Trade and the British Empire

Trade and the British Empire

The foundations of empire At the dawn of World War I, Britain ruled over a quarter of the world’s land mass, comprising over four hundred million subjects belonging to an empire with, broadly, four types of British rule. Firstly, the five settler colonies or ‘Dominions’ of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland. These [...]

A Mayfair pub walk

A Mayfair pub walk

Here is a pub-walk through one of London's most historical and well-heeled residential areas. Mayfair, named after its raucous annual fair, was purpose-built during the mid to late-1700's.   Many wealthy residents moved here from Soho - where they had lived after the devastating Great Fire of London of 1666. Sir Richard Grosvenor engaged Thomas Barlow [...]

Lincoln’s Inn Fields – training ground for the English Civil War

Lincoln’s Inn Fields – training ground for the English Civil War

Lincoln’s Inn Fields is named after the former recreation ground for lawyers learning and practising their profession at the adjacent Lincoln’s Inn - one of London's four Inns of Court still operating today. Originally, two separate fields, it was home to public executions before becoming a training ground for parliamentarian troops during the English Civil [...]

Political landmarks in Westminster

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, [...]

Essential Clapham – a pocket guide

Essential Clapham – a pocket guide

Essential London has published 'Essential Clapham' - a pocket guide to this popular area in south-west London.   It's a guide to the history of Clapham and the best cultural, historical and social (e.g. leisure venues, pubs and cafes) sights that you can see and visit today. Showcasing modern-day London-living through 100 pages and 90 original [...]

The Spirit of Soho – how it evolved, what to see and where to go

The Spirit of Soho – how it evolved, what to see and where to go

Soho is a well-known district of the City of Westminster in London.   This article describes how Soho evolved into the epicentre of London’s entertainment scene. Soho is thought to take its name from the hunting cries used when it was a royal hunting park belonging to King Henry VIII, who hunted here with members of [...]

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

A self-guided walk in Spitalfields, London

Spitalfields is an historic area to the east of the City of London.   Since the 1660's, it has been the traditional first stop for immigrants arriving in London - and has suffered its share of poverty and destitution.   Today, however, the area is a melting pot of the creative industries, street art and bohemian residents.  [...]

Little Venice and the Grand Union Canal

Little Venice is the name given (by Browning or Byron, no one knows) to the intersection of two canals in west London.  These are the Grand Union Canal and Regent's Canal.  The former was completed in 1814 and the later 1820 - both key to London's industrial infrastructure, before (and after) railways arrived in London [...]

St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral

More than three hundred years after its completion, St Paul's Catherdral dominates the skyline on Ludgate Hill in the City of London.  Seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the British Commonwealth, it is the second largest domed church in the world (after St Peter's in Rome). The work of Sir [...]

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

Welcome to part two of the ‘Must-see exhibits at the British Museum'!    Part one, published recently, explored the ground floor galleries.    Part two starts in Room 61 and will work clockwise around the entire first floor. Room 61 Here we find artefacts from the tomb of a senior (and very successful!) ‘financial book-keeper’ [...]