Meeting The Raven Master at Tower of London
￼￼A group of Guide London Blue Badge Tourist Guides recently had the privilege of going “behind the scenes” at the Tower of London, on a warm, witty and informative tour hosted by Chief Raven Master, Chris Skaife. Below is an account of the tour.
Britain’s Changing Money
The new £10 is the second plastic or polymer note issued by the Bank of England and features a portrait of Jane Austen. It follows the introduction of the first polymer note in September 2016, a fiver with a picture of Winston Churchill and an extract from his famous speech: ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, sweat, tears and toil.’ The new twenty-pound note, with a portrait of a young J. M. W. Turner and a version of his painting of the Fighting Temeraire in the background will be released in March 2020. As yet no decision on a polymer fifty-pound note has been made and who would feature on it.
Tracing The Tower Of London Poppies
Who can forget the wonderful site of the 888,246 handmade ceramic poppies by the artist Paul Cummins filling the moat of the Tower of London and cascading down the walls and over the drawbridge area three years ago? Created to represent every British fatality during WWI and to remember the 100 years since the outbreak of war ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’, grew daily, aided in a small way by many Blue Badge Tourist Guides who helped to plant some of them.
Sandycombe Lodge – J.M.W. Turner’s Thames House Re-Opens
Sandycombe Lodge, the Thames-side villa designed by J. M. W. Turner, has now been re-opened to the
public, following a £2.4 million conservation programme. Built in Twickenham in 1813, it was a peaceful retreat for him and he lived there with his father until 1826. Using Turner’s sketches, a William Havell drawing of 1814, architectural evidence and paint analysis, the Turner’s House Trust has returned the house to its original form and decoration as closely as possible.
Remembering Diana, Princess Of Wales
Twenty years after her death, the newspapers are full of memories and memoirs of people who came into contact with Diana, Princess of Wales. One of the most iconic figures of our time, Princess Diana was a much-loved woman who struggled to fit into the British Royal Family and ended up doing more to divide the royals from the British people than anyone since Oliver Cromwell.
Two Hundred Years Of The Parthenon Marbles At The British Museum
The year 2017 marks the bicentenary of the exhibition of the Parthenon Marbles at the British Museum. The artefacts were removed from the Athenian Acropolis in 1801 and 1802 by Thomas Bruce, seventh Lord Elgin British Ambassador (1799–1803) to the Ottoman Empire. The sculptures were commissioned in the fifth century BC as part of the rebuilding of the City of Athens ordered by the statesman Pericles following the successful war against the Persians.
Posts in: British Monarchy
Twenty years after her death, the newspapers are full of memories and memoirs of people who came into contact with Diana, Princess of Wales. One of the most iconic figures of our time, Princess Diana was a much-loved woman who struggled to fit into the British Royal Family and ended up doing more to divide the royals from the British people than anyone since Oliver Cromwell.Read more
On 17 July 1917, King George the Fifth declared that 'all descendants in the male line of Queen Victoria, who are subjects of these realms, other than female descendants who marry or who have married, shall bear the name of Windsor.'Read more
Queen Elizabeth II is head of state of the United Kingdom and fifteen other countries. She is also a woman, a mother and was once a girl. Yet throughout her life all of that has come second to providing the symbolic value millions of people placed upon her.Read more
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II is the most travelled sovereign in British history, undertaking more than 250 overseas visits during her 65-year reign. During 2016 alone, The Queen carried out over 300 official engagements the length and breadth of the United Kingdom. An important part of these occasions is the receiving or exchanging of gifts, the subject of the an exhibition at this year's Summer Opening of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace.Read more
English and British Monarchs have lived in and around London for over a thousand years in a variety of palaces; some still standing, others long-gone. But the area now known as ‘Royal London’ has consistently been at the heart of royal life, with regal residences at Westminster, Whitehall, Buckingham and St James’s Place and at Clarence and Carlton Houses.Read more
Hampton Court is a magnificent palace, standing on the banks of the river Thames, just a short drive from London. It has everything. The palace is a harmonious blend of Tudor and Neo-Classical architecture set in glorious gardens. And there is history, lots of it, from Cardinal Wolsey and Henry VIII to William and Mary. Its rooms are packed with splendid paintings. There is something for everyone, kids included and here are 10 of my favourite reasons to visit Hampton Court Palace.Read more
