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 [...]

Normandy’s D-Day beaches, Bayeux and Caen

In this 75th anniversary year of D-Day my brother and I made a short trip to Normandy to visit the D-Day landing beaches, museums and memorials.  We also visited the Bayeux Tapestry (depicting the Norman invasion of England in 1066) and the burial tomb of King William I in Caen.  It was a faced-paced visit [...]

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 history of the British Army at the National Army Museum

The National Army Museum in Chelsea exhibits artefacts about the history of the British Army, its impact on society and key conflicts from the British Civil War to the modern day. There are five galleries spread over four floors.  These are; Soldier, Army, Society, Battle and Insights.   The Soldier gallery asks us if we could join the [...]

Brooklands – home of British motorsport and aviation

Fifteen miles to the south of London is the home of British motorsport and aviation.    The place is Brooklands.    Motor racing took place here from 1907 to 1939 and aviation developed on the site at the same time - right up until 1989.    At one time, Brooklands was the most prolific aircraft [...]

The Royal Hospital Chelsea – historical buildings and the finest gardens

The Royal Hospital Chelsea is a retirement home to around 300 veterans of the British Army.    Located on a large site in Chelsea, it offers fabulous walks in the gardens, beautiful art and architecture and an intimate view into the retired lives of the service men and women who live there.    These former [...]

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 [...]

The best place to watch the Lord Mayor’s Show!

It’s time to plan your itinerary for the oldest and grandest civic procession in the world, taking place in London on Saturday 10 November 2018.   This is the Lord Mayor’s Show in the City of London.   Knowing the best place to watch the Lord Mayor’s Show will add to your enjoyment! The show can trace [...]

The architecture of British Naval Power in Whitehall

The British Empire relied on British Naval Power as a sign of strength; keeping the trade routes open and supporting the growth of the Empire.   This article describes five buildings, around the government district known as Whitehall, that were key to British Naval Power.  It describes why they were built and some the people and [...]

HMS Belfast – a Royal Navy cruiser in the ‘Pool of London’

Continuing the naval theme of the previous post on the Mary Rose, here is something far more recent!   A time capsule from World War II and a reminder of the debt we owe to servicemen - as well as a great adventure for kids.  Being in central London and with elevated views over the City [...]