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



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31 August 2011

Wander in Harleyford Road Community Gardens

Formally laid out in the late 1980s, on a patch of ground which local residents had adopted to grow vegetables in 1984, the Harleyford Road Community Garden is a pretty little garden just up the road from the Oval.

The garden is, we are told, created and maintained by residents, and divided into several areas including a wildlife area, pond and a playground, as well as mosaic pathways and even a mosaic bench.

For more information, see visit http://londonist.com/2011/07/nature-ist-harleyford-road-and-bonnington-square.php

30 August 2011

Take the Ice Age Tree Trail

Found in Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park, beside the Imperial War Museum, the Ice Age Trees project takes visitors on a walk around 34 species of trees, all of which date from the retreat of the ice after the last ice age.

Designed by Trees for Cities, with support from Southwark Borough Council, it dates from 2003 in its present incarnation, though many of the trees are earlier.

For more on the park, click here

29 August 2011

Go to Notting Hill Carnival

Over in West London today, the main day of one of the world's largest street parties is taking place, with thousands of performers putting on a brilliant show.

Started in 1964, the carnival generally attracts up to a million people to party in the streets, and often draws up to twenty miles of parades, scores of sound systems, thousands of volunteers and up to a million revellers.

For more, see http://www.nottinghill-carnival.co.uk/

^Picture © SPakhrin used under Creative Commons^

28 August 2011

Go to an Alternative Village Fete

Artists, craftmakers and producers gather at the National Theatre today for an alternative village fete organised by Home Live Art.

Alongside the stalls there will, we are told, also be music and games 

for all ages from 1pm until 5pm, and again tomorrow.

For more, see http://now-here-this.timeout.com/2011/08/25/the-alternative-village-fete/

27 August 2011

Stroll along Anchor Iron Wharf

Just outside Maritime Greenwich, and now home to an odd housing development, the views North from Anchor Iron Wharf towards Canary Wharf and the Millennium Dome are fantastic.

A large anchor records how the history of the land which now forms the wharf, from King Edgar, who granted it to the abbey of St Peters, Ghent in 964, to Charles Robinson, who moved to the wharf in 1953, trading scrap iron, lead, metal and glass.

For more, see http://www.thegreenwichphantom.co.uk/2009/02/anchor-iron-wharf/

26 August 2011

Borrow books from Durning Library

Some people complain it is boring when your author features libraries, but they just don't understand. As an example, Durning Library in Kennington is housed in a beautiful building, designed by S Sidney RJ Smith, the architect of the Tate Gallery, and lends books out for free.

Opened in 1889, as one of the first public libraries in Lambeth, the Library is still open today six days a week at its premises on Kennington Lane. It was founded by Jemina Durning Smith, the sister-in-law of Sir Edwin Durning-Lawrence, a Library Commissioner.

One notable feature of the library is a small bookcase in the entrance hall, containing a collection of books donated by Wanda Newby, wife of the late travel writer Eric Newby, who lived locally. It's very interesting.

For more on the library, see http://landmark.lambeth.gov.uk/display_page.asp?section=landmark&id=1311

25 August 2011

Visit the Royal Tank Regiment Memorial

Located on the corner of Whitehall Court and Whitehall Place, in Westminster, the Royal Tank Regiment Memorial was unveiled by the Queen in June 2000. The sculpture was designed by Vivien Mallock, based on a miniature by George Henry Paulin.

It depicts the crew of a Comet tank, used during the Second World War. A plaque explains that each crew consisted of five men - a commander, a loader, a gunner, a driver and a hull machine gun loader.

Your author was introduced to the memorial by John Kennedy, author of the informative London Bollards blog, and is very grateful for this. For more information, see http://www.royaltankregiment.com/en-GB/rtrmemorialstatue.aspx

24 August 2011

Browse at Greenwich Printmakers

The Greenwich Printmakers Gallery is run by the Greenwich Printmakers Association, founded in 1979 and still providing a permanent gallery space in Greenwich Market to display many prints, available for sale in the gallery.

As with all these things, there are some excellent prints available and some a little more questionable in style and taste, but they will all appeal to someone, and it is at least an achievable way to buy some art. Plus it's right beside Greenwich Market which makes it a great place to browse as part of a wander around the wider market.

For more information, and full contact details, see http://www.greenwich-printmakers.org.uk/

23 August 2011

Take the kids paddling in Cock Pond

Apparently named after a pub called the Cock, on the site of what was previously a nice pub called the Frog and Forget-me-not, and is now a generic characterless pub called the Frog, Cock Pond is a children's paddling pool, on the North side of Clapham Common.

