Tired of London, Tired of Life - A website about things to do in London



For more regular updates, visit Tom's Britain, a new website about things to do in Britain.


30 April 2010

Watch the world's longest running show

In its 58th year, and having seen over 23,000 performances, Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap has been at the St Martin's Theatre for the last 34 years, which means it has been in the same theatre fore more than half of its record breaking run.

The show has had 382 actors and actresses appearing, 116 miles of shirts have been ironed and over 415 tons of ice cream sold. In November 2002 the show marked its 50th anniversary with a Royal Gala Performance for the Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh.

It first entered the record books in April 1958 when it became the longest running show of any kind in British Theatre. And the show itself isn't the only record breaker. Some cast members are in the Guinness Book of Records, with David Raven having earned the title of 'Most Durable Actor' for his 4575 performances as Major Metcalf, and the late Nancy Seabrooke also earning a place for her 15 years as an understudy.

For more, see https://www.the-mousetrap.co.uk/

29 April 2010

Drink at the Approach Tavern

The Approach Tavern, at 47 Approach Road, Bethnal Green, is a pub that your author passes most evenings on his bike ride home. It was a good spot for a drink last night and the pub turns out to be a drinking hole for journalists from the East London Advertiser, Tower Hamlets' local newspaper.

It is a great little pub with ales from Fullers and a range of food and even an art gallery upstairs. Whilst the pub is open normal pub hours, the art gallery is limited to Wednesday to Sunday from 12 noon until 6pm.

Just around the corner from the London Chest Hospital, it's a good spot on a beautiful little street, and though there are many fantastic pubs in this area, you could do a lot worse. It's nice and big so you certainly won't struggle for a seat.

For more, see http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub343.php

28 April 2010

Ride the East London Line

Good news all! London has a new railway line at last. The first train on the £1 billion East London Line ran yesterday at 12:06 from Dalston Junction to New Cross Gate according to Londonist.

TFL tells us that the line will run from Dalston Junction to New Cross and New Cross Gate from yesterday with a limited preview service Monday - Fridays from 7am until 8pm every seven to eight minutes.

The full line will open on 23rd May, with trains every 15 minutes on each of the three branches, meaning trains every five minutes between Dalston Junction and Surrey Quays and trains every seven to eight minutes between Surrey Quays and Sydenham. In May 2011, trains will become even more frequent.

It's good news, as your author has missed the line since it closed in 2007, even though it was always a bit scruffy and was only really good for getting to pubs in Wapping. For more, see here, here here or here

27 April 2010

See the Stomp musical

Your author cashed in a recent raffle win to see Stomp at the Ambassador's Theatre last night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Already in its 8th season in London, the Stomp Musical grew out of Brighton's STOMP, a combination of percussion, movement and visual comedy, which was created in Brighton in the summer of 1991.

Following a ten year collaboration between creators Steve McNicholas and Luke Cresswell, they produced, financed and directed the original STOMP themselves, beginning at London’s Bloomsbury Theatre and at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, as part of the Edinburgh Fringe. The show has since won many awards, and combines percussion, dance and some visual comedy using everything from cigarette lighters, to newspapers, dustbins and barrels in a great show.

Readers of your author's age group will probably remember it from many episodes of Blue Peter, but don't let that put you off, as it's very good. Your author understands from an insider that you're best to avoid the matinees, however, as hangovers can sometimes affect performance. Considering how hard the cast work it is completely understandable.

For more, see http://www.stomplondon.com/

^Picture by scragz^

26 April 2010

Visit All Hallows by the Tower

Your author was outside All Hallows by the Tower, the oldest church in the City of London, yesterday supporting runners in the marathon, and is always captivated by this pretty little church.

Founded in 675 AD by the Abbey of Barking, only one arch remains from the original Saxon church, but beneath it a Roman pavement, discovered in 1926, shows just how long this site has been in use. The church is a rarity in that it survived both the Great Fire of London, which Samuel Peyps reported on from the church tower, and the Second World War, though a 1940 bomb gutted most of the church and only the tower and the walls remained.

