Monday, 28 November 2016

Roman London

London's life began with the invasion of the Romans in 43AD. Invading from Kent the Romans' advance was stopped by the River Thames. A bridge was built and with it a network of roads. North of the river the Roman settlement was known as Londinium and quickly established itself as a trading centre for goods brought up the Thames by boat and unloaded at wooden docks by the bridge.

About 200AD the Romans built a defensive wall  around the city.

This wall defined the shape and size of London for over a 1000 years. The area within the wall is now 'the City', the financial sector of London.

Parts of the wall can still be seen

These remains are next to the Tower of London

This is one of the most impressive surviving sections of the wall  and can be seen to the Southeast of Tower Hill Underground station.

Other parts of the wall can be seen on Noble Street near the Museum of London.

The Great Fire of London in 1666 was stopped by the wall preventing further destruction north of the wall. Later on parts of the wall were demolished or incorporated into new buildings but bomb damage in the 1940s revealed more of the City Wall which is now protected by English Heritage.

Roman discoveries are still being made as archaeologists must excavate an area before any new construction within the City of London can begin. In 1988 Museum of London archaeologists discovered the site of an amphitheatre beneath the Guildhall Yard. It was built in 70AD as a wooden structure  but was restructured in the 2nd century to accommodate 6000 spectators. After the Romans left Britain in the 4th Century the amphitheatre was dismantled and the stone used for building materials elsewhere,

The remains can be seen below the Guildhall Art Gallery.

 Clever light projections help you to imagine what it would have looked like.

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Monday, 21 November 2016

All that jazz

I visited the Fashion and Textile Museum  recently to see an exhibition on 1920s Jazz Age Fashion. After WW1 women's fashion reflected a more active lifestyle. Hemlines began to rise, tiny waist lines disappeared and women were more active. The 1920s allowed for all shapes and sizes in a multitude of styles., some of which have stood the test of time and are still around today.

Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 18 November 2016

Gliding over Edale

A few weeks ago I went for a walk in the Peak District in Derbyshire. The first time I have ventured into the hills since I injured a tendon in my leg last year. I didn't walk far but it was enough to let me know how much I have missed walking in the countryside.

There was much to see not just on the ground but in the skies.

This was obviously the place for hang gliders.

Must be the closest you can get to that feeling of flying like a bird.

It took quite some time before everything was ready for this one to take to the sky.

But once launched it soared upwards on the thermals.

There were two people sharing the experience.

I know nothing about this sport and have just referred to them all as hang gliders which I know is probably incorrect but you get what I mean.

Looks  very comfortable admiring the world from up high.

Was I envious? No, I was quite happy to have my feet on the ground.

Monday, 14 November 2016

The Fourth Plinth

 The fourth plinth in Trafalgar Square was built in 1841 to hold a statue of William IV but a lack of funds meant that it remained empty for the next 150 years. There is still much debate about a permanent sculpture for the plinth with many people thinking it should be used for a statue of Queen Elizabeth II. This would only happen after her death so in the meantime it is used for temporary art exhibits.

This is 'Really good' by David Shrigley. It is an 18ft bronze hand clenched in a fist with the thumb extended upwards. Shrigley's ambition is that this simple 'Thumb's up' gesture will become a self fulfilling prophesy: that things considered 'bad' such as the economy, weather and society will benefit from a change of consensus to positivity.
This is the 11th temporary exhibit on the fourth plinth and as with the others is a cause of much discussion.

Friday, 11 November 2016

Lest we forget

Today is Remembrance Day and at the eleventh hour of the eleventh month people were gathering in Trafalgar Square  to observe two minutes silence.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016


Whilst on a trip to Peru in 2009 I met up with Mark, Carole, Lisa and Marilyn and we became firm friends. Four of us were from the UK and lived within visiting distance. Our fifth friend was from Canada so not so easy to visit. We made promises that we would all keep in touch and perhaps meet up in other parts of the world Whilst those of us in the UK have met up on numerous occasions and have had weekend trips to Europe, only four of us were in China together in 2010 and a different group of four in Costa Rica in 2011. So it wasn't until  2013 all five of us managed to meet up in Berlin. A great reunion. Last night four of us were together again reliving our past escapades. Today three of us went to Brighton for a day at the sea side.

We walked along the pier. The pier was opened in 1899 at a cost of £27,000. A huge sum of money at that time.

This was the West pier which closed in 1975 but was subsequently destroyed by fires and storms and the remaining iron structure partly demolished in 2010.

The pier funfair was empty and looked very forlorn and sad.

Looking further along the coast you can see Brighton's latest attraction the i360. It claims to be the world's first vertical cable car and takes you up to 450ft giving great views across Sussex, although half of that would be out to sea!

The pod, which can accommodate 200 people looking out from the windows at the same time, rotates slowly giving you a 360 deg view. The cost is £15 but we decided not to bother. Instead we  wandered back into the town for a pub lunch

Afterwards we visited the Brighton Pavilion. Although I have seen it many times I have never been inside. I assumed there wasn't much to see. No cameras allowed, unfortunately, but what a gem. An absolute wonder and delight of Georgian extravagance. It was built as a Royal residence for George, Prince of Wales who later became George IV. It was built in three stages starting in 1787. The domes and minarets were added by the architect John Nash in 1815.

Queen Victoria disliked  Brighton and was persuaded to sell the Pavilion to the town who used it as assembly rooms. The fixtures and fittings had been removed and relocated to Buckingham Palace and Windsor but in the late 1860s Queen Victoria returned large quantities of unused fixtures and fittings. George V and Queen Mary returned many more after the first World War.
Since the end of WW2 Brighton council has spent time and money restoring the Pavilion to its state at the time of King George IV. In the 1950s Queen Elizabeth II gave over 100 items of furniture on permanent loan to the Pavilion.

This is the Banqueting room taken from John Nash's Views of the Royal Pavilion 1826

Our final outing of this holiday was to have a delicious cream tea on the balcony of the Royal Pavilion overlooking the gardens. That night we needed to be at a hotel near Gatwick so I could get M to the airport early the next morning. We had had a great time, with lots of laughs along the way and we are looking forward to our next holiday together wherever or whenever that might be.