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Thursday, November 30, 2006

They are bringing the curtain down....

...On the Theatre Museum which is closing forever on 7th January, and a small bit of eccentric, less than perfectly glossy, London will be lost forever. It's never been crowded when I've been in but they do have some fascinating stuff. It will probably be replaced with some slick tourist experience or a restaurant.

If you can, pop in and see it before its too late. And yes, it is free.

Seems City Slicker featured this a while back.

posted by Ham at 00:00 -- Comments here: 11

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Smoker's Corner

It's a common sight on London streets - the pariahs gathering to smoke the demon weed. Personally, I like Dilbert’s invention – the eargarette for non-smokers. It’s a little tube you stick in your ear so you can have a ten minute break when you feel like it. Hah! I’ve found it here.

posted by Ham at 00:51 -- Comments here: 20

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Are you tired? I'm not

When a man is tired of London,
he is tired of life;
for there is in London
all that life can afford.

Echoing Samuel Johnson, I arrive at the first anniversary of my blog. I think a picture of Mr Johnson, hanging in his house in Gough Square (now an excellent museum) is a fitting tribute. Check out some of his quotes, if you are not familiar with them, like "Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel". My original intention for today was to interview Robert Elms of BBC Radio London, as his daily program achieves the eclectic mix I aim for. Unfortunately he doesn’t answer his emails.

On a birthday, there are always presents, and today is no different. Here is my present to you all - the London Daily Photo screensaver. You can download the full version (86 photo10Mb), the medium version (45 photos, 5Mb) or the compact version (30 photos 3.5Mb) Enjoy! (NB - These are for Windows only. Save the fine to C:\Windows, then you will find it in your screensaver list)

posted by Ham at 00:12 -- Comments here: 38

Monday, November 27, 2006


I was walking down Kennington Road when I happened across the Orwellian sounding "Central Office of Information". They had a few posters up in honour of their sixtieth birthday, including this. It's funny - you don't have stories about pelicans for years then three come at once.

posted by Ham at 01:18 -- Comments here: 11

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Portobello Road Antiques Market

The Portobello Road antiques market, affectionately known by dealers as "the belly" might come as a shock to first time visitors because of its sheer size. Held on a Saturday there are so many antiques and people the mind can truly be boggled. I've chosen a picture of a small collection of walking sticks with watches, whistles, flasks and swords in them.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 14

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Just another shop....

The tattoo yesterday (and the comment thread on Mr Geezer) lead me inextricably here. Right next door to Radio Days (from a couple of weeks back) is this specialist shop. (*Warning the next link has adult content*). Honour cater for people who like lots of leather and spiky heels (amongst other things). I have to say (not being one for whom it holds too much interest) that some research I do for this blog is eye opening, but this is as much London as Westminster Cathedral. I had some difficulty choosing an appropriate pic but it was the cat that swung it (Mrs Slocomb, where are you?) - the shoe pic is here.

posted by Ham at 02:31 -- Comments here: 8

Friday, November 24, 2006

When bloggers meet.....

..... the cameras come out. Tonight I was at the the Cittie of York pub, at a blogers event hosted by The Londonist and great fun it was too. The pub is worth its own picture another time as it can lay claim to being the oldest pub in England. It is certainly the oldest cofee house in London.

posted by Ham at 00:42 -- Comments here: 10

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Man against Machine

This sight is so common in London, we overlook that people may not realise that this is someone doing The Knowledge - learning to become a London Black Cab driver. This FAQ will tell you a bit about what it takes. Turns out they are better than GPS.

Shot was taken in Lancaster Gate, this week's The Way we See It location.

posted by Ham at 01:04 -- Comments here: 16

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Room service - swim over here please

This is in the heart of London.

The Sunborn Yacht Hotel in Royal Victoria Dock is unique to London. A purpose built floating hotel, it comes as a surprise to discover its function for the first time. It's right by where the bungee jumping was going on.

Coincidentally, Paris was full of big boats recently.

posted by Ham at 00:37 -- Comments here: 19

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

London Strangers

Last week, Eric in Paris posted a picture that aroused a lot of controversy. It set me thinking how anonymous London is - how little we know of the stories of any of the people we pass in the street.

I decided I would try to capture an ambiguous and enigmatic photo, and here it is. Is this guy angry? maybe sad? has he lost a girlfriend? does he wish he had one? maybe a boyfriend? Does he just fancy pigeon pie? We will never know. But, if you'd like to be creative and make up his story, the best one will win a highly sought after London Daily Photo Winner's postcard..... go on, give it your best shot.

posted by Ham at 01:20 -- Comments here: 25

Monday, November 20, 2006


If you fly in to London City Airport, chances are you will be confronted by these buildings and wonder what they are. They are the halls of residence for the University of East London in Docklands, and I thought they made a good photo opportunity.

posted by Ham at 00:17 -- Comments here: 22

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Boing Boing

Not for me. I mean ...why????

