London Off The Beaten Path

  • Off The Beaten Path
    by gordonilla
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    by gordonilla
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Most Recent Off The Beaten Path in London

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    The Royal Mint

    by Galaxy31 Written Jun 8, 2015

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    The Royal Mint in Tower Hill is hidden behind a boundary wall and two large gatehouses but anybody can go in and have a look at this amazing building. As you walk through the gatehouse you come across the Johnson Smirke building which it has taken the name from the two people who designed it and completed.
    On the left is the Registry building but before you get there just after the security office there’s a doorway with the inscription above it that it was the Seamen’s Registry entrance and is dated 1907. I did go through it but it hasn’t taken me anywhere.
    The Royal Mint moved from the Tower of London to the Little Tower Hill which is across the road from the Tower. The building was designed by James Johnson and completed by Robert Smirke. The building work has started in 1805 and finished in 1809 and in 1811 the transfer was complete from the Tower and the keys of the old mint were finally delivered to the Constable of the Tower.
    Inside the boundary wall except from the main building that housed the machinery for the mint there were dwelling houses for offices and staff. Soldiers from the Royal Mint’s military guard were guarding the buildings and the grounds.
    In 1880 the building was extended and the dwellings were taken over for the new coining presses. In 1968 the Royal Mint started moving to Llantrisant, Mid Glamorgan in Wales and in 1980 the royal Mint closed down completely. During the Second World War the Royal Mint it was bombed several times as it was so near the London Docks and has taken it out of action for three weeks.
    The Royal Mint is the world’s leading export mint, making coins and medals for an average of 60 countries every year. However, its first responsibility is to make and distribute United Kingdom coins as well as to supply blanks and official medals.

    The Royal Mint The Royal Mint The Royal Mint The Royal Mint The Royal Mint
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    Hampstead Heath

    by Britannia2 Updated May 25, 2015

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    Hampstead Heath (locally known as "the Heath") is London's largest ancient parkland covering 790 acres (320 ha). This grassy public space sits astride a sandy ridge, one of the highest points in London, running from Hampstead to Highgate, which rests on a band of London clay The Heath is rambling and hilly, embracing ponds, recent and ancient woodlands, a lido, playgrounds, a training track and adjoins the stately home and grounds of Kenwood House. South of the Heath is Parliament Hill, a focal point with the view protected by law.
    We have made walks here many times and I cannot believe the sheer size of the area in such an urban city. We could have easily been anywhere in England and on one occasion we got hopelessly lost although there were so many people on the Heath and this was not a problem.
    At its best in the autumn when the colours are wonderful but there to be enjoyed by everyone throughout the year. Locals told me the Heath is not safe at night although it is apparently policed 24 hours a day by PCSOs (although we never saw one).
    Recommended.

    Hampstead Heath The city of London is only a few miles away On the Heath
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    Trust in the Garden.

    by HackneyBird Written May 14, 2015

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    The Hoxton Trust Community Garden was laid out in the early 1980's and funded by Hackney Council. The garden was created on the former site of Holly House, an eighteenth century lunatic asylum that was demolished and later built over for housing.

    The garden is landscaped on numerous levels and contains many varied flowerbeds and shrubs. There is also plenty of seating on the lawns.

    In the centre of the garden stands part of the nineteenth century clock tower from the old Hackney Work House in Homerton and, as you enter the gardens, take a little time to look at the lovely mosaic beneath your feet.

    The Hoxton Trust, in conjunction with the Hackney Community College, runs horticultural courses in the gardens throughout the year.

    Opening times - weekdays 9 am to 6 pm (summer)
    9 am to 6 pm (winter)

    Transport - Tube - Old Street (Northern Line), then bus, 5, 22A, 35, 47, 55, 67, 78, 149, 242, 243.

    Hoxton Trust Community Gardens, London N1 6RG Hoxton Trust Community Gardens, London N1 6RG Hoxton Trust Community Gardens, London N1 6RG Entrance, Hoxton Trust Community Gardens. Mosaic. Entrance to the gardens.
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    Ragged School Museum

