There is no other museum in London where you can learn about London, other than the Museum of London!
Located right on the Roman City Wall it’s a treasure chest of prehistoric, ancient, Roman, medieval and future history, from BC to AD this is the place to find out more!
Absolutely my favourite museum in London, the Museum of London is a must visit if you really want to find out about the city and it’s history. I visit as often as possible. Besides the frequent exhibitions, there is always something new that catches my eye, something I may have not seen on my previous visits.
Just a few minutes walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, The Museum of London, opened in December 1976, is suitably located on the ancient London City Wall built by the Romans, and documents the history of London and it’s inhabitants through time in an innovative design – one route only along a series of galleries, from prehistoric to modern times and beyond!
The galleries form a chronological timeline of history containing original artefacts, models, pictures, diagrams, reconstructions, interactive displays and activities suitable for all ages.
With a strong emphais on archaeological discoveries, the built city, urban development and London’s social and cultural life, there is a prehistoric gallery; “London before London”, a “Medieval London” gallery and a gallery covering the period of the English Civil War and the 1666 Great Fire of London; “War, Plague and Fire”.
Fragments of the Roman London Wall, just outside the museum, can be seen from a raised viewing platform and you can also access the wall from the street level. Walk where the Romans walked!!!
On the same level as the restaurant is the marvellous showcase for the Lord Mayor’s State Coach, beautifully illuminated and set up with realistic looking horses, you can practically touch the coach.
Lining the walls is a fabulous display of City Livery Company artefacts. The Museum of London is home to the 250 year-old coach which takes to the streets each year in November for the Lord Mayor’s Show; an 800 year-old traditional event. (Like Magna Carta 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show)
In the galleries of Modern London, the exhibitions space diplays 7,000 objects, including a reconstruction of a Georgian Pleasure Garden, an art-deco lift from Selfridges Department Store and the wooden interior of a Wellclose debtors prison cell.
The amazing “Expanding City” Gallery covers London’s history from the 1660’s to the 1850’s, while the “People’s City” features the 1850’s to 1940’s and includes a “Victorian Walk” with recreated shops and public buildings, sections of the West End, Suffragettes, World War I and World War II as well as every day life of the city.
There is also a small exhibition on the fabulous 2012 Olympic Games cauldron.
Besides all the fabulous galleries, the Museum holds an exciting new exhibition each year; ranging from famous Londoners like Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes to the more bizarre and creepy;
You could whizz through in an hour and have a quick overview or you could spend a few hours meandering and enjoying the many fascinating exhibits on view, or you could, like me, visit again and again! It really is a treasure chest!
From time to time they hold classes in the Clore Learning centre where you can actually get actively involved….I learned how to make a lardy cake
There are a multitude of fascinating artefacts and things to see in the Museum of London, making this your ‘must visit museum’ on your next visit for 3 Days in London.
Address: 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN
Phone: 020 7001 9844
Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00- 18:00 the galleries start closing at 17:40 Closed 24 – 26 December.
FREE ENTRY http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/
Yes, it’s the 500th birthday of Hampton Court Palace; for such an old lady she’s looking mighty fine.
Hampton Court Palace really is a tale of two palaces; both the Tudor Palace and the younger Baroque Palace. But today’s celebration is of course about Cardinal Thomas Wolsey’s Tudor Palace.
Building at the palace began on 12 February 1515. Sadly, Cardinal Wolsey fell out with Henry VIII at some stage (see Wolf Hall) and Henry acquired the palace for himself (as kings do!) and the palace has since become synonymous with the story of Henry VIII.
We have seen something of Hampton Court and Henry VIII recently on the BBC2’s programme Wolf Hall (which if you haven’t seen it yet, is extraordinary – do watch it on iPlayer catch-up if you can). I can remember the first time I visited Hampton Court Palace back in 2003. My sister and her husband had popped over to London from Dublin for a short visit.
High on the agenda had to be a day at the mighty Tudor Palace. I can still recall the emotion I felt when walking through that gate for the first time; overawed!
We stopped to admire the ten statues of heraldic animals, called the ‘King’s Beasts’, standing on the bridge over the moat that leads to the great gatehouse.
