Wellington and the special relationship

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

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’

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 [...]

Where 007 was created

Where 007 was created

This is one of a collection of buildings in Whitehall that was the centre of British naval power from the mid-1700's to the 1960's.   It is officially called the Admiralty Extension, and is on Horse Guards.  Completed in 1904, it was the workplace of Ian Flemming; creator of James Bond (and Chitty Chitty Bang [...]

Somerset House

Somerset House

The courtyard of Somerset House was originally a lawn leading to a Renaissance palace and a catholic chapel by the river.  The original Somerset House was built by the Duke of Somerset (protector to Edward 6th) on this land and subsequently used by the Danish Queen of James I.  It was replaced by today's glorious [...]

Codebreaking at Bletchley Park

Codebreaking at Bletchley Park

Back from a fascinating (and technically mind boggling) visit to Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes.  It's about an hour from London.    Featured in the film 'The Imitation Game', this was where the enemy codes and ciphers (Enigma and then Lorenz) were broken during World War Two.   See the early computing machines that did [...]