25 Years Since Windsor Castle Fire
One question Blue Badge Tourist Guides always seem to be asked when they take groups to Windsor Castle is “where did the fire take place?” It took place twenty-five years ago this month on 20 November 1992 on the Queen and Prince Philip’s forty fifth wedding anniversary during what the Queen later referred to as her “annus horriblis”, when the marriages of three of her children came to an end and the oldest royal home was engulfed in flames.
National Football League (NFL) International Series In London
Here in London we feel very privileged to have hosted the National Football League (NFL) games now since 2007, known as the International Series. At first it was just one game each year. The Miami Dolphins hosted the New York Giants at Wembley Stadium on October 28, 2007. The Giants defeated the Dolphins 13–10 in the first regular season NFL game held outside North America. The first 40,000 tickets sold out for the game in the first 90 minutes of sales, and mainly to British and other Europeans.
5 Posh Shops on St. James’s Street in London
Since 1661, St. James’s Street in London has been a go to destination for luxury retailing. Many of the posh shops on the street originally catered to the clientele from some of London’s best-known gentlemen’s clubs on the same street, including Brooks’s, the Carlton Club and White’s. Now St. James’s Street in London is world famous and a go to place for top of the range products and services offered with traditional English flare. With that in mind, below are 5 of the posh shops on St. James’s Street in London.
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.
Next to the Black Cultural Archives, the ceremonial unveiling of the African & Caribbean War Memorial took place in Windrush Square Brixton on 22 June – Windrush Day. The date and location of the memorial fixed one key historical event in peoples’ minds, the arrival of SS Empire Windrush in 1948 carrying 498 men and a few women from the Caribbean.Read more
To celebrate BBC Music last month the BBC Local Radio stations and Asian Network in England teamed up with the British Plaque Trust to unveil forty-seven historic Blue Plaques celebrating iconic musicians and venues.Read more
For a recent City of Oxford Tour, the group leader expressed an interest in visiting C.S. Lewis’s home. The Kilns is not on the tourist trail but an Internet search and a few emails led to a visit being arranged. We were shown around by Rachel, a young English woman who had lived in California and had the accent of a valley girl.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
Charlie Chaplin, one of the greatest stars of early cinema, has been honoured with an English Heritage blue plaque at his former London home in Glenshaw Mansions on Brixton Road in Kennington. The blue plaque was unveiled by the British comedian and Chaplin admirer Paul Merton, Chaplin’s granddaughter Kathleen, a singer, was also present with her seven-year-old son.Read more
What – not another one? Yes, but not an election. This time it’s a tunnel – another one under London, from west to east and this one is less in the news because it is all about our waste. After London’s population doubled between 1840 and 1900 Sir Joseph Bazalgette’s literally ground-breaking tunnel, his great Intercepting Sewer, saved London from the Great Stink of 1856.Read more
As Chairman of the Royal Society of Musicians, I am delighted that one of our treasures, the oldest surviving score of Handel’s Water Music, will be displayed in the Handel Gallery at the Foundling Museum (7 July – 6 October 2017) to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the first performance on 17 July 1717.Read more
A new book titled Shop London: An Insider’s Guide To Spending Like A Local will be of interest to those seeking to discover unique shops in London. Written by Emma McCarthy, the deputy fashion editor of the London Evening Standard, the Shop London book handpicks more than 200 of the most talked about, tucked away and unique retail spots in the city, exploring both destination shopping areas, as well as specialist boutiques from homeware to children’s wear.Read more
While there are many brilliant attractions and tourist destinations to enjoy in London, some people are more than happy to come to the English capital for the shopping opportunities. There are many great department stores that are known around the world and if you are looking for guidance in knowing where to shop, here are the top 10 London department stores.Read more
John Constable (1776 – 1837) came from the country to the capital, portrayed a calm, unchanging England and was devoted to one woman, whom he waited for, married and then mourned when she died from consumption after bearing seven children in nine years.Read more
Coaches usually take one of three roads into/out of London – the M3, the M4 or the M40. I was coming back to London along the last recently and talked about football (soccer to our American visitors) as we passed Wembley and the Battle of Britain as we passed RAF Northolt and between the two I gave a mention to Art Deco architecture as we passed the Hoover Building.Read more
“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