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Wednesday, October 31, 2012


I don't do Halloween, but couldn't resist showing you this cake from Konditor & Cook - it's made from Butterscream.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A Grand Building

This grand building is located in Park Lane, its probably not that old but takes itself all too seriously.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Monday, October 29, 2012

A War Horse

Is there anyone in London who hasn't seen War Horse yet? If there is, fix that as soon as you can because it is quite exceptional, the magic of the stage taken to heights you would not believe. This one hangs in the foyer of the National Theatre. Yes they are puppets, yes, you will forget that inside five minutes when watching,

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The old foreshore

This view of the Thames foreshore by old Billingsgate market hints of a time when there used to be a lot more there. I wonder how long it will be before the Thames reclaims its own?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wouldn't it be nice....

This exceptional carving can be found inside the Worshipful Company of Turners guildhall, the Carpenters Hall. No surprise once you know, eh?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Friday, October 26, 2012

Autumn Colours

Autumn has come late to the trees this year (at least it seems to have done) but it's here now.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Just a Number

But the very deco style hides a story. Located in St John Street, most of th building are older. This one "was partially destroyed by a German aircraft on the 18th December 1917 Restoration completed 1919."

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Faulkners Alley

These small alleys are a hangover from London's past. Time was when it would have been a busy little cutthrough around the back of Farringdon, now all that remains is an improbable entry on a map.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Arty Facts

Knights Templar and Knights Hospitaller, the first would cut you about the second stitch you back together. As I pointed out, the museum has changed character since its refit. Now, you can take photos but the artifacts from the 12th century - those brought back from the Crusades - seem to have vanished, and most in the museum seem to date from the 16th Century. The best bits are those only available to see on the free tours, when you can see some astonishing pieces from the knights time in Malta. It is still worth a visit, but I recommend you join one of the tours, they really give you a sense of the history.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Good Samaritan

This award "Presented by the South Metropolitan Gas Company to promote a spirit of emulation in first aid ambulance work by an annual competition" (won by the Slot MEter department in 1914) is inside the Museum of the Order of St John. Five years ago you couldn't take photographs inside. Now, they've done it up, taken some of the oldest exhibits out of view, and opened up for joe public. I'm going to take the opportunity to show you some of what has been opened up.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Good Knight

If you want to see what a Knight looked like, the Crypt of the Priory Church of St John Clerkenwell is one place to go. Here, the 16th century figure of Don Juan Ruyz de Vergara can be seen. Frankly I find this angle most interesting: you can see that strange dog like creature - a lion carved by someone who had never seen one - and what seems to be a page boy lying down with him. Make of that what you will.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, October 20, 2012

St John's Gate

St John's Gate that you see here is largely what was rebuilt byt he Victorians, but some of the original building remains from 1500. Built as a priory for the Knights Hospitaller it has a fascinating and varied history, including being used by Wm Hogarth's dad as a tea house..... where everyone had to speak in Latin. Apparently, it didn't last long, I can't think why.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Friday, October 19, 2012

Wat's the matter?

The church in St John's Square Clerkenwell dates back to teh 11th century, although all that remains of the first church is a bit of the crypt, and this circle of stones marking the old nave, before it was burned down by Wat Tyler in the Peasants Revolution. That was the Poll Tax one.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Thursday, October 18, 2012

An Outrage

The walk moves around the corner, to this elegant building, once a house of detention and where, in 1867, the leader of the Irish Republicans, Richard Burke, was being held. Reading something like a Keystone Cops scene, his compatriots plot to free him by blowing a hole in the wall at the time the prisoners were normally exercised. The first time they try this, the bomb fails to explode. By the next day, the plot had become known to the intelligence service and the prisoners moved. The plotters, knowing nothing about this, try again. This time the bomb blows up catastrophically - blowing an 80 foot hole in the wall, but also knocking down houses and killing twelve including children, injuring many more. It became known as the Clerkenwell Outrage, and had a very negative effect for the Republican cause.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Model Building

Here we are, with our guide for the day, outside Challoner House which is on the location of a house that Cromwell lived in. Given the general hazy grasp of history, I wonder how many people realise that for eleven years England was a Republic? The end of it was when nobody in Parliament could agree, so they invited back Charles II to resume the monarchy. At this point, it was a very bad career move to have been involved in the execution of King Charles I - Cromwell, although he had died of natural causes, was dug up and subjected to a posthumous execution. They meant business.