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 18, 2015

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    Dr Thomas Barnardo has opened the first free ragged school in 1867 after he gave up his medical
    training of becoming a doctor to pursue his local missionary. In 1877 he has opened the free ragged school in East End of London were poor and disadvantage children could gain a basic education for a better life for free.
    In the Victorian times the East End was one of the poorest, overcrowded and run down areas in London and 1866 over 3.000 people died when a cholera epidemic swept through the area.
    The school it was closed in 1908 when it was enough Government schools in the area.
    The museum it’s housed in a three joint old warehouses by Regents Canal and it has a Victorian classroom, a Victorian kitchen with no electricity or water, galleries, a shop and a cafe.
    Life in a Victorian classroom
    Lessons start at 2.00pm and 5.00pm on the first Sunday of every month and last around 45 minutes.
    We have taken our seats at the small wooden desks were first we had to put our hands on the desks for our nails and hands was inspected and if they were not clean then you get send away to clean them. We had a very strict teacher on the day and we were not allowed to talk or laugh. After the inspection we were given a blackboard and chalk and we had to write our names and again our hand writing was inspected.
    It was interesting and it was great that the children have been involved in the role play. You advised to book your place when you arrive at the museum as its only 34 places each time and it cost £2.00 for the lesson but it’s worth it.
    The Victorian kitchen with the bath tub, fire place and all the other items it has made it interesting to see how they lived back then.
    Admission to the museum its free.
    Opening times: Wednesday and Thursday 10.00am to 5pm
    and the first Sunday in the month from 2.00pm to 5.00pm

    Nearest Station: Mile End Road
    46-50 Copperfield Rd, London E3 4RR

    Ragged school museum Attending a Lesson Attending a Lesson Kitchen area The washroom
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    Wilton's The Oldest Musical Hall

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 12, 2015

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    Wilton’ it’s one of the oldest Grand Musical Halls in the world and hidden in a small alley in East End of London.It’s believed to be from around 1743 and the musical hall it’s attached to three terrace houses which it does makes it a well hidden treasure. In 1843 it got its first licence as a saloon theatre and it started having a full length plays. Between 1850 and 1880 it has become a music hall with productions from West End with circus, ballet and fairground performances. The best remembered acts that performed there were “ The Boy I Love is Up In The Gallery “ by George Ware and “ Champagne Charlie” with Arthur Lloyd and George Leybourne who
    were the first two music hall stars to perform for royalty.
    Between 1888 and 1956 the Music hall has become a Methodist hall and in 1889 during the Great Dock StrikeIt has become a soup kitchen feeding thousand meals a day to the poor dockers families.After the Second World War the local authority wanted to demolish the building but a campaign has started by Sir John Betjeman, Peter Sellars and spike Milligan and in 1971 it was listed as a Grade II building.

    If you are entering through the middle door you are coming into the box office area with the grand staircase in front of you. On the right hand side it’s the Mahogany Bar which it takes its name from 1826 as the landlord back then it was the first to install a mahogany bar and fittings in his pub which Scandinavian sea captains used to use.
    On your left and just behind the Box Office area it’s another small room with a fireplace and mismatched antique furniture and upholstery which you can use as a drinking place. Just behind the staircase it’s the entrance to the hall and stage. On the ground floor and still surviving today is the barristers which hold the first floor maisonette.
    On the upper floor all around the walls you will find the history of Wilton’s and cuttings from newspapers and magazines about how much they have fought to get funding and get the place up and running. And again you have a room on your right which a few years ago it was used as a ping pong area but now it has been transformed into a nice cosy upstairs bar which they offer light snacks. At the back of the sitting area on the first floor there's a decorative painted artwork.

    The stage it has three platforms as back then it had to be quite high so people at the back had a view, as the view was restricted by the gentlemen wearing top hats.

    I have attended a lot of shows there from musicals, interactive Halloween plays, magic show and a few times to black & white old movies and also the Cable Riot Stories festival.
    The Mahogany bar it’s open from 5.00pm to 11.00pm Monday to Friday and on the weekends if it’s a show on.On Monday night they do have a music night for a few hours which its very enjoyable and also the give tours every Monday from 6.00pm to 7.00pm at six pounds a person.
    1 Graces Alley (off Ensign Street)
    London E1 8JB
    Nearest stations are Aldgate East, Tower Hill or Shadwell on the overground or the light Railway Line.

    Decorative painted artwork Wilton's Musical Hall Wilton's Musical Hall Mahogany Bar Wilton's Musical Hall
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    A Step Back In Time #2

    by HackneyBird Updated Mar 11, 2015

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    If you have come to this page other than by way of Part 1 I suggest you go there first as this will make much more sense.

    When you walk through the entrance of The Geffrye Museum you find yourself in a reception area manned by a helpful member of staff. As you walk in the door the cloakroom is on your left and the galleries on your right. I had no need to use the cloakroom and so I headed straight for the galleries.