Unlike the older ponds on the common, Cock Pond in its present incarnation is a relatively new construction. Mount Pond, one of the other Clapham Common ponds, was famously where that Benjamin Franklin conducted scientific experiments, pouring oil on troubled waters and observing the results.

For more on Clapham Common, and Cock Pond, see http://www.localhistories.org/clapham.html

22 August 2011

Take a Boris Bike on a trip out

Though they may soon be given more freedom, life for the first year or so has been a fairly sad existence for a Boris Bike, riding on short hops in Zone One, choked by Central London smog. Though the hire charges do start to ramp up a bit when you extend your session, it feels humane to liberate our little blue friends for a longer trip.

Over the weekend your author accepted an invitation from Ian, owner of the eternally interesting Ian Visits website, to abandon his yellow bike and take two lucky Boris bikes on the Eurostar to Paris. Eurostar operator does provide a useful bike transfer service on its trains, and our bikes were accompanied by lighter touring bikes being taken for continental cycling holidays.

The bikes seemed to thorougly enjoy their trip out, visiting the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the Notre Dame and the Place de la Concorde on a loop around the city, and even allowing their riders time for a pleasant lunch in a pavement cafe. It was a lovely day out, and though the combination of heavy bikes, French cobbles and the heat meant a couple of stops were needed along the way, it was well worth the effort. One of them even found time for a little romance during the trip.

Your author must thank Ian for using his Eurostar tickets, organising the bike transfer, and for having the idea to liberate the bikes for a day. If you do decide to follow the lead of Ian and other intrepid bike liberators, be sure to keep an eye on the hire charges, to ensure you don't get a shock at bank statement time.

For a full report on the trip, head over to http://ianvisits.co.uk/

21 August 2011

Attend the London Honey Festival

This afternoon from 1pm to 5pm, beekeepers from around the capital are gathering at the Royal Festival Hall, on the South Bank, for a festival of London honey, and you are invited!

It's being billed as an opportunity to meet your local beekeeper, taste honey, and even buy a jar or two of local honey. At a time when beekeeping is undergoing a renaissance, it sounds like a great idea, for everyone except the bees.

For more, see http://www.bbka.org.uk/news_and_events/london_honey_festival

^Picture © Mark Hillary used under Creative Commons^

20 August 2011

Do the Queen's Head treasure hunt

The Queen's Head, in Brook Green, is a decent little pub with a nice beer garden out the back. Today, it is hosting one of its regular treasure hunts, from 11am to 3pm.

The hunt takes place around the local area and costs £10 per person, including morning coffee and lunch. Teams of four to six are suggested.

For more information, see http://adventurequizzes.com/treasurequest/

19 August 2011

Drink at South London Pacific

Your author constantly bores friends talking about how "there is in London, all that life can afford", and this even boils down to questionable theme pubs, like the South Pacific themed bar just around the corner from Oval tube station.

It's quite a fun bar, but one has to ask how and why the owners came up with their plan to 'bring a slice of tiki paradise' to SE11. Whatever the reasoning behind it, it continues to operate, fairly successfully and is certainly worth a visit at some point. Your author enjoyed his last trip there, but thinks it might have been a few years ago now...

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

18 August 2011

Drink at the Plume of Feathers

A fantastic pub on the edge of Greenwich Park, the Plume of Feathers dates back as far as 1691, when kings and queens walked just over the wall in the Royal Park.

Today, it is a great little pub which attracts locals and the more discerning tourist, offering food and good ales served from an attractive central bar, by polite and friendly staff.

It all makes for a lovely atmosphere, with the one caveat that Sunday evening double G&Ts with old friends should be avoided by those looking for a quick walk home, and a productive Monday.

For more, see http://plumeoffeathers-greenwich.co.uk/

^Picture © Sam Kelly used under Creative Commons^

17 August 2011

Eat at Whole Foods

Your author prides himself on his up to date articles, so a mere three years after it opened in High Street Kensington, he finally found time to pop down to American Whole Foods, for a spot of lunch.

The result is a shop downstairs, which sells food and that sort of thing, and a not-too-horrendously priced food court upstairs, which is a cross between Harrods Food Hall and Tebay Services, on the M6. It was fine, and worth popping into if you're in a rush, but it is unlikely to change the world.

