Historical, London

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  • Canada Gate
    Canada Gate
    by balhannah
  • The Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
    The Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral.
    by Regina1965
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
    St. Paul's Cathedral
    by Regina1965

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    In Debt on The Mall

    by HackneyBird Updated Jun 20, 2016

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: These days the phrase 'shopping mall' is a familiar one the world over. But did you know that the origins of the word 'mall' lie buried in London's history, and that The Mall and Pall Mall were named for a game that has long since disappeared.

    'Pallo a maglio' was a game originally brought over from Italy and involved using shaped sticks to propell a ball along a set course. James I and Charles I admired the game so much that they had a course laid out and were very enthusiastic and skillfull players.

    By the time of Charles II the first course had been torn up to make way for the building of houses along The Mall. Charles needed a new course, which was built on the north side of what is today The Mall. The site of the old course being re-named Pall Mall.

    Because the game was a favourite of the King's, great crowds of well-healed Londoners regularly attended the matches to watch him play.

    In 1661, the diarist Samuel Pepys wrote:-
    'While the fashionable strollers watched they meandered up and down talking and enjoying the view of the park'.

    Apart from being a fashionable place to be seen, the area where the game was played had another advantage. The Mall was within the jurisdiction of the court of St James and, because of this, the laws pertaining to debt and debtors did not apply. This being the case, The Mall was a magnet for people who could not pay their bills, as well as the fashionable and well-to-do people of London. As long as the debtors stayed in The Mall, they could not be arrested.

    The word 'mall' soon entered the English language and came to mean any fashionable place to walk and meet ones friends and acquaintences for the purposes of exercise, shopping, social chit-chat or, in some cases, avoiding the long arm of the law.

    Address - Pall Mall, SW1A

    Images courtesy of wikicommons

    Pall Mall, London The Mall, London
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    Buried Alive in Kensal Green.

    by HackneyBird Updated Jun 20, 2016

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    Favorite thing: Kensal Green Cemetery, situated near the Grand Union Canal in North Kensington, gives the visitor the impression of being in the heart of the countryside. Nestling among the trees and shrubs are many grand monuments as well as the more usual gravestones and tombs.

    Up until the building of the canal, North Kensington was a quiet, rural place. A handful of houses stood at the junction of Kilburn Lane and Harrow Road but the rest was farmland, dotted here and there with isolated taverns, and London was a half days walk away. But by the early 1800s the few houses at the junction had grown into and small village and was expanding rapidly.

    By the 1830s the church graveyards in London were filled to capacity and in 1832 All Soul's Cemetery, as Kensal Green was originally called, was opened on land owned by All Soul's College, Oxford, to alliviate the problem. It was thought to be a fashionable place to be buried and many notable people of the Victorian age were laid to rest there including, the inventor of the first computer Charles Babbage (1791-1871), Sir Anthony Panizzi (1797-1879) who designed the Round Reading Room at the British Library ( which is now part of the British Museum), authors Wilkie Collins (1824-1889), Anthony Trollope (1815-1863) and William Mackepeace Thackery (1811-1863), and the greatest engineer of the Victorian era, Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806-1859)

    Victorian Londoners had a strange obsession and many of the tombs and graves in the cemetery reflect this. The obsession was the fear of being buried alive!

    From about 1870 an idea was formed that, when it came to doctors deciding when a person was dead, they were always making mistakes. Rumours abounded that when death certificates had been issued and bodies were being laid out the 'apparent' corpses had miraculously come back to life, so who was to say that hundreds of people had been buried alive due to the incompetence of the medical profession at that time. This belief lasted well into the early part of the twentieth century.

    Such was the Victorians fear, a strange contraption was invented to guard against this eventuality. Many tombs were built with a hollow column which ran underground into the buried coffin. At the top of the column, which rose three feet above the tombstone, was a bell tower which held a small bell. The idea being, that should the deceased wake up after being buried, they could pull on the chain that ran through the column and was attached to the bell. The bell would then ring, alerting would-be rescuers to their plight. However, there is no recorded evidence to show that anyone buried with such an alarm system ever had cause to use it.

    A few of these alarm systems have survived the passing of time and visitors to Kensal Green Cemetery can still see the remains of them on some of the tombs today.