The church has also seen its fair share of gruesome ritual as it was here that many beheaded bodies were brought following their execution on Tower Hill, with many of the heads being displayed on Traitors Gate. Some of those who visited after death include Thomas More, Bishop John Fisher and Archbishop Laud.

For on all aspects of the church, see http://www.ahbtt.org.uk/

25 April 2010

Find the spot where Dick Whittington turned back

In the tale of Dick Whittington, based on the tale of Sir Richard Whittington, medieval merchant and politician, Gloucestershire's own Dick sets out from his home in the Forest of Dean to make his fortune in London, accompanied by his cat.

When he gets to London, having been told the streets are paved with gold, he struggles and is tempted to return home. But on his way back out of London, whilst climbing Highgate Hill, he hears Bow Bells, apparently ringing with a rhyme which goes

Turn again, Whittington,
Once Lord Mayor of London!
Turn again, Whittington,
Twice Lord Mayor of London!
Turn again, Whittington,
Thrice Lord Mayor of London!

He believes the bells are talking to him and turns around. Now, outside the hospital which bears his name is a statue of his cat turning, to commemorate this change of heart.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Whittington

^Picture by << graham >>^

24 April 2010

Dangle your feet in the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain

Your author usually reacts strongly against anything with Princess Diana branding, which is probably why last Sunday was the first time he'd been to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Designed by Kathryn Gustafson, the American landscape artist, and opened in 2004 at a cost £3.6 million, it is made up of 545 individual pieces of Cornish granite cut by S. McConnell & Sons in Kilkeel, Northern Ireland, and takes the form of babbling brooks flowing in a oval across steps, rills and curves, and collecting in a tranquil pool at the bottom beside the Serpentine.

The fat security guard who is constantly on hand to disrupt the peace by telling everyone and anyone that you're only allowed to put your feet in, and it is forbidden to walk in the fountain, is a particular downer and the whole thing begs the question why we can't just build nice things anyway and we have to wait for a Princess to die, but it is pleasant nonetheless.

For more, see http://www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/hyde_park/diana_memorial.cfm

23 April 2010

Attend the revived St George's Day Pageant in the City of London

Today is St George's Day, and to celebrate the City of London is reviving a tradition not seen in our city since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, with St George himself parading through the streets of the Square Mile for the first time since 1585.

St George will be mounted on horseback, escorted by the Band of The Parachute Regiment, the Regimental Colour party, Pegasus the Regimental Mascot and soldiers and armoured combat vehicles.

The event has been recreated to support The Parachute Regiment and raise funds for The Parachute Regiment Charity and the Gauntlet Trust. Marchers group together at the Honourable Artillery Company just after 11am, then form up in Coleman St shortly afterwards, passing through Paternoster Square and past St Paul's before returning to Coleman Street for finish at around 12.30pm.

For more, see http://www.stgeorgespageant.org/

^Picture from Wikipedia under Wikimedia Commons ^

22 April 2010

See the deer in Victoria Park

Believe it or not, alongside the canals, ponds, cafes, tennis courts and sports grounds, there are actually deer in Victoria Park, for the moment at least. For now, they live in a little pen near the model boating lake in East London's best park, in a little pen where you can peer in on them.

Sure, they're not the happiest looking deer. They look slightly annoyed and they're certainly not much like those head-held-high herds of snooty Richmond Park deer. They're more like the ones who live beside Alexandra Palace. Rather pissed off looking. They're still nice though.

Probably for the best, however, that the new Victoria Park 'Masterplan' has decided that the existing small herd of three female deer will probably be relocated to a larger herd away from Victoria Park, and the deer shelter demolished to return the site to an informal meadow. Still sad, though. Your author likes the deer.