    The first exhibit is a display of chairs down the ages. The displays are very well labelled and there is even a museum trail for children.

    The first room you enter is an Elizabethan hall dating from 1630. The viewing area in this, and all the rooms is quite narrow, so you might have to move around a bit to allow people to come and go.

    In between each period room there are small areas with displays of items that might have been used to furnish the preceding room. There are samples of textiles, flooring and even period newspapers that you can read on the walls and the induction loop is also situated here.

    The museums reading room is well stocked with books on everything from interior decorating to architecture, and I even noticed some gardening and cookery books here. There is also a good selection of children's books relating to the home. The walls of the reading room are hung with paintings from London houses.

    At the centre of the museum lies the chapel. It used to be the chapel for the almshouses and the museums founder, Sir Robert Geffrye, is buried here.

    The restaurant is situated just before the section of the museum that houses the 1935 to 1998 exhibits. It was quite full on the day I visited, and although I use it, the smells emanating from it made me feel quite hungry. The museum shop is also situated here. The shop hasn't got a great selection of goods for sale and is quite expensive. I did go in to buy a selection of postcards to add to my collection for the princely sum of 60p each.

    The museum is not very big and it will only take you about an hour or so to go round it. You can take photographs and their are plenty of members of staff around to answer your questions.

    Entry to the museum is free but donations are welcome. There are donation boxes on the reception desk and just outside the restaurant. Suggested donation is £3.00.

    If you would like to see some more photographs of the exhibits please go to my travelogues here

    Elizabethan Hall, 1630 Parlour, 1790 Drawing Room, 1830 Chapel. Living Room, 1935.
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    A Step Back In Time. # 1.

    by HackneyBird Updated Mar 11, 2015

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    The Geffrye Museum was originally 14 almshouses mainly for ironmongers' widows. They were built in 1715 at the bequest of Sir Robert Geffrye, a former Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Ironmongers' Company. The museum conversion was completed in 1914, after the almshouses had been bought by the London County Council.

    The museum itself is situated behind a high wall which, when you walk through the gates, reveals a pleasant, tree-lined, grassy courtyard with plenty of benches to sit on and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

    The museum is devoted to the history of domestic interiors and it's permanent displays consist of fully furnished rooms dating back from Elizabethan times, with added examples of staircases, wood panelling and paintings from old London houses.

    The museum also has a restaurant, a museum shop and a reading room.

    In the grounds behind the museum there is a garden which reflects the period rooms and shows the changing function of gardens through the ages in relation to home life. Sadly, the garden was closed when I visited in February 2014.

    One of the original almshouses has been restored and is open on selected days of each month. For a small fee you can take a glimpse into the lives of the people who once lived here. The almshouse was also closed on the day I visited.

    In December each year the displays in the main part of the museum are decorated in the authentic festive style of each period to reflect 400 years of seasonal celebrations.

    The museum regularly hold special activities, workshops and exhibitions and this year, 2014, marks two special anniversaries. It is 100 years since the museum first opened and 300 years since the opening of the almshouses. (See website for details).

    For Part 2 of this tip please click here

    Address - The Geffrye Museum of the Home, 136 Kingsland Road, London E2 8EA

    Admission - free
    Open - Tues-Sun 10am-5pm.
    Closed - Mondays (unless Bank Holiday), Good Friday, 24, 25, 26, December and 1 January.
    Shop - 10am-4.45pm
    Restaurant - 10am-4.45pm
    Gardens - April to October 10am-5pm

    The museum is accessible to wheelchair users and parking for disabled visitors is available in front of the museum between 10am-4pm.

    Facilities include accessible toilets, lift and induction loop for talks and lectures.

    Transport
    Rail - Hoxton Station
    Tube and Rail - Liverpool Street, Old Street
    Buses - 67, 149, 242, 243, 394

    The Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London. Museum and courtyard Museum and courtyard Statue of Sir Robert Geffrye, founder Trough in the courtyard of the musuem
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    Fun in the Fields.

    by HackneyBird Updated Mar 11, 2015

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    London Fields is one of the many green spaces in Hackney. As well as grassy areas it has two children's playgrounds, a small BMX track, tennis courts, a table tennis table, cricket pitch, a small enclosed football pitch and an open-air swimming pool (lido) which is the only 50m outdoor, heated pool in London.

    It also has a barbeque area, a wildflower meadow and a mosaic seating area and sculpture, which the children of nearby London Fields Primary School helped to create some years ago. A cycle path runs through it from the Martello Street entrance to the Broadway Market entrance.