For more information, see http://wholefoodsmarket.com/stores/kensington/

16 August 2011

See the Woolwich Arsenal Gatehouse

Over on the 853 blog for the past week or so, Darryl has been highlighting how Woolwich was airbrushed out of riot coverage because it is not home to any fashionable media types. So, in order to once again highlight the existence of Woolwich, let's look at another local icon, the Woolwich Arsenal Gatehouse.

Constructed in 1829 as the main entrance to the Royal Arsenal, the Arch stands on the north side of Beresford Square. In 1996, it was rescued by the Greenwich Enterprise Board, who converted it into office space, a use which continues today.

For more information, see http://www.geb.co.uk/Properties/Gatehouse.aspx

15 August 2011

Relax in Archbishop's Park

Once part of the grounds of Lambeth Palace, the Archbishop of Canterbury's London home, Archbishop's Park was first opened to local people during the tenure of Archbishop Tait, in the second half of the 19th century.

However, it wasn't until 1901 that it formally became a public park, which today is a popular escape for both commuters and local people. Today, the park also has sports pitches and a children's play area.

For more information, see http://www.lambeth.gov.uk/Services/Environment/ParksGreenSpaces/Parks/ArchbishopsPark.htm

14 August 2011

Find the Roman wharf at St Magnus-the-Martyr

As anyone who has watched Tony Robinson's introduction video at the Museum of London Docklands will know, the porch at St Magnus-the-Martyr holds an ancient piece of wood.

Once part of one of the Roman wharves of the City of London, the piece of wood is thought to date from around AD 75, the wood is thought to be part of a beam at the wharf, and was found under Fish Street, just across the road from the church.

For more, click here.

13 August 2011

Visit Greenford Heritage Centre

Housed within the Motorcycle Museum, in the London Borough of Ealing, the Greenford Heritage Centre is staffed by local historians, and covers the local history of the area, and Middlesex as a whole.

The centre is, we are told, housed in the converted milking sheds of the Ravenor Farm, on the site of which the Motorcycle Museum is based.

For more information, see http://www.motorcycle-uk.com/lmm/whatsthere.html

^Picture © P.g.champion used under Creative Commons^

12 August 2011

See Corin Sworn's Endless Renovation

Created by Glasgow Artist Corin Sworn, Endless Renocation is currently being shown as part of Art Now, in the North Wing of the Tate Britain.

The piece is based on 600 slides and a diary, which were discovered in a skip. Whilst the slides are shown, an audio track plays, with the artist talking about their possible origin.

It's quite an interesting and thought provoking exhibit, which is worth popping in to see. For more, see http://www.tate.org.uk/britain/exhibitions/artnow/corinsworn/default.shtm

11 August 2011

Buy books at the Kennington Bookshop

Bookshops are for some reason very attractive to your author, and the Kennington Bookshop, opened in 2007 by Paula Kaplan, is no different.

The shop is found on Kennington Road, and is full of pretty books. It even currently has a sale on 2012 Moleskine diaries, though that is probably not of interest to normal people.

For more information, click here.

10 August 2011

Visit the South London Gallery

Back to normal today, and originally established as the South London Fine Art Gallery in 1891, the South London Gallery continues to operate as a free gallery for people in South London.

Your author cycled over yesterday, past the battered Peckham branches of Ladbrookes and Burger King, and predictably found it light and busy with people, like the world beyond Sky News actually is.

Currently, an interesting exhibition upstairs by Paul Etienne Lincoln is complemented downstairs by Tue Greenford's Where the People Will Go, which explores the Gallery's environment, locality and relationship with the neighbouring Sceaux Gardens housing estate.

For more information, see http://www.southlondongallery.org.

9 August 2011

Calm down

Your author knows no one who has been up to mischief for the last few days will be reading. They don't seem to appreciate any of the good things about London. But, if the awful rolling scenes all day weren't enough, the bad lads who amassed outside the front door around 10pm convinced him it's all a very bad idea, and were a bit of a distraction from proper blog-writing.

We all know this is stupid, and it's difficult to understand why it's happening. Sure, a few disaffected youngsters might feel like being involved is cool and edgy, and they might even get a bit of money for the stuff they're robbing, but it isn't how things should be.

When they're older they'll regret the fear they instilled in people, and the damage they caused to people's lives. It's just a shame that a load of middle aged politicians and police officers telling them this seem so irrelevant to them.

For more, Londonist has been providing some stellar coverage at http://londonist.com/tags/riots. And if anyone needs any help tomorrow, your author is very good with a broom.

^Picture © StuartBannocks used under Creative Commons^

8 August 2011

Browse Indian and Islamic art at Simon Ray

Based among the private galleries of St James, Simon Ray has been dealing in Indian and Islamic Art for twenty years.

