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

A website about things to do in London

31 August 2009

Visit the Climate Camp

If you can't be bothered with all that Carnival faf today, there's still time to pop along and see what all the fuss is about at the Climate Camp down in Blackheath.


The Londonist says it's interesting and notes that mainstream media says it's full of middle class hippies called Ottilie, and the Blackheath Bugle is just loving it, whilst Boris isn't saying anything at all.

Your author won't attempt comment as he hasn't actually been, having been hanging around in a community centre in North Kensington all weekend, but who knows, it could be interesting.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of RachelH_^

30 August 2009

Remember the Kindertransport

Never mind what the Daily Mail says, one of the good things about Great Britain is that we have a history of taking in refugees who are in danger in their own country.


One example of this is demonstrated outside Liverpool Street Station, sandwiched rather sadly between a McDonalds and a bus station, where there is a memorial to the 10,000 mostly Jewish children who arrived in Britain in the late 1930s in the Kindertransport.

Following the Kristallnacht anti-Jewish pogrom in late 1938, British Jewish leaders appealed to Neville Chamberlain on a range of issues, and these included a request that Jewish children and teenagers would be admitted temporarily, and later re-emigrate. The request was underwritten by a hefty £50 guarantee paid by the Jewish community for each refugee child.

Whilst, in Germany, Jews were banned from using trains, they were assisted by German Quakers who organised the transport and often rode with children to ensure they boarded the correct ferries. Many children arrived into Liverpool Street because it was the station that served the East Coast ports, and hence Flor Kent's Kindertransport Memorial was placed here in 2003.

For more on the Kindertransport, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kindertransport.

^Picture by <<graham>>

29 August 2009

Notting Hill Carnival

It doesn't start until tomorrow, but on Sunday and Monday the second largest street party in the world comes to London. Begun in 1964, the carnival generally attracts up to a million people to party in the streets.


Your author hears countless complaints about the crowds at Notting Hill, but believes this is generally because people are spending all their time in the most crowded spots. One good way to enjoy the carnival on either day is to come from the North on foot or via Westbourne Grove Tube and to stick near the sound-systems, for example on All Saints Road, or by Norman Jay's Good Times Bus up somewhere near Southern Row (though your author understands that entry to Good Times may be only from Ladbroke Grove this year), as elsewhere it gets a bit busy.

The Southern Row end is especially good as most of the parades come along Kensal Road before dropping into the main parade route along Great Western Road, Chepstow Road, Westbourne Grove and Ladbroke Grove, and you can use Trellick Tower and the railway to stop you getting lost.

Anyway, your author will see largely none of it as he will be ensconced in a community centre nearby with the Paraiso School of Samba, ahead of the performance on Monday, which will hopefully be pleasant enough.

Sunday is kids day, though this only applies to the parades and the sound systems are the same, and Monday is the main day, then on Tuesday your author has to go back to work.

For more, the official website is http://www.nottinghillcarnival.biz/, or there's a decent guide in this week's Time Out.

Picture by Bryce Edwards^

28 August 2009

Have a picnic in Hyde Park

Like it or not, the autumn is fast approaching and as the BBC predicted last night (though you can never be sure) that we have been blessed with a few days of forecast sunshine now is the time to get picnicing if you don't want to have to wait until 2010.


Hyde Park is one of our largest green spaces and is blessed with many elements which make it often feel positively rural, whilst being only a stone's throw from the city centre. It's also not that far from Fortnum and Mason if you fancy something up market.

For all the details, visit http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde_park/

^Picture by slushpup^

27 August 2009

See Kensington Palace

One of the lesser known, and slightly cheaper to visit, of the royal palaces, Kensington Palace is set at the Westerly end of Kensington Gardens.


Your author slipped into a Diana trap earlier in the week, and it seems he has returned today as more recently, the palace has been where they have put princesses before they die. It was home to Princess Diana up until her death in 1997, Princess Margaret until she died in 2002, and Princess Alice until she passed away in 2004.

As with many of these palaces, it's only the State Rooms that are open to the public and there's a cost of £12.50 attached. Whilst this gets you in to see a ‘Last debutantes' and a 'Diana, fashion and style’ exhibition, this will surely be full of the kind of upper class fawning which your author finds to be a bit of a turn-off.

Still, never mind. It's an interesting building, having been built in the 17th-century and taken over by an asthmatic William III shortly afterwards as the King wanted a house away from the smoky air of the capital. Many other royals have lived here since and it was in a bedroom at Kensington Palace on 20th June 1837 that an 18 year old Princess Victoria awoke to the news that she was Queen.

