Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Embassy of the United States of America (1960-2018)

London The Unfinished City
Home to the Diplomatic Mission of the USA, from 1960-2018.

Grosvenor Square, Mayfair, has always held an odd fascination with me. Whether it is because of the area, or the history of the square, I do not know.

However, one of the most imposing, and I would say magnificent, buildings around the square, is the old Embassy of the United States of America, with its gilded bald eagle sitting on its roof. 

London The Unfinished City
June 2020

Now that the embassy has moved to Nine Elms, you can get quite close to the building and see it in all of its glory, before the developers move in.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Piccadilly Arcade

London The Unfinished City
The finest Edwardian Arcade left in London.

Considering the amount of times that I have walked along Piccadilly, I can count on one hand the amount of times that I have walked through the Piccadilly Arcade.

It is one of those hidden gems that so many people miss, but it is well worth visiting, even if it is just to escape the hordes of tourists, or escape from the London weather.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Lumiere London, 2018

London The Unfinished City
Westminster Abbey looking glorious at Lumiere London 2018.

As soon as the dates were released for this years Lumiere Festival, I knew that I would be attending. Falling across four nights, Thursday 18 - Sunday 21, we decided that the Friday would be the best night for us.

Fortunately, I was allowed to leave work slightly early, thank you to my manager for that, so that I could pick up the girls, with my wife. This afforded us the luxury of being able to leave for London, earlier than expected.

As we had all had a long week, and knowing that Erin (6) and Keilyn (4) would be tired, I had planned a route that would allow us to see some of the installations, while staying close enough to transport links, should the girls become too tired.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

'Giro', The German Ambassador's Dog

London The Unfinished City
A Faithful Companion!
London in February 1934.

I am amazed when walking around London, even if it is a place that I have visited many times before, the amount of weird or unusual things that I have previously missed.

For instance: I have walked around, along and through Waterloo Place many times. Whether going to Pall Mall from The Mall, or looking at the various statues or simply just wandering around the area. But, not once, in all of these visits, had I noticed this little grave to "Giro", nestled beneath a tree.

I had to find out more about this curious little grave.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

'Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese'

London The Unfinished City
Is that the River Fleet, I hear?

One of my favourite pubs, in the City of London, is Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese. I first discovered it a number of years back, when I ducked into an alleyway to avoid some freezing rain, on a cold January day. Seeing the light of the pub I wandered in.

London The Unfinished City
Heading into the cellar.

On entering I found it to be quite dark, with wood panelling and little in the way of natural light. Spread across a number of floors, with various bars, it has a feeling of being lost in time.

London The Unfinished City
Throughout the reigns of...

Once my eyes adjusted to the diffused light, the building almost came alive with its history.

London The Unfinished City
A cosy little space in the cellar.

Buying a pint of bitter I took a seat in one of the near empty spaces and savoured the atmosphere of this historic place.

Friday, January 05, 2018

'East India Arms'

London The Unfinished City
History in the Heart of the City.
The East India Arms is a wonderfully traditional pub, in the heart of the City of London. It still retains all the charm of its heritage, even with all of the new buildings, and offices. in the area.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Waterstones, Piccadilly

London The Unfinished City
Well worth the wait. 
I love London, books and Iron Maiden, among other things. So it was only right that on a wet October evening I had no qualms about queuing outside Waterstones Piccadilly, to meet Bruce Dickinson, entrepreneur, pilot, Olympic-class fencer, businessman and lead singer of Iron Maiden, to get a copy of his autobiography signed.

What was peculiar was that of all the bookshops that I had visited, in London, this one had passed me by. What a mistake that was. It is massive and spreads across six floors. It has since become my favourite bookstore, especially with the views that are on offer on the fifth floor.

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Royal Gun Salute

London The Unfinished City
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, in Green Park.

A Royal Gun Salute is fired on numerous occasions, throughout the year, and is a marvel of horsemanship, skill and military discipline.

London The Unfinished city
The King's Troop Royal Horse Artillery, waiting to enter Green Park.

All of the salutes, that I have witnessed, have taken place in Green Park, but I hope to see one at the one of the other locations, at some point in the future.

Tower of London: Medieval Palace

London The Unfinished City
The bedchamber of King Edward I.

The first part of the Tower that I visited, on entering from the Byward Tower, was the Medieval Palace. It is remarkably well preserved and with actors wandering through the rooms, dressed in medieval garb, you get a real sense of life in the 1200s.

Some of the walls, and parts of the flooring, have been left in a bit of disrepair, to show how the palace was constructed.

By far one of the most intriguing parts of the entire visit.

Monday, January 01, 2018

Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola

London The Unfinished City
The perfect escape from the Unfinished City.
The Hill Garden and Pergola, Hampstead, were one of those places that I had wished to visit for quite a while. So, on a trip to Golders Hill Park Zoo and Deer Enclosure I decided to take the opportunity to visit this much talked about space.

I was not disappointed. The Hill Garden is beautifully maintained, with manicured lawns, flowers, shrubs and trees from around the globe, a Georgian Arbour and, of course, the Pergola. Unfortunately, the Pergola was partially closed as someone had hired it for their wedding, so I was unable to witness the spectacular views over Hampstead Heath.

Although the Pergola is in need of some serious restoration, it is still a remarkable, and a somewhat eerie, place to visit.

'Tamesis Dock'

London The Unfinished City
The Tamesis Dock floating pub.

It was during a late afternoon wander along the River Thames that I discovered the 'Tamesis Dock' floating pub. Intrigued I stepped aboard for a drink and found it to be cosy and welcoming. 

London The Unfinished City
Never a truer word written.

Much like the TARDIS, from Doctor Who, the 'Tamesis Dock' is a lot larger on the inside than it looks from the outside. Of course, there is seating available on the decks, too, for those warm London days and nights.