These statues represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour. Strolling through the Great Gate House is a quite surreal feeling, knowing that kings and queens too have walked (or ridden) through those very gates.
The magnificent Tudor building, although just a shadow of it’s former glory, what remains today is surely one of the greatest treasures of the United Kingdom; aeons old – stately, majestic, imperial, amazing, extraordinary and that’s just the outside! Step through the Great Gate House; step into a world gone by.
Overawed by the splendour and history, we meandered here, there and everywhere; wandered about up amazingly decorated staircases
through rooms beautifully decorated, gasped at ceilings exquisitely painted with scenes of heaven and royalty,
admired intricately woven tapestries hung when Henry lived here
stepped quietly along corridors once walked by Henry VIII and his many wives,
a glimpse of the Chapel Royal leaves you breathless with wonder at the sheer beauty.
We explored corridors, guard rooms, bedrooms, the kitchen,
the wine cellars, the great hall and wondered at the story of how a young, by all accounts personable, romantic young king, came to be a monstrous tyrant who thought nothing of having his once beloved wife’s head chopped off! Amongst others!
Sadly, at the time we visited we were not allowed to take photos of the interiors but I still remember our sheer awe of the surroundings.
Since that day, things have changed and I have since visited hundreds of times (okay, maybe dozens) and I think I have probably photographed just about every room, staircase and passageway that we have access to, plus a few we don’t normally have access to!
In 1989 the organisation known as Historic Royal Palaces was established, this brought together Hampton Court Palace as well as Tower of London, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace and Banqueting House, all of which are owned by The Queen ‘in right of Crown'; meaning that Her Majesty holds the palaces in Trust for the next monarch and by law cannot sell, lease or otherwise dispose of any interest in the palaces. A recent acquisition in 2014, brought Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland into the HRP stables.
From their website: “On 1 April 1998, Historic Royal Palaces became an independent charity by Royal Charter with a Board of Trustees, receiving no funding from Government or the Crown. Historic Royal Palaces Enterprises Ltd was set up to manage all of the organisation’s trading activities. Most of the contents of the palaces form part of the Royal Collection and are also owned by The Queen in right of Crown. The Director of the Royal Collection and the Keeper of the Privy Purse from the Royal Household sit as Trustees on the Board of Historic Royal Palaces”.
The palaces have truly come alive in the last few years. Today and on just about any day of the week you could bump into Henry VIII or one of his wives walking about the grounds of the great palace,
watch an emmissary from France petition the King in the Great Hall;
a room spanned by a large and sumptuously decorated hammer-beam roof – listen to a debate between courtiers,
admire the great tapestries and overhear the whispers of Ladies in Waiting in the Great Watching Chamber,
you may even get to see a ghost or two slip quietly along the corridors!
In the Buttery, at the start of Henry VIII’s Apartments just before the Great Hall, you will be able to see a film featuring all six of Henry’s wives as well as photo portraits of each wife and learn more about their lives… and their eventual fates.
There are a number of re-enactments held every year to celebrate a historical milestone, or extravagant pageants to celebrate one anniversary or another; meet the likes of George I and his wayward son Frederick, admire the ladies of the court as they waft from here to there, spy a Courtier come to deliver news to the King,
visit the newly restored Kitchen Gardens or listen to Handel in the gardens while you watch fireworks.
Visit the Tilt Yard where Henry VIII once jousted,
take a peek at the Tennis Courts where as a virile young man he challenged all.
Be sure to have a look at the Great Vine – planted in 1768 by the celebrated gardener ‘Capability’ Brown, the the world’s largest productive vine,
wander through the Privy Gardens to the riverside walk of the Baroque Palace…a lot younger and way more different to the Tudor Palace, but just as lovely, especially when viewed from the middle of the Privy Garden.
And while exploring gardens on the East Front why not take a ride around the gardens on the Shire Horse Tram.
There are so many amazing nooks and crannies, apartments and rooms to explore that you surely need a whole day to see it all.
There is so much history in Hampton Court Palace that you would need a lifetime to learn it all.
Learn just a bit with a visit to this truly magnificent palace, a visit that will leave you overwhelmed, a visit you would never forget. It certainly ranks on my list of Top 30 London Attractions!
