Tired of London, Tired of Life - One thing a day to do in London

A website about things to do in London

28 January 2015

Cross Clattern Bridge, Kingston-upon-Thames

Possibly Greater London's oldest original bridge, the Clattern Bridge crosses the River Hogsmill close to the centre of Kingston-upon-Thames. We are told variously that some of the bottom half dates from "the 12th century" or "from 1293", a date taken from the earliest recorded document which names it. The top half, meanwhile, features 18th century brick and 19th century iron railings.

The bridge is Grade I listed and also classified as a scheduled ancient monument. The stone arches on the downstream side are said to be the the oldest parts of the bridge, according to a plaque which tells us that until the 19th century was only 8 feet wide.

For more, see http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-203119-clattern-bridge-greater-london-authority

27 January 2015

Country postcard - Stay at 10 North Street, Cromford

Spending too much time in the same place is not good for the soul, so your author seized a gap in his January diary and spent three days over the weekend in Derbyshire, staying at the Landmark Trust's 10 North Street. This beautiful little worker's cottage in Cromford is in the middle of a World Heritage Site and was part of the first planned industrial housing in the world, connected to Richard Arkwright's pioneering cotton mill on the River Derwent.

The street was built in 1771 by Arkwright for the workers at what was then a groundbreaking water-wheel powered cotton mill, which can be visited just down the hill thanks to the Arkwright Society. Cromford's other highlights are the excellent Scarthin Books, and its proximity to the beauty of the Peak District. The house itself was a magical little place, with a warming fire in the range, views from the windows over the surrounding rooftops, twisty stairs, and an excellent pub on the street. If only all planned workers housing could have been like this, the world would be a better place.

For more, see http://www.landmarktrust.org.uk/search-and-book/properties/north-street-9834/

26 January 2015

See the Sigmar Polke exhibition at the Tate Modern

Always at the cultural cutting edge, your author popped in to the Tate Modern on Sunday to see the Sigmar Polke exhibition, just three months into its four month run. Thankfully, such foresight meant that it wasn't quite as busy as other parts of the gallery, and there was plenty of space to see the works of the experimental German painter and photographer, whose works range from 'Capitalist Realist' responses to consumer culture in post-war West Germany, to experiments with photocopiers and colouring in pigs in blown up photographs.

One thing seemed fairly certain, Pole was clearly a man who took a lot of drugs in the 1970s, as demonstrated in room 6, where the visitor is presented with paintings of giant psychadelic mushrooms paintings and lots of cut outs of sexy pictures, but by his final years he seemed to have calmed down somewhat, with large monochrome canvases, and moody watchtowers, before in Britta's pigs, he just blows up a big photo of some Dutch peasants and colours in the pigs in pink.

It's great when the work of a talented artist who led an interesting life (Polke died in 2010) is given enough space to be seen, and the Tate has done a fine job by finding 14 rooms over which this exhibition takes place, plus four sub-rooms for films. You still have a little less than a month to go if you haven't already been.

For more, see http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/alibis-sigmar-polke-1963-2010

^Picture © Carsten ten Brink used under a Creative Commons license^

25 January 2015

Attend a Sunday concert at Conway Hall

Since the 1880s, Sundays has hosted a regular Sunday chamber music concert series now known as Conway Hall Sunday Concerts, offering "affordable classical music for all". This evening the Hall hosts the New Zealand Chamber Soloists for a selection of music by Haydn, Beethoven & Dvořák.

Tickets were still available at time of going to pixel, and are priced very reasonably at £10 for ordinary bods and free for the under 25s, and a pleasant-sounding evening in the company of violinist Amalia Hall, cellist James Tennant and pianist Katherine Austin.

For more, see http://conwayhall.org.uk/sunday-concerts-2

^Picture © Justinc used under a Creative Commons license^

24 January 2015

Celebrate the Year of the Bus in the Olympic Park

Antoher one of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park's favourite mix-of-everything events today, as TfL's Year of the Bus offers the chance to see 60 bus sculptures, ride a 1914 wartime bus, visit a mobile exhibition and hear buskers from the London Underground.

The event also promises some artists and a chance to go on an actual genuine real bus to see what it's like on one. Exciting stuff!

For more, see http://queenelizabetholympicpark.co.uk/whats-on/events/2014/10/year-of-the-bus-weekend-on-the-park

^Picture © Martin Pettitt used under a Creative Commons license^

23 January 2015

Sleep with dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum

In an event of the type you thought was only available to children and Ben Stiller, tonight those with enough money are invited to sleep over in the Natural History Museum in an event called Dino Snores for Grown-ups.

Though the price is rather steep at £180 that includes a three-course meal, breakfast, science shows, comedy, live music, access to exhibitions, an all night monster film marathon, insect tastings and the chance to sleep on a thin-looking mat in Hintze Hall in the shadow of a Diplodocus skeleton. You do have to stump up extra for booze though...

For more, see http://www.nhm.ac.uk/visit-us/whats-on/after-hours/dino-snores-grown-ups/index.html

22 January 2015

Learn about Dirty Old London with Lee Jackson

London writer Lee Jackson has a new book out, Dirty Old London, which charts the squalor of Victorian London and how the city dealt with it. Tonight, he's giving a free talk about it at Dagenham Library and you're invited.