Kensington Palace is open daily 10am until 6pm. For more information, visit http://www.hrp.org.uk/KensingtonPalace/

^Picture by wolfsavard^

26 August 2009

Tour the London Transport Museum Acton Depot

The London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot is only open roughly twice a year, and is a real treasure trove of london transport odds and ends.


The depot opened in 1999, and houses any of the museum's extensive collections which cannot be displayed at the main museum in Covent Garden, covering 6,000 square metres and 370,000 items. Everything London transport related is here, including posters, signs, models, photographs, engineering drawings and uniforms, as well as rolling stock including buses, trams, trolleybuses, and other vehicles.

And, even better, it's open for guided tours this Friday and Saturday (28th and 29th August). Tours take place at 11.00 and 14.00 and cost £10. Failing that, the next open weekend is on 10th and 11th October.

For more information on this weekend click here, or click here for information about the open day in October.

^Picture by James Cridland^

25 August 2009

Have a good feed at Masters Super Fish

Masters Super Fish, at 191 Waterloo Road, SE1 is an excellent fish and chip restaurant serving fish fresh daily from Billingsgate Fish Market, and fried in ample portions.


Whether or not the twee interior and aged paintwork is deliberate is anyone's guess, but it can be hard to find a decent, reasonably priced chippie in London, and many poor ones exist, especially around Waterloo. Someone once told your author that you can tell a good chippie by how many taxi drivers and old age pensioners are present and at the last visit the count was good.

Sure, it's not super-cheap, but will probably set you back no more than a tenner and you wont need to eat for the rest of the day.

For more information, the Time Out review is at http://www.timeout.com/london/restaurants/reviews/9384.html.

^Picture by Kai Hendry^

24 August 2009

Tour Spencer House

Built for an ancestor of Princess Diana in the 1700s, Spencer House was returned to its original style by one of the Rothschilds in the 1980s.


Sure, for most of us that sounds pointless and like there's no reason for visiting, but you never know who's reading. Maybe someone who loves Princess Diana loads and loads...

The house is open every Sunday, except during January and August, from 10.30am - 5.45 pm by guided tour and tickets cost £9. Your author promises to try to find something better to do tomorrow, as this sounds a bit dull!

^Picture from wikipedia^

23 August 2009

Browse the Sunday Up Market

The Sunday UpMarket, established in September 2004, is a Sunday market based within the Old Truman Brewery complex on Brick Lane.


The market runs every Sunday from 10am - 5pm and brings together 140 stalls covering jewellery, vintage and modern clothing, arts and crafts and food.

We are told that the food stalls are a particular draw, covering 'Ethiopian hand roasted coffee, Turkish specialties, lovely Moroccan dishes, Spanish Paellas and Empanadas, hand-rolled Sushi, Japanese sweets and savoury pancakes, Lassi, Chai and Indian Street Snacks, Thai food and Caribbean sea bass and fried plantain sandwiches'

For more information, visit http://www.sundayupmarket.co.uk/.

^Picture courtesy of EVERYDAYLIFEMODERN^

22 August 2009

Swim in the Serpentine

An area of the Serpentine, in Hyde Park, was opened to swimmers in 1930, although people have been swimming in the Serpentine for much longer and the Serpentine Swimming Club was founded in 1864. The creation of a purpose built lido area was overseen by the MP George Lansbury, hence it is often referred to as Lansbury's Lido.


Whilst the Swimming Club pride themselves on swimming in ice cold waters all year, and have famously been undertaking the Peter Pan Cup swim at 9am every year on Christmas Day for more than 100 years, the Lido is only open in the summer months and boasts a sunbathing area, a children's playground and changing rooms. With autumn fast approaching now is the time to take advantage.

Whilst information is limited, ***swimming costs £4 for adults and £1 for children and families of 2 adults and up to 4 kids can swim for £9- thanks mandm in comments*** and the lido is open usual daytime hours from roughly 10am to 5pm. Visit the website at http://www.serpentinelido.com/

Picture from Geograph courtesy of Shaun Ferguson under Creative Commons

21 August 2009

Drink in the Founders Arms

Sure it's not the best pub in London, and on some days it's not even really pleasant, but the Founders Arms is worthy of a place here given the arrogance of being such a blatant tourist trap, whilst also managing to be a pleasant enough spot, and serving nice ales with brilliant views. You shouldn't be able to have it all ways.


