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I wished to see inside of the Royal Albert Hall
Favorite thing: I wished to see what the inside of the R.A.H looked like and it's great and red and I saw Sir Cliff Richard twice in 2001.
You can go on a tour of the building costs around £7.50p.
I went at 10AM in 2007. And I met Dutch Cliff fans taking the tour.
The Albert Hall and nearby museums was an idea of Prince Albert Queen Victoria's consort.
The yearly rent for the R.A.H. is 00.05P. Yes one Shilling/five new pence.
Fondest memory: Seeing Sir Cliff Richard at the Royal Albert Hall.
- Theater Travel
No 3 Saville Row
Favorite thing: This building in Saville Row, right next door to Gieves and Hawkes, was the scene of the Beatle's last ever performance, the famous Rooftop Concert which they gave on 30th January 1969. The building was home to the Apple Corps HQ (their record label at the time) and they were making the roof into a rooftop garden. Ringo Starr saw it and thought it would be an ideal location for the concert.
Currently, the building is empty and the door is boarded up.
- Historical Travel
Favorite thing: It is situated in South Kensington in central London - . It forms the practical part of a national memorial to the Prince Consort - the decorative part is the Albert Memorial directly to the north in Kensington Gardens, now separated from the Hall by the heavy traffic along Kensington Gore. The hall also accommodates the largest pipe organ in the UK, and is the home of The Proms.
- Historical Travel
Gherkin With a View
Favorite thing: Designed by the ubiquitous Sir Norman Foster and commissioned by Swiss Re (insurance) group, this 180 metre highrise in London's financial district is bettern known as "The Gherkin"-- for obvious reasons! Some people find this also to be a very erotic design, but I won't comment on this any further...not a laddish thing anyway... ;)
The building not only looks -- let's say "appealing" :)) -- but also has some pretty smart features like an advanced air circulation system allowing for natural air flow half of the year saving a lot of electricity which otherwise would have been necessary to run the air conditioning. Unfortunately, as a tourist, unless you know somebody who works inside, one can only admire the building from outside. This seems to follow a recent trend of keeping the public out of skyscrapers. While it might have something to do with security concerns after 9/11, I believe this to be quite wrong. If you occupy so much prominent space in a city, you do have a responsibility to give something back to the people who -- through government -- allowed you to go ahead with your monster project. At least, the gherkin, together with its less sightly highrise neighbours, does provide some welcome shade on a hot summer's day :)
The changing city skyline
Favorite thing: Wherever you go in London, you'll soon pass a building site. Not many tourists will pass this one though - it's at the north end of Liverpool Street station. In fact it is over the railway tracks as they leave the station, just before they turn east and head for Essex.
The Broadgate tower will eventually be 36 stories tall, and will be a dramatic addition to the city skyline. At the moment (9th August 2006) it's only up to the eighth floor, and most of what you can see is the massive steelwork structure that will carry the building across the railway tracks. The bare (red) steelwork forms a massive "A"-frame across the tracks, the grey steelwork is only temporary to hold it all in place during construction. It is scheduled for completion in 2008.
Update 25 April 2007
The tower is now almost at its full height, and the curtain walling is being installed. I stood and watched for ten minutes whilst one panel was lifted into position on the fifth floor of the lower block - at the same time a triangular panel was installed on the 11th floor of the tower block. I expect it will all look very different again in another couple of months.
Beautiful architecture in Trafalgar Square
I love old Architecture, so I photographed this lovely old beige building just opposite Trafalgar Square. It's actually on the corner of Cumberland road; if you follow this road down, it takes you on to The Victoria Embankment, where you will find the London Eye, The old offices of Scotland Yard, war monuments to the RAF and Royal Navy. Further on down, you will find Big Ben and The Houses of Parliament.
The other pictures with this tip are of various buildings on Trafalgar Square at night time.
- Historical Travel
- Arts and Culture
Favorite thing: This magnificent hall was originally built in 1097, but extensively rebuilt at the end of the 14th century in the reign of Richard II. The roof dates from this period.
Built as a banqueting hall, it has been used for many purposes over the years, including law courts. A number of important state trials were held here, including that of Charles II. A plaque on the floor marks the event, and it’s inscription reads: -
“This Tablet marks the spot where Charles Stuart King of England stood before the Court which sat pursuant to the ordinance for erecting a high Court of Justice for his trial which was read the first second & third time & passed by Parliament on the 4th January 1649-9.
The Court met on Saturday the 20th Monday the 22nd, Tuesday the 23rd, & on Saturday the 27th January 1649 when the sentence of Death was pronounced upon the King.”
The hall is now used for major public ceremonies, and also for the lying in state of monarchs and very distinguished statesmen. Most recently, several hundred thousand people queued to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 2002
Entry to Westminster Hall during Open House Weekend was free. Normally you can only visit as part of a tour of the Houses of Parliament during the summer recess (generally August and September) – tickets are £ 12 for adults – for details see the website. UK residents can also arrange a free tour through their MP.
- Castles and Palaces
- Historical Travel
The Banqueting House
Favorite thing: The Banqueting House in Whitehall is the last remaining building of Whitehall Palace - the home of the sovereigns of England in the 16th and 17th centuries. It was designed for King James I by Inigo Jones, and was the first building in England to be built in the Palladian style. It is best remembered though as the building from where Charles I walked out through a window onto the scaffold to be executed in 1649.
The most remarkable thing about the building is the ceiling, commissioned by Charles I and painted by Peter Paul Rubens between 1630 and 1634. The panels are filled with allegorical figures and feature James I (Charles' father).
The Banqueting House is open to the public - but entry is free ONLY during Open House weekend.
Favorite thing: Portcullis House may be familiar to some of you as that modern building above Westminster tube station opposite Big Ben and with the strange chimneys all over it. You won’t be familiar with the interior though, with its attractive covered courtyard.
