Glorious Chaos: Sir John Soane’s Museum
Stuff About London
by donbrown
3d ago
Sir John Soane (1753-1837), most famously the architect of the Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery, was the son of a bricklayer who rose to be professor of architecture at the Royal Academy. He is buried in the churchyard of St Pancras Old Church, his self-designed mausoleum said to have been the inspiration for the domed roof of Giles Gilbert Scott’s famous K2 telephone kiosk.  When he died, he left his houses in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, his drawings and architectural models, his collections of paintings and sculpture, and – most significantly – his varied collection of architectura ..read more
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The New London Model: Towering over the City
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
Should you want to feel godlike, the entire capital spread out beneath your glorious presence, then the place to go is The London Centre, in Guildhall, because it is there that you can get to experience New London Architecture’s magnificent models of the city and its buildings. There are three such models on display at the moment; the Royal Docks development, the City Model (or which more shortly) and the New London Model, and each is a pretty impressive example of the modelmakers’ craft. The New London Model is huge – 12.5m long, representing a 25km slice of the capital. In front of you is ov ..read more
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Rabbit holes, hangings and John Rocque’s Map of London
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
As usual, it started with a bit of googling to research something completely different, but when an interesting rabbit hole appears it seems remiss not to dive straight in. That different something was finding out about Treasury Passage, a passage (although not for the likes of you and me) that cuts through William Kent’s Treasury Building from Horseguards Parade to Downing Street. I will hopefully return to that in a subsequent post. But while looking into that I came upon the Library of Congress’s high-res scan of John Rocque’s “Plan Of The Cities Of London And Westminster, And Borough Of So ..read more
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The Last of the WW2 Big Ships – HMS Belfast
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
A visit to HMS Belfast on a chilly, late January Tuesday gave me the ship almost to myself, the first time I’d visited this floating museum opposite the Tower of London in almost 20 years. Now operated by the Imperial War Museum, this warship – not a battleship, but a cruiser: more lightly armed and armoured, but faster – was launched in 1938 at the Harland + Wolff yard in Belfast (this is the shipyard that built the Titanic). It saw action in WW2 protecting the Arctic convoys, taking part in the Battle of North Cape that saw the sinking of the German cruiser ‘Scharnhorst’, and was one of the ..read more
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New Blog – Car Free in the Capital
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
My solid, reliable, 20-year-old Toyota finally stopped being solid and reliable this month (on the M5 in Devon, which was fun). We’d been debating about not having a car once it expired (we just weren’t expecting that to happen now). Of all the places in the UK, London should be the easiest to survive without a motor – public transport is good, car clubs exist, the city is walkable and cyclable. So we’re going to give it a go, and I will track the progress (the good, the bad, the expensive) of being car free on this new blog. The new blog – click on the image above to see what’s been written s ..read more
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The Nereid Monument in the British Museum
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
On one’s way to the Parthenon Gallery one walks through Room 17 of the British Museum and there, on the right, is what appears to be a Greek temple. A pediment and entablature are supported by ionic columns, between which three female forms are ‘dancing’. Below this are two layers of frieze, with the thinner, top, layer showing forces capturing a city, and the bottom layer scenes of individual combat between warriors. It isn’t actually a temple, nor is it Greek; it is the monumental tomb of Arbinas (sometimes written as Erbinna), a 4thC BCE ruler of Xanthos, one of the city-states of an ancien ..read more
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London Pubs: The George Inn in Southwark
Stuff About London
by donbrown
5d ago
Pubs! Pubs are great (as I’ve mentioned before). If you truly want to experience London then you need to spend a few hours in a pub – watching, listening, talking and, of course, drinking beer. After a session in the pub you will have a much deeper sense of what makes Londoners tick, the character of the city and the conviviality of its inhabitants than you will get from reading any number of guide books or magazine articles. But despite my love, and frequent patronage of pubs, I’ve never written about specific boozers in the ten years or so that this blog has been going. So let’s correct that ..read more
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Rabbit holes, hangings and John Rocque’s Map of London
Stuff About London
by donbrown
1w ago
As usual, it started with a bit of googling to research something completely different, but when an interesting rabbit hole appears it seems remiss not to dive straight in. That different something was finding out about Treasury Passage, a passage (although not for the likes of you and me) that cuts through William Kent’s Treasury Building from Horseguards Parade to Downing Street. I will hopefully return to that in a subsequent post. But while looking into that I came upon the Library of Congress’s high-res scan of John Rocque’s “Plan Of The Cities Of London And Westminster, And Borough Of So ..read more
Visit website
The Last of the WW2 Big Ships – HMS Belfast
Stuff About London
by donbrown
3w ago
A visit to HMS Belfast on a chilly, late January Tuesday gave me the ship almost to myself, the first time I’d visited this floating museum opposite the Tower of London in almost 20 years. Now operated by the Imperial War Museum, this warship – not a battleship, but a cruiser: more lightly armed and armoured, but faster – was launched in 1938 at the Harland + Wolff yard in Belfast (this is the shipyard that built the Titanic). It saw action in WW2 protecting the Arctic convoys, taking part in the Battle of North Cape that saw the sinking of the German cruiser ‘Scharnhorst’, and was one of the ..read more
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Days Out – Bletchley Park, Home of the WW2 Codebreakers
Stuff About London
by donbrown
3w ago
Less than 40 minutes on the fast service from Euston gets you to Bletchley (now part of Milton Keynes). It is a journey that would have been taken by many thousands of service personnel and others in WW2 because (literally) over the road from the railway station is Bletchley Park – the wartime home of the codebreakers of the Government Code and Cypher School. Saved from being levelled by developers in the 1990s, the site is now a museum, one that us growing with each year as new funding allows the Bletchley Park Trust to restore more buildings and add new displays. For anyone interested in the ..read more
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