    Address - Kensal Green Cemetery, Harrow Road, W10 4RA

    Images courtesy of wikicommons

    Kensal Green Cemetery. Kensal Green Cemetery
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    The Filthiest Tavern in Old London Town.

    by HackneyBird Updated Jun 20, 2016

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    Favorite thing: Dirty Dick's public house in Bishopsgate dates back to the early 1700s. The pubs cellars are original, but it was in the tavern above them that one of London's oddest characters lived and worked.

    Formerly known as 'The Old Jerusalem', the tavern was owned and run by Nathanial Bentley, a merchant and local businessman. Nathanial was quite a dandy in his day and was something of a ladies man until one particular lady caught his eye and he decided to get married. Everything was made ready, the pub's dining rooms had been laid out for the wedding breakfast, the centre-piece of which was a huge wedding cake. But, sadly, on the night before the wedding his bride-to-be died suddenly. Striken with grief, Nathanial sealed up the room where the wedding festivities would have been held and never opened it again. He stopped washing and only put on clean clothes when the ones he was wearing rotted away. He also stopped cleaning his tavern and it became known as one of the dirtiest alehouse in London. Londoner's came to the tavern in droves, mainly to see if it was as bad as they had been told, which mad Nathanial Bentley a very rich man indeed. However, Bentley never spent his fortune because he bought absolutely nothing! He lived for another forty years and died in 1809.

    Bentley was once quoted as saying: 'What is the point of washing my hands or anything else for that matter when they will only be dirty again tomorrow?' He is also thought to have been the inspiration for Charles Dickens's character Miss Haversham in the book 'Great Expectations'.

    Succesive owners of the tavern capitalised on Nathanial Bentley's story and changed its name to Dirty Dick's. Its contents, originally part of the cellar bar, were put on display in a glass case, including the cobwebs and the numerous bodies of dead cats, and the remains of Bentley's old clothes were hung from the ceiling until 1980 when they were removed in contravention to the new Health and Safety Regulations. By the end of the nineteenth century Dirty Dick's was owned by William Barker's (D.D) Ltd who were publishing commemorative booklets to advertise the establishment. Today, Dirty Dick's is owned by the Young's pub chain.

    Address - 202 Bishopsgate, EC2M 4NR

    Image courtesy of wikicommons

    Dirty Dicks
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    London Legends - Mother Red Cap

    by HackneyBird Written Jun 20, 2016

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    Favorite thing: The World's End public house, opposite Camden Town tube station was, up until the 1980's called the Mother Red Cap. The pub is thought to have been built on the site of an old cottage which was lived in by an infamous fortune teller by the name of 'Mother Red Cap' or 'Mother Damnable' in the seventeenth century.

    The story goes that Mother Red Cap, whose given name was Jinney Bingham, was the daughter of Jacob Bingham, a brickmaker from Kentish Town and a Scottish pedlar's daughter who Jacob met when he was in the army in Scotland.

    Jinney, at the age of sixteen, had a child by a man who went by the name of Gypsy George who was later hung at Tyburn for sheep stealing. She then lived with another man. a drunkard, who mysteriously disappeared. Around this time, Jinney's parents were arrested for practising witchcraft and causing a woman's death. They were both found guilty and hanged. Jinney's third partner was a man named Pitcher. They lived together for a time, but then Pitcher too disappeared. Eventually, his body was found burnt to a crisp, huddled in the oven. Jinney was arrested and tried for his murder but was acquitted when one of her friends gave evidence that Pitcher had often hidden himself in the oven to get away from Jinney's vicious, nagging tongue.

    By now, Jinney had earned a bad reputation and people began to fear her. Jinney's next spouse was a man to whom she gave refuge in return for money. They lived together for a few years, but their relationship was not always a harmonious one. When this man died suddenly an inquest was held because there was some suspicion that he had been poisoned. Jinney was arrested, but because there was no proof of her involvement in the man's death she was released.

    After this, Jinney went to live alone in the cottage her father had built and, as the years went by, she became more and more reclusive. She made a meagre living by telling fortunes and she also claimed to be able to cure unusual diseases, which led to rumours being bandied about Camden Town that she was a witch. Whenever anything untoward happened in the area a mob descended on Jinney's cottage, but she retaliated by means of her acid tongue and her black cat which she used to terrorise her persecutors.