For more on the 'Masterplan', see http://www.towerhamlets.gov.uk/lgsl/451-500/461_parks/victoria_park/victoria_park_project.aspx#masterplan

21 April 2010

Drink in the Grapes

Originally a dockers pub, in the days when your author's grandfather often pitched up in the area with the Merchant Navy, the Grapes, in Narrow Street, Limehouse, was probably built as early as 1720 and is still well regarded amongst pub fans.

In recent years the regeneration of the surrounding area has opened the pub up to an altogether different crowd, but this is proof, if it were needed, that Docklands does have some decent pubs.

The pub previously sold beer from the neighbouring Taylor and Walker Brewery, and survived the extensive bombing of the docklands, and nearby Limehouse Basin in the Second World War.

For more, and a proper review, see http://www.fancyapint.com/pubs/pub184.php

20 April 2010

Go climbing at Mile End Climbing Wall

Situated in an old pipe engineering works in Mile End Park, Mile End Climbing Wall was established in the 1980s and now offers 16,000 sq. ft of climbing surface, which is presumably a lot.

The climbing wall is open daily, and until 9.30pm, Monday-Thursday and offers a range of different climbing experiences, from a £12 taster 'first climb' session to annual unlimited membership for £300.

The climbing centre also offers extensive "bouldering" at all levels, alongside top-roped and lead climbing and more advanced training areas, in the form of "The Board Room", and famous "Monkey House", though no real monkeys were available at time of going to press.

For more information, see http://www.mileendwall.org.uk/

19 April 2010

Make a wish with the Isis Sculpture

Unveiled in September 2009, the Isis Sculpture in Hyde Park is part of a fundraising effort towards a £1.8m children’s education centre, called The Look Out. The sculpture was designed by artist Simon Gudgeon, and shows Isis, the Egyptian goddess of motherhood, who sometimes appeared as a bird. It was the first new sculpture of its type in the park for around 50 years.

The Sculpture weighs 633kg, is made of bronze, and sits beside the Princess Diana memorial fountain. Donations are invited to make a wish at the base and the Royal Parks are also selling plaques in a formation around the base of the sculpture to raise cash to replace older educational facilities on site. The current classrooms attract around 1,000 people a year, but are in need of an upgrade.

For more on the Look Out, see http://www.royalparksfoundation.org/support/foundation/foundation_lookout.cfm

18 April 2010

Enjoy the rides at Carter's Steam Fair

A reader has been in touch to recommend everyone heads along to the Carters Steam Fair in Ravenscourt Park today.

Carters Steam Fair travels around London and the South East for seven months of the year, and is the result of John Carter's work collecting old of fair equipment which had become unfashionable or derelict. The funfair has been collected over thirty years, and though John Carter sadly died ten years ago, it continues to tour London and the South East for seven months of the year, transported in historic vehicles from site to site.

The highlight this year's funfair is James Messham's Wall Of Death, which the reader who contacted your author particularly recommended, so head along to Ravenscourt Park today if you want to enjoy the rides, or watch out for the fair over the summer at various festivals and events. If you really enjoy it the Wall Of Death is even adverstising for staff.

For more information, see http://www.carterssteamfair.co.uk/

^Picture and suggestion by Louise Ireland^

17 April 2010

Walk through Woolwich Foot Tunnel

It's been scheduled for weekday closure for 'improvement works' from 6.30am to 8pm starting on Monday, so if you've ever fancied a wander through Woolwich Foot Tunnel, you should probably seize your moment this weekend.

The construction of the 504m tunnel was designed to help those living in South London who worked in the docks and the tunnel owes much to the efforts of working-class politician Will Crooks who had worked in the docks and chaired the London County Council's Bridges Committee, who were responsible for the tunnel. Crooks would later serve as MP for Woolwich.

The tunnel was designed by Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice and built by Walter Scott & Middleton and opened on Saturday 26th October 1912. Now made partly redundant by the Woolwich Free Ferry and the new DLR extension, it is still the only way to cross the river here for free at night time, and that is possibly why installation of new CCTV and communication facilities, as well as reduction in leakage and new lifts, are so important. Improvements are scheduled to be completed by March 2011.

