St. James's and The Mall, London
Truefitt and Hill, Gentlemen's Hairdresser's and Perfumers was established in 1805, as the sign proudly announces. William Truefitt became the hairdresser to the British Royal Court and received their first royal warrant from king George III. In 1911 Truefitt merged with Edwin Hill in Old Bond Street, but moved to their present location at 71 St. James's St in 1994, and maintain a famous customers from the Royal Family, Ambassadors, MPs and visiting dignitaries. The sign above the entrance indicates that they have a Royal Warrant by appointment of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. If you look in the shop window you will see every type of razor, shaver, mugs, brushes and foam imaginable.
www.truefittandhill.co .uk will show you a selection of items available and such services as wet shave, facial and hair treatment, haircut, shampoo and manicure for £149 or a cut throat shave a mere £80.
St James's Park is a pretty royal park nestled between Birdcage Walk and the Mall. It is London's oldest royal park and is situated between Buckingham Palace and Horse Guards Parade so you can walk through it to get from one of these landmarks to the other.
The park is home to a lake with two islands which attract lots of birdlife. Indeed, there is supposed to be a colony of pelicans in the park, but they were nowhere to be seen when I visited. Even in February during my visit, the park is kept beautifully with some very colourful flowerbeds. There is a great view of the London Eye and Horse Guards Parade visible from beside St James's Park Lake.
Ducks, Geese, Pigeons... birds... I even saw a Heron chasing a craven Seagull in a slow soar and dive. The Seagull had the Heron's chick in its beak. The chase ended when a crow, possibly thinking it might somehow share the meal, attacked the parent not the baby snatcher.
It was perhaps a throwback to earlier times in St James's Park, where less prosaic animals were kept inside its boundaries. Gone are the camels, elephants of crocodiles of King James I. Gone too are the debauched creatures of John Wilmot's ramble through the park in 1672.
"And nightly now beneath their shade
Are buggeries, rapes, and incests made.
Unto this all-sin-sheltering grove
Whores of the bulk and the alcove,
Great ladies, chambermaids, and drudges,
The ragpicker, and heiress trudges.
Carmen, divines, great lords, and tailors,
Prentices, poets, pimps, and jailers,
Footmen, fine fops do here arrive,
And here promiscuously they swive."
Today it's filled with families feeding the ducks and enjoying the algae strewn waters of the lake, stretching as it does from the political power of Downing Street to the imperial power of Buckingham Palace.
St James' Palace is one of London's oldest palaces. It is situated in Pall Mall, just north of St James's Park. Although no sovereign has resided there for almost two centuries, it has remained the official residence of the Sovereign and the most senior royal palace in the UK. For this reason it gives its name to the Royal Court . It is the ceremonial gathering place of the Accession Council, which proclaims a new sovereign.
St. James’s Palace was built by Henry VIII in the 1530s and was home to several famous sovereigns: Elizabeth I, Charles I and George I, II and III. The palace was rebuilt soon after but never recovered its former glory, and Queen Victoria formalised the move in 1837.
So, whilst Buckingham Palace remains the official residence of Her Majesty the Queen, St. James’s Palace retains the formal rooms for receptions, weddings and occasions of State.
You can watch my 3 min 48 sec Video London walk part 2 out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
St James´s Park is the oldest Royal Park in London and is surrounded with beautiful buildings and palaces; Buckingham Palace, St James´s Palace and Clarence House, Westminster, the Horseguards, the Old Admiralty buildings, the Foreign and Commonwealth Offices and the Cabinet War Rooms. The Clarence House is the official residence of Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince William and Prince Harry.
History of the park: In 1531 King Henry VIII acquired the park and in 1603 King James I introduced wild animals (menagerie) to the park. In 1660 King Charles II changed the park into a Frency style park. In 1663 the Horsequards was constructed and in 1703 Buckingham house was built by the park, and has served as the Royal Residence of the Monarchs since 1837. In 1827 King George IV reconstructed the park to what it looks like today. In 1905 the Queen Victoria Memorial Garden by the palace was created.
There is a lovely lake, St James´s park lake, with fountains at the park with myriad of birds - I saw pelecans and black swans on the lake. The pelecans have been in the park since 1667 when exotic birds were brought to the park. There is a small island in the lake, Duck Island, a nature reserve for the birds at the park. There is such a cute little cottage, built in 1841, on Duck Island, which served as the home for the bird-keeper. It now houses offices.
