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This is it! I've given up work -retired from the rat race and am about to start on a 10 year adventure, doing all those things I've been meaning to do but never had the time to do them. I've offloaded my responsibilities and it is now my time. So follow my adventures and see whether I actually manage anything!



Friday, 27 April 2012

Whitehall

Whitehall is the name of the road which goes from Trafalgar Square to the Houses of Parliament. The name comes from The palace of White Hall which burned down in 1698  Whitehall is home to many iconic London landmarks. Downing street which is home to the Prime Minister and the Chancellor of the exchequer is a road off Whitehall. Great Scotland Yard used to be the home to the Metropolitan police for many years is also off Whitehall.








  There is also the entrance to Horseguards Parade guarded by soldiers on horse back noted for their non-comittal faces as thousands of tourists stand beside them for a photo opportunity.

There are many statues and monuments on Whitehall as well as the Cenotaph  where the Queen lays the first wreath each year on Remembrance Sunday.



But my favourite place on Whitehall has to be the Banqueting Hall which is just across the road from the Horseguards. Although preceeded by another building it was James I of England and VI of Scotland (1602-25) who decided to replace it with a permanent building. Built of brick and stone and completed in 1609, the new banqueting house had a large hall above  a ground floor basement. It was built to provide a setting for a new and elaborate type of court entertainment - the masque.
From the outside the Banqueting Hall doesn't look that special but once you enter the large hall and look up  you will see the most magnificent ceiling painted by Peter Paul Rubens in about 1636.
          
Beneath the great hall is the Undercroft used by James 1 as a drinking den.












On 30 January 1649, Charles I was executed just outside the Banqueting House, on a scaffold especially erected in Whitehall.  He had lost the Civil War, and his enemies decided that he must be executed.
It is said that on the day of his execution it was bitterly cold.  He wore a second shirt, so as not to shiver from the cold, in case it was thought that he was trembling from fear. He was also persuaded to drink a glass of wine so that he would not faint before he reached the block. 
Charles I was composed on the scaffold.  He died with great dignity.

In later years it was used as a chapel but nowadays it is used for concerts and the occasional banquet.

4 comments:

  1. What a great, interesting post illustrated with some ace photos!
    Lots of history there...

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  2. Hi there - I wonder if there will ever be a time when the fence at the end of Downing Street can be removed? You have to hope so.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

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  3. Very interesting post. I love your educating me about London. I didn't know that about Charles !.

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  4. Beautiful place!
    I also didn't know that about Charles I... in fact the only thing I have read about his execution was in Alexandre Dumas' 20 Ans Après, the sequel to the Three Musketeers!

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