For more, see http://www.greenwich.gov.uk/Greenwich/Travel/foot-tunnels.htm

^Picture by Jon's pics^

16 April 2010

Watch a show at Fairfield Halls

Built in 1962, Fairfield Halls in Croydon are an arts centre, concert hall and art gallery frequently used for BBC recordings.

Over the years the Fairfield Halls have played host to many bands, including The Beatles, The Who, Morrissey, Status Quo, Shakin' Stevens, Coolio, Bucks Fizz, McFly, so as we can see, not all good...

Fairfield Halls is planning a redevelopment and early this year, architects Keith Williams were appointed by the board to upgrade the buildings. Croydon council has promised investments of up to £1 million for the venue before the end of the year.

For more, and a list of upcoming shows, see http://www.fairfield.co.uk/.

^Picture by Ewan Munro^

15 April 2010

Stay at the Langham Hotel

Built between 1863 and 1865 at a cost of £300,000, the Langham Hotel was once the largest and most modern hotel in London, then boasting thirty six bathrooms and the first hydraulic lifts in England.

It has been through many incarnations since then, having been used in part by the Army during the Second World War, and the BBC in the ensuing period, standing as it does opposite to Broadcasting House. The Hotel also has a rich literary history, having been the venue for an 1889 meeting between Oscar Wilde, Arthur Conan Doyle and Joseph Marshall Stoddart.

The 1980s were also a turbulent period, with the BBC trying to demolish the hotel to build offices, and the Ladbroke Group and Hilton group gaining ownership. Things only really started to settle down when Hong Kong based Langham Hotels International took control and undertook at £80m refurbishment, completed in April 2009. Nowadays, it hosts occasional visits from the likes of The Winehouse, who has apparently been known to stay when her boiler is broken.

The reconfigured Langham now has 380 rooms, centred around the Palm Court which has been serving afternoon tea since 1865. For more on the hotel, see http://london.langhamhotels.co.uk/en/ or for some pictures of the hotel, see here.

14 April 2010

View the Cable Street Mural

Completed in October 1982, the Cable Street Mural recalls the infamous 1936 Battle of Cable Street, which saw a clash between Oswald Mosley's British Union of Fascists, and a range of local and anti-fascist groups, which included local Jewish, socialist, anarchist, Irish and communist organisations. The Fascists were famously blocked from marching through Cable Street in Stepney, then mainly a Jewish area.

The mural is painted on the side of St George's Town Hall, which has been in the past the Town Hall for Stepney and a local Vestry Hall. The mural was intended to mark the famous victory by the people of the East End, but was attacked during its creation in 1980 when fascists daubed it with the words 'British Nationalism not Communism - Rights for Whites. Stop the Race War' in six foot high letters.

Vandalism has, apparently, continued, and £8,000 had to be spent on repairs in 1985, and £18,000 in 1993 following attacks. Thankfully, at the moment it is ok, and you can see it for yourself by visiting the area. For more on the mural and the battle, see http://www.battleofcablestreet.co.uk/

13 April 2010

Eat at the Cinnamon Club

Your author is a very frequent visitor to Westminster, and has always wanted to visit the Cinnamon Club restaurant, housed in the Grade II listed Old Westminster Library, so when the kind people at The Cinnamon Club and LastMinute.com offered him the opportunity to come for a free meal and write a review recently, it couldn't be missed.

The Cinnamon Club prides itself on its Indian haute cuisine, using age old recipes and ideas and combining Indian ingredients with local produce and Indian cooking techniques with European design. Your author still doesn't quite know what that means, and was worried readers might not be able to afford the dizzy heights of the £75 tasting menu, so he kept to choices from the low end of the menu, and house wines.