This isn't Lee's first book, and follows on from 7 historical crime novels, 2 anthologies about Victorian daily life and a guide to walking Dickens London, as well as his celebrated Victorian London website. With such a wealth of experince to talk about, it's sure to be a good night.

For more, see https://www.lbbd.gov.uk/event/dirty-old-london-pen-to-print-author-talk-dagenham-library/

21 January 2015

Tour the Jewish East End

Between 1881 and 1914, more than two million Jewish people fled the poverty and pogroms of the Russian Empire, with more than 100,000 of them choosing to make Britain their home, with London's Jewish community establishing itself in the in the East End and up to 150 synagogues established to serve them.

As they became more affluent, many Jewish families chose to move to more upmarket areas of the city, and in the second half of the 20th century so many did so that the area that had changed so markedly less than 100 years ago changed again. Despite this, many echoes of the Jewish East End remain and every Wednesday at 10.45am London Walks leads a tour of the area, exploring a fascinating period in the history of London via the alleyways and back streets of Spitalfields and Whitechapel.

For more, see http://www.walks.com/London_Walks_Home/Wednesdays_Walks/default.aspx#12859

^Picture © Jim Linwood used under a Creative Commons license^

20 January 2015

Visit the site of the first modern Parliament

750 years ago today, on 20th January 1265, Simon De Montfort summoned the Hilary Parliament to meet in the Chapter House of Westminster Abbey in what some think of as the first real Parliament. Whilst this Parliament only lasted a short time, it was significant as both lords and commoners were invited to participate, with the election of two knights from each shire and two burgesses from each town.

Indeed, so modern was the Parliament that the BBC even points out that a fair system was in place to allow participants attending the parliament to recover the costs of attending, allowing those who might not have been otherwise able to afford to do so to attend.

For more, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-30849472

^Picture © Duncan Harris used under a Creative Commons license^

19 January 2015

Commit no nuisance in Doyce Street

On a wander in the backstreets of Borough yesterday, your author noticed the charming sign below on Doyce Street, which turned out to be on the rear of the Welsh Congregational Church at 90 Southwark Bridge Road.

We are told that there has been a Welsh church on the site since 1806, and the current building dates from 1870, when it was built following the acquisition of the freehold of the site with the assistance of industrialist, politician and Congregationalist Samuel Morley.

For more on the church, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Borough_Welsh_Congregational_Chapel


18 January 2015

Toast the Immortal Memory of Admiral Lord Nelson

Toasting the Immortal Memory of Admiral Lord Nelson in the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College was among your author's fondest memories of Greenwich last year, and today you are invited at 3pm to join the Nelson Society for a toast in memory of the great man, in the hall where he lay in state following his death at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Prior to the Toast, the Society will also meet at the Chapel in the Old Royal Naval College to observe Haydn's Nelson Mass, before a wander down to the Thames and lunch, but it's probably a bit late to get involved in all that, so for now the Toast is the thing to do.

For more, see http://www.ornc.org/events/detail/immortal-memory-toast

17 January 2015

Go wassailing at the Brunel Museum

It's Old Twelfth Night tonight, and at the Brunel Museum's Midnight Apothecary cocktail bar they're celebrating with a wassail and a fire. We are told that the traditional blessing of the apple tree in the museum's garden will feature song, live music and a Wassail Queen.

There will also be a chance to descend into the top of Brunel's Thames Tunnel for a reading from the Lord of the Rings, if that's your sort of thing.

For more, see http://www.brunel-museum.org.uk/

16 January 2015

Attend the London Model Engineering Exhibition

The London Model Engineering Exhibition 2015 kicks off at Alexandra Palace today and lasts all weekend. The exhibition promises to be one of the leading model shows in the UK this year, attracting over 15,000 visitors. This year is the 19th year for the show, and attendees are promised Airfix kits, model rockets, trucks, boats, aeroplanes and helicopters as well as, inevitably, railways and traction engines.

The event will host over 50 UK & overseas model clubs and societies, including the Polly Owners Group who will be offering passenger rides behind their 5” gauge steam locomotives within the Great Hall at Alexandra Palace.

For more, see http://www.londonmodelengineering.co.uk/

^Picture © Matt Sephton used under a Creative Commons license^

15 January 2015

Tour the Guildhall

The Guilhall has been the town hall of the City of London since the twelfth century, and yet the fact that it remains an administrative centre means it can be difficult to get inside and learn about its histoy. However, regular tours are offered by the City of London Guides, and one kicks off today at 10.45am.

The tour also takes place on the same day as the City of London's Common Council meeting at 1pm, in order for interested visitors to observe democracy in action at the heart of the Square Mile.

For more, see http://www.cityoflondonguides.com/tours/guildhall

14 January 2015

Learn the philosophy of erotic love at the Freud Museum

Over at the Freud Museum - the former home of father of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud - they host regular evening events and classes focused on subjects related to the work of the great man. Tonight, a six week course kicks off, exploring the philosophy of erotic love with co-founder of the London School of Philosophy Jane O’Grady.

Based around the Western tradition of erotic love, we are told that the course examines the work of key philosophers from Plato to the present, and toucheson anthropology, literature and neuroscience, all for a very reasonable total price of £85.

For more, see http://www.freud.org.uk/events/75675/the-philosophy-of-erotic-love-/