London’s first and most successful 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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 started out

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 [...]

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 [...]