The Smoked loin of lamb with Chettinadu curry sauce, however, was still very impressive and the friend with whom your author dined described her Crab risotto with truffle cappuccino and pan fried king prawn as 'the best thing [she'd] ever eaten', so we can certainly thank Executive Chef Vivek Singh and his team for their work. The front of house staff and waiter Nicholas also come highly commended for their attentive service.

The restaurant has a reputation amongst journalists, lobbyists, Senior Civil Servants and anyone with an expense account which is hard to dismiss in an area with a real dearth of stand-out restaurants. The former Library is also a great setting and there's even the chance of spotting a journalist or politician at the next table. Indeed, your author had his own eyespyMP moment on his visit when he noticed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland Shaun Woodward eating at the next table.

The Cinnamon Club is markedly above your author's usual price range but if you stick to the lower end of the menu, it seems to be present something a bit special at a realistic(ish) price. It is certainly deserving of a return visit. For more, see http://www.cinnamonclub.com/

12 April 2010

Drink at the Fitzroy Tavern

The Fitzroy Tavern, on Charlotte Street in Fitzrovia, is a Sam Smiths. It takes its name from the Fitzroy family, landed gentry who owned the area by birthright. It was opened in 1883 as the Fitzroy Coffee House, and converted into a pub in 1887, by William Mortimer Brutton. It wasn't until the early years 20th century, that it was purchased by Judah Morris Kleinfeld and given its current name.

It is famous as a centre of literary and artistic London between the 1920s and the 1950s, and was a favourite drinking haunt of the likes of Dylan Thomas, Augustus John and George Orwell.

Nowadays, the pub is still going strong and is a popular after-work drinking spot in the local area. It is also home to the Pear Shaped Comedy Club, which is run downstairs every Wednesday.

For more, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fitzroy_Tavern

11 April 2010

See a film at the Coronet

The Coronet Cinema, at 103 Notting Hill Gate, was opened in 1898 as a theatre. It began showing short films alongside theatrical productions in 1916, and finally became a full time cinema in 1923, being renamed as the Coronet Cinema.

The Coronet escaped 1989 plans to make it into a McDonald's and the building was subsequently granted Grade II listed status. The cinema then became a film star in its own right, featuring in the film Notting Hill, where Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant patronised it.

The cinema even has a resident ghost, a lady cashier who has apparently was caught fiddling the box office receipts. When she was confronted, legend has it she dashed out of his office and threw herself from the balcony.

Tickets are £7, or a great value £3.50 on Tuesdays. For more, see http://www.coronet.org/

10 April 2010

Watch Jazz Live in The Crypt at St Giles

The jazz club in the Crypt of St Giles Church, on Camberwell Church Street, has been running since 1995 and has raised over £180,000 for church restoration as well as giving thousands of Londoners the pleasure of listening to good music at a reasonable cost.

The intimate Crypt has a capacity of 150, and is fully licensed with a great value bar (glass of wine £2, organic ale £3.30). Gigs take place every Friday and occasional Saturdays and tonight's, featuring the musical talents of Ruth Scott, Will Roberts, Aga Serugolugo, Jo Williams, Ashley Valentine and Jon Hargreaves, promises to be a real treat. It starts about 9pm.

For more on tonight's event, see here or for more on Jazz Live see http://www.jazzlive.co.uk/

^Picture by Stephen Richards^

9 April 2010

Visit the Queen's House, Greenwich

The Queen's House, in Greenwich Park, was commissioned by Anne of Denmark, wife of James I. James apparently spent a lot of time at the Tudor Palace of Greenwich and is said to have given her the manor of Greenwich as an apology for swearing at her when she accidentally shot his dog in 1614.

Anne commissioned Inigo Jones in 1616 to design a new pavilion for her at Greenwich, and he accepted, producing the first fully Classical building in England, which we see today. Work paused in April 1618-19 when Anne became ill and died, but it was restarted James's son Charles I, when he gave Greenwich to his queen, Henrietta Maria, in 1629. The Queen's House was subsequently completed in 1635.