    Eventually, poor Jinney died. A report written after her death stated that a number of witnesses said that they saw the Devil himself enter her cottage the night before her death and, although they kept watch on the house, they never saw him leave. The report also said that Mother Red Cap was found in a chair by her hearth, holding a wooden rod over the embers of her dying fire from which hung a teapot containing an infusion of herbs and roots. This brew was administered to her cat and within two hours the poor creature's fur had fallen out and it died a short while later. The undertaker made a statement to the effect that Mother Red Cap's body was stiff when it was found, so stiff in fact that her limbs had to be broken so that her corpse would fit into the coffin. It was also reported that after her body had been taken away, the justices sent men into the cottage to examine its contents.

    Address - 174 Camden High Street, NW1 0NE

    Image courtesy of wikicommons

    The World's End Pub, Camden
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    All Hallows London Wall - Meeting FCC volunteers

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 27, 2015

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    Favorite thing: In October 2014 I visited London and started talking to a woman from the FCC. I paid a fee to support them and they added me to their mailing list so I can get their newsletter sent to my home in Iceland and keep up to date with what is happening in the City churches, as I absolutely adore the City Churches, which were rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren.

    Fondest memory: In September 2015 I met the same woman, Grethe Hauge from Denmark, in All Hallows on the Wall and she remembered me (us) from last time and we started talking about my enthusiasm for the City Churches. She is a volunteer at the Friends of the City Churches and also has guided tours of London. Look up her website City Walks with Grethe - I will go on a guided tour with her next time I visit London. A very lovely lady.

    The other FCC volunteer, Judy Stephenson, who has been a couple of times to Iceland, writes in the newsletter of the Friends of the City Churches. She said that she was looking for material to write in the next newsletter and that she might be writing about this crazy Icelandic woman, who has visited all the City Churches, bar 3. So maybe Virtualtourist will be mentioned in the next newsletter? I am going to send them the link to my pages of the City Churches here on Virtualtourist.

    I thought All Hallows London Wall was my last church, only to find out that 3 were missing from my list, the ones that is very hard to get into. I have been into locked churches and church employees have escorted me to some churches and opened them up for me. I will make my utmost to visit the 3 churches left, although one of them in particular interests me because it is a Sir Christopher Wren church - the St. Nicholas Cole Abbey. I just found out that a café has been opened in this church, called The Wren Café, so it should not be a difficult task to visit this church :)

    They showed me around and we took photos of as all and Jonni got to hold the church key and then did some magic - he made GPB 20 appear. I then paid my annual fee for the FCC newsletter, so that my subscription from last year wouldn't expire. Grethe was so kind as to hand in the fee for me to the main offices of the FCC.

    Judy, I and Grethe in All Hallows London Wall. Jonni did some magic for the FCC volunteers. Jonni got to hold the keys to the church :) Jonni made money appear out of nowhere :) Judy, I and Grethe in All Hallows London Wall.

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    St. Paul's Cathedral - Wren's masterpiece

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 27, 2015

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    Favorite thing: St. Paul's Cathedral is of course Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece out of all of the City churches he rebuilt after the Great Fire of London in 1666. It is London's largest church.

    St. Paul's Cathedral is the seat of the Bishop of London. The first church on this site was founded in year 604 and it has been dedicated to the Apostle Paul ever since. When the Old St. Paul's was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 a new Cathedral was built, the present St. Paul's Cathedral by Sir Christopher Wren. He built it in English Baroque style and it has been called his masterpiece, which it is for sure! The Cathedral was consecrated in 1697, but it wasn't declared completely finished until 1711. The impressive statues on the roof were added the 1720s.

    St. Paul's Cathedral is one of the landmarks of London and I was told by one of my teachers in Macrobiotic, when I was studying in London back in 1987, that his grandfather had been a watchman in the tower of St. Paul's Cathedral during WW2. And that the Cathedral had not been heavily bombed as the enemies used it as a landmark. The Cathedral is 111 m high. The Cathedral did get hit by a bomb on two occasions though.

    Prince Charles and Diana were married at St. Paul's Cathedral and here the funerals of Sir Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher and Lord Nelson were held. Amongst many important events in the Royal Family.