Your author tends to be a bit fussy about pubs. Generally it should have history, have an original interior and not be too busy. The Founder's Arms basically passes on none of these counts. However, it does seem, at least, to have a little bit of history, as rumour has it it was built on the site of a foundry where the iron work, and possibly the bells, for St Paul's were forged and cast. (Removed as per Dominic's comment below). However, it is saved by its brilliant views to St Paul's and the City, and its outside space by the river, which offers sunshine in summer and blankets and patio heaters in the winter. In the heart of tourist land and an excellent staging post for a wander from Bankside to somewhere more central, its easily earned a place in your author's heart despite its boring appearance, bland interior and patchy food.

For more information, visit the rather basic website at http://www.foundersarms.co.uk


^Picture courtesy of rjw1^

20 August 2009

Discover the First Plinth, the Second and the Third

We know an awful lot about the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square. Gone are the days when it housed thought-provoking art. Now it's just a bunch of attention-seeking members of the public doing something wacky for Sky. And eventually, so rumour has it, it will house a statue of Queen Elizabeth II. But what about the other three plinths in the Square?


Well, the first houses a statue of King George IV on horseback. George, for those like your author who are a little patchy on royal history, was the son of the mad King George III, and was king from 1820 until his death in 1830. He also served as Prince Regent for a further nine years before 1820 during his father's madness.

The second plinth carries a statue of Sir Henry Havelock, a 19th Century General who served in India and the Afghan War, and died of dysentery in India in 1857, a few days after the end of the siege of Lucknow, where he had been trapped with his troops for over a month.

The other plinth commemorates Sir Charles Napier another 19th century British imperial general and former Commander-in-Chief in India, and a descendant of King Charles II.

In 2000, Ken Livingstone caused controversy by suggesting that the statues of Sir Henry Havelock and General Charles Napier could be replaced by "more relevant" figures, stating "I imagine that not one person in 10,000 going through Trafalgar Square knows any details about the lives of those two generals". For now, however, they remain as a testament to the imperial age and the longevity of statues.

For a more thorough look at the Square, try Londondrum or Wikipedia.

^Havelock Statue picture from Flickr courtesy of Soham Pablo^

19 August 2009

Take a Barbican Architecture Tour

Good news! The Barbican has started doing architecture tours on Wednesdays, Saturdays and Sundays as part of their 'explore barbican' series.


As the literature notes, the Barbican has long been a source of controversy but your author, for one, is a fan. On a recent day off he took another of his regular wanders around the estate, gazing into the tropical conservatory which sits atop the arts centre, visiting a deserted St Giles Cripplegate, the ancient church in the heart of the concrete jungle, and popping into the shop at the Museum of London to browse the books.

The centre is a maze, but it has a great deal to offer if you take the time to examine it. An hour and a half with a guide certainly sounds like a perfect way to truly get to know this brutalist masterpiece. If any generous soul at the Barbican is reading your author is busy for the next couple of weekends but could probably squeeze something in in September.

Architecture Tours cost £8 and run until December. For more information, and to book online visit http://www.barbican.org.uk/education/event-detail.asp?ID=9526

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Simiant^

18 August 2009

Visit Samuel Johnson's House

The man whose quote inspired this website, the author of the dictionary, the great poet, essayist, moralist, novelist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer, Dr Samuel Johnson is 300 years old this year, so it's the perfect moment to learn a little more about him. The best place to begin the journey is the building at 17 Gough Square, off Fleet Street, which he made his home.


In the house you can learn a lot about the life of the great wig-wearing manic depressive who lived there, and all those who he allowed to share it. The garret where he formulated his dictionary is still furnished in a similar style to how it would have been in his lifetime, and a copy of his will still hangs on the wall.

The house was acquired by an MP in 1911, thoroughly restored, and opened to the public in 1912. During the Second World War the house was damaged by incendiary bombs on three occasions. The House was saved by the Auxiliary Fire Service, who had been allowed to use it as a rest centre and arts club by the serving curator, who should be congratulated on her foresight as well as her generosity.

Your author does not want to spoil the experience by recounting all the stories of Johnson's residence here, but would encourage readers to visit. £4.50 well spent.

The house is open Monday to Saturday, 11am - 5.30pm in summer, and 11am - 5pm in winter. It's near the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese pub off Fleet Street. For more information, visit http://www.drjohnsonshouse.org/

17 August 2009

Visit Temple Church

Temple Church is metaphorically dripping with history. Built in the 12th century, and adjusted by Christopher Wren and others, it is partly based on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.


