London Off The Beaten Path

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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in London

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    The Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue (Bevis Marks)

    by gordonilla Written Jan 12, 2015

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    The Bevis Marks synagogue is the oldest in the United Kingdom. There is some discussion about the architectural style of the building. There is no doubt it is similar to the Spanish and Portuguese Great Synagogue in Amsterdam which opened in 1675.

    The synagogue was Grade I listed in 1950. The synagogue has a long history, and has been in existence for over 300 years. The congregation has had many notable members. There is a VC holder named:

    "Frank Alexander de Pass VC (26 April 1887 – 25 November 1914) was an English recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was the first person of the Jewish faith and the first Indian Army officer to receive the VC during World War I.

    De Pass was born on 26 April 1887 to Eliot and Beatrice of Kensington, London. He attended Rugby School. He was 27 years old, and a Lieutenant in the 34th Prince Albert Victor's Own Poona Horse, and was awarded the Victoria Cross for his actions on 24 November 1914 near Festubert, France. He was killed in battle the next day, 25 November.

    Lieutenant de Pass entered a German sap and destroyed a traverse in the face of the enemy's bombs. Subsequently he rescued, under heavy fire, a wounded man who was lying exposed to enemy bullets in the open. Lieutenant de Pass lost his life in a second attempt to capture the sap which had been reoccupied by the enemy. His Victoria Cross is displayed at the National Army Museum in Chelsea, London."

    Exterior (1) Exterior (2) Memorial Interior

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    Maria Assumpta Chapel

    by gordonilla Written Jan 8, 2015

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    The chapel is open daily from 09:00 to 19:00 and is the church of sisters of the Religious of the Assumption. I was surprised to find this, and although I was able to enter the building, I was unable to get further than a glass door which seemed to be locked.

    It was warm and peaceful. It is almost directly across Kensington Square from the offices of the order.

    Exterior (1) Exterior (2) Interior (1) Interior (2) Signage

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    The Mayflower pub in Rotherhithe.

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 2, 2015

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    I visited the historical pub Mayflower with Sarah (Toonsarah) and her husband Chris. The Mayflower pub is a very old pub, dating back to 1620. But there was an even older pub on this site, The Shippe, dating back to ca 1550. That pub was renamed in 1780 and was called The Spread Eagle and Crown and it wasn´t until 1957 that it got its current name, The Mayflower. This makes the pub the oldest pub that can be found by the river Thames and one of London´s hidden gems.

    From this spot the Pilgrim Fathers´ ship, Mayflower left on its voyage to America.

    On a plate by the Mayflower pub is written: "Sailing of the Mayflower. In 1620 the Mayflower sailed from Rotherhithe on the first stage of its epic voyage to America. In command was Captain Christopher Jones of Rotherhithe". The Mayflower carried the Pilgrims over to New England.

    It is delightful visiting the Mayflower pub, like stepping back in time and I got filled with awe being here. There was a lovely fire place and all kinds of old objects and taxidermi. Everything around us reminded us of this old history. It was cold outside at the time we visited, so sitting by the fire, drinking hot coffee was so lovely.

    Opening hours: Monday-Saturday: 11:00 am - 11:00 pm, Sundays: 12:00 pm - 10:30 pm.

    Address: 117 Rotherhithe Street, London SE16 4NF

    Tube: Rotherhithe

    A highly recommended visit if you find yourself in this area of London, south of the river Thames.

    I, Sarah and Christ at the Mayflower pub. The Mayflower pub. Inside the Mayflower pub. Inside the Mayflower pub. Inside the Mayflower pub.

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    Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim's Pocket

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 1, 2015

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    I met up with Sarah (Toonsarah) and her husband down in Rotherhithe, where Sarah´s husband was taking us on a surprise trip to see something we hadn´t seen before - the lovely Picture Research Library Afterwards we went to the Mayflower pub and for a walk in Rotherhithe by the river Thames.

    We came across a lovely bronze statue by the river. It is called "Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim´s Pocket" and represents a boy reading a 1930´s comic magazine about modern America, called the Sunbeam Weekly (although it says "Sunbeam Weakly" on the statue?). A dog fawns on the boy begging for attention. Behind the boy looking him over the shoulder is the statue of a 17th century Pilgrim Father. It represents the spirit of the Pilgrim Father turning the pages and reading the magazine with the small boy.

    The details on the magazine are amazing and in the Pilgrim Father´s pocket there is an A-Z pocket book with the date 1620.

