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Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Window on London.

Every window shown here is in London. I like the idea of looking at a window and seeing just a glimpse into someone else's world, it's an excuse for my being nosy.  Window's, like a lot of things, get overlooked when we walk down a street. This is their chance to shine.

Hard to see but it says 'love purity fidelity' and around the edge it says 'The Order of the Sons of Temperance'. Blackfriars Road, Southwark. This organisation started in America in 1842 and it is still active.

Found this old letter box in this old window in Borough.

This Public Bar is in Broadwick Street, Soho close to the pump that Dr. John Snow discovered was the source of the cholera outbreak in 1854. There is a moral to this tale.

Ancient Lights sign. It is a rare sign but they are still to be found near a few windows in London. It gives the legal right to a long standing owner of a building the right to light. So you can't build anything close by that will block the light.
London is a beautiful city and also a fascinating one. But like all great cities there is a fascinating alternative world. I can't remember exactly where this factory window is but there are several parts of London that could claim it. I particularly like the buddleia bush making its escape from the inside of the building.

This is only here because it's a beautiful window. But it has history too. St. Saviour's is a charity in Southwark that has supported local residents since 1540.

Sarah Ferguson and Princess Diana snapped in a window in Doughty Mews, Bloomsbury in 2010. Funny how people use windows to make a statement to the world. I'm not sure what the statement is but I'm sure there is one.

Windows can also be used to advertise your business. This is very nicely done to that effect. If you can't quite make it out, it's tins turned into guitars and it's in Church Street, Stoke Newington.

A beautiful Victorian curved stone window that states 'Stepney & Bow Foundation Coborn Girls School'. The school was set up to educate poor boys and girls. This girls school is in Mile End Road, Bow.

I'm not sure what is behind this barred window but is about 10 feet from the ground and is on Bethnal Green Road.

The very fancy window is in Fortnum and Mason's shop. I have no idea why they have storks as part of the crest.

This time a view through a window in the Geffrye Museum.

What can I say? It's a parrot on a blue pot.

Monday, 12 May 2014

CLOCKS in London - not just for telling the time.

Clocks can be interesting and not just for time telling. Here are a few of my favourite clocks...
 Bracken House astronomical clock near St. Paul's cathedral. Made in 1955 and named after Bernard Bracken a former politician. But do you recognise the face in the sun? It's none other than Winston Churchill who was a close friend of Bracken.

And when your time is up, an undertaker's clock in Battersea.

 This is the clock at Somerset House. Built in 1776, it was a tax office among other things.

This four faced clock hangs in the Grand Avenue of Smithfield market. The building dates from 1868 and was designed by City architect Horace Jones.

This St. Giles International English language school clock is on Southampton Row, Bloomsbury.

The 2012 Olympics clock in Trafalgar Square, shown here in 2011, one year to go at that point in time, I hate that expression but it seemed appropriate.

 The scaly fish supported clock is in Adam Court, EC2 near Bank.

 A token sun dial found in Amen Court, near St. Paul's cathedral. I'm not keen on sun dials.

This unusual clock with birds is in Barnes Wetlands centre. 

Spoon and forks decorated clock in a cafe in Earlsfield, Wandsworth.

 This is a tube clock and it's at Clapham North tube station. The clock dates from 1900 when the station was opened.

The Art Deco clock from 1928 on the Daily Telegraph building in Fleet Street.

Fortnum and Mason's elaborate clock. Built in 1964 so not quite as old as the store which was founded in 1707. The clock weighs four tons. Every hour figures of Mr. Fortnum and Mr. Mason come out and bow to each other.

 This clock is quite special because it's one of the few clocks showing the London Underground logo for numbers and it is at Gants Hill tube station.

 This is the Shepherd Gate Clock at Greenwich Royal Observatory and is arguably the world's most important clock as it is controlled by the GMT clock. The clock was constructed in 1852 by Charles Shepherd.

 The clock face here is the largest one in London and it's on the Shell Mex House. The building is Art Deco style and was completed in 1931. It's 7.6m in diameter.

 This is a self winding clock made by The Self Winding Clock Company of New York. It's in Tooting Broadway tube station but they can be found in other tube stations. The clock winding mechanism is powered by electricity. The clock in Grand Central Terminal is made by the same company who made clocks between 1886 until 1970.
This is another token sundial that's on St. Katharine's Way near to Tower Bridge. It was built by Wendy Taylor in the 1970's.

  This is clock is part of the memorial to the dead of World War One who used to work at Waterloo Station.
This clock is frozen at 10.40 this is the time that a Zeppelin dropped a bomb on The Dolphin pub in Holborn during World War One.

And finally I suppose it has to be Big Ben in the Elizabeth Tower in the Houses of Parliament. The clock was designed by Augustus Pugin but the working part of the clock was designed by Edmund Beckett Denison and George Airy. The clock was built by Edward John Dent, who died during its construction and the work was passed on to his stepson Frederick Dent. 
Must go..tempus fugit.

Friday, 5 October 2012

A wander down London's little back alleys, mews and arches.

This is a record of my exploration over the years of London's many back alleys, mews and arches. There is more to London than Big Ben and Madame Tussaud's. It's a shame more people (not just tourists but locals too) don't step off the much beaten path and wander off on a tangent down these little streets. There is instant peace and calm in them in contrast to the often manic pace and noise of the main streets of London. The cafe's are independent and  are also considerably cheaper than the franchises on the main streets.

Appropriately I'll start with Adam and Eve Mews in Kensington. Mews were originally built as a place of storage for horses and carriages. As the motor car became more popular they were converted to garages. Mews are usually only found in well to do areas of London as this one is.
These steps lead down to the River Thames in Wapping and are known as Alderman's Stairs. This was once a busy access point for passengers to board the ferry boats operated by the watermen.

 This less salubrious view is off an alley in Brick Lane. The Gherkin can be seen in the background. Like most big cities London is a city of contrasts, rich and poor, derelict and modern.
This narrow entrance leads to Catherine Wheel Alley and it's opposite Liverpool Street Station on Bishopsgate. It's the narrowest alley I've yet to discover. It exits at the other end in to Middlesex Street, otherwise known as Petticoat Lane of flea market fame.
This huge place is in Chamber Street in Tower Hamlets. It's beneath a railway line and was once probably a workshop. Now it's been abandoned. For the macabre amongst us, in a nearby arch identical to this, one of Jack the Ripper's victims was found.
This is Assembly Passage of the Mile End Road. Not a place I would wander down at night!
This is Denmark Place, it's reached through Denmark Street. Home of the early music industry in London and the alley is full of recording studios.
This large factory in Frederick Close (a mews) in Paddington was a musical instrument factory from the late Victorian period.
 This