I found this mobile bungee jump just outside the Excel centre in Dockands. Would you jump just for the hell of it?

posted by Ham at 09:24 -- Comments here: 14

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Big Bus

Today's post is a "request". asked for a photo of the Big Bus Company, where his son works. I've chosen to illustrate their participation in the Lord Mayor's Parade last week.

I understand that their London Tours are quite OK, although I wouldn't know.

posted by Ham at 00:19 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Hands On Experience

Following on from yesterday's mammoth, today we visit the Natural History Museum.

Hands up how many of you (that could) have visited the Nat.Hist.Mus. lately...ah yes, I thought so. You still think its fully of stuffy cases and even more stuffed animals? No way. They have turned it into one of the most interesting and hands-on museums going, as you can see.

Do give it a go, if you don't like it, I'll give you your money back.

Yes, it is free,

posted by Ham at 01:38 -- Comments here: 6

Thursday, November 16, 2006

London's Elephants - No. 11 1/2 in a series

I love London. If this was a book launch in Paris, there would have been a clever, artistic interpretation of mammoths in pre-history. New York? Hey, let's sell everyone a Mammoth Burger. Here? Come on folks, let's put a woolly mammoth in Trafalgar Square.

Don't you just love Garef (Gareth) the mamef (mammoth)?

Follow this link to find out what it was all about, or just enjoy the sight of a woolly mammoth in London.

Gareth has sadly been downgraded to 0.5 of an pachyderm because you don't have the opportunity to see him (except here,of course).

It was Dan the Elephant man that alerted me to this event. Do explore his site if you'd like to daydream about what it might be like to earn youn way through life working with these magnificent animals.

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.
Click for No 5 in the series.
Click for No 6 in the series.
Click for No 7 in the series.
Click for No 7 1/2 in the series.
Click for No 8 in the series.
Click for No 9 in the series.
Click for No 10 in the series.
Click for No 11 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:48 -- Comments here: 11

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

London Swings!

In London, you can't get far away from the old Queen Victoria and her hubby, Albert. Here are some previous posts that echo the two of them: the Albert Memorial and Victoria Embankment. However, possibly their finest legacy is the Victoria and Albert Museum.

Although they have many other collections, their fashion collection is possibly the best known. This display takes us back to London in the "Swinging Sixties".

Don't forget that London's fantastic museums are free - the V&A have a Leonardo exhibition at the moment which is chargeable.

posted by Ham at 00:33 -- Comments here: 3

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Autumn Harvest

This week's The Way We See It took me back to Exmouth Market. This is one of those London streets that retains a village atmosphere: excellent food and shopping not overrun by multinational chains.

They have a street market here on Fridays and Staurdays, selling the very best produce. These ceps were on sale at a stall and made my mouth water,

To make a mushroom omelette, slice and saute the mushroom with some butter and a clove of garlic, crushed. Whisk up three eggs with an eggs of milk and make your omelette adding salt and pepper to taste. Serve with chunks of crusty bread and butter.

posted by Ham at 01:08 -- Comments here: 7

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Lord Mayor's Show

On Saturday, Mrs Ham and I went to watch the Lord Mayor's Show, which has been a part of London's life for hundreds of years. This show is in stark contrast to the slick and glitzy Americanised New Year's Day Parade and seems to embody that spirit of enthusiastic amateurism that seems so British.

Read about the history of the Lord Mayor and the show on those links. I have posted some short video clips here (a new blog testing "blogger Beta" - I will post some of the 300+ photos I took as time goes by).

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 9

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Lest we forget....

...that at the sharp end of every war are dead sons and daughters, friends and relatives.

This picture is taken in the Field of Rememberance in Westminster Abbey. The grass area in front of the abbey is taken over by the people who want to remember their fallen realatives and comrades.

A lot are soldiers, some you may not have heard of like the Glider Squadron that was used to transport trops and equipment into enemy territory. But others are more mundane - engineers, doctors, vets.

Remember these who died so that we may live.

posted by Ham at 02:01 -- Comments here: 11

Saturday, November 11, 2006


This weekend in London is all about remembering. The anniversary of WWI armistice is today on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, and Rememberance Sunday is tomorrow.

My photo today comes from the Tower Hill Memorial. Here, just opposite the Tower of London, you can find the names of those of the Merchant Navy and the fishing fleets that died and whose bodies are lost to the deep. These people hardly had a gun between them. 12,000 in WWI, 24,000 in WWII.