    Fondest memory: No photos are allowed inside the church, so I can only add photos from the outside. There were people taking photos left and right on their mobile phones, but I have been told off too many times for taking photos, where I didn't know it was forbidden, so I kept my camera in my bag. Wish I had some photos though, as the cathedral is extraordinary beautiful. And here is the burial place of Sir Christopher Wren. After having visited his churches in the City for months on end I would have loved to have a photo of his tombstone, but alas, no photos allowed :( But there is an awesome photo of St. Paul's Cathedral taken by Henry Stuart .

    Other very prominent figures are buried in St. Paul's Cathedral - the Duke of Wellington and Lord Nelson.

    It is not cheap visiting St. Paul's Cathedral as the entrance fee is now GBP 18. I remember back when one could just pop in and sit down and enjoy the beauty of the cathedral. But with mass tourism I guess that is no longer an option. And St. Paul's Cathedral receives no money from the Government. But all the same I wish the entrance fee were a little less, so I could visit it more often.

    St. Paul's Cathedral is a very active church and every day there are 4 services and 5 on Sundays. I stayed for one service and received Holy Communion. It is not open to visitors other than church goers on Sundays. And you don't pay if you are only going in to pray, although I don't know how they make sure that you don't go for a tour of the church after you have prayed?

    St. Paul's Cathedral is located on Ludgate Hill, which is the highest point of the City of London. The same has been said of the site of St. Peter Cornhill, where the first site of the City's Christian community stood, that it stands on the highest point of the old Londinium.

    Tube: St. Paul's.

    A must visit!

    The Dome of St. Paul's Cathedral. St. Paul's Cathedral St. Paul's Cathedral St. Paul's Cathedral. The statues of the Apostles on St Paul's Cathedral

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    All Hallows London Wall/All Hallows on the Wall

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: All Hallows London Wall is one of the City of London's churches and a church, which I wasn't able to visit until September 2015. While I was staying in London in 2012-2013 this church was under construction so it was not possible to visit it.

    So when I heard (in 2015) that it had reopened and open on Wednesdays from 11am until 3pm, I rushed down to the City in July 2015, only to find the church closed :( We rang the bell on the offices to the church and were told that it was usually open on this particular day, but that guests were sleeping in the church, so it was not open for visit, but that we could visit it next Wednesday. It was not possible as we were only staying in London for one week. Fortunately we visited London again a couple of months later and were able to visit All Hallows London Wall. I was so excited to see it and was greeted by the Friends of the City Churches. I am going to write another tip on us meeting the Friends of the City Churches in All Hallows London Wall ;)

    All Hallows London Wall is built by the old Roman wall, thus the name. The church is plain and one almost doesn't notice it from the outside.. There is one strange thing about it, The pulpit can only be entered from outside the church, by the London Wall. So the minister has to go outside and inside again through the vestry to be able to enter the pulpit. Most unusual.

    The current church was built by George Dance the Younger in 1767. Dance built the church in neo classical style, simple with no aisles. It is very basic, both on the outside and on the inside. Lovely all the same and the ceiling is beautiful.

    There was an older church on this site since the early 12th century. That church was built on a bastion on the Roman wall, explaining the closeness of the church to the London Wall. In that old church lived hermits in cells.

    Fortunately the closeness to the Wall saved the church from the Great Fire of London in 1666. But the church was neglected and fell into dereliction. During WW2 the church got damaged, but it was restored in the 1960s.

    All Hallows London Wall is a guild church, like so many of the City churches. It is the guild church of the Worshipful Company of Carpenters, which used their church for their annual elections for more than 600 years.

    Fondest memory: Now the All Hallows London wall is a City Gates Church and houses XLP, which is a urban youth charity. I think it was a part of a group they were helping, which was sleeping in the church, when I arrived in July 2015.

    I couldn't find a website for this church, but the address is: All Hallows London Wall, 83 London Wall, EC2M 5ND London.

    All Hallows London Wall church All Hallows London Wall church All Hallows London Wall church All Hallows London Wall church - the pulpit! All Hallows London Wall church - lovely ceiling

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    St. Bride - the Crypt.

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: There is a Crypt in St. Bride's church. Amongst the Roman things uncovered in the Crypt is a Roman mosaic pavement, which can be seen in the south-east corner of the Crypt. The pavement dates back to ca 43 AD. It is just awesome visiting the Crypt looking at the almost 2000 year old pavement. Here one can see the ancient place of a worship in this area.