For more, see http://www.nmm.ac.uk/about/history/queens-house/

^Picture by victoriapeckham^

8 April 2010

Drink at the Counting House

Yesterday evening, your author had the pleasure of drinking at the Counting House, on Cornhill in the City. This grand pub is a former branch of NatWest bank and is a truly atmospheric place to go for a reasonably priced (for this area of the City) pint of ale.

The pub was built in 1893 as Prescott's Bank and, we are told, the foundations rest partly on the North sleeper wall of a 2,000 year old Roman basilica. Today, the pub is run as a Fuller's Ale & Pie pub, so the ales are brilliant, and the pies are reasonably good.

The mosaic floors, marble walls and domed ceiling make for a great atmosphere, and as it's a bank, and your author was one of a very few people present who weren't wearing a suit, we can add authentic City ambience to the mix. There's a nice island bar and a gallery upstairs, as well as a number of private rooms for parties and conferences of all sizes.

For more, see http://www.fullers.co.uk/rte.asp?id=4&itemid=68&task=View

^Picture by the excellent Ewan Munro^

7 April 2010

Rent the Hoover Building

Today's article was going to be just another "Admire the..." until your author realised that the wonderful Hoover Building, in North West London, appears to still be available for rent. The 31,443 sq ft Art Deco office building on the A40 Western Avenue dual-carriageway, was designed by Wallis, Gilbert and Partners and completed in 1932.

The building was granted Grade II listed status in 1980, and was in use until the late 1980’s. The factory was built to produce Hoover vacuum cleaners but also manufactured electrical equipment for aircraft and tanks during the war. Whilst part of the original factory is now a Tesco, it would appear that the self contained 'Hoover Building' which faces onto the road, and underwent a full refurbishment in 1997, is still available to anyone in need of the space, as long as they have money to burn.

A website which appears to be touting for potential occupants claims the current rent is £480,000 per annum, but it appears running costs and business rates would set you back another few hundred thousand pounds. Your author thinks its probably beyond his means at this time.

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

^Picture by stevecadman^

6 April 2010

Take the London Duck Tour

We've all seen them thundering around central London, and splashing down ramps into the river, but how many of us have ever actually taken the London Duck Tour? Your author must admit he has never got round to it, but he hopes to take one of the tours, which depart from Chicheley Street in Waterloo daily, one day soon.

If you've never heard of them, the tours use 'DUKWS' amphibious vehicles, which were first used during the D-Day landings in Normandy, to conduct tours taking in London landmarks like Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and Trafalgar Square on land, before launching into the River Thames from a slipway in Vauxhall, and conducting a water-borne tour of central London.

Around 21,000 'DUKWS' vehicles were built to take the D-Day troops ashore, designed following a partnership between the General Motors Corporation and the New York yacht designers Sparkman & Stephens. The idea of using them for tourists was pioneered by the Boston Duck Tours, in the USA, and was only fully established in London as late as July 2003.

The vehicles depart from Waterloo roughly every 15 minutes during peak days with 30 passengers, and tours take 75 minutes and cost about £20. For more, see http://www.londonducktours.co.uk/

5 April 2010

Seek refuge at the Green Man, Putney Heath

The Green Man, on Putney Heath, apparently dates back to around 1700, and is built on the site of an old duelling spot. As such, it was apparently often a refuge for the contestants after the battles, though your author struggles to understand how they could have both sought refuge there.

There is also a legend that this was one of the many pubs frequented by highwayman Dick Turpin, and apparently he once stashed his guns in a room upstairs. It also attracted other highwaymen who it is claimed watched their victims taking refreshment in the pub before going after them as soon as they resumed their journey on the heath.