Hampton Court Palace; a royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames has not been lived in by the British royal family since the 18th century. Originally built for Cardinal Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII, circa 1514. After Wolsey fell from favour in 1529, he gave the palace to the King, who enlarged it. Wolsey died a couple of years later. Along with St. James’s Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by Henry VIII.
Hampton Court Palace follows seasonal times; is open from Monday to Sunday in summer from 10am – 6pm (please check their website for other times)
Today in history; 10th February 1840, Queen Victoria marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, the first wedding of a reigning queen since 1554. The couple remained devoted to each other throughout their married lives – “I never imagined that I should find so much love on Earth…”
The marriage of Queen Victoria to Prince Albert, her true love took place at a lavish ceremony in the Chapel Royal of St James’s Palace in London 3 years after she became queen. The two had first met at Kensington Palace, Queen Victoria’s childhood home, in 1836 at the suggestion of Victoria’s uncle, King Leopold I of the Belgians, who felt that they would be suited to each other. They fell in love at their 2nd meeting in 1839 and were enagaged later that year on 15 October.
The wedding breakfast was held at Buckingham Palace home of Queen Victoria since 1837.
They went on to have 9 children, all of whom married into royal and noble families across Europe earning her the nickname “the grandmother of Europe”. Victoria had 40 grand-children and 37 great-grandchildren, all scattered across Europe.
They were married for just 21 years when in Albert suddenly died after a short illness brought on by the stress of travelling to Cambridge to remonstrate with his wayward son, their eldest Bertie, later Edward VII. Prince Albert had visited his eldest son in Cambridge after a scandal reached their ears, and whilst there the two of them went for a long walk in the rain. Albert returned to Windsor an ill man and three weeks later at the age of just 42, on 14th December 1861 he died. Victoria blamed her eldest son for his father’s death and for years refused to see him, saying the very sight of him made her ill. It has since been held that Albert probably died of typhoid fever or possibly Crohn’s disease.
Victoria plunged into a period of mourning from which she never recovered.
Their love is forever memorialised and commemorated in the Albert Memorial in Kensington Gardens opened just 11 years after his death. One of London’s most ornate monuments, designed by George Gilbert Scott, the memorial was unveiled in 1872 just 11 years after Albert’s death.
The Albert Memorial, influenced by the 13th century Eleanor Crosses, is probably one of the grandest high-Victorian gothic extravaganzas. The memorial is located in Kensington Gardens on Kensington Road, London W2 2UH opposite the Royal Albert Hall.
Queen Victoria is our longest reigning monarch to date and will only be superceded by Queen Elizabeth II on September 9th 2015…god willing. Queen Elizabeth II is the male-line great-granddaughter of Edward VII, who inherited the crown from his mother, Queen Victoria and will on 9th September 2015 become the longest reigning monarch in history.
Some world famous people from 1840-1861:
Charles Dickens February 7th 1812 – June 9th, 1870
Florence Nightingale OM, RRC – 12 May 1820 – 13 August 1910); a celebrated English social reformer and statistician, the founder of modern nursing. Florence Nightingale came to prominence while serving as a manager of nurses trained by her during the Crimean War. She gave nursing a highly favourable reputation and became an icon of Victorian culture, known as “The Lady with the Lamp” making rounds of wounded soldiers at night.
1845 – Sir John Franklin at the age of 59 years old, offered to lead another expedition to the Arctic to search for the North-West Passage. Setting sail with the ships Erebus and Terror from Greenhithe in Kent on 19 May 1845. On 26 July, the captain of a whaling ship saw them off the coast of Baffin Island, the last time the ships or men were ever seen.
1850 – 1855 Captain Robert McClure leads a search party for Franklin and became the first person to cross the North-West Passage, making the journey in stages travelling by ship and on foot. He was given a reward of £5000 and a knighthood.
Sir Horace Jones – Tower Bridge Architect was born in
Sir Robert Peel – 2nd Baronet was a British Conservative statesman, who twice served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 December 1834 to 8 April 1835, and again from 30 August 1841 to 29 June 1846
Major events that happened in the UK and the world during their marriage:
1851 – The Great Exhibition organised by Henry Cole and Prince Albert, was the first international exhibition of manufactured products.
1840’s – The Mexican–American War was a source of conflict.