posted by Ham at 00:00 -- Comments here: 1

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Revolutionary Photo

After joining in a guided walk on Sunday, with the theme "Heroes and Villains" I have a few interesting places to share with you. The first is here, in Clerkenwell Square, and is the house where Lenin printed Iskra - The Spark - a revolutionary magazine that was smuggled back into Russia before the revolution. You can read about Lenin in London here if you like.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Monday, October 15, 2012

I'm gonna make you some graffiti you can't refuse

Found in Clerkenwell Green, a piece of Otto Schade's work.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Sunday, October 14, 2012

St Dunstan and All Saint's, Stepney

Tucked away in the back streets of Stepney is this beautiful church, with a site history dating back a thousand years. Not one of those things the casual visitor to London will ever see - or native Londoners, come to that.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Organic Growth

If you looked at this organ in St Lawrence Jewry, you might think that it was an antique, a product of an age when such craftsmanship was commonplace; you'd be wrong. It was made in 2001 by this bunch, in Germany. Good to know that such things are still made.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Friday, October 12, 2012


Well, you would if you were playing with your instrument in the nuddy, wouldn't you? This frieze on what must have at one time been a performance space on Wigmore Street junction with Cavendish Square has always fascinated me with the quality of the detail on the faces - you can see these would have been real people. I wonder who?

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bomber Command

This year, after nearly sixty of semi-obscurity, the airmen who fell as part of Bomber Command in WWII were commemorated by a substantial memorial in Green Park, at Hyde Park corner. I'm never sure what to think about the strategy of bombing itself, but whatever the merits of that the men that flew are some of the greatest heroes. If you don't know the background it is worth reading about.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Going Equipped

Before leaving the Police museum, I thought you might enjoy a little grue. The range and variety of offensive weapons that the police have to deal with is an eye opener, from a rock inna sock onwards and upwards. Glad it's not me that has to deal with them.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

The Way It Used To Be Done

The City Police have a long history of sporting excellence in their early years, and in their museum an impressive number of medals, including Olympic Games. This certificate, alongside the medal, was what you received back in 1920, the 7th Olympiad. This Gold was for the Tug-of-War, which was dropped in subsequent games, meaning that the City of London Police are still the Olympic champions.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Monday, October 08, 2012

A Clever Street Thief

Mary Ann Travers, 26, a clever street thief, 5' 2 1/2", Brown hair, brown eyes and a fresh complexion. Imprisoned for 3 months, discharged in July 1870.

From the streets of London, 130 years ago. These police records and photographs of faces straight out of Dickensian London, with their brief description, was one of the most fascinating exhibits in the City Police Museum. I've put the photos I took of some of the others into a Rogues Gallery

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 3

Sunday, October 07, 2012


I promised interesting stuff from the City Police Museum, didn't I? Well, as you can see these two objects are a mustard tin and a milk can (you may not have know that last one). And, they have been converted into bombs.By suffragettes. 100 years ago, women didn't have the vote. It was around 1912, after Asquith failed to progress with a bill to give a limited number of women the vote, that militant and violent means began to be used. Of course not all men had the vote either, but that's another story.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Thin Blue Line

This week, I was lucky enough to visit the City of London Police Museum, something not normally open to the public without booking. The museum is crowded into a single, stuffed-full room in Wood Street Police Station. As you might imagine contains stuff intimately connected with London since their formation in 1839, from their uniforms - which they had to wear at all times, even off duty and included a strengthened top hat they could stand on to look over walls - onwards and upwards.

I think some of the stories are fascinating, so I will share them over the next days.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 1

Friday, October 05, 2012

You Are Missing

As some people noted yesterday, Kings Cross - and specifically platform 9 3/4 - is where the Hogwarts Express departs. The best photo opportunity is, of course, with you pushing the "trolley" through the wall. Makes for some fun, anyway, and rather nice to see the station management have a sense of whimsy. There is a nearby bookshop that is capitalising on the merchandising, but (possibly surprisingly) that's all.

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

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Inside Kings Cross Station

I had to travel to Leeds through Kings Cross for the first time since it reopened, impressive isn't it?

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

Wednesday, October 03, 2012


One of the stranger pieces that the London Borough of Waltham Forest chose to adorn the roadside. Diamond Geezer has been wandering around the park over the last couple of days but missed this out.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 2

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Exhibition Road

As an example of how to revitalise an area, you can't do better than look at Exhibition Road. It used to be an unpleasant no-mans-land that people only walked down when they had no option. By blurring the barriers between traffic and pavement, it slows traffic down and gives priority back to people.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

Monday, October 01, 2012

Gale Force Nun

This sculpture in Berkley Square is actuallly from a local gallery and available for sale. No price ticket, though. Strange that.

posted by Ham at 00:02 -- Comments here: 0

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


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