There is a fantastic view of Whitehall from the Blue bridge. Some of the buildings there join together at this point and look like a big castle with a lot of pinnacles. It is a great photo opportunity.
There is a restaurant at the park called Inn the Park restaurant (a play on words).
The park is open daily from 5:00 until midnight.
Here is a map of St James´s Park.
The Guards Division Memorial is a monument dedicated to those British soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. It was designed by Gilbert Ledward in the 1920s and is similar to many other memorials that were erected for the fallen in WWI, at least within the Commonwealth countries. The memorial has a line of soldiers, realist sculptures that are intended to provoke reflection on the human toll of the hostilities and of warfare in general. Wreaths are often laid here in commemoration of the fallen.
Normally, birds would not elicit such a “must-see” billing. Nevertheless, birds have a special history of their own in St. James Park, one connected with royalty. While the ducks and other native birds were undoubtedly brought to the park to enhance its Englishness, the colony of Pelicans here was gifted by the Russian Ambassador in 1664 to the King of England. They remain in the park to this day, a tribute to the tradition of gifting exotic and unusual animals. The more mundane ducks that have also colonized the park have given their name to the small island amid the artificial lake, which is currently called Duck Island.
Every city needs a large green space in its core, and London seems to have these in spades. Nevertheless, St. James Park seems to occupy a special place, as it is in the heart of British pomp and power. Bounded by the Mall, Buckingham Palace, the FCO headquarters and the Ministry of Defense, among other institutions, the Park can only be seen as a spot of tranquility and calm among hordes of frantic and pressured civil servants. The Park has had royal patronage since its purchase by Henry VIII in the 16th century, although it was not always intended to be such an idyllic green spot. Under Henry VIII, it was drained and used as a place for exotic animal. This was followed by a plan to create a French-style garden with a canal, which was followed by its usage as pasture in the 17th and 18th centuries. In the early 19th century, the Park took its current form, with the canal replaced by a more naturally looking lake, and landscaping that reflected more the British ideal of a pastoral setting, rather than the French, high-managed concept of royal gardens. Today, the Park is open to the public and is a popular spot for both ambling locals and curious tourists, drawn undoubtedly by its greenery and by its quaint cottage on Duck Island.
The Mall is one of those monumental stomping grounds that are so common in capitals of former Empires. While military parades may be few and largely ceremonial these days, the Mall is nevertheless still an impressive part of London, and a site that cannot fail to evoke the grandeur that once was associated with the Royal House and with the seat of government and the state. The Mall creates a large open space in central London that contrasts with the otherwise dense and frenetic core, a place in which the usual energies of the capital give way to the stately pace of tradition and formality. Bounded by Buckingham Palace, St. James Park, the Admiralty Arch and the Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Mall was a 20th century creation meant to keep up with the Joneses – in this case, other imperial capitals. Although it is unlikely that visitors will find the Mall packed with anything other than tourists most days of the year, it still comes alive with official events and celebrations.
The Queen's Chapel is located adjacent to St. James's Palace and was designed in the 1620s by Inogo Jones, even though Catholic churches were prohibited in those days. Charles I built it for Henrietta Maria, his catholic wife, but since the 1690s it has been used as a protestant chapel.
more info on the second photograph
Although no sovereign has lived here for over 200 years it remains their official residence, St. James's Palace being one of the oldest in London. it was commissioned by Henry VIII and completed in 1536. Charles I slept their the night before his execution, Oliver Cromwell used it as barracks, In 1837 Queen Victoria officially ended its position as the number one residence of the monarchy and replaced by Buckingham Palace. Princess Diana's coffin was kept there for a few days.
Nowadays it is still the residence of the Princess Royal, Princess Beatrix, Princess Alexandra and Lady Ogilvy.
Unfortunately the palace is closed to the public
This is the oldest of the Royal Parks (23 hectares) which is by the Mall and was named after a leper hospital dedicated to James the Less who is mentioned in the New Testament. The park has contains St. James's Park Lake with two islands, Duck and West with a resident colony of pelicans which were given by the Russian ambassador 4 centuries ago. It was originally marshland when purchased by Henry VIII but James I drained it some years later. In the park there is a simple restaurant, snack bar and deck chairs, but don't sit on one as you will be charged for this. Stroll around and see the flora and fauna.
You can also see a giant crown by the lake that was installed for the jubilee, which for me is a giant eyesore.
St. James Park is a green oasis in a busy city.