    This beautiful life-sized statue was unveiled in 1991 and represents the connection this area in Rotherhithe had with the Pilgrim Fathers.

    The location of the statue is at Cumberland Wharf in Rotherhithe.

    Tube: Rotherhithe.

    Sunbeam Weekly and the Pilgrim's Pocket Sunbeam Weakly. The A-Z belonging to the Pilgrim Father. Such details! The view of the Shard from the Cumberland Wharf

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    Saint Olav Norwegian Seaman's Mission

    by Regina1965 Updated Jan 1, 2015

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    My search for London´s churches took me down to a part of London called Rotherhithe. I started my quest in the City of London, looking for Christopher Wren´s churches, but then also visited churches belonging to different nationalities. The church in Rotherhithe has a Norwegian congregation and is called Saint Olav Norwegian Seaman´s Mission or "Sjømannskirken i London, St Olavs kirke" in Norwegian. I have spent some time in Norway and wanted to have a look at their London church.

    It is a beautiful church, Lutheran like the Nordic churches I am used to, coming from Iceland. When you enter the sign above the church door reads: "Norsk kirke" - meaning a Norwegian church. And there is a plate on the church with the relief of the Norwegian King Olav, who was the father of the current Norwegian King Harald.

    The church in Rotherhithe has been located there since 1927, but there has been a Norwegian church in London since the 17th century. There are over 30 Norwegian Seaman´s churches in the world, creating a safe haven for Norwegian seamen, traveller and residents abroad, giving them the feeling of coming home. I must say that even I felt a little bit like coming home when I visited the church, given our (Iceland´s) strong ties to Norway.

    One immediately notices that this is a seaman´s church as there is a ship on top of the church roof and inside in front of the altar a ship is hanging from the ceiling. There are some beautiful stained glass windows in the church and a statue of a Viking. The ceiling is made of wood making it resemble a ship a bit.

    It is a lovely church and a strong community and it was a delight visiting this church.

    Opening hours: Monday and Tuesday: closed, Wednesday-Friday: 13-18, Saturdays: 12-16 and Sundays: 10-16.

    Address: 1.St.Olav's Square, Albion Street, Rotherhithe, London SE16 7JB

    Tube: Rotherhithe or Canada Water

    Saint Olav Norwegian Seaman's Mission A Viking statue inside the church. The organ and timber ceiling. Saint Olav Norwegian Seaman's Mission Beautiful stained glass windows.

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    Old St Pancras Parish Church

    by alza Updated Dec 29, 2014

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    After roaming around the Churchyard, I focussed on the Church itself. There's an appeal to save the Church which is under threat due to ancient drains which lie beneath it.

    From a sign at the entrance, here's the story of Old St Pancras Church (4th c AD), built on the site of a Roman temple:

    "St Pancras Old Church stands on one of Europe's most ancient site of Christian worship, dating back to the early 4th c. The present building has been here since the 11th or 12th c. & is close to the River Fleet (culverted in the 19th c.)
    The Church was ruinous in the 13th c., rebuilt in the 14th c., half abandoned in the 16th c., when the 13th c. West Tower was dismantled & the new bell tower added.
    During the Civil War, the Church was used as barracks & stables for Cromwell's troops. Before they arrived, the Church's treasures were buried for their protection & then lost, only to be rediscovered during restoration in the early 19th c.
    A 6th c. altar stone was among items discovered. Legend has it that the stone belonged to St Augustine of Canterbury. Little remains of the original medieval church, but the north wall of the Nave has an exposed section of Norman masonry.
    St Pancras Old Church continues to function as the Anglican Parish Church for this part of London."

    I was very impressed by the masonry, the Clock Tower and finally the interior, very touching in its simplicity. There's a mosaic of St Luc l'Évangéliste, written in French so that caught my attention (see photo).

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

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    St Pancras Old Church

    by alza Written Dec 29, 2014

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    This church is between tube stations Mornington Crescent (West, in Camden Town) and Kings Cross St Pancras (SouthEast). I happened to walk by on my way to St Pancras Train Station and was struck by its very old style and the tranquility all around. The Churchyard had fallen tombs covered with moss, the whole place looked like a forgotten relic. I arrived from nearby Goldington Crescent, a small park where I'd just spent a few quiet moments and was still in the mood to be alone so I went in by the gate and wandered in the Churchyard.