Today, spare a thought for the innocent casualties of war and if you are near the Tower of London, take time out to visit.

posted by Ham at 00:56 -- Comments here: 9

Friday, November 10, 2006

Roscoff Johnny

London never ceases to surprise. On Saturday I found a farmers market hidden away in a car park behind Notting Hill Gate, with this Roscoff Johnny selling his onions. They even have an onion museum in Roscoff.

No, a Roscoff Johnny is not a strange French Prophylactic. It is an onion seller, with a tradition going back to 1828.

The Roscoff Johnnies did a lot to create the stereotype of a garlic-eating cycle-riding onion-carrying Frenchman to the English, Instantly recognisable even today. Visit some French Daily Photo blogs to find out what they are really like.

posted by Ham at 00:39 -- Comments here: 8

Thursday, November 09, 2006

London's Elephants - No. 11 in a series

The series had to have an image of Ganesha, the elephant god. This rather unusual dancing Ganesh is in the British Museum and dates from 750 AD. It was pillaged brought back from Uttar Pradesh and can now be seen amongst the entirely wonderful Indian collection.

You may find it interesting to know that Ganesh, one of the favourite Hindu gods is the lord of beginnings and the placer and remover of obstacles. In the myth, he lost his human head when Shiva cut it off in a temper. He swore to replace it with the head of hte first creature he met, which was an elephant,

Click for No 1 in the series.
Click for No 2 in the series.
Click for No 3 in the series.
Click for No 4 in the series.
Click for No 5 in the series.
Click for No 6 in the series.
Click for No 7 in the series.
Click for No 7 1/2 in the series.
Click for No 8 in the series.
Click for No 9 in the series.
Click for No 10 in the series.

posted by Ham at 00:17 -- Comments here: 7

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

A Tale of Two Cities

It never ceases to amaze me how rich and poor sit cheek by jowl in all cities, nowhere more so than in London.

This is in Arnold Circus, this week's The Way We See It location. On one side you have poverty and deprivation but Calvert Street (coming out of it) is trendy with designers and mega-good Leila's Cafe with the smallest ever micro brewery! (worth a detour if you are near the City for lunch) Walk to the end of hte street and you are in the City.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 5

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Tally Ho!

The Hunting season began on Saturday. You probably knew that Hyde Park used to be a royal hunting ground, and that Soho was so called after a hunting cry (although that is probably not the case). However, you might not have realised that you can find Hyde Park Stables in London not half a mile from Marble Arch, if you fancy hacking out one day. I'm not certain I'd like to mix it with the traffic on a horse - I think I'll stick with my bike.

posted by Ham at 00:07 -- Comments here: 9

Monday, November 06, 2006


I've been talking about some of London's hidden rivers recently and how ten rivers used to flow into the Thames in and around the centre of London. Way back when, if you were travelling you were at greatest danger at the points where travellers were concentrated by the landscape. You would often find robbers at bridges, the Knight's Bridge (which crossed the river Westbourne) was one such. Nothing changes, does it?
For those who don't know, Harrods is in what is now called Knightsbridge.

posted by Ham at 00:46 -- Comments here: 11

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Remember remember the 5th of November

..with gunpowder treason and plot. In the UK we remember Guy Fawkes' failed attempt to blow up parliament 401 years ago. Why? I think because it gives us an excuse to let off fireworks. We don't care very much about the political thing and I bet 9 out of ten don't even know it was a catholic trying to blow up the protestant monarch. Good.

posted by Ham at 00:07 -- Comments here: 14

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Welcome to the 21st Century

If you find yourself around Whitechapel, step behind the hospital to find the new science building for Queen Mary College. Inside its striking but somewhat plain exterior is a twentyfirst century space. Open plan laboratories - you can watch the scientists doing science. Multi use seating pods floating in mid air. The interactive map is here. A more general discussion of the building is here I'll try to get some interior pics for you soon.

posted by Ham at 01:39 -- Comments here: 5

Friday, November 03, 2006

Gimme Five!

As you may imagine, I'm not a great fan of tourist tat shops. But, when you get to the end of Marylebone Lane at Oxford Street, you may well come across this bear, who belongs to a tourist shop, so they earned a mention.

I'm really curious - did you see my Marylebone Lane article on My Other Stuff yesterday? Should I have posted it here? Was it too long? Would you like to see more non-Internet researched posts? Let me know please.

Later: the post has now been moved into this blog, on 1st November

posted by Ham at 00:10 -- Comments here: 14

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Marylebone Lane - Part II

This picture WAS taken down Marylebone Lane. And, because I want to ramble on about the Tyburn (and the picture is relatively boring) that post, and the answer to my quiz is here to view and read as you wish. For the rest of you, here is a kitten puppy. (remember the Interludes and Test Cards?

posted by Ham at 00:14 -- Comments here: 12

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Tyburn

Note: This was first published on "My Other Stuff" on November 2nd. I've moved it here for the benefit of anyone who might be interested.

