Why the US Embassy in London moved to Battersea

The new US Embassy building in London opened in January 2018.   But why was a new building necessary - and was it really a bad deal for the US tax payer?   Public access to the surrounding grounds has been possible since early summer 2018.   We went for a first visit. The former US Embassy in [...]

The world’s best museum of public transportation!

In Covent Garden, is the world's best museum of public transportation.   This is the London Transport Museum.  We can be sure of this, because London holds a series of world firsts; the first underwater tunnel for mass-transit purposes in 1840, the earliest underground railway in 1863, the earliest electrified underground line in 1890 and the [...]

The unmissable central London pub crawl – through the spectacular City of Westminster!

This pub crawl is in the heart of central London; the spectacular City of Westminster!  On this central London pub crawl you'll stroll through 1000 years of British history.  The royal centre that gave birth to the ‘model parliament’ in 1295 - still officially called the ‘Palace of Westminster’ (Houses of Parliament).  And the Benedictine [...]

The City of London Guildhall – the grandmother of all parliaments!

That’s what Margaret Thatcher called the City of London Guildhall - in comparison to the United Kingdom's national parliament; itself often called the mother of all parliaments. Near Gresham Street in the City of London (the City), the Guildhall has been the centre of municipal government in the City since medieval times. In fact, it [...]

The Cenotaph in Whitehall – London’s most special monument

A centrepiece of remembrance The Cenotaph in Whitehall is truly special. It, more than any other monument, has been embraced by the people of the United Kingdom as their monument.  This article covers how the Cenotaph in Whitehall came about - and why it is so special. The 11 November 1918 was Armistice Day; when [...]

The Blitz of London – after the ‘Darkest Hour’

The ‘Darkest Hour’; directed by Joe Wright and starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill is an account of Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister, machinations in 'Whitehall' and the Dunkirk evacuation.  The film is set over one month in May 1940.  It concludes with success at Dunkirk and Britain resolved to stand strong over Nazi [...]

‘Deeds not words’ – the centenary of Votes for Women in the UK

Yesterday, the UK celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 'Representation of the People Act 1918'.  This was the Act that gave many women the vote for the first time.  The anniversary was reported widely in the media and to mark the occasion an exhibition of life-sized images of the central figures of [...]

Wellington and the special relationship

This is a painting of Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington by Sir Thomas Lawrence. It is an oil on canvas painted in 1829. In this portrait, Wellington’s commanding gaze evokes his resolve in defeating his critics, of which there were many at this time. His troops called him ‘old nosey’ and he called them [...]

The first American Patriot!

Mutton pies all round!  At the National Portrait Gallery you can see a series of ‘Kit-cat’ portraits of 48 leading Whig politicians and men of letters – all members of the ‘Kit-cat’ Club.  The Kit-cat club was a dining club for leading Whig politicians and cultured types.  They were essentially pro-big business and trade and [...]

Virginia – the ‘Old Dominion’

This is a portrait of the 'Chief of Men', Oliver Cromwell, by Robert Walker.  It is an oil on canvas and was painted in 1649 – the year King Charles I was tried and executed.  Cromwell was a country gentleman who took up arms against King Charles I in order to protect the rights of [...]