Its a very nice area, no wonder there were quite a few people here!
We were in need of a rest and found the park which happens to be the oldest Royal Park in London, and is surrounded by the Houses of Parliament, St James's Palace and Buckingham Palace.
It has quite a history, starting from the 13th century when a Leper Hospital was located here, hence this is what the Park is named after. In 1532 Henry VIII made it a deer park and built St James Palace, while Elizabeth I held pageant's and fetes of all kinds in the park.
We found a bench, of which there are plenty, sat and rested, people & Squirrel watched, then I went for a walk admiring the well kept colourful gardens. We didn't need a drink as we had our water, but if you do, you can buy a cup coffee, ice cream, snacks or freshly made sandwiches.
Now in the park, is a floral Crown, situated on the north side of the lake, just past West Island. It was made to commemorate The Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
The crown is a floral replica of the St Edward's Crown that was used in the crowning of Queen Elizabeth II during her coronation ceremony on 2 June 1953.
THE PARK IS OPEN FROM.....
9am-8pm in the summer, 10am-4pm in the winter
I do not have any idea how many times I have been to Great Britain but I can assure you that it has been a lot but not yet enough. I have many wonderful memories including the people with whom I was traveling, the food (although many people demean British cuisine) which I have eaten, the sights which I have seen, the things which I have done, and on and on...and on....and on.....but one of the most fortuitous events of my entire life was a result of pure happenstance and involved Clarence House, although I did not know until a couple years later that something named "Clarence House" even existed. When I lived on the island of Crete, I made my firt two or three trips to London and on my first or second one, a friend and I decided that we wanted to see the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. We took the Tube to what we estimated to be the closest stop to Buckingham Palace and walked in the direction where we expected to find the Palace. After what I estimated to be more than enough time to reach the Palace, I decided that we were lost. We were on a busy street but without many pedestrians. The first couple of pedestrians whom we encountered could not even be bothered to respond to our greetings but I saw a lady cutting some flowers and we walked toward her. When we were about 20-30 feet from her our eyes met and we both smiled spontaneously. No it was not the love of my life, for whom I am still seeking. In fact, to my mid-20-year-old eyes, she looked ancient but nevertheless quite lovely. She assured us that we were only steps away and pointed us toward our destination. We exchanged a few comments about her garden and she asked if it was our first visit to Great Britain and wished us a very pleasant visit and we were on our way. My companion and I exchanged a couple comments about how lovely and gracious she was and how she had brightened our day, and our trip, and then essentially forgot about the encounter. On my next visit to London, I was walking away from Buckingham Palace, with a new British friend, and encountered the same building where we received our help a year or two earlier. I asked my companion what the building was and she said, "That is Clarence House, the residence of the Queen Mother." I then told my new friend about our earlier adventure, and we both wondered aloud, "Wouldn't it be a marvel if you (I) had met the Queen Mother?" I soon forgot that as well but the next time I saw my new friend, she showed me a picture and asked, "This couldn't be the lady who helped you find Buckingham Palace, could it?" I assured her that it was and then made all the arguments about how the Queen's Mother would certainly not be out working in such an unsecured garden. My friend assured me that there was security but that British Royal Security was much less "in your face" than the US Secret Service. The next time I was in London, I walked by Clarence House and discovered that there were in fact several very official-looking men on site and their presence was very unobtrusive. I will certainly never forget my first visit to Buckingham Palace but my first visit to Clarence House was even more memorable.
Clarence House, which stands beside St James's Palace, was built between 1825 and 1827 to the designs of John Nash for Prince William Henry, Duke of Clarence. He lived there as King William IV from 1830 until 1837. During its history, the house has been altered, reflecting the changes in occupancy over nearly two centuries.
It was the London home of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother from 1953 until 2002 and was also the home of The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, and The Duke of Edinburgh following their marriage in 1947.
Today Clarence House is the official London residence of The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall, and Princes William and Harry. It is open to the public during the summer months each year.
The Mall is the main road running from Buckingham Palace to Admirality Arch and on to Trafalgar Square and is approximately 1km in length. The Mall is used for the ceremonial route for State Visits and Royal Events and is decorated with flags. The Mall is closed to traffic on Sundays, Bank Holidays and State Ceremonies.
On the route there are:
St James's Park (Done a separate tip)
St James's Palace
Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace
Duke of York Monument
King George & Queen Mother's Tribute Monuments
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Horse Guards Parade