    Thousands of human remains were also found in the Crypt, victims of the Great Plague and the cholera epidemic.

    There is a medieval chapel in the crypt, which was restored in 2002 and is now a WW1 and WW2 memorial to the staff of the Associated Newspapers who lost their lives in these 2 wars. It also serves as a memorial to the Harmsworth family.

    Fondest memory: Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 09:00-18:00. Saturday: hours vary. Sunday: 10:00-18:30.

    Address: Fleet St, London EC4Y 8AU.

    Telephone no: +44 20 7427 0133

    Tube: St Paul´s and Blackfriars.

    Bride´s church is off Fleet Street by Bride Lane.

    The Crypt at St. Bride's church. The Crypt at St. Bride's church. The Crypt at St. Bride's church. The Crypt at St. Bride's church - memorial plaque The Crypt at St. Bride's church.

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    St. Bride - the Cathedral of Fleet Street.

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: St. Bride is world famous and probably one of the oldest churches in London.

    The first stone-walled church on this site dates back to the early sixth century, founded by St. Bride/St. Bridge. St. Bride got severely damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was left in ruins. Nine years later Sir Christopher Wren had rebuilt it. Again it got damaged in 1940 in WWII by German bombs and only the walls were left, the roof was blown off. 17 years passed before it was rebuilt. In the meantime excavation work was carried out and the foundations of all six previous churches were uncovered.

    Amongst the Roman things uncovered was a Roman pavement, which can be seen in the Crypt dating back to ca 43 AD. It is just awesome visiting the Crypt looking at the almost 2000 year old pavement. Thousands of human remains were also found in the Crypt, victims of the Great Plague and the cholera epidemic. I have written a separate tip on the Crypt.

    The church is named after the daughter of an Irish prince, Bride. She was born in 453 and later became a nun and opened a convent in Kildare with 7 other nuns, which became a centre of learning. Bride was regarded as a saint while she was still alive and was known for her holiness throughout Christian Europe.

    The spire of St. Bride's is in the form of a wedding-cake spire. It is 96 meters high and the second highest of Wren's churches, only St. Paul's has got a higher spire.

    St. Bride has been the church of the journalists and newspaper since 1500.

    There are lunchtime recitals are on Tuesdays and Fridays at 13:15 throughout the year. They last for 30 minutes and are free of charge.

    The church is a Grade I listed building.

    Fondest memory: Opening hours: Monday-Friday: 09:00-18:00. Saturday: hours vary. Sunday: 10:00-18:30.

    Address: Fleet St, London EC4Y 8AU.

    Telephone no: +44 20 7427 0133

    Tube: St Paul´s and Blackfriars.

    Bride´s church is off Fleet Street by Bride Lane.

    St. Bride church. St. Bride��s church. St. Bride��s church. St. Bride��s church. The beautiful spire of St. Bride's church.

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    The corbels in the Temple Church.

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: I must add a special tip on the carved corbels in the Temple Church, just to show the photos of these strange, often very amusing faces :)

    The Temple Church was severely damaged in WW2. The corbels were destroyed amongst other things. The current corbels in the church were reconstructed from the original 14th century corbels.

    These corbels are a collection of frowning faces, grotesque faces, angry faces, funny faces etc. I only took photos of 6 of them, but have later seen many more photos of interesting corbels in the Temple Church.

    Fondest memory: Address: Inner Temple Lane. Off Fleet Street.

    An angry corbel face. A sad corbel face. A funny corbel face. Don't know what to say about this corbel face. A corbel face at the Temple Church.

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    The Temple Church - the effigies.

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: I am going to add a special tip on the effigies in the Round of the Temple Church. This church is so special that one tip is not enough to cover its history.

    There are 9 stone effigies in the Round. The effigies of the knights are in the middle of the Round. One of the effigies is that of William Marshal, Earl of Pembroke (d.1219), who was a chief advisor to King John and served Henry III. Next to him lies the effigy of his son, William, who was also a witness to Magna Carta at Runnymede in June 1215. There is also an effigy of his son Gilbert. And another effigy is of William de Ros. Then you will see the effigy of Geoffrey de Mandeville, Earl of Essex (1144). I have not been able to find all the names of the effigies in the Temple Church.

