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: Major Events
"The Season" always fascinates visitors to England. An endless whirl of summer events where it's just as important who to be seen with as to actually have fun. We asked Sophie Campbell, Blue Badge Tourist Guide and author of The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season to give us her unique perspective on this most English of traditions.Read more
March will see the feast days of two of the UK’s patron saints: St David of Wales on the 1st and St Patrick of Ireland on the 17th. St David’s day will see a banquet in the evening at the Guildhall and attended by Mayor of London. St Patrick’s Day, on the other hand, will see a huge procession from Green Park to Trafalgar Square on Sunday the 19th starting at noon and an event in the square that will go on all day.Read more
The 30 gardens at the 2016 RHS Chelsea Flower Show are the main attraction.They draw you in with their grand design, fantastic colours and most are magical and inspiring. In total, there are 17 show gardens, six artisan gardens, and seven fresh gardens which showcase the best of garden design and landscape.Read more
In the theatre we have already seen A Winter’s Tale starring Sir Kenneth Branagh and Dame Judi Dench and later this year Romeo and Juliet starring Sir Derek Jacobi and Lily James is on at the Garrick. Branagh is also involved with Film London creating new commissions for the anniversary which will include The Hungry, a UK-Indian co-production – a contemporary retelling of Titus Andronicus – as well as short films by all-female directors, animations and a BBC documentary.Read more
The 800th Lord Mayor’s Show in London will be held on Saturday 14 November 2015 and starts at 09.00 with a river pageant. The Lord Mayor will be travelling to the City in a flotilla of traditional Thames barges and small boats, including the famous QRB Gloriana. Tower Bridge opens in salute at 09.25 and the new Lord Mayor alights at HMS President ten minutes later.Read more
27 July held a nostalgic frisson for many Blue Badge Tourist Guides. Three years ago Danny Boyle’s diorama of all things British upped the ante for the London 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony. Rio, on the other side of the equator, now has one year to go.Read more
For London 2012 guides, there is now a definite sense of deja vu about Twickenham Stadium. Hospitality suites? Media centres? Opening ceremonies? Closing ceremonies? 18 September sees the opening game at Twickenham of the 8th Rugby World Cup when England takes on Fiji.Read more
London’s annual Chinese New Year celebrations, the biggest in the world outside China, starts with a small ceremonial event on Saturday 21 February, but the majority of the festivities will take place on Sunday 22 February.Read more
While there are many popular and well-established events in London, The Lord Mayor's show is one of the best of the annual events held in the English capital. The event can be traced back to the 16th century and the Lord Mayor is the Lord Mayor of the City of London, the historic centre of the wider metropolitan area.Read more
London Blue Badge Tourist Guides Karen Eastland, Pamela McHutchon and I had front row tickets for wheelchair rugby aka ‘the best fun you can have with your clothes’ on at the London 2014 Invictus Games. This international sporting event, held at the Olympic Park where London Blue Badge Tourist Guides now regularly giving walking tours, turned out to be a star-studded event.Read more