Kensington Palace has been a royal residence for over 300 years and is now the London home to Prince Harry, Prince William, Catherine Middleton and the young Prince George and Princess Charlotte. Although their residence is private, a large part of Kensington Palace is open to the public to explore the lives of past royal residents, and visit the historic rooms that have shaped a nation. Below you'll find 10 top facts about Kensington Palace.Read more
On the evening of 11 December 1936 King Edward VIII, having reigned for only 327 days, informed the world that he had abdicated in favour of his younger brother, who became King George VI. In his famous broadcast from Windsor Castle he said to the world: “I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as king as I would wish to do without the help and support of the woman I love.”Read more
Windsor Castle is the largest and oldest inhabited castle in the world. It is located about an hour from central London and visitors can see the sumptuous State apartments, the spectacular display of heraldry in St George’s Chapel and even take a peek at the Royal residential apartments.Read more
The Summer Opening at Buckingham Palace in 2017 will be from Saturday 22 July to Sunday 1 October. Visitors will see the 19 magnificent State Rooms, which provide the setting for ceremonial occasions and official entertaining. All rooms are furnished with many of the greatest treasures from the Royal Collection.Read more
Each year, Queen Elizabeth II takes part in the State Opening of Parliament. The event "marks the formal start of the parliamentary year and the Queen's Speech sets out the British government’s agenda for the coming session, outlining proposed policies and legislation.Read more
Royal Collection Trust is investing £37 million at Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse to deliver major improvements for visitors. A series of projects, collectively known as Future Programme, will transform the way visitors are welcomed, interpret the buildings in new ways, create dedicated new Learning Centres, and open up new spaces to the public.Read more
Last November, fellow London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Tim Hudson and Jo Hoad organised us one early morning for an outing to look for the body and hear the story of Richard III at Bosworth and Leicester. Richard was the last king of England to die in battle, the last Plantagenet monarch and, after a short reign of just over two years, died calling out "Treason! Treason!" not, as Shakespeare has it, "A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse!"Read more
Queen Elizabeth II is now the longest reigning monarch in British history, having broken Queen Victoria's record on 9 September. To commemorate this, a special photographic Long To Reign Over Us exhibition is currently on show at Buckingham Palace (until 27 September 2015) and Windsor Castle (until 27 January 2016). Each of the displays celebrates The Queen through a selection of photographs from 1952 to the present day. The images include official portraits and photographs of Her Majesty undertaking visits in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth, as well as those capturing informal family moments.Read more
To celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest reigning monarch in the United Kingdom on 9 September 2015, the Tower of London have announced a new art installation with a series of images and animations featuring the letter Q to be projected onto the Tower for seven days.Read more
Many of us would love to have a birthday parade with marching bands and soldiers perfectly turned out displaying their marching skills.Read more
In the Middle Ages, Edward the Confessor, King John and Richard II were exhumed, examined and put in new resting spots. So the reinterment of Richard III in Leicester Cathedral shortly before lunchtime on Thursday 26 March, after four days of pageantry and commemoration, follows ancient tradition.Read more
When British Monarch King Henry VIII had his son Edward christened on 15th October 1537 at Hampton Court Palace, it was a celebration of his dynasty and its seemingly secure future. To commemorate, staff recently donned costumes – borrowed from the Royal Shakespeare Company – to join actors in a television programme recreating the christening of Henry’s longed-for heir. The BBC documentary which aired this past January was presented by Historians Lucy Worsley and Dr David Starkey and heralds a year of celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of Hampton Court Palace.Read more
For the State Opening of Parliament this year the Queen used a new 3-ton Coach created for her by Jim Frecklington, from Manly, Australia, who worked in the Royal Mews as a young man before returning home. The coach, which is 18ft long and needs 6 horses to pull it, has taken 50 people more than 10 years to assemble. The Diamond Jubilee Coach is only the second state carriage to be built in more than 100 years.Read more