Blog Posts

Painting of Ira Aldridge (1807-1867), in the character of Othello by James Northcote. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Stepping Into London’s West End Limelight for Black History Month

London’s West End has long been a place of fun and entertainment – theatres, cinemas, and nightclubs. We look to the stages and large cinema screens to admire our modern-day idols and hope to meet them in the flesh. For Black History Month, we look at some familiar places in London’s West End and discover the people who were not just entertainers; but pioneers, performing on stages and working hard to increase the rights of Black citizens.

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Coffin for Queen Elizabeth II on gun carriage. Photo Credit: © Public Domain via Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II Funeral at Westminster Abbey

They came from far and wide to pay their respects to a woman who had come to the throne as a young mother at the age of twenty-five when her father, King George the Sixth, had died suddenly in his sleep at the age of fifty-six in 1952. George had become king in 1936 because his elder brother had abdicated to marry Wallis Simpson, an American woman who had been married and divorced twice and was not considered suitable as a royal consort.

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Queen Elizabeth II died on Thursday, 8th September 2022. Photo Credit: © The Royal Family.

Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s Longest-Reigning Monarch Dies at 96

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Second’s long reign as monarch of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth came to an end on the afternoon of 8th September, 2022. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair in London on 21st April 1926 in a house since demolished. She ascended to the throne on 6th February 1952 whilst in Kenya on a tour of African countries. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days was the longest of any British monarch, as she had passed the previous record of 63 years and seven months held by Queen Victoria in 2015.

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English footballer Alessa Russo with Yeomen Warders at the Tower of London. Photo Credit: © Historic Royal Palaces.

Football In London: Increasingly A Game For Women As Well As Men

Blue Badge Tourist Guides in London may conduct sport-themed tours – or they may just want to mention some British achievements in the world of sport to their groups and clients as a matter of general interest. While London has successfully hosted the Olympics three times – in 1904, 1948, and 2012, and contains famous venues such as Twickenham for rugby union, Wimbledon for tennis and Lord’s or the Oval for cricket, the England men’s national football team has won nothing since England won the World Cup at Wembley Stadium in 1966 when they last hosted the tournament. England beat West Germany 4-2 after extra time, and Geoff Hurst is still the only man to have scored three goals in a World Cup final.

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Dippy the Diplodocus at Natural History Museum. Photo Credit: © Natural History Museum.

Where To Find Dinosaurs In London

Dinosaurs first appeared on earth nearly 250 million years ago and survived until a mass extinction event around 65 million years ago. This means that they were dominant animals on the planet for over 150 million years – far longer than human beings. Most scientists believe that the mass extinction of the dinosaurs was caused by a meteor landing on earth.

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Notting Hill Carnival. Photo Credit: © Flickr/Kathmandu.

Notting Hill Carnival 2022

Notting Hill Carnival is the largest street festival in Europe.  It was started in the 1960s as a way for Caribbean communities, part of the Windrush Generation to bond and celebrate their cultural traditions. Now taking place every August Bank Holiday weekend in the streets of London W11, the Notting Hill Carnival is an amazing array of sounds, colourful sights, and social solidarity.

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Bronze statue of the British singer Amy Winehouse located in the Stables Market in Camden Town. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

Rock Stars of London Remembered

London’s Blue Badge Tourist Guides are often asked to conduct tours based on well-known singers and musicians from the pop and rock eras who make up an important part of the tourist business. Many are remembered with memorial plaques, others with statues or paintings.  Below is a list of rock stars and locations in London that have contributed to the city’s rich musical history.

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View of Crossbones Graveyard with Shard building off in the distance. Photo Credit: © Antony Robbins.

Queer Bankside: A History

The once-marshy neighbourhood of Bankside was previously a military garrison within the City of London limits. Museum of London archaeologists discovered Roman warehouses here during the development of the Jubilee Line. The Norsemen were here too. King Alfred’s battling with the Vikings gives us the nursery rhyme ‘London Bridge is falling down.’

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Gold State Coach at Royal Mews in London. Photo Credit: © Edwin Lerner.

A Visit To The Royal Mews In London

Visitors to London often want to go inside Buckingham Palace when they come there and see the Changing of the Guard ceremony. Yet, while Windsor Castle is open to the public throughout the year, the chief royal residence of London is only open for ten weeks between mid-July and September every year when the royal family are at Balmoral Castle. The tradition of spending the late summer and early autumn in the Scottish Highlands was established by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and has continued since her reign.

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The Victoria Cross (VC) is the highest and most prestigious award of the British honours system. Photo Credit: © Arghya1999 via Wikimedia Commons.

10 Facts About The Victoria Cross And The George Cross

The Victoria Cross and the George Cross are the highest medals awarded in the United Kingdom to military personnel and civilians for acts of bravery in wartime or peacetime. Many of them are displayed at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London.  Below are 10 facts about the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.

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Train along the Elizabeth Line in London. Photo Credit: © Alex6nt via Wikimedia Commons.

10 Facts About The Elizabeth Line Running Across London

The idea for a line joining the eastern and western suburbs of London was first mooted in 1941 during the Second World War but it took over eighty years before this dream was realised. The Elizabeth Line, as it has become known, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II who officially opened the line on 17 May 2022  at Paddington Station; passenger services started on 24 May 2022.  Her Majesty was presented with an Oyster Card with £5 on it. Although she was shown how to use the card, she did not do so and left the station in a lift. The Queen spent time at the opening talking to Transport For London staff.

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RNLI Lifeboat near HMS Belfast & Tower Bridge. Photo Credit: © RNLI.

Lifeboats In London: The Work Of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) On The River Thames

While most visitors to London might not associate the capital with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the River Thames will be seen on virtually every tour of London and is often considered the backbone of the capital. Four of the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations are on the Thames, and their busiest is RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station by Waterloo Bridge. The others are at Chiswick and Teddington in Greater London and Gravesend in Kent.

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