    The 'Fields', as it is known locally, measures 31.3 acres (12.65 hectares), about one-third of its original size, and was awarded a Green Flag in 2008.

    The area that is now London Fields was recorded as common pasture land adjoining Cambridge Heath in 1275. In 1540 the name London Fields was recorded as a separate item consisting of around 10 acres in a changing of ownership of the land. The Fields was one of the many 'commonable lands' of Hackney where commoners of the parish could graze their livestock from Lammas Day, (Anglo-Saxon for bread mass), 1 August, celebrating the first loaf to be baked after the crops had been harvested, to Lady Day, 25 March. This arrangement was known as Lammas Rights and was protected by law.

    London Fields was the areas main footpath to the City of London, used by market traders and drovers to take produce and walk animals to within the City or to Smithfield. People knew that when they had crossed the Fields they were within two miles distance of the City of London.

    In the 16th century sixty-one acres of London Fields was owned by the Hospital of Savoy. The hospital was dissolved in 1553 and its holdings passed to St Thomas's Hospital. It was later recorded that the land was divided into six strips owned by four different people.

    Cricket matches were first played on London Fields in 1802. The local team, London Fields CC, based at the nearby Pub on the Park, hosts games from late April to September.

    The development of the area began in the 19th century. Part of the land was lost to housing in 1862, the developers dismissed the Lammas Rights as of little or no use, and gravel digging on the site caused near riots and started litigation.

    London Fields became a park in 1866 and many plane trees were planted. An OS (Ordinance Survey) map from 1894 shows a bandstand, which was later demolished and replaced by a larger, grander one, which was later removed after World War II. Eight oak trees were shown on an OS map dating from 1913, three of which are still standing to this day. The Fields suffered major bombing in 1940 during World War II.

    London Fields Lido was built in 1932 and closed in 1988. In the 1990s the demolition of the lido was resisted by the people of Hackney, including standing in front of the bull dozers. Local people cleared away vegetation from the site and started a campaign to re-open the pool. The children's paddling pool, attached to the lido, was closed in 1995 and was subsequently re-opened by local people for summer seasons.

    In 1998 the lido was squatted for housing, a café and communal events, and in August of that year the Carnival of the Dispossessed, a benefit for Reclaiming the Streets, was held of the site. The lido was squatted for the second time from 2002 - 2005.

    It was finally renovated and re-opened in 2006.

    More photographs of London Fields can be found in my traveloguesFun in the Fields and Flowers in the Fields

    London Fields, Hackney, London E8. London Fields, Hackney. Wildflower meadow, London Fields, Hackney. Sculpture, London Fields, Hackney. The Lido, London Fields, Hackney.
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    Meridians and Metaphors

    by Galaxy31 Updated Mar 8, 2015

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    By East India Dock Light railway station which it’s at end of Canary Wharf you will come across this
    sculpture which is situated on the Greenwich meridian. It’s beside the pond that was formerly occupied by the East India Docks and now its offices.
    There are about eight granite structures with inscriptions or carvings onto them with one of them being a water fountain.
    The sculpture it’s made of granite and it’s made by David Jacobson and installed in 1992.

    Meridians and Metaphors Meridians and Metaphors Meridians and Metaphors Meridians and Metaphors Meridians and Metaphors
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    The White Horse Statue

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 8, 2015

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    Spotted the White Horse statue when I’m was cycling to the tour of the Crossrail. I’m was very curious why there was a statue of a White Horse on a tree trunk on the junction of the road.
    The story goes that in mid 1700s a pub stood here called The White Horse and it was run by a couple called Howes. After several years as landlord it was revealed that Mr Howes was in fact a woman and her real name was Mary East. The women first began running a pub in Epping but when Mr Howes (Mary East) had his hand cut off in a fight they moved to Poplar and had taken the White Horse Pub. Well that its a complete surprise to find out the significant of the White Horse Statue in Poplar.

    The White Horse Statue The White Horse Statue The White Horse Statue The White Horse Statue
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    Renaissance Sculpture

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 8, 2015

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    Another structure that its situated by the pond of East India Dock Light Railway it’s the Renaissance by Maurice Blick .
    The sculpture shows a strong athletic male sweeping a female off her feet or what it looks like she’s flying.

    On the first and second photo you can see the pond behind and on the fourth the entrance to East India Dock Light Railway.
    The fifth photo it’s the pond.

