Battle of Britain Bunker

Battle of Britain Bunker

By the summer of 1940, Hitler’s ‘Operation Sea Lion’ was in full swing. Hitler needed air superiority over the English Channel. This meant destroying RAF airfields in the south of England and the sources of aircraft production throughout the country. The enemy attacks started on 10 July 1940 and continued every day throughout summer – [...]

Trade and the British Empire

Trade and the British Empire

The foundations of empire At the dawn of World War I, Britain ruled over a quarter of the world’s land mass, comprising over four hundred million subjects belonging to an empire with, broadly, four types of British rule. Firstly, the five settler colonies or ‘Dominions’ of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Newfoundland. These [...]

Twilight on the Thames

Twilight on the Thames

Tower Bridge, the City of London and the Tower of London greet nightfall after twilight in early March. All awaiting a return to normality.

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 [...]

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 [...]

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 [...]

Albert Bridge – ‘one of the beauties of the London river’

Albert Bridge in south west London, is one of the most attractive bridges crossing the River Thames.  It may not be as iconic as Tower Bridge downstream, but it’s actually older. Named in memory of Prince Albert, it provides access to Battersea Park which, disconcertingly for south Londoners today, was originally built for the wealthy [...]

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

The must-see exhibits at the British Museum (part 2)

Welcome to part two of the ‘Must-see exhibits at the British Museum'!    Part one, published recently, explored the ground floor galleries.    Part two starts in Room 61 and will work clockwise around the entire first floor. Room 61 Here we find artefacts from the tomb of a senior (and very successful!) ‘financial book-keeper’ [...]

Syon House – London’s last great ducal residence

Syon House – London’s last great ducal residence

Syon House, near Brentford, is home of the Percys, Dukes of Northumberland.   It sits in a 200 acre estate on the River Thames in Middlesex. The house we see today was built by Edward Seymour, Duke of Somerset in 1547, refurbished and enhanced by the Scottish architect Robert Adam in the 1760's and refaced in [...]