Monday, 25 September 2017

Apothecaries' hall

It was 'Open House' and an opportunity to visit some interesting buildings usually closed to the general public. This is the main door to the Apothecaries' hall which is the oldest Livery Company hall of the thirty four surviving in the City of London. The Livery Company has been on this site since 1632.

The main door takes you into the courtyard where the Master was waiting to welcome everyone.

After the Great fire of 1666, the building was rebuilt around the courtyard  and has been added to and altered since then.

It was the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries that set down the early foundations of modern day medicine. Unlike many of the other Livery Companies it still plays a key role today as an active medical institution.

        On the first floor there is a display of drug jars.

including this delightful leeches jar.

The Society's Coat of Arms

This is a copper still used in a laboratory in the distilling process involved in the manufacture of drugs.

The Great hall

Sunday, 24 September 2017


I was sitting in a cafe on Gloucester Road, West London and spotted this on the opposite side of the road. I wish I had taken a photo of it from the cafe so you could see that it was almost hidden by the BT wiring box next to it.
Sitting in the cafe I watched for ages but not one person even glanced down at this lone flower. It is in the style of Banksy but I haven't found any info on the net to say that it is by the famous street artist. Does anyone out there know anything about the flower?

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Kensington High Street

 This is Kensington Palace and the  White Garden, created in memory of the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana's death. I am now exploring stations on the Circle line and High Street Kensington tube station is just a few minutes walk from the Palace.

To find out what other gems I found near this Underground station click here

Monday, 18 September 2017

Canary Wharf Crossrail station

This is Crossrail Place, a five storey development above the new Canary Wharf Crossrail station  in Docklands. The station will open in December  2018 terminating at Paddington in the West and Abbey Wood in the East. The route will be fully open the following year taking passengers as far West as Reading stopping at Heathrow en route.

The 250m long station is surrounded by water from the West India Quay Dock and has been built 18m below water level whilst still allowing a navigable channel for boats within the dock.

The top level of the building has a roof garden open to the public.

The geographic location of Canary Wharf Crossrail station places the West India docks virtually on the Prime Meridian dividing the Eastern and Western hemispheres. The  designers divided the garden into two with plants from the Eastern hemisphere on one side and plants from the Western hemisphere on the other.

The roof gar.den is designed to evoke a ship laden with unusual and exotic specimens from around the world.

Through the window you can see another system of transport, the Docklands Light Railway.

Lots of wonderful reflections as well as places to sit.

There were pianos in a couple of places which welcomed you to play. Fortunately this young man was an excellent pianist and I didn't have to listen to repeat versions of 'chopsticks'.

This piano was designed to incorprate as many different forms of London transport.

A number of shops and cafes have opened on the ground floor of the complex.

I couldn't resist popping in here for tea and cake.

Friday, 15 September 2017

Docklands Light Ralway

 With the redevelopment of the docklands area a new transport system was needed, so 30 years ago the Docklands Light Railway was launched  in August 1987 with 11 trains stopping at 15 stations. Since then the railway has been extended five times and now has 45 stations and 149 vehicles. 

The DLR is mainly elevated on disused railway viaducts or new concrete viaducts. The trains are fully automated, controlled by a computer and have no driver.

My 3 yr old granddaughter loves 'driving' the train. As you can imagine, the front seats are very popular with children.

The Docklands continues to expand at a staggering rate. Every time I visit there seems to be yet another building going up.

Originally the trains were just one carriage long but with demand increasing, platforms have had to be extended to allow for 3 carriage trains.  There is a member of staff on the train responsible for checking tickets and controlling the doors who can also take control of the train in an emergency.

 Sharing with James at Weekend Reflection

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Rooftop Garden Kensington

The rooftop gardens in Kensington are spectacular but what is even more surprising is that they are free to visit. However, the gardens are hired out for various events especially weddings so you need to check beforehand that they are open to the public.

The roof garden was the dream of Trevor Bowen, the vice-president of John Barker & Co. In 1936 he employed the landscape architect Ralph Hancock to realise his vision. The gardens cost £25,000 and took two years to build. They were opened to the public in May 1938. Seven trees remain from the original planting in 1936.

There are three themed gardens with over 60 full size trees, water features and lawns, which is surprising when you realise that the depth of the soil is only 18 inches. The gardens have been acknowledged as having 'Specific historical interest' and given a Grade II listing by English Heritage.

As well as the Tudor and Woodland gardens there is the Spanish garden based on the Alhambra, Grenada, Spain. The colours and layout are all from the original plans of 1938.

The space on the 6th floor was run as Regine's a restaurant and nightclub until 1981 when Sir Richard Branson became the owner and transformed the interior into an amazing events space, private members club and restaurant.

From street level you can just about see the rooftop gardens.