    Renaissance Sculpture Renaissance Sculpture Renaissance Sculpture Renaissance Sculpture The pond
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    The interior of St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 1, 2015

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    Shoreditch church it’s dedicated to St Leonard the patron saint of prisoners and the mentally ill.
    St Leonard's built in 1740 and it was built by George Dance the Elder and it’s a Grade1 listed building. What I have admired when I did enter the church it was how simple and bright it was and the organ it’s outstanding.

    The organ it was constructed in 1757 but it was renovated and enlarged in 1913 in mahogany case and all around it are carved cherubs. The clock on the front panel it’s surrounded by fruit and flowers and on the top it’s an eagle with outstretched wings.

    The church had a total of twelve bells but one had to be removed and now it’s in the main church. It has the inscription of all the names that donated towards it and the date 1857.

    The Organ@St Leonard's Church The Drums of War The Drums of War One of the bells Inscription on the bell
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    St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch

    by Galaxy31 Written Mar 1, 2015

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    St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch it’s a Church of England built in 1740 and it was built by George Dance the Elder and it’s a Grade1 listed building.
    The church it’s very big with a high two tonne blue ceiling and eight Doric columns four on each side but it’s in need of a lot of restoration and the paint on the panelling ceiling and walls it’s pilling away. My visit there it was two years ago and I don’t know if it’s had been fixed or not but it has been in the press the last few days as it might be a possibility that it close its doors for ever as it faces bankruptcy but I really hope that it doesn’t happen.

    The church was used as the location in a BBC sitcom the Rev and it’s also known as the Shoreditch Church as it’s located on the junction’s of Shoreditch High Street, Hackney Road and Kingsland Road.

    The church it has a lot of burials mostly actors from the Elizabethan period as it was located near the Curtain Theatre. Actors buried are James Burbage the founder of the first playhouse theatre in England, his son Richard who had played in Shakespeare’s plays the comedian Richard Taunton and many more.

    The church it’s open for visits Monday to Friday from 12.00 to 2.00pm March to October.
    You can also request tours for the church, crypt & the tower upon request which I don't mind doing.

    Nearest tube stations are Shoreditch High Street (Overground)
    Old Street (Northern Line)
    Liverpool Street Station

    St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch St Leonard's Church@Shoreditch
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    East End Life Mural

    by Galaxy31 Written Feb 25, 2015

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    In 2012 a new mural was painted on the side of the Trinity Almhouses in Whitechapel Road.
    The road its en route to the Olympic Park and it was painted part of the Olympic Highway in
    East End.
    The mural it was commissioned by TV Edwards solicitors who have their offices there since 1929 and it stands at forty feet high. It has taken six weeks to paint by artists Mychael Barratt, Nicholas Middleton and Jim Glover.

    In the mural you can see the life at the docks, the market, East London Mosque, Whitechapel Art Gallery,Royal London Hospital, Whitechapel Bell Foundry and Christ Church in Spitalfields which it stands in front of the Gherkin.
    In the mural you can also see the Elephant Man behind a local resident, Captain James Cook who had a house in Whitechapel Road, the Krays, the Salvation Army founder General Booth and TV Edwards himself.

    The mural it's on the side of TV Edwards offices and by Trinity Amhouses in Whitechapel Road.

    East End Life Mural East End Life Mural
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    The Jewish Soup Kitchen

    by Galaxy31 Written Feb 25, 2015

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    In 1854 the first Jewish Soup Kitchen was established in Leman Street East London less than a mile where it had moved in 1902, In Brune Street, and it has been build with a rich distinctive red terracotta tiles. The building it has three doors with the main one in the middle and above the door it’s a sculpture of soup tureen and below it’s the Jewish year date and the Gregorian year of the opening. On the .left of the main door you will see the inscription Way Out Soup Kitchen, and on the right it’s the Way In door.
    The writing above the entrance its “SOUP KITCHEN FOR THE JEWISH POOR” (5662 1902)

    The Jewish soup kitchen it was set up to feed the poor Jewish immigrants who had fled from Tsarist Russian persecution following the anti-Semitic May Laws in 1880s.

    Over the years thousands of people have benefit from it and even after it had stopped serving soup to the needed It has become a centre were people were donated groceries and were collected by the poor. Something like what we have got now with food banks and in the early ninties were also donate clothes for the poor.

    The inside of the building has been transformed into eight flats in the late nineties but the exterior still stands and it’s listed.

    The Jewish Soup Kitchen it's in Brune Street E1

    The Jewish Soup Kitchen The Jewish Soup Kitchen
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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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