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National Portrait Gallery: Portrait of Diana, Princess of Wales by Bryan Organ, 1981. Photo Credit: © National Portrait Gallery, London.

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.

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British Museum: The Elgin Marbles also known pars pro toto as the Parthenon Marbles.

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.

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Harry Potter: Platform 9 3/4 at London's Kings Cross Station

Harry Potter Is Twenty Years Old

The first Harry Potter book was published in 1997 with a hardback print run of just 500, each of which is now worth £40-50,000. Since then the seven Harry Potter books have sold nearly 500 million copies and the eight films based on these books have grossed £6.5 billion, making J K Rowling the world’s richest author with a fortune of around £600 million.

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Polymer £10 banknote: back with Jane Austen

Jane Austen Banknote Unveiled at Winchester Cathedral

The new Jane Austen ten pound note was unveiled for the first time at Winchester Cathedral on 18 July this year, the 200th anniversary of her death. The much-loved novelist was buried at the cathedral largely because of the influence of her brother Henry, who was an Anglican priest. Her epitaph was composed by another brother James who wrote of her ‘extraordinary achievements of mind’ but famously forgot to mention that she wrote Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility.

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London Shopping_New Bond Street

Where To Shop Like A Proper British Gentleman

Any self respecting chap, on a trip to Blighty (what we Brits call Britain) will want to avail himself of the necessary accoutrements to show his chums back home how to style themselves properly. The purpose of the blog post is to point out a few tips on how this can be done and where to source said necessaries. Of course, your Blue Badge Tourist Guide will be able to help further.

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Black Cultural Archives: African & Caribbean War Memorial

African & Caribbean War Memorial Unveiled at Black Cultural Archives in London

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.

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David Bowie Mural in Brixton

47 New Blue Plaques for Iconic Musicians & Venues

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.

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C.S. Lewis House: The Kilns. Photo Credit: © JSchroe via Wikimedia Commons.

Visiting The Kilns – Home of C.S. Lewis

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.

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British Monarchy: Coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, June 1953. Photo Credit: Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

British Royal Family Celebrates House of Windsor Centenary

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.’

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Charlie Chaplin Blue Plaque in London. Photo Credit: © English Heritage.

Charlie Chaplin Blue Plaque Unveiled in South London

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.

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Tideway workers have begun work on digging a hole with a 30m diameter on the banks of the River Thames. Photo Credit: © Thames Tideway Tunnel.

The Thames Tidewater: A New Tunnel Under London

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.

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George Frideric Handel painting by Balthasar Denner.

Handel’s Water Music Manuscript on Display at Foundling Museum

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.

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