London’s first professional football club

Arsenal was the first football team to turn professional in London.  That was back in 1893, playing as Woolwich Arsenal.  The team holds 43 honours, more than any other London side.  But why is the club called Arsenal - and where is Woolwich? I went on a bit of a pilgrimage recently. Although I’ve lived [...]

The ghosts of Tower Hill

Tower Hill is an open area of raised land just north of the Tower of London.   During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries it was the execution site for those incarcerated in the Tower in London.  It's believed around 125 people were executed, mostly by beheading.   At this time, only a few people (with Royal or [...]

Hidden alleyways in the City of London

In the very heart of the City of London (the historic ‘square mile’) is a labyrinth of hidden alleyways connecting coffee houses, wine lodges, restaurants and churches.    If you’re visiting London, it’s a must-see! This short guide will direct you through the area.    You might lose your bearings but it’s relatively compact - [...]

Where the Rolling Stones first rehearsed

This record shop in Soho has a special legendary status, not because of the range of vinyl (impressive though it is), but because this is where the Rolling Stones first rehearsed between March and April 1962. The shop on the corner of Broadwick Street (off Wardour Street) and Duck Lane used to be a pub [...]

Political landmarks in Westminster

The Parliament of the United Kingdom is renowned world-wide as being the 'mother of all parliaments'  This post is a self-guided walk through the heart of political Westminster. The walk starts in Smith Square, Westminster, home to party HQ's, lobbyists and political associations and ends in Trafalgar Square.  It will take you around three hours, [...]

Bermondsey to Rotherhithe

Bermondsey is a thriving business and social area on the south side of the River Thames.  It found prominence as the location of Bermondsey Abbey in the middle ages.   The abbey was dissolved during Tudor times and the area developed into the centre of London's leather processing industry.   Many of the street names bear witness to [...]

Handel and Hendrix in London

In Brook Street, Mayfair there is an extraordinary couple of houses - turned into a museum.   Numbers 23 and 25 were homes to two musicians 200 years apart; Jimi Hendrix in London and the house of George Frideric Handel! Handel House G F Handel was born in Germany in 1685.   He moved to London age [...]

The Saatchi Gallery in London’s King’s Road

The Saatchi gallery is one of London’s premier contemporary art galleries.   It is based in an impressive Grade 2* listed building opened in 1801 as a school for children of soldiers’ widows.   From 1892 it served as the Duke of York’s Military School and in 1911 was re-named the Duke of York’s Barracks and became [...]

The Wallace Collection – an opulent townhouse and museum of art

Hertford House The Wallace Collection is a national museum of fine art.  It is based in Hertford House, an original London townhouse from the 18th century and one of the best art museums in London, off the beaten track.  The museum is situated in Manchester Square, just north of Oxford Street and has a stunning [...]

London’s Bronze Age bridge

Vauxhall is an area in central London on the south side of the River Thames.   It is also the site of some of the oldest in-situ structures in London.    Just to the west of Vauxhall Bridge, on the south side of the river, you can see the remains of a Bronze Age bridge or [...]