    The stone effigies are just effigies, not graves of the Knights. They depict the Knights ready for battle to protect the pilgrims. They protect the Temple Church.

    Fondest memory: The Temple Church effigies got damaged to an extent on the last day of the Blitz in WW2 on May 10th 1941, when the roof of the church fell on them after the church got damaged by incendiary bombs. But there are plaster casts of the effigies in the V&A Museum, so one can see what they looked like before the fire damage.

    Address: Inner Temple Lane. Off Fleet Street. Tube: Temple.

    The effigies of the Knights Templar. The effigies of the Knights Templar. The effigies of the Knights Templar. The effigies of the Knights Templar.

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    The Temple Church and the Knights Templar

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: The Temple Church is a City of London church and among the oldest churches in London, so rich in history.

    The Knights Templar, an order of crusading monks (soldier monks), established their headquarters in England at Temple. The Temple church was consecrated in 1185 and stood amidst many more buildings belonging to the Knights Templar. The Round was built in the liking of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the chancel was added in 1240 as a burial place for King Henry III and his Queen. As fate has it they were not buried in the Temple Church, but in Westminster Abbey.

    The Knights Templars, as is well known, were founded in 1118 to protect the pilgrims, who were visiting the Holy Land. They were to become one of the most powerful orders of Christianity.

    There are 9 stone effigies in the Round Church, on which I have added another tip.

    The Temple Church is an Anglican church and has got one of the finest church choirs in London since the 1230s.

    The church didn't get damaged in the Great Fire of London in 1666, but Sir Christopher Wren all the same refurbished it, seeing that he was restoring so many other churches in the City of London. And it was restored in 1841 and again in 1862.

    The church got severely damaged on the last night of the Blitz in WW2, on the 10th of May 1941 by incendiary bombs and had to be restored. All of its east windows were scattered. Beautiful new stained glass windows, 3 in all, were made by Carl Edwards. They have been said to be "among the best post-war glass in London" (you can see them in my 3rd photo). I have also added more photos of the Temple Church in a travelogue.

    Fondest memory: The Temple Church is the church of Inner and Middle Temple, which are 2 ancient societies of England's lawyers, the Inns of Court. In 1608 King James I gave the church to the lawyers in this area, with the condition that they were to maintain the church and its services forever.

    The Temple Church serves to the members and staff of the 2 Inns and the workers of the Temple area. Others, I guess, must pay an entrance fee of GPB 4 for entering the Temple Church. I gladly did that, as I was eager to see this noteworthy church of the Knight Templar.

    Parts of the Da Vinci Code film were shot inside the Temple Church.

    Address: Inner Temple Lane. Off Fleet Street. Tube: Temple.

    A highly recommended visit.

    The Temple Church. The effigies at the Temple Church The Temple Church The Harrison & Harrison organ at the Temple Church A statue in the liking of the seal of the Knights.

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    St. Mary Moorfields (RC)

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

    Favorite thing: St. Mary Moorfields Catholic church is one of the City of London churches. It is special in a way as it is the only Catholic church in the City of London. It is a "working church", as it were, because unlike many of the City churches it is open every day from 6:45 am until 6:45 pm. Many of the City churches are closed and only open on certain dates, when the Friends of the City Churches keep them open. Others are very difficult to get into. But not St. Mary Moorfields.

    One can easily pass by St. Mary Moorfields, not knowing that this were a church, as there are shops on both sides of its entrance. When I visited people were praying, so I just tiptoed in the back and took some photos without flash as not to disturb anybody. I sometimes go and pray in Hallgrímskirkja church in Reykjavík, which is the biggest church in Iceland, and have found it disturbing when tourists take flash photos of everything, including me praying, so I make sure not to disturb anybody when I visit churches. It is different when the churches are empty.

    Fondest memory: St. Mary Moorfields Catholic church was opened in 1903, but is has got a longer history, which was much affected by revolutions and riots. There was a chapel from 1686-1689. And from 1736-1780 there was also a chapel in Ropemaker's Alley. After the interiors of that chapel were destroyed in riots, a new chapel was opened in White Street and in Finsburty Circus a church was opened in 1820. That church became the pro-cathedral of Cardinal Wiseman from 1850-1869.