The Knights Templar were the builders of the church, and they were certainly a poweful bunch. So powerful, in medieval times, that the Master of the Temple was entitled to sit in parliament as primus baro (first baron).

Their influence was temporary, though, with Edward II taking control of the church in 1307, and gifting the site to the Knights Hospitaller, who rented the Temple to two colleges of lawyers, who are still basically there today.

The church, like so much of London, was affected by the Second World War bombings, and was renovated by the architect Walter Godfrey. The renovation included many Wren originals, which were discovered in storage and used as part of the new church.

It was also in The Da Vinci Code, but your author finds this to be tedious. For more information opn the chuch in general, visit http://www.templechurch.com

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of SLR Jester^

16 August 2009

See the London Stone

Legend has it that the London Stone, on Cannon Street in the City of London, was part of an altar built by Brutus of Troy, the legendary founder of London, and its safety is intrinsically linked to that of the City of London itself.


Its so old that no one really knows if this is true, but the legend continues that the Stone was the place from where the Romans measured all distances in Britain.

Nowadays, it is housed in a box behind an iron grille on Cannon Street, which is apparently a Grade II* listed structure.

For more information, have a look on Wikipedia at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_Stone.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Joe Mac1^

15 August 2009

Visit the Crossness Pumping Station

Crossness Pumping Station was a sewage pumping station opened in 1865 as part of the redevelopment of the London sewers. It is located beside the Thames at Crossness, in South East London.


The Station was designed by engineer Sir Joseph Bazalgette and architect Charles Henry Driver following Parliament's decision to charge the Metropolitan Board of Works to improve sewerage 1858, after several cholera outbreaks killed up to 20,000 people annually.

What is so interesting about Crossness is the grand scale and detail of the design. Inside, the cast iron work is very ornate and the building's Romanesque style evokes something much grander than a sewage works. This is why, in 1985, a trust undertook to restore the Engine House and the engines to their 1899 condition.

Having done a great deal of work, the ambitious Crossness Engines Trust is now aiming to achieve Registered Museum status and ensure that Crossness remains a key part of the tourism and heritage landscape of South East London.

Tours are available by appointment only. For more information, visit the odd half page website at http://www.crossness.org.uk/.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of stevecadman^

14 August 2009

Take a wander in Leadenhall Market

One of the problems with the City is that, whilst a lot of it is made up of very attractive architecture, the City is pretty dull and one often wonders whether much of it is worth the effort. It's either full of bankers or it's the weekend and you feel like you're the only on who has survived the apocalypse.


Leadenhall Market is worth the journey though. Designed in 1881 by Sir Horace Jones, the architect of Billingsgate and Smithfield Markets, the Market apparently takes its name from a lead-roofed mansion that stood on or near the site in the 14th century.

Nowadays it is home to a range of shops, bars and cafes and also hosts daily market stalls from Monday to Friday selling food, gifts and other overpriced tat. There are also frequent free events in the market, and it is home to the Lamb Tavern which itself host a range of events, including free comedy nights.

For more information, visit http://www.leadenhallmarket.co.uk

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of kcdsTM^

13 August 2009

Stop by the Wenlock Arms

Time for another pub, and this one is a favourite of ale drinkers on the Islington/Hoxton borders. The Wenlock Arms has frequently been voted as a Campaign for Real Ale pub of the year.


The Wenlock Arms opened in 1836, and has survived intact since then, being thankfully passed over by the Second World War bombings which blighted the area. For a central London pub, it's maintains a pleasingly local, community feel, with a range of good real ales, a quiz, a cricket team and a football team. There's also jazz on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

For more information, visit the website at http://www.wenlock-arms.co.uk/

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Andyrob^

12 August 2009

Drink on the roof of a Peckham car park

It was only a matter of time before some trendy art school skanks decided that South London car parks were 'cool' and Franks is a prime example of where that concept inevitably leads: a tent and some portaloos on the roof of a multi-storey in Peckham Rye selling campari and lemonade and bottles of beer out of a dustbin.


Nevertheless, it's actually fairly pleasant. Not often in London do you get a bar which is almost entirely in the open air and has such fantastic views back towards the City, Docklands and the West End. The food isn't too bad either.

Time Out tells us that Frank's will be there until 30th September, so you have a while yet to visit, but pick your night well. There isn't much cover.

To access Frank's, take the Heaven and Hell lifts to the right of the Peckham Multiplex to the top floor and keep going up through the car park until you reach the top. There is also 'art' of questionable quality. For a menu, visit http://www.frankscafe.org.uk/.

