Thursday, 31 October 2013

Central St Giles

Central St Giles was built by the Italian architect, Renzo Piano in 2010 at a cost of £450 million. It certainly brightens up this otherwise dull area.

Since then Piano has completed his 2nd building in London - the Shard. As it is the tallest building in Europe no doubt Mr Piano's fame will increase greatly.

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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The London Wall

The first wall was built by the Romans around 200AD. It was about 2 miles long and incorporated a fort. In the 4th cent it was strengthened with towers. The Roman wall formed the foundation of the City wall. It was restored as a defensive wall during the medieval and Tudor periods. From the 17th cent, as London rapidly expanded, a defensive wall was no longer needed. Much of it was demolished in the 18th and 19th cent. However during the 20th cent excavations have revealed several sections.

This section is at Cooper's Row in the courtyard of the Grange Hotel. The wall is 10.6m high in this section. During the medieval times it was heightened by 6.2m as well as the ditch at the side of the wall being widened.

  Walking through the doorway gives you some idea how thick the walls were. 

You can see the V shape here below the opening which is where a double staircase led to the sentry walks. The archeologists think that the sentries would have walked along wooden platforms secured by timber from the holes which you can see. This is the only part of the excavated walls which has this arrangement. It is thought that there were extra defences here as it is so close to the Tower of London.

This is the Archer's loophole which provided protection for the archer as he aimed his arrows through the hole.

Here you can see the red tiles and ragstone of  the roman part of the wall which is about 4m high.


Monday, 28 October 2013

Wall boxes

Wall boxes are a type of post box that is set into a wall whereas our pillar boxes are free standing. They first began to appear in more rural areas in 1857. The boxes bear the initials of the monarch reigning at the time they were made.
I came across this Victorian one in the Cotswolds village of Lechlade and it is still in use today


This Georgian wall box does not have the roman numerals depicting which monarch so I am assuming it dates from George V as the regnal numbers were only added from George VI reign onwards. (George V reigned from 1910-1936). I came across this box in the village of Penshurst, Kent. 

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Friday, 25 October 2013

Berwick- upon-Tweed

Royal Border (railway) Bridge
Berwick- upon-Tweed is a town that has a history of being fought over. In 1080 the Scots took control of Berwick from the Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria. For the next 500 years it was often raided and  beseiged and the town changed hands many times between the English and the Scots. Since  1482 it has stayed under the jurisdiction of England.

Royal Tweed Bridge

It is a situated just 4km South of the Scottish border and is the Northern most town in England. It is known for its medieval walls surrounding the town and the Elizabethan ramparts.

Remains of the fortress and gun bastions

These barracks are the oldest in England dating back to 1717-21

The garrison needed a constant supply of gunpowder and this magazine was built in 1750 to protect the explosives from attack or accident.
Part of the walls

Where the River Tweed meets the sea

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Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Dunstanburgh castle

The ruins of Dunstanburgh Castle stand out against the beautiful Northumberland coastline

The Earl of Lancaster began the fortress in 1313 but archeological research has found that it was much grander than first thought and was possibly built as a symbol against the king than a military stronghold.

This view was taken as I walked South along the coast.

The following day I walked along the coast from the opposite direction towards the castle. 

The remains of the Gatehouse keep. The twin towered gatehouse was the main residential block, four stories high.


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Moore/Rodin exhibition

20 miles outside London is the Henry Moore Foundation where Moore lived for many years. His house is set within 50 acres of land with his sculptures on display in the open air where they belong. Sculptures need to be touched and seen from all angles. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Family group (1948-49)


Reclining figure - bunched (1969)

Three piece sculpture vertebrae (1968)

Upright motive No.9 (1979)

Sheep piece (1971-72)

Large reclining figure (1984)

Three piece reclining figure draped (1975)

Large upright internal/external form(1981-82)

The arch (1969)

Goslar Warrior (1973-74)

Double Oval (1966)

Reclining figure: Angles (1979)

For the first time Rodin's sculptures were exhibited alongside Moore's. To see the works of two of our greatest modern sculptors was a feast for the eyes. A number of works were on loan from the Musee Rodin, Paris which is one of my favourite Parisien museums.

Jean d'Aire Monumental Nude

Monument to the Burghers of Calais 1889

Adam (1881)

Eve (1881)

Cybele (1905)

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Hope you enjoyed walking through the sculpture park with me.