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Archive for April, 2009

Christopher Wren’s London Buildings

Wednesday, April 29th, 2009

If asked to name a Sir Christopher Wren building - most of us would get as far as St Paul’s cathedral and then be stumped. It’s astounding quite how prolific Wren was - more than 89 buildings are attributed to him, and when you consider the scale of some of these buildings, that’s no mean feat. St Paul’s took more than 30 years to complete, and by the end of the construction Wren was 76 and being hoisted up in a basket to inspect the building works. (more…)

Bankside Power Station & The Tate Modern - Alligator in the Lily Pond

Monday, April 20th, 2009

Image © Will Pearson.

Bankside Power Station was built by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott - his name may not be familiar, but his other major London building will be - Battersea Power Station. He also designed the much-loved Red Telephone boxes (you can see four of these in a virtual tour here), the Salvation Army’s William Booth Memorial Training College in Camberwell, and Waterloo Bridge. (more…)

The Birth of the Old Lady of Threadneedle Street

Wednesday, April 15th, 2009

The Bank of England is personified as ‘The Old Lady of Threadneedle Street’ - conjuring images of a benevolent and homely old spinster at her sewing. However, the ‘old lady’ has a slightly less peaceable heritage than this image implies - the Bank of England was borne out of funding the war with France. In 1694, William III’s coffers were running low, threatening his war against the French. (more…)

Parakeets on Hampstead Heath

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Image © J.M.Garg

An Indian native has made its home in the chillier climes of North London. Hampstead Heath is now home to a flock of Rose-ringed Parakeets (also known as Ring Necked Parakeets). Although they hail from India, they tend to live at high altitudes, meaning that they’re able to adapt well to Britain’s cold winters.

The parakeets were popular pets in Victorian times, but many people believe that the current colonies around London were formed when a number of birds were released from the tropical film set of The African Queen at Shepperton Studios in Surrey. (more…)