1840 – 1861 The Whigs and Democrats were in opposition to each other.
1840 – End of the British practice of deporting convicts to Australia
1840 – Penny postage insituted.
1840 – Charles Dickens’s ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ is published.
1843 – Charles Dickens’s ‘A Christmas Carol’ is published.
1844 – Irish potato famine begins.
1845 – Isambard Kingdom Brunel builds the S. S. Great Britain, the first propeller-driven steamship.
1846 – ‘Repeal of Corn Laws’, beginning an era of free trade.
1847 – ‘Ten Hours Act’ restricts working hours of children in factories.
1847 – Emily Brontë’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ is published.
1847 – Charlotte Brontë’s ‘Jane Eyre’ is published
1848 – saw the Founding of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood.
1849 – Charles Dickens’s ‘David Copperfield’ is published.
1850 – The legendary Koh-i-Nur (‘Mountain of Light’) diamond is presented to Queen Victoria. It is now set in the platinum crown made for the late Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother for the 1937 coronation. This diamond, which came from the Treasury at Lahore in the Punjab, may have belonged to the early Mughal emperors before passing eventually to Duleep Singh. It was re-cut for Queen Victoria in 1852 and now weighs 106 carats. Traditionally the Koh-i-Nur is only worn by a queen or queen consort: it is said to bring bad luck to any man who wears it.
1850 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson is named Poet Laureate; The Charge of the Light Brigade (1854) & Ulysses (published 1842). Known for quotes such as “‘Tis better to have loved and lost / Than never to have loved at all”.
1851 – First telegraph cable laid across the English Channel.
1851 – Invention of instantaneous photography by William Fox Talbot.
1851 – First cigarettes sold in Britain.
1851 – Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace.
1851 – by this stage half of the population of Great Britain are now living in cities.
1851 – London population grows from 1.1 million in 1801 to 2.7 million.
1852 – Charles Dickens’s ‘Bleak House’ is published.
1852 – the opening of the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington.
1852 – The last duel in England is fought at Priest Hill, Surrey (duels had been outlawed in 1840s).
1853 – Livingstone discovers Victoria Falls.
1853–56—Crimean War: known in Russian historiography as the Eastern War of 1853–1856 (October 1853 – February 1856), a conflict in which Russia lost to an alliance of France, Britain, the Ottoman Empire and Sardinia.
1854 – Florence Nightingale goes to Crimea and organizes nursing during the war.
1854 – Cigarettes introduced into Britain.
1854 – Charles Dickens’s ‘Hard Times’ is published.
1855 – Balmoral Castle in Scotland is completed.
1855 – Newspaper stamp tax was abolished.
1855 – Charles Dickens’s ‘Little Dorrit’ was published.
1857 – The National Portrait Gallery was founded.
1857 – the first telegraph cable was laid across the Atlantic.
1857 – Suppression of Indian mutiny against British rule in India.
1858 – Government of India transferred to the Crown.
1858 – April 10th Big Ben bell cast.
1858 – John Speke discovers Lake Victoria.
1858 – The launching of Brunel’s ‘Great Eastern’, the largest ship yet built.
1859 – Big Ben enters service (May 31).
1859 – First women admitted to Royal Academy schools.
1859 – Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species is published.
1859 – Charles Dickens’s ‘Tale of Two Cities’ is published.
1860 – August 30th see the introduction of trams into England.
1860 – Charles Dickens’s ‘Great Expectations’ is published.
1860 – Florence Nightingale publishes the first definitive textbooks on nursing.
1861 – Death of Prince Albert of typhoid fever at age 42.
One of the greatest love stories of the 19th century.
Victoria and Albert
The Wellington Arch (aka Constitution Arch), built in 1825-7 as a northern gate to the grounds of Buckingham Palace, providing a grand entrance to London, is situated in the centre of the Hyde Park Corner traffic island, a hub for some of the busiest roads in Westminster –
6 streets converge at the junction: Constitution Hill (south east), Grosvenor Crescent ( south west), Grosvenor Place (south), Park Lane, Knightsbridge (west), Park Lane (north) and Piccadilly ( north east).