Apparently specialising in the fine and decorative court arts of the Indian and Islamic empires, Simon Ray takes a particular interest in items from Safavid Persia, Ottoman Turkey, Mughal India and the Kingdoms of the Deccan and Rajasthan.

Alongside items like delicately decorated Persian tiles and Indian miniatures, a range of ceramics, stonework, sculpture and even textiles are available. For more information, see http://www.simonray.com

7 August 2011

See a model of old London Bridge

The Museum in Docklands holds countless interesting items, but one that particularly caught your author's imagination on a recent visit was the 1:50 scale model of Old London Bridge.

The model shows the bridge in two different eras, representing how it looked in 1440 on one side, with the other side hidden until visitors enter the next gallery, when they see the bridge as it looked by 1600.

It's just one of many interesting exhibits at the Museum. For more, see http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/Docklands/

6 August 2011

Attend the Field Day Festival

Your author is at a music festival this weekend, and likes that sort of thing quite a lot. So, today's idea is one that is taking place in East London this afternoon; the Field Day Festival.

The festival has been running for five years in Victoria Park, with new and presumably good bands most of which only cool people have heard of. When this article was written there seemed to still be tickets available, for about forty quid.

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

^Picture © David Fisher used under Creative Commons^

5 August 2011

Buy fish at Billingsgate Market

Billingsgate Market has been London's fish market since the sixteenth century, when the riverside market at Billingsgate Wharf was the centre of fish trading. In the nineteenth century, the Market moved to Lower Thames Street, before relocating to Docklands in the 1980s.

Today, the Market is the UK's largest inland fish market, and sells fish from around the country and the world. The market runs from 5am from Tuesday to Saturday, wrapping up around 8.30am, and when your author popped along yesterday morning, it was in full swing, with some of the earliest profanities he has ever heard.

Crates of live British crabs sat alongside huge tuna, small sharks and conger eels, whilst the Asian and African fish specialists stocked an exotic array of produce from around the world. It's just a shame that it seems to be almost impossible to get the fish smell out of hair and shoes...

For more on Billingsgate, see www.billingsgate-market.org.uk

4 August 2011

Watch a play at the National Theatre

Built on the South Bank during the mid-1970s, following a ten year stint at the Old Vic, the National Theatre building was designed by architects Denys Lasdun and Peter Softley, and actually houses three separate, distinct theatres.

The three theatres are designed around rough themes from the history of theatre, with the Olivier based on a classical Greek theatre, the Lyttelton on the proscenium-arch theatres of the past three centuries (whatever that means), and the Cottesloe based on the Tudor inn yard theatres which once dominated London theatre.

Outside, the architects sought to create an brutalist urban landscape of interlocking terraces, with fine views over the Thames to St Paul's Cathedral and Somerset House beyond. They did a good job.

For more, see http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk

3 August 2011

Drink at the Dean Swift

It isn't London's best pub, but it is a rather nice place to have a drink on a weeknight, and it has never been busy when your author has popped in, so let's examine the Dean Swift, in the warehouse area of Butler's Wharf.

The pub is attractive from the outside and inside it has that sort of anonymous nice pub without any of the history look, and a mixed crowd who mostly look like they work in the surrounding area. They call themselves a "local beer house", and they do have a range of beers, which were quite well kept.

For more information, see http://thedeanswift.com/

2 August 2011

See the Miss Britain III

Designed and built by Hubert Scott-Paine in ten weeks in 1933, the Miss Britain III is famous for being the first single-engined boat to travel 100mph on open water in a record set the same year, which remained unbeaten for fifty years afterwards.

The hull of the boat is made from Alcad, a strong, light Aluminium Alloy which is part of the boat's secret. In 1951, the Miss Britain III was presented to the National Maritime Museum by Scott-Paine, and it is still on display sixty years later, in recognition of its importance in the world of speed records.

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

1 August 2011

Examine the tat at Fancy That

Your author finds tourism fascinating, and whilst there an infinite number of better places to spend time as a tourist, there is probably no better place to observe tourists than at shops like Fancy That Of London.

The degrees of junk available at shops like Fancy That is truly amazing, from keyrings to gift teas and royal memorabilia. It is truly amazing to examine the degrees of items on offer, and see the visitors queuing up to spend money on them.

Your author has never had much time for amassing things - except perhaps books and bottles - and perhaps this is why he finds the phenomenon so interesting. Why on earth does anyone need a golden collage of London monuments?

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