^Picture of the view from Franks on a good night by the author^

11 August 2009

Eat in absolute darkness

Your author was convinced he had written about this before, but clearly not. Appropriately so, perhaps, as last night he visited the Dans Le Noir restaurant in Clerkenwell for the first time.


The concept is simple. It's a restaurant where you dine in absolute darkness. Your author visited with some friends from the School of Life Play Course, which he took earlier in the year, and rumours were rife amongst the group about the poor quality of the food on offer. It possibly wasn't quite worth the price tag on its own (the £7 glass of wine certainly wasn't), but, there was no denying that the experience was unique, and the sensory deprivation was rather challenging.

At the restaurant, staffed by blind French waiters who lead diners to their table by touch, no light of any kind is allowed in the dining room and you have to leave all possessions, including telephones and cameras, in a locker before entering.

It's a concept which originated in Paris, and has spread to restaurants in a few places around the world. Last night it was a very interesting and pleasant experience, especially when you have tired eyes like your author did. For more information, visit http://www.danslenoir.com/london/

10 August 2009

Go blackberry picking on Wormwood Scrubs

Your author has it on good authority from his West London contacts that Wormwood Scrubs is currently the hot place to seek blackberries.


Probably most famous for the nearby Category B men's prison, which has hosted the likes of Keith Richards and Pete Doherty and was the setting for parts of The Italian Job, Wormwood Scrubs is a 200 acre green space on the border between Hammersmith and Fulham Borough and Kensington. It is the biggest open space in H&F and one of the largest commons in London.

Whilst the Scrubs are also home to ponies, your author understands that as summer comes to a crescendo, families are descending with passion seeking out the best berries, so get down early if you want enough to make even a tiny pot of jam.

For more information, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wormwood_Scrubs

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Jason Langlois^

9 August 2009

Watch a band at the Shepherds Bush Empire

The Shepherds Bush Empire, on Shepherds Bush Green, was built like many of London's major music venues as a music hall. It was competed in 1903 and served as a music hall until it became the BBC Television Theatre in 1953. Only as recently as the early nineties did the BBC leave, and consequently it reached the most recent phase of its evolution, opening as a music venue.


So, the venue where you can now watch the greats of popular music was once used to film The Generation Game, The Basil Brush Show, Juke Box Jury, This is Your Life, Jim'll Fix It and Wogan. Rock and Roll!

The Empire has a capacity of 2,000 and since its reincarnation it has played host to more bands than it would be possible to mention, including Blur, Kylie Minogue, The Buzzcocks, Radiohead, David Bowie, Elton John, Smashing Pumpkins and The Rolling Stones.

To find out who is on next, visit http://www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk/.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Mark Hilary^

8 August 2009

Visit Brown Hart Gardens

Brown Hart Gardens in Mayfair, is a paved Italian 'garden' on top of an electricity substation which reopened to the public in 2007. It is officially a private terrace but is open to the general public and is used by many to escape the office at lunchtimes, considering its proximity to both Oxford Street and Bond Street.


The Square, like much of London's prime real estate is the sole possession of the Duke of Westminster under the Grosvenor Estate banner and he occasionally grants us serfs such events as free classical music concerts, open air theatre and the free children's fun day.

In the nineteenth century the surrounding houses were pulled down to make way for Chesham and Balderton Buildings, as part of the Third Duke's plan to provide 'improved working-class dwellings'. As a result of this process a communal garden was placed down the centre for the residents.

However, when the electricity substation was built in 1902 the original garden had to be removed so, as compensation to the users of the garden, the paved area we see today was placed on the roof. This remained open until the 1980s when it was closed by the London Electricity Group. It reopened, however, in 2007 and remains open today.

For more information, visit http://www.brownhartgardens.co.uk

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of LondonM@^

7 August 2009

Meet the Masons

The Freemasons are a mysterious bunch, and not really into their outreach programmes, but that's why the Library and Museum of Freemasonry in Covent Garden is so unusual.


The Museum is free and is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 5pm. It houses a collection of Masonic objects including "pottery and porcelain, glassware, silver, furniture and clocks, jewels and regalia", as well as items belonging to famous and freemasons like Winston Churchill and Edward VII.

The museum is in Freemasons' Hall, at 60 Great Queen Street in Covent Garden. For more information visit http://www.freemasonry.london.museum/contact-us.php.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of damo1977^

6 August 2009

Drink with beardy old men

The Great British Beer Festival, organised by the Campaign for Real Ale, has been running since the late 1970s, offering beardy real ale fans their dream combination of around 450 different beers alongside pub games, live music, pies, pasties and all kinds of pub snacks.


