American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

The district of Chelsea in the south west of London is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (royal owing to Kensington Palace). One particular street in Chelsea was almost an American enclave for artists and writers in the late Victorian period .   These included John Singer Sargent (between 1885 and 1925), James [...]

London’s finest terraced house!

London’s finest terraced house!

Number 44 Berkeley Square is what Nikolaus Pevsner, the architectural critic,  described as London’s finest terraced house.  Since then, the building has housed a famous casino and nightclub. The house was the original location of John Aspinall’s ‘Clermont Club’ (est. 1962) and (at the same time) Mark Birley's ‘Annabels’ - the famous basement nightclub named [...]

The home of the first American Ambassador to Great Britain

The home of the first American Ambassador to Great Britain

In the north east corner of Grosvenor Square is a little-known and rather unique piece of American history.   Here is the home of the 1st American Minister to Great Britain!   You may not immediately know who that was?   He was later to become the 2nd President of the United States.   It is John Adams.   He [...]

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

Following the previous post on Spitalfields, we explore the neighbouring area of Whitechapel – starting with one of its most notorious characters. The Whitechapel Murders These murders, assumed to be the horrific deeds of ‘Jack the Ripper’ shocked London and the world.   The murders happened over three months in the autumn of 1888.   And today, [...]

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

England’s Lake District in the life and legacy of Beatrix Potter

Beatrix Potter was born on the 28th July 1866 in South Kensington, London.  She died, 77 years, later in the village of Sawrey in the Lake District, Cumbria.   At the time of her death, she had made a fortune writing books for children.  She left fourteen farms and 4000 acres of land to the National [...]

Red House – The Arts and Crafts home of William Morris

Red House – The Arts and Crafts home of William Morris

William Morris was an influential designer and one of the leaders of the Arts and Crafts movement - that started in Britain before becoming a world-wide phenomenon.  This is the house where the movement started!   'Arts and Crafts' rejected plain mass produced household furniture and fittings in favour of ambitious, creative and bespoke designs [...]

The Virginia Quay Settlers Monument in London

The Virginia Quay Settlers Monument in London

The Virginia Quay Settlers Monument, on the north shore of the River Thames, marks the embarkation point of the first English settlers of North America.  This was where Captains Christopher Newport and John Smith set sail in December 1606 - some 14 years before the Mayflower set sail two miles further upstream.  There were three ships [...]

Charles Dickens’ London home – birthplace of his early novels

Charles Dickens’ London home – birthplace of his early novels

At the age of 25, Charles Dickens rented (as was normal practice of the day) a large home in Doughty Street, North London. He did this, just as his writing career (under the pseudonym of ‘Boz’) was taking off.  Dickens lived here happily with his wife, Catherine, and their three children. Charles and Catherine would [...]