    I arrived at a big ash tree growing out of hundreds of tombs gathered closely together, very intriguing. To my surprise, the tree is called The Hardy Tree & a sign tells the story as follows:
    "Novelist & poet Thomas Hardy (1840-1928) is best known for his novels set in rural 'Wessex', however before turning to writing full time, he studied architecture in London from 1862-67. During the 1860s, the Midland Railway line was being built over part of the original St Pancras Churchyard. Supervision of the exhumation of human remains & dismantling of tombs was entrusted to Hardy in 1865.
    Hardy spent many hours in Old St Pancras Churchyard during the construction of the railway. The headstones around this ash tree would have been placed here at this time. The tree has since grown in amongst the stones.
    A few years before, Charles Dickens mentions Old St Pancras Churchyard in his Tales of Two Cities (1859) as the churchyard in which Roger Cly was buried & where Jerry Cruncher was known to 'fish' (a 19th c. term for tomb robbery and body snatching)."

    This was a welcome coincidence for me as I had planned to visit Hardy country during my trip to England, after my time in London. I was glad to make a first connection with him only two days after arriving in London!

    The last photo is the Hardy Tree.

    Related to:
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    attending Art Fairs around London

    by angiebabe Written Nov 27, 2014

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    Theres a regular circuit of Antique Art Fairs around London and ive really enjoyed getting to the ones ive been to - I think I got onto a mailing list by attending the Decorative Arts Fair held quarterly in Battersea Park from a brochure in one of my Royal Academy of Art magazines - 2 free tickets arrive in time for each event.

    I also go regular to the excellent ARt Fair that is held annually at Olympia and being on the mailing list get 2 free tickets each year.

    Ive also been on the mailing list and received free tickets since attending the Art Fair at very lavish Grosvenor House in Park Lane

    Find these really interesting ways to see British relics and often many items from around the world - a cultural event

    Heres a good link of other ARt Fairs and dates to get to them - the one at Alexandra Palace ive often wanted to go to but not made it there yet
    http://www.iacf.co.uk/alexandra-palace

    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Arts and Culture
    • Photography

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    Views from the ArcelorMittal Orbit

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 16, 2014

    The views from the top of the Orbit were ok but not the best and if you want to see more of Central London and West of London then the Orbit would not be the place to view them from.
    On a clear day you can see much further of what I did as it was a cloudy day but then it was a great experience.
    1st photo it's the view towards Lea Valley and Leyton Stone.
    2nd photo it's the stadium which they are getting it ready for West Ham Football Club.
    3rd photo Isle of Dogs and Canary Wharf.
    4th photo Aquatic pool and Hackney area.
    5th photo City Skyscrappers

    Views towards Lea Valley Views towards the Olympic Stadium Views towards Canary Wharf Views over the Aquatic Pool Views towards the City
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    ArcelorMittal Orbit@ Olympic Park

    by Galaxy31 Written Nov 16, 2014

    After I had purchased a reduced voucher from Groupon £9.50 instead of £15.00 for the Orbit I decided to spend most of my day there at the Olympic Park.
    The orbit it was much higher of what I thought and it looks like a mass of red twisted metal structure.This art structure it's one of the tallest in Britain.
    I have opted to take the lift up as I couldn’t walk up the 455 steps. The lift has taken less than a minute to reach the top. Once on the top you have got two platforms.
    On the first platform you have a walkway on each side around the orbit so you can admire the views across London but they could have done with a map with the description of what you are actually looking at.
    On the second platform you don’t have an outside walkway but glass from floor to ceiling.
    and you do get a map with what you are looking at.
    There was also a children’s activity with kids drawing and designing their own orbit.
    The steps going down there were not bad at all but endless which it has made me a bit dizzy going round and round again and again.
    A bit overpriced of what it is but if you can manage to get a reduced ticket then it’s not too bad but it's not something I will do again.

    ArcelorMittal Orbit ArcelorMittal Orbit ArcelorMittal Orbit ArcelorMittal Orbit ArcelorMittal Orbit
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    Street Art @Hackney Wick

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 12, 2014

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    After leaving the Olympic Park I have decided to cycle through Hackney Wick and see how the area has changed over the years as I haven't been through the years since I left school which it wasn't that far from here.
    I do like street art and I have seen a few artists painting over the years around East London, but I'm amazed to see the whole of the premises in street art and derelict when it's so much housing shortage in the capital.
    Nearest overground station it's Pudding Mill Lane.

