson’s column without the four flanking Lions. yet at the time they were the subject of much debate and controversy. Nelson’s column had been erected between 1839 and 1843 and the original contract for the lions had gone to a sculptor called Lough. However, it transpired that there was insufficient money for the work and the idea was dropped. It was not until 1858 that the government put forward the money to complete the work and the contract was awarded to Edward Landseer, a renowned painter of animal subjects. However it was still not plain sailing. Landseer’s health problems and further financial difficulties caused further delays to the production of the statues. The missing Lions became something of a cause celèbre with newspapers calling it a ‘national disgrace’ and ‘a scandal’. It was not until 1867 that the statues were finally unvieled and although many people who had been critics now praised the statues there was still dissenting voices primarily on the basis that the statues were not in a natural pose.

Writing in 1886, W. J. Nettleship, a distinguished painter of lions, was still criticising Landseer’s lions:

“The Trafalgar Square lions must be quietly damned, because, pretending to be done from nature, they absolutely miss the true sculptural quality which distinguishes the leonine pose, and because a lion couched like that has not a concave back like a greyhound, but a convex back, greatly ennobled in line from the line of a cat’s back in the same position.”

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By the middle of the 19th century it was becoming evident that the British Museum collection was outgrowing its home in Bloomsbury. It was therefore decided to create a new museum to exhibit the natural history component of the collection. The site chosen was the site of the 1862 exhibition building in South Kensington (this had been labelled as one of the ugliest buildings ever built). Ironically, the architect chosen to design the new museum was the same one as had designed the 1862 building. However, shortly afterwards he died and was replaced by Alfred Waterhouse, who designed the building, which stands today and is reckoned by many to be one of the most attractive buildings in London.

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Natural History Museum London
Photo by Jancsi (http://www.flickr.com/photos/26831835@N00/)

The museum opened to the public in April 1881.

Many people have heard about the Royal Swans, which can be found on the upper reaches of the river Thames, but I wonder how many people know about the Royal Pelicans.

The pelicans can be found on the lake in St James’s Park in central London, which lies between the old Palace of Whitehall and the current Buckingham Palace.

St James park lake looking towards Buckingham Palace

St James park lake looking towards Buckingham Palace

The story of the pelicans date back to the mid-17th century. Charles II had recently landscaped St James’s Park to include a canal like body of water. One of his main reasons for doing this was to have a ready source of duck meat for the nearby Palace of Whitehall. There was even a house built for the Royal keeper of wildfowl beside the water, the most recent of which can still be seen today.

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In 1664 the visiting Russian ambassador presented Charles with two pelicans, which the King added to his collection of wildfowl in the Park. This tradition has continued through the centuries to the current day. The most recent addition was a gift of three great white pelicans by the city of Prague in March of this year. This brought the current total of pelicans present on the lake to 6.

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The canal built by Charles II was later remodeled to the classical lake that we see today.