It's not just for sandal-wearing middle aged men with an interest in steam trains, however, and when your author popped by for a couple of hours yesterday the clientèle was a rich and varied tapestry of beer fans, some of whom were even female. However, it should be said that the weather was much better outside than in the dull shed-like Earls Court Exhibition Centre, and this is probably not the place for teetotallers.

Even so, it is a fairly entertaining destination for beer-drinkers in poor weather, and there are certainly a lot of beers on offer (though more should be from Gloucestershire). Entry is £10 on the door and tomorrow is wackily themed as 'hat day'.

The Great British Beer Festival runs until Saturday at Earls Court Exhibition Centre. For more information visit the website at http://gbbf.camra.org.uk

5 August 2009

Tea and cake at the Waterside Cafe, Little Venice

The Waterside Cafe in Little Venice is a pleasant little cafe half on the tow path and half inside a boat on the canal.


The Cafe has a range of cakes and teas on offer, alongside other drinks and snacks. It's actually no more than five minutes' walk from Paddington, so is perfect for if you're trapped there for an hour waiting for a train and need to escape.

The cafe is open daily from 9am – 5pm and you can also catch the waterbus and Jason's Trip from nearby up to Camden if you're looking to spend more time afloat.

4 August 2009

See Camden's answer to the Fourth Plinth

Whilst Murdoch and Gormley pump out rejection notes to people who love London and would have liked to have had a go on the plinth (not bitter), over in Camden local residents have put together an altogether more sedate and pleasant alternative at 22 Chalk Farm Road, NW1.


Locals Russell Loughlan, Charlotte Haigh and Stephen Emms have put a bench in C22, a disused shop on Chalk Farm Road, this week to run as an installation called Tales From A Park Bench. Inspired by Bench Marks, Time Out's exploration of London's benches and their inscriptions, and the bench is open to everyone, every evening to perform however they want, free from the limitations of time limits, selection processes or emails from Gormley.

Tales From A Park Bench began yesterday and runs until 9th August from 1pm until 8pm Daily. If you want to take part, find them on Twitter at twitter.com/talesfromapark, email them on talesfromaparkbench at googlemail.com or just pop along.

For more, visit http://talesfromaparkbench.wordpress.com/

^Picture of the first 'bencher', two month old Archie, courtesy of the organisers^

3 August 2009

Watch a play at the Globe Theatre

Shakespeare's original Globe Theatre was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company and destroyed by a fire about 15 years later. A new Globe was built on the same site within a year of the fire, and was closed in the early 1640s.


In 1997, a new Globe Theatre opened on the Southbank, designed to very similar specifications to the original and showing Shakespeare's plays to new audiences only a short distance from the site of the original.

There are a number of plays on offer in summer 2009 including Romeo & Juliet, As You Like It and Troilus & Cressida. Standing tickets are available in the yard from £5, but you will really be happier sitting down (from £15), especially for longer plays. For more information, and to book tickets, visit http://www.shakespeares-globe.org.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of jig o'dance^

2 August 2009

The Kings Cross Lighthouse

Another day, another widely-known piece of London trivia. God, your author is tedious, huh? Well, today we're looking at the Kings Cross Lighthouse, or The Oysterhouse Lighthouse, as it is sometimes known, as some believed the lighthouse had a connection to Netten's Oyster Bar, nearby.


No one is quite sure why the building was erected, or why there is a lighthouse on top, but it is Grade II listed so it is probably in some way worthy of our attention. No one seems to know what its for, but maybe it'll emerge as something new soon.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of mira66

1 August 2009

See the "world's smallest police station"

Your author tends to try to avoid London tourist knowledge clichés, but it is the weekend, so let's talk about one of the best. On the South East corner of Trafalgar Square is a small former police post which is famous for being the World's smallest police station.


This may or may not be accurate, but it's an interesting point nonetheless. The small police post was added during great depression of the 1930s, was linked directly to Scotland Yard and some claim that its slots are designed so that whoever was posted there would be able to fire on any rioters. Trafalgar Square has always been a centre for protest and confruntation. It is, after all, the centre of London.

Nowadays the station is, we learn, probably some sort of cleaner's cupboard, which seems very sad for such a well known feature of the central square of Britain's capital city. Mind you, the alternative is probably to place a person in there every hour until the queen dies and then erect a statue of her there.

Click here to see the location on a map.

^Picture from Flickr courtesy of Phil Parker^