The history of London's rivers is the history of london. They brought water and goods and took away trade and waste. Little evidence remains above ground of the ten major rivers that ran into the Thames in what is now Central London. As most people know, where they still flow they run underground. The Tyburn is one of the more interesting.
It had two sources - Hampstead and Belsize Manor ("Bel-assis", or well situated) and Marylebone Lane marks a section of its left bank - look how it winds.

This print was made in 1750, and shows Marylebone and the Tyburn in the foreground.

But they started messing with it long before. In 1236 a conduit was built to carry water from here to the City. London needed water (sound familiar?). Two hundred years later, the springs at Paddington (yes, that's right...Spring Street) were included. This started in Stratford Place, down Conduit Street and ran east up to Cheapside.

But there was never enough water. Private companies abounded, my favourite is the one that built a reservoir on the site where Victoria Station now stands. When it froze in 1739, the company collapsed.

All that is why, in 1776, the City of London owned a conduit miles away, in which the waters of the Tyburn were delivered to the rich burghers in the City, and this stone is still visible on a wall near the Wigmore Street.junction.

At the end of the route for some was the Tyburn Tree at Marble Arch. Condemed prisoners used to be taken in a wagon down the route, and the custom sprang up of people offering them drinks. After the drink, they had to get back "on the wagon" ... after which they would drink no more. Which is where the expression "On the wagon" comes from.

Here is a picture taken in 1957, during excavations. You can see the Tyburn is a trickle at the bottom of the sewer.

A bit longer, more pictures and more involved that the normal London Daily Photo - I hope you enjoyed it.

posted by Ham at 23:45 -- Comments here: 3

Something about to disappear

Today is a Daily Photo Theme Day - over fifty sites around the world are posting on the subject "Something that will soon be gone". For me, there could only ever be one subject.

What you are looking at is the empty space in Stratford that is soon to become the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 Olympics. It is also my back yard - the thought of being able to cycle to the games in ten minutes is really exciting, I can hardly wait. In between now and then there will be many changes. Some will lose, but overall I think that we will all be winners. I'm hoping to get up to a higher viewpoint - if I do, I'll bring you all back the photos.

55 Daily Photo sites are participating in the 1st November theme, please use the links to below to visit them.

Due to time zone differences and other factors, the theme photo may not be displayed until later if you are viewing early in the day.

1 (Porto ) -2 (Seattle WA USA (Kim) ) -3 (London, UK ) -4 (Greenville, SC ) -5 (Albuquerque, NM (USA) ) -6 (St Paul Kate ) -7 (ShangHai, China ) -8 (Phoenix, Az ) -9 (Twin Cities, MN ) -10 (Sequim, WA ) -11 (Stayton, OR, USA ) -12 (Bandung (Indonesia) ) -13 (Dallas, USA ) -14 (Stavanger (Norway) ) -15 (Singapore (zannnie) ) -16 (Budapest (Hungary) ) -17 (Paris (France) ) -18 (Tuzla (BiH) ) -19 (Melbourne, (Aust.) ) -20 (Auckland, New Zealand ) -21 (Singapore (Raymond) ) -22 (Dubai UAE (DXBluey) ) -23 (Vantaa, Finland ) -24 (Oshawa, Ontario, Canada ) -25 (St. Paul MN Carol ) -26 (Singapore (Keropok) ) -27 (Delta Colorado, USA ) -28 (Rotterdam (Netherlands ) -29 (Queens, NY (USA) ) -30 (Tenerife (Spain) ) -31 (Santiago (Chile) ) -32 (Nelson, New Zealand ) -33 (( Japan ) ) -34 (Hyde (UK) ) -35 (Sydney (Sally) ) -36 (Manila, Philippines ) -37 (Aliso Viejo, CA (USA) ) -38 (Nottingham UK ) -39 (Brussels, Belgium ) -40 (Sharon, CT (USA) ) -41 (Sydney Australia (Nathalie) ) -42 (Edinburgh, Scotland ) -43 (Evry, France ) -44 (San Diego, CA (USA) ) -45 (Santa Clara, CA (USA) ) -46 (Saarbrücken, Germany ) -47 (Joplin, MO (USA) ) -48 (Indianapolis,IN (USA) ) -49 (rujillo (Peru) ) -50 (arcelona (Spain) ) -51 (erlin (Germany)) -52 (ancouver, BC (Canada)) -53 (Trier (Germany)) -54 (Houston, TX (USA)) -55 (Joensuu, Finland)

posted by Ham at 00:39 -- Comments here: 32

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Name: Ham Location: London, United Kingdom View my complete profile


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