The courtyard was open to the public during Open House weekend, and we were able to wander around the courtyard, and the cloister around the first floor. The building provides office accommodation for MP’s and their staff on seven stories, and includes committee rooms at first floor level.
What impressed me most was the detailing on the structure around the courtyard. Shallow concrete arches with a high quality finish are tied together with steel tension members, transferring all the weight of the building onto just a few columns, which run down through the vast underground cavern that forms the underground station beneath. The timber and steel framing forming the domed diagrid of the courtyard roof is cleverly done, but a bit fussy for my taste, and some of the joints are rather messy.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office - part 2
Favorite thing: The Grand Staircase
After visiting the Locarno Suite, we passed on and down the Grand Staircase before leaving. This staircase was designed George Gilbert Scott to impress foreign visitors.
My main picture is a composite of 4 that I took trying to get an overall view of the staircase - you would need a fish-eye lens to get it all in ! SO that is why the edges of the picture are jagged - I didn't want to crop anything out. But it does give a good impression of the grandeur given by the marble columns, the gilding and the rich decoration.
The dome above is decorated with female figures, which represent countries that had diplomatic relations with Great Britain in the 1860's. There are several statues of important Foreign Secretaries, including Ernest Bevin, and there are some further notes in one of pics that I took of an information board.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office - part 1
Favorite thing: If you get the chance to go inside this vast Government Office DO SO. I visited during Open House Weekend in September 2005, and it was quite amazing. I have too many pictures and too much text for one tip, so I am writing about the Grand Staircase separately.
The entrance to the FCO was down the side of the building from King Charles Street (see picture 4), into the Main Quadrangle. After queuing for only about five minutes for security checks, we entered via the entrance known as the Mails Entrance (because it leads to the Bag Room, where diplomatic bags for all over the world used to be dealt with). After passing down several typical drab institutional corridors we eventually reached the Durbar Conference room, overlooking the Durbar Court, where there were some displays about the FCO. I didn’t get a photo of the court – too many people and too much clutter.
We passed on past the Muses stair (picture 3) and into the Locarno Suite. This suite of three rooms was designed by George Gilbert Scott specifically for diplomatic dinners and receptions, and was obviously meant to impress. Having been used for other purposes for much of the 20th century, it was restored to its former glory in the early 1990’s and is now used as originally intended.
The Grand Staircase was next on the route, and is the subject of my next tip.
Pubs and pillar boxes.
Favorite thing: Two of the most iconic things of a trip to London, pubs & pillar boxes.
This picture shows the Sherlock Holmes pub on Northumberland Avenue, WC2, southeast of Trafalgar Square. Nearest tube: Charing Cross.
Favorite thing: As part of a VT meeting in honour of HORSCHECK's visit to the city we waited until the sun went down to take a stroll to see the illuminations of some of the 12 bridges and buildings taking part in the SwitchedOnLondon lighting festival taking place from 8th to the 16th February 07. The buildings involved were:
1. Adelaide House
2. City Hall
3. Custom House
4. Hays Wharf
5. HMS Belfast
6. London Bridge
7. Thames North Walkway
8. Thames South Walkway
9. No 1 London Bridge
10. Tower of London
11. Design Museum
12. Urban Chandelier at the Scoop At More London
We saw numbers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10 and 11.
Fondest memory: I'm not sure if this is a yearly event - but if you are visiting the city it is well worth checking out events and festivals like this as they are very unique and original and create great memories!
- Arts and Culture
St Ethelburga's, Bishopsgate
Favorite thing: I have wanted to visit this church for many years, ever since I used to catch a bus from outside it to work every day, more than fifteen years ago, before St Ethelburga was nearly destroyed for good.
This church is more than 700 years old and is one of the few remaining medieval buildings in the City of London. When built, it was the largest building in Bishopsgate – now it is probably the smallest. Unlike many churches in the City, St Ethelburga’s escaped damage in the Great Fire of 1666 and also survived the Second World War. This good fortune was not to continue. In April 1993 a massive terrorist bomb exploded in Bishopsgate just yards from St Ethelburga’s church, all but destroying it completely. One man was killed and 51 injured in the blast that caused widespread damage to surrounding buildings. If the bomb had gone off during the week, the loss of life would have been much greater.
The damage to St Ethelburga’s church was so bad that it was feared that the building might be beyond repair, but closer inspection showed there was much that could be saved or reconstructed. In 1997 a Trust was established which now owns and runs the restored building.
The work of rebuilding the church began in the summer of 2001 and on 12 November 2002, St Ethelburga’s was re-consecrated as a church by the Bishop of London. On the following day, the St Ethelburga’s Centre for Reconciliation and Peace was officially opened by the Prince of Wales.
The west front of the church, facing on to Bishopsgate, has been rebuilt and looks just as it did before the bomb. The main tower almost survived, and has been completely restored. The north wall and roof are entirely new, following the form of the originals, but not rebuilt as replicas of the originals. Perhaps the most striking feature of the new building is the east window, depicting St Ethelburga, which incorporates fragments from the previous east window.
Fondest memory: At the rear of the church there is a small courtyard garden, with a fountain and a fine small statue of St Ethelburga. A little oasis of peace in the city, where the noise of the traffic is almost blotted out by the surrounding buildings. A further courtyard garden is under construction beyond this courtyard, and will further enhance this little gem when it is completed.
Favorite thing: Leading from the southwest corner of Trafalgar Square into The Mall, this arched ceremonial gateway is one of London's most famous landmarks.
Us Londoners have to drive or walk through the outer arches, the main central span being reserved for royalty only.
Nowadays the arch is home to various 'grace & favour' apartments given out to politicians and minor royalty!!!
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