"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count, it's the life in your years." - Abraham Lincoln

Posted on January 29, 2017 by Sioux under General
1 Comment

 

Sufficiently fed and watered, I headed out again. Still meandering, still stopping at anything that looked even remotely interesting.

 

Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park, GCB, KBE, MC & Bar, DFC (15 June 1892 – 6 February 1975) was a New Zealand soldier, First World War flying ace and Second World War Royal Air Force Commander. He was in operational command during two of the most significant air battles in the European theatre in the Second World War, helping to win the Battle of Britain and the Battle of Malta.

 

In Germany, he was supposedly known as “the Defender of London” during his command of RAF squadrons that defended London and the South East from Luftwaffe attacks in 1940.

 

The 2.78m statue of ACM Sir Keith Park was unveiled in Waterloo Place in Haymarket, on the 70th anniversary of Battle of Britain Day. It has been said that Park was “a man without whom the history of the Battle of Britain could have been disastrously different. He was a man who never failed at any task he was given.”  

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I stopped in at Somerset House, where in the

winter months I’d watched people skating,

now the children were having a ball in the

fountains.

 

In 1547, Edward Seymour, the Lord Protector

and Duke of Somerset, wanted a palace home

on the banks of the Thames, and so began the

building of Somerset House.

 

When he was executed at The Tower of

London in 1552, ownership of the almost

completed building passed to The Crown; and

in 1553, the 20 year old Princess Elizabeth

moved in and stayed until 1558 when she was crowned Queen Elizabeth I. In 1603, the palace was renamed Denmark House, in honour of Anne of Denmark, wife of James I of England, when she took up residence in the palace. During the 1666 Great Fire of London, although most of the city was destroyed, Denmark House stayed safe when the fire was halted just short of the building.

 

After decades of neglect, the original building was demolished in 1775 and work started immediately on a new palace, which was completed in 1801. In 1950, a 2-year project was started to rebuild the Navy Staircase, now known as the Nelson Stair, as it was badly damaged during a bombing raid in 1940. A trust was established in 1997, to preserve and develop Somerset House for public use and in 2000, The River Terrace was opened to the public for the first time in more than a century. Somerset House is now used for public exhibitions, including art, fashion and even an ice rink in the winter. During the summer months the fountains in the huge courtyard are used by children wanting a cool place to play and have fun in the water.  

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From Somerset House, I headed down Strand towards Fleet Street and St Pauls. I stopped in at St Clement Danes, an Anglican church in the City of Westminster, outside the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand. Although the first church on the site was reputedly founded in the 9th century by the Danes, the current building was completed in 1682 by Sir Christopher Wren.

 

Wren’s building was gutted during the Blitz and not restored until 1958, when it was re-consecrated as a perpetual shrine of remembrance to those killed on active service and those of the Allied Air Forces who gave their lives during the Second World War. The church is sometimes claimed to be the one featured in the nursery rhyme Oranges and Lemons and the bells do indeed play that tune. 

 

 However, St Clement Eastcheap, in the City of London, also claims to be the church from the rhyme.  Due to its position on a traffic island, St Clement Danes is known as one of two ‘Island  Churches’. 

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Opposite St Clements is Australia House, the High Commission of Australia in London is the diplomatic mission of Australia in the United Kingdom. It is both Australia’s first diplomatic mission and the longest continuously occupied diplomatic mission in the United Kingdom. A major landmark on Strand, in London, construction on the building commenced in 1913. It was built over a 900 year old sacred well drawing from the River Fleet, a subterranean river underneath London. The water in the well is clear and has been tested as safe to drink. Shipping problems caused by World War I delayed completion, and the building was officially opened by King George V in a ceremony on 3 August 1918, attended by the Australian Prime Minister. Most of the building material used in its construction was imported from Australia.

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“Oranges and Lemons” say the bells of St Clement’s. “Bull’s eyes and targets” say the bells of St Margaret’s. “Pokers and tongs” say the bells of St John’s.

“Pancakes and fritters” say the bells of St Peter’s.

“Two sticks and an apple” say the bells of Whitechapel. “Old Father Baldpate” say the slow bells of Aldgate. “Maids in white aprons” say the bells of St Catherine’s. “Brickbats and tiles” say the bells of St Giles’.

“Kettles and pans” say the bells of St Anne’s.

“You owe me five farthings” say the bells of St Martin’s. “When will you pay me?” say the bells of Old Bailey. “When I grow rich” say the bells of Shoreditch.

“Pray when will that be?” say the bells of Stepney.

“I’m sure I don’t know” says the great bell of Bow.

Here comes a candle to light you to bed,

Chip chop, chip chop, the last man’s dead. 

