American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

American art and literature in Tite Street, Chelsea

The district of Chelsea in the south west of London is part of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (royal owing to Kensington Palace). One particular street in Chelsea was almost an American enclave for artists and writers in the late Victorian period .   These included John Singer Sargent (between 1885 and 1925), James [...]

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

London’s most fascinating district – Whitechapel

Following the previous post on Spitalfields, we explore the neighbouring area of Whitechapel – starting with one of its most notorious characters. The Whitechapel Murders These murders, assumed to be the horrific deeds of ‘Jack the Ripper’ shocked London and the world.   The murders happened over three months in the autumn of 1888.   And today, [...]

The site of London’s Roman Forum!

The site of London’s Roman Forum!

Discover the site of London's Roman Forum - and the secrets of the Victorian Leadenhall Market today.   Designed and created by Sir Horace Jones in 1881, Leadenhall Market is one of the three markets he built for the City of London.  It was built on the site of the Roman Basilica and Forum (some ruins [...]

The world’s best museum of public transportation!

The world’s best museum of public transportation!

In Covent Garden, is the world's best museum of public transportation.   This is the London Transport Museum.  We can be sure of this, because London holds a series of world firsts; the first underwater tunnel for mass-transit purposes in 1840, the earliest underground railway in 1863, the earliest electrified underground line in 1890 and the [...]

Kensington Palace – a history of Prince Harry and Meghan’s home

Kensington Palace – a history of Prince Harry and Meghan’s home

We're not going to let the major Royal event of 2018 go without a mention.  Referring of course to the marriage of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on the 19 May at St Georges Chapel, Windsor Castle.  Once married, the couple will live together in the second largest apartment of Kensington Palace - moving out [...]

12 portraits at the National Portrait Gallery for Americans

12 portraits at the National Portrait Gallery for Americans

Here is self-guided tour of 12 key portraits at the National Portrait Gallery for Americans in London.   The National Portrait Gallery (NP)G is a haven of peace compared to its next door neighbour; the National Gallery.  It also has a rather nice rooftop cocktail bar with views over London.   Both galleries are on Trafalgar [...]

‘Deeds not words’ – the centenary of Votes for Women in the UK

‘Deeds not words’ – the centenary of Votes for Women in the UK

Yesterday, the UK celebrated the 100th anniversary of the signing of the 'Representation of the People Act 1918'.  This was the Act that gave many women the vote for the first time.  The anniversary was reported widely in the media and to mark the occasion an exhibition of life-sized images of the central figures of [...]

The Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge

The Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge

The Old Operating Theatre This is it is the oldest surviving surgical theatre in Europe!  We left feeling grateful we live in the 21st century. The Old Operating Theatre was active between 1820 and 1862 - predating anaesthetics and antiseptics.  This is pioneer land in surgical terms. The place consists of a small museum and [...]

World’s first tunnel under a river

World’s first tunnel under a river

It may not look much on the outside, but this is authentic, world first London.  The building in the photograph houses the entrance to the first tunnel known to have been constructed successfully underneath a navigable river.  It connects Rotherhithe with Wapping in London, is still in use and you can visit it.  Descend the [...]

Wellington and the special relationship

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 [...]