It's a Youngs Pub, which usually means reasonable quality, and there is also an open fire. For more, see http://www.youngs.co.uk/pub-detail.asp?PubID=405

^Picture by Noel Foster^

4 April 2010

See a statue from Easter Island

Your author wanted to do an Easter idea today. So, let's look at the Moai, the monolithic statues carved from the volcanic basalt of Easter Island, Chile. Nobody knows that much about them but they were possibly carved to commemorate important ancestors, at some point between 1000 AD and the second half of the 17th century. Luckily for us, we don't have to travel to one of the world's most isolated inhabited islands to see one. There's one in the British Museum.

The statue was 'acquired' by the crew of the HMS Topaze, under the command of Richard Ashmore Powell, who visited Easter Island in 1868. The Islanders and the crew moved the statue, which had been in a stone house at the ritual centre of Orongo, and is estimated to weigh around four tons. It was taken to the beach and floated out to the HMS Topaze on a raft.

The Moai is named Hoa Hakananai'a, which is its original name, and is thought to mean 'stolen or hidden friend'. There is also another, smaller statue, known as Moai Hava, which is also in the collections of the British Museum. It was originally painted red and white, but the pigment washed off in the sea.

Hoa Hakananai'a is on display in Room 24 of the British Museum, accessible on the opposite side of the Great Court from the main entrance. It is free to visit Room 24. For more, see http://www.britishmuseum.org/explore/highlights/highlight_objects/aoa/h/hoa_hakananaia.aspx

^Picture by Darren Copley^

3 April 2010

Learn about Aldwych ghost station

Aldwych tube station, originally as Strand, is a former Piccadilly Line station on the corner of The Strand and Surrey Street. The Station exterior is still visible at street level, particularly so due to the distinctive Leslie Green design.

The Station was the terminus for a short branch of the Picadilly Line which linked it with Holborn station, but this was finally closed in September 1994. It retains many of its original 1907 features, including tiling and signage, and the quality of the station's well-preserved interior, and the fact that ordinary tube traffic does not pass through the station, has made it very useful for design work and filming. Indeed, wikipedia claims that the tunnels at Aldwych were used in The Prodigy's Firestarter video.

There's plenty of other trivia for you in the article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldwych_tube_station

2 April 2010

Attend the Hot Cross Bun Ceremony at the Widow's Son

Your author is away for the weekend, so has sought out an Easter idea. A particularly interesting tradition seems to be the Hot Cross Bun Ceremony which has taken place for many years on Good Friday at the Widow's Son, E3.

Shady Old Lady tells us that there was originally a cottage on the site where a widow lived, with her only son, a sailor. He was apparently due to return home on Good Friday 1824 and asked his mother to bake him some hot cross buns.

Her son never returned, but every Good Friday the mother continued to bake for him and had a new bun waiting. Each year a new bun was hung from a beam in her cottage, and when she died they were found there. It became known as the Bun House.

In 1848 the cottage was replaced by a pub but the successive landlords have kept the tradition alive. Each year a member of the Royal Navy is invited to place a freshly baked hot cross bun in a net above the bar. Your author understands the traditional hanging of the bun takes place roughly between two and three o'clock this afternoon at the Widow's Son, Devons Rd, E3 3PJ. For more, see here

^Picture by LoopZilla^

1 April 2010

Admire Nehru's restoration

A statue of India's first and longest-serving prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, sits outside India House at Aldwych.

Nehru served as Prime Minister from 1947 until 1964. He is still celebrated as one of the fathers of modern India and his legacy is a strong presence in Indian politics to this day. Indeed, the wife of his grandson, Sonia Gandhi, is still a force in the Indian Congress party, serving as Chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance in the Lok Sabha and the leader of the Congress Parliamentary Party, and his great-grandson Rahul Gandhi is the future of the dynasty.

Last year, the statue was beheaded by vandals and some associated it with Tamil protests, claiming Tamil protesters were upset with India's support to the Sri Lankan government against the LTTE. Your author has no comment on this. The damage took place in April last year and the remains were apparently found wrapped in a white sheet. Today, however, the statue has been fully restored and sits on India Place beside India House.

For more on Nehru, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nehru