    Address: 4/5 Eldon Street, EC2M 7LS, between Moorgate and Liverpool Street station

    St. Mary Moorfields (RC) St. Mary Moorfields (RC) St. Mary Moorfields (RC) St. Mary Moorfields (RC) St. Mary Moorfields (RC)

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    The Barge Master and Swan Marker

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 26, 2015

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    Favorite thing: Next to the City church St. James Garlickhythe is a life size and very life like bronze statue of an elderly, benign man, standing tall in a traditional costume of the Vintners' Company. In front of him is another statue of a swan. I found this to be such a lovely statue, and seeing that it is located next to one of the City churches, which I am writing about, then I decided on adding a tip on the story of this statue as well.

    The man in uniform represents the Barge Master and Swan Marker. When I first read this description I did not understand what it meant. But I found out that the Vintners' Company and the Crown and Dyers' Company owned the swans on the river Thames, and they share the duty of "swan marking".

    It is believed that this lovely statue, which was made by the sculptor Vivien Mallock, is the first public sculpture to be commissioned by a Livery Company (the Vintners' Company) in London.

    The Queen's Swan Marker has several duties, such as being the advisor for swan welfare and everything that has to do with these swans, including vandalism etc. He is also in charge of monitoring the health of the swans and instructing the fishing organisations as well as the boating organisations on how to "behave" in order to not hurt the wildlife.

    The Queen's Swan Marker also takes part, together with the swan rescue organisations, in the rescue of swans, which are injured and sick on the river Thames. I find this to be so lovely, that there is a special employee, which is in charge of the swans on the river Thames!

    There is an inscription on the statue:

    "The Barge Master
    & Swan Marker
    of The Vintners'
    Company"

    Fondest memory: In July these livery companies have their special "Swan Upping" in July each year, where there is a ceremonial marking of cygnets (the young ones). This ceremony dates back to the 12th century, when the swans were eaten as a delicacy at banquets. And the Crown owned all the mute swans. In the 15th century the Crown granted the right of shared ownership with the Worshipful Company of Vintners and the Worshipful Company of Dyers. Nowadays the swan population is decreasing on the Thames and the swans are no longer a delicacy at banquets.

    After the Swan Upping has finished the Queen's Swan Marker makes a report on the number of swans, cygnets and broods.

    This is quite a ceremony, which I would love to watch one day if I will be able to I visit London in the third week of July.

    The statue is located next to St.James Garlickhythe on the south end of Garlick Hill

    The Barge Master & Swan Marker ...of the Wintners' Company St. James Garlickhythe. St. James Garlickhythe.

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  • Regina1965's Profile Photo

    The Dutch Church - Nederlandse Kerk.

    by Regina1965 Updated Sep 19, 2015

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: There is an old church in the City of London called the Dutch Church. It is a church and a Dutch centre.

    There are services in Dutch on Sundays at 11:00.

    Here used to be an old priory from ca 1253 until 1538. The monks were called the Austin Friars, which is short for the Augustinian Friars.

    This church is very special as it is the oldest Dutch Protestant church in the world, dating back to 1550, making it a medieval church, hidden away in the middle of the City of London. King Henry VIII took the church from the Augustinian Friars and his son Edward VI granted it to the Dutch community in London, who was at that time the largest foreign community in London, half of them being religious refugees.

    So many of the City churches were destroyed by the German bombings in 1940 during WW2, in the Blitz. The Dutch Church was one of them. It was then rebuilt and consecrated in 1954. A collection of old books got saved from the church, valuable, religious Dutch books and atlases.

    There are some very beautiful stained glass windows in the Dutch Church and an extraordinary painting, covering a large wall.

    The Dutch church is a Grade II listed building.

    Fondest memory: Address: 7 Austin Friars EC2N 2HA
    Tel.: 020 7588 1684

    Opening hours of the church are: Tuesdays-Fridays from 11:00-15:00.

    The church is kind of hidden away in Austin Friars, off Old Broad Street, one has to look for it. Closest tube: Liverpool street.

    If you walk further on in Austin Friars street in one corner of a building there is a statue of one of the Austin Friars. It is quite interesting walking here, like stepping back in time.

    Beautiful stained glass windows in the church. The Dutch Church. The beautiful symbolic painting on the wall. The Dutch Church. The Dutch Church.

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