Designed by Decimus Burton as a memorial to the Duke of Wellington, the arch was intended as a ‘victory arch’ proclaiming Wellington’s defeat of Napolean, originally topped with an equestrian statue of the Duke, sculpted by Matthew Cotes Wyatt but replaced in 1912 with a work entitled ‘The Angel of Peace’ descending on the Quadriga of Victory (ancient four-horse chariot) by sculptor Adrian Jones; the largest bronze sculpture in Europe.
The arch is hollow inside and housed a small police station until 1992. Contained within the Arch is the new Quadriga Gallery where you can see one of a series of exhibitions. When we visited we saw the: Carscapes: How the Motor Car Reshaped England
Besides the arch there are great number of other fascinating monuments on the island: Monument to the Cavalry of the Empire, Adrian Jones, Boy and Dolphin statue, Alexander Munro, The Wellington Monument – a smaller equestrian statue of Wellington (facing Apsley House – the home of the first Duke of Wellington), the Machine Gun Corps Memorial, the Royal Artillery Memorial, the Australian War Memorial, the New Zealand War Memorial, and a statue of Lord Byron (on an island opposite the Wellington Memorial).
The view; its amazing, you can see right along Constitution Avenue……
you can enjoy stunning panoramas of London’s parks and Houses of Parliament from the balconies of Wellington Arch and of course you can get a really close up view of the extraordinary sculpture at the top; ‘The Angel of Peace’ descending on the Quadriga of Victory.
The monuments are a fascinating snapshot of British and Commonwealth history.
Once you’ve enjoyed the view and seen all the monuments then head underground via the Hyde Corner Underpass….there are a number of delightful murals on the walls depicting Victorian London and other scenes…well worth the time.
Items of note:
“Hyde Park Corner” was used as a code to announce the death of King George VI to the government in 1952.
The 1935 film ‘ Hyde Park Corner’ takes it’s name from the area…where it is set.
One half of the arch functions as a ventilation shaft for the London Underground network.
Across the road is the well-known Hyde Park Corner Screen; Burton’s Screen which forms the Hyde Park Corner entrance to Hyde Park and on Park Lane is the Queen Elizabeth Gate.
Ownership of Wellington Arch was transferred to English Heritage in 1999, the arch contains three floors of exhibits detailing the history of the arch and is now open to the public (for a fee).
Nearest Tube Station:
Hyde Park Corner – then cross the road.
Green Park and a short walk.
Victoria Station and quite a walk.
Hyde Park corner is also within walking distance of Piccadilly Circus along Piccadilly, a great walk that takes you past the famous Fortnum and Mason Store, the Royal Academy of Art, St James’s
Church Piccadilly and much more. Be sure to look out for the clock on the facade of Fortnum and Mason’s.
Many buses service the area on the way to and from Victoria Station. Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
50 years ago today on 30.01.1965, the funeral of The Right Honourable Sir Winston Churchill, Soldier, First Lord of the Admiralty, Politician, Wartime Leader, Statesman, Writer (winning the Nobel Prize in Literature), Artist , voted the Greatest Briton of all time in 2002, took place in London.
He was given a State Funeral (unusual for a commoner) and after the service at St Paul’s Cathedral his coffin was carried along the River Thames on the deck of the Havengore. Today, a small flotilla of boats that included the Havengore leading with a wreath secured in the exact spot where his coffin lay 50 years ago, processed along the River Thames from HMS President at St Katherine Docks to the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament), recreating the funeral flotilla.
At 13:30 a bio-degradable wreath was cast into the Thames in front of the Palace of Westminster. Churchill was the ‘Father’ of Parliament, an honour bestowed on him due to the length of service in the House.
It was a wonderful event, the small flotilla looked amazing on the river and I was fortunate enough to be on one of the Thames Clippers as part of the flotilla.
A once in a lifetime event and a great opportunity to honour such a great man. Hundreds of people lined the riverbanks and the many bridges we travelled beneath. Tower Bridge was raised in honour, the band played ‘Rule Britannia’ and a Piper on the deck of the Havengore played all along the river till Westminster.
A splendid day in London, as the service drew to a close the clouds came over and it rained…..a fitting end to a poignant event.
The Greatest Hussar of all time who famously said at the beginning of WW2 “We shall never surrender”. R.I.P. Winston Churchill