An assortment of interesting places were passed enroute to St Pauls, including the Twinings shop. Ten generations of the Twining family have been involved in the business, from inception to current times. Overseeing everything from the creation of the famous English Breakfast blend to supplying tea to the Red Cross for food parcels during the war.  The historical shop in the heart of London has been trading for over 300 years.  

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Temple Bar was the principal ceremonial entrance to the City of London on its western side from the City of Westminster. It is situated on the historic royal ceremonial route from the Tower of London to the Palace of Westminster, and from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral.

 

The term Temple Bar refers to a notional bar or barrier across the route, but is commonly used to refer to the 17th century ornamental Baroque arched gateway designed by Christopher Wren which spanned the road until its removal in 1878. Wren’s arch was preserved and was re-erected in 2004 in the City, in Paternoster Square next to St Paul’s Cathedral. Following the demolition of Wren’s gateway, a memorial to mark Temple Bar was designed and unveiled in 1880.

 

At Temple Bar the Corporation of the City of London formerly erected a barrier to regulate trade into the City. As the most important entrance to the City of London from Westminster, it was formerly the custom for the monarch to halt at Temple Bar before entering the City of London, in order for the Lord Mayor to offer up the Corporation’s pearl-encrusted Sword of State as a token of loyalty. The Temple Bar Memorial stands in front of the Royal Courts of Justice.  

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Famous as the home of the Apollo Club, the Devil – more

completely the Devil and St Dunstan or The Devil and the Saint, thanks to its sign which showed the saint tweaking the Devil’s nose with pincers – was a Fleet Street institution. Located at number 2, Fleet Street close to the Temple Bar, the tavern’s origins date back to the 16th century. A bust of Apollo was mounted over the door to the room and a verse of welcome on the wall – these items apparently still exist inside the bank of Child & Co (now part of the Royal Bank of Scotland) which occupies the site on which the tavern once stood. It was demolished in the 1787 when the site was annexed by the neighbouring bank. A plaque can now be seen on the bank’s wall in Fleet Street.  

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St Bride’s Church church in the City of London, was designed in 1672. The original building in Fleet Street was largely gutted by fire during the London Blitz in 1940. As a result of the bombing, underground crypts were discovered in the ruins, as well as a Roman pavement, dating back to 180AD.

 

Due to its depth under the church, and possibly to protect it, a mirror has been hung from the ceiling above the paving in order for it to be visible from above. The church’s location in Fleet Street, has long had it associated with journalists and newspapers and it was known as ‘The Printers Cathedral’ and ‘The Journalists Church’. At 69m high, it is a distinctive sight on London’s skyline and is clearly visible from a number of locations, with only St Paul’s itself having a higher pinnacle.

 

St Bride’s steeple was apparently the inspiration for one of the first ever wedding cakes made! It may be one of the most ancient churches in London, with worship dating back to the conversion of the Middle Saxons in the 7th century. It has been said that, as the patron saint is St Bridget of Ireland, it may have been founded by Celtic monks. The present St Bride’s is at least the seventh church to have stood on the site.   

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Roman pavement viewed in the mirror 

Walking down Fleet Street, made famous by the alcohol-loving journalists who managed to produce some incredible work in their day, I passed number 186 Fleet Street, which is now the Dundee Courier Building.

 

Sweeney Todd, known as the demon barber of Fleet Street, had his shop on this site and is believed to have robbed and murdered over 150 customers, thereby making him the number one killer in London’s history. The first murder story was run in the Daily Courant, London’s first newspaper. 

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Walking was a thirsty business so I popped into a pub every now and then for something cool to sip on. Most of the pubs in this city have long and interesting pasts. The Tipperary was no different.

 

I had stopped in here with my sister when I was in London on holiday in 2007, so I took myself for a sip down memory lane!

 

The pub was built on the side of a monastery which dated to 1300 where, amongst other duties, the monks brewed ale. This site was an island between the River Thames and River Fleet which still runs under the pub, but is now little more than a stream.

 

Initially known as ‘The Boars Head’ which was built in 1605, the pub survived the Great Fire of London in 1666 because the property was built of stone and brick whereas the surrounding neighbouring buildings were made of wood. 

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In the 1700’s brewery chain from Dublin purchased ‘The Boars Head’ and it became the first Irish pub outside Ireland. It was fitted out in traditional Irish style which included a clock dating back to somewhere during 1638 – 1713, which was later stolen, and has been replaced with a replica.

 

The pub also became the first pub outside Ireland to have bottled Guinness and later draft.

 

In 1918 at the end of the Great War, the printers who came back from the war had the pubs’ name changed to ‘The Tipperary’ from the song ‘It’s a long, long way to Tipperary’. The name ‘The Boar’s Head’ was retained for the first floor bar.  

 

One response to “R & R time #3 – Loving the streets of London”

  1. Ursula Evans says:

    love it

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