Brooklands – home of British motorsport and aviation

Brooklands – home of British motorsport and aviation

Fifteen miles to the south of London is the home of British motorsport and aviation; 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 factory in Europe. In [...]

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 [...]

Nonsuch Park – site of the ‘unequalled’ palace

Nonsuch Park is named after the 'unequalled' palace built for King Henry VIII in 1538.  Nonsuch Palace was the first great Renaissance building in England taking nine years to build and costing £24,000, a phenominal sum at that time. The palace passed to King Edward VI and then Queen Mary I, who sold it to [...]

Regent’s Canal to London Docklands

Regent’s Canal to London Docklands

Regent’s Canal was London’s main thoroughfare for heavy freight from the 1820’s – used by horse-drawn barges taking goods from sea-faring vessels on the River Thames into mainland England.   It stretches 13.5 km from Little Venice in the west of London to Limehouse Basin in the east, today’s Docklands.   The canal drops around 30 metres [...]

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 [...]

Normandy’s D-Day beaches, Bayeux and Caen

Normandy’s D-Day beaches, Bayeux and Caen

Before the lockdown, my brother and I took a trip to Normandy (ahead of the 75th anniversary commerations of VE day on 8th May 2020).  We visited 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 [...]

London as you’ve never seen it

London as you’ve never seen it

Ever wondered what London would look like without people?   Take a look at these shoots taken last Saturday and Sunday on my permitted daily exercise.  Astonishing to see it and hear it, but hoping for a return to normality.   Thank you front line workers.  

A Mayfair pub walk

A Mayfair pub walk

Like me, you're probably hoping we get on the other side of this global pandemic soon!  Once we do, 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 wealthly residents moved here from Soho - [...]

Hatfield House and the Old Palace

Hatfield House and the Old Palace

The history of Hatfield House starts in 1485, when the Bishop of Ely (Cambridgeshire) constructed Hatfield Palace, today called the Old Palace. At the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-41), Hatfield Palace was acquired by King Henry VIII, passed down in sequence to his children; Edward, Mary and Elisabeth and then inherited by King James I [...]

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 [...]