Tuesday, 23 January 2018

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

Embassy of the United States of America
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. 

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.

Brief History

Grosvenor Square has been home to the Embassy of the United States of America since 1938, although it didn't move into the London Chancery Building until 1960.

Built in the late 1950s, and finished in 1960, the London Chancery Building was the largest American Embassy in Europe, and would be their home until 2018.

Designed by Eero Saarinen, the building has nine floors, three of which are below ground.

The gilded bald eagle, that sits atop the building, was designed by Theodore Roszak and has an 11 metre wingspan.

Following the September 11, 2001, attacks security was dramatically increased at the embassy. The road outside the embassy was closed to public access by car, while armed roadblocks were stationed outside the building, too.

In front of the building stand two statues, Ronald Reagan and Dwight D. Eisenhower, plus a piece of the Berlin Wall.

The building was granted Grade II listed status in October 2009.

As of January 2018, the Embassy of the United States of America is now located in Nine Elms, near Battersea Power Station.

Qatari Diar purchased the Grosvenor Square building and plan to turn it into a luxury hotel, with around 137 hotel rooms, bars, shops and restaurants.

Grosvenor Square, itself, is set to be revamped and restored to its former glory, too.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

Piccadilly Arcade

The Piccadilly Arcade is shopping in style
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, 20 January 2018

Lumiere London 2018

Westminster Abbey illuminated for Lumiere London 2018
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, 17 January 2018

Grave of the German Ambassador's Dog

Grave of a 'Nazi' Dog, Carlton Place
"Giro"
A Faithful Companion!
London in February 1934.
Hoesch.
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, 9 January 2018

Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese

Historic London Pub, where you can hear the River Fleet
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.

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.

Saturday, 6 January 2018

Rowbarge Gloriana

HRH Queen Elizabeth II's Royal Rowbarge
A Right Royal Barge.
I was quite surprised when, walking around St. Katherine Docks, I spotted the Queen's Rowbarge Gloriana, nestled amongst other vessels of varying size and stature. Because of the crowds, which were all trying to get a good view, it was hard to get a decent shot, but I was happy with this one.

Friday, 5 January 2018

East India Arms

A historic pub in the heart of the City of London
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, 3 January 2018

Waterstones Piccadilly

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, 2 January 2018

Royal Gun Salute

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.

All of the salutes, that I have witnessed, have taken place in Green Park, but I hope to see one at Horse Guards Parade, this year.

Tower of London: Medieval Palace

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, 1 January 2018

Hampstead Hill Garden and Pergola

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 somewhat eerie, place to visit.

Tamesis

The Tamesis floating pub.
It was during a late afternoon wander along the River Thames that I discovered the Tamesis floating pub. Intrigued I stepped aboard for a drink and found it to be cosy and welcoming. Much like the TARDIS, from Doctor Who, the Tamesis 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.

Popular Posts