Is it time to return the Benin Bronzes?

Is it time to return the Benin Bronzes?

In 1897 the King of Benin City (in present day Nigeria), Oba Ovonramwen, was becoming increasingly dissatisfied with an agreement he had signed with the British; permitting them to undertake direct trade with locals, limiting his weapons stockpile and banning human sacrifice and slavery – all in exchange for cash subsidies.  Having had enough of [...]

Sights around Covent Garden

Sights around Covent Garden

Covent Garden is home to the world-renowned Royal Opera House, the Royal Ballet and the London Transport museum – as well as some of the best shopping, food & drink and street entertainment in London. This post is about the foundation of Covent Garden. Covent Garden was originally a medieval orchard and garden, belonging to [...]

Hatton Garden – London’s diamond district

Hatton Garden – London’s diamond district

Every shop on the main thoroughfare of Hatton Garden is involved in the jewellery business. That’s around 200 outlets selling gold, silver and diamond adornments. Private security guards linger on street corners, awake to the threat of heists or hold-ups. But passing among them are couples who come here to shop, liking the choice and [...]

London’s 5 most historic five-star hotels

London’s 5 most historic five-star hotels

Here are London’s 5 most historic five-star hotels, in date-of-opening order. If your budget doesn’t stretch to an overnight stay, settle for a coffee in the public lounge! London’s first hotel built in 1837 with numerous historical associations - not least being the location for the first successful telephone call in London by Alexander Graham [...]

Hidden alleyways in the City of London

Hidden alleyways in the City of London

In the heart of the City of London (the historic ‘square mile’) is a labyrinth of hidden alleyways connecting coffee houses, wine lodges, restaurants and churches.    If you’re visiting London, it’s a must-see. This short guide will direct you through the area.    You might lose your bearings, but it’s compact and completely safe. [...]

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’ [...]

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.   The canal 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 [...]

Private chapel of Her Majesty the Queen

Private chapel of Her Majesty the Queen

Established in 1510, Savoy Chapel is the private chapel of Her Majesty the Queen, as the Duke of Lancaster. Its name derives from Savoy Palace, previously on this site and the residence of Peter of Savoy - the uncle of Eleanor of Provence, wife to King Henry III. Originally dedicated to St John the Baptist, [...]

The world’s first long distance railway

The world’s first long distance railway

Euston Station in London is the terminus of the world’s first long distance inter-city railway. Completed in 1837, the station was the most southern point of the London and Birmingham Railway line. The line was the brainchild of railway pioneers George and Robert Stephenson and the station was designed by the renowned Philip Hardwick. The [...]

Cast Court, V&A Museum

Cast Court, V&A Museum

Fascinating to visit the refurbished Cast Court at the Victoria & Albert Museum in Kensington. Reopened in 2019 after six years of renovation, but then interrupted by Covid, the Cast Court has displayed plaster copies of renowned sculpture since the 1880s. Owing to being indoors, Trajan’s Column is better preserved than the original in Rome [...]