    Street Art Street Art Street Art Street Art Street Art
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    Wick Wonders@Hackney Wick

    by Galaxy31 Updated Nov 12, 2014

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    Hackney Wick blue plagues are a distinctive memory of what the area used to be years ago, with all different trades.It was nice to discover and see what the warehouses were been used for.
    Hackney Wick it was an area full of warehouses and factories as it was so near to the river Lea and an area that it was not so much heard off until the last four years when they have started building around the area for the Olympic Park Village.
    Now the area it has been developed like the rest of East London with a lot of Cafe's, bars and of course the overground.
    Most of the warehouses have gone to stop trading and others by the canal have
    been transformed into venue areas, cafes, bars and luxury apartments.
    Nearest overground station it's Pudding Mill Lane.

    Wick Wonders Wick Wonders Wick Wonders Wick Wonders Wick Wonders
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    A Day at the Olympic Park

    by Galaxy31 Written Nov 10, 2014

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    I have decided to visit the Orbit at the Olympic Park couple of weeks ago and see what the park has to offer.
    This was my first visit and I didn't know what to expect but it was a pleasant ride through the park and glad that I have visited.
    As I cycle there I got to say that signs are not existence from CS2 (Cycle Super highway 2 route) where you need to turn into the park and I have ended cycling for another mile around it until I have found the entrance.
    Except from walking through the park and discovering what it has to offer it was good to see that cycling its allowed in the park.
    There were about three cabin cafes but not with a seating area, a lot of climbing frames and water fountains for children.
    They do tend to have free events going on for adults and children which were free when I went and I wished I had more time to attend one of them which it looked interesting and it was called Newton’s Cottage free events. This is their website www.newtonscottage.org but I still got time to attend at least one of them.
    Its worth a visit and its free.

    Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
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    Fairlop Oak Pub

    by cleocat Written Nov 6, 2014

    Barkingside is a residential area about 40 min outside central London. Not much around for sightseeing, but if you happen to be in the area, visit the Fairlop Oak pub. Prices are easily half or even less of what you would pay in London. Good old family pub with a great British atmosphere.

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    Open House London 2014 in Hackney.

    by HackneyBird Written Sep 17, 2014

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    Here is a full list of Hackney venues involved in Open House London 2014.

    * 30 Crown Place, EC2A
    * Rivington Place, EC2A
    * Village Underground, EC2A
    * Camera Obscura, E1
    * Adelaide Wharf, E2
    * Bridge Academy, E2
    * Haggerston School, E2
    * Restored Historic Almshouse at the Geffrye Museum, E2
    * Self-built Straw Bale Building, Hackney City Farm, E2
    * Clapton Girls Academy, E5
    * Redundant Architects Recreation Association, E5
    * Round Chapel, E5
    * Arcola Theatre, E5
    * Dalston CLR James Library & Hackney Archives, E8
    * Dalston Eastern Curve Garden, E8
    * Levitt Bernstein Studio, E8
    * Hackney Empire, E8
    * Oto Projects, E8
    * St Barnabas Mission Hall & Church, E8
    * St Augustine's Tower, E8
    * Writer's Shed, E8
    * 51 Southborough Road, E9
    * Cardinal Pole Catholic School, E9
    * Gingerbread House, E9
    * Hackney Marshes Centre, E9
    * Lauriston School, E9
    * Sutton House, E9
    * 52 Whitmore Road, N11
    * Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, N1
    * Free Speace Wenlock Barn Estate, N1
    * Kingsland Basin Moorings, N1
    * National Centre for Circus Arts, N1
    * Castle Climbing Centre, N4
    * Clissold House, N16
    * Clissold Park, N16
    * Clonbrock Road, N16
    * Garden School Hackney, N16
    * Growing Communities Eco Classroom, n16
    * Our Lady's Convent High School, N16
    * St Mary's Old Church, N16
    * Stoke Newington School, N16
    * The Studio, N16
    * Waddington Studios,N16

    WALKS/TALKS/TOURS

    * From Brownfield to Greenfields: A Walking Tour, EC2A
    * Further Beyond the Olympic Park: North to Walthamstow Wetlands, E5
    * Further Beyond the Olympic Park: South to the Thames, E9
    * The Floating Cinema: The International Village Shop Workshop and Tour, E9
    * Woodbury Wetlands: Hidden Nature Reserve in Stoke Newington, N4
    * Hackney's Timber Buildings: walking tour, N1

    Hackney Empire, E8 C L R James Library & Hackney Archives, E8 St Augustine's Tower, E8 Geffrye Musuem, E2
    Related to:
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    • Architecture
    • Historical Travel

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London Off The Beaten Path

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There are many well-beaten paths in London as befits one of the major travel destinations in the world, but that is not the whole story.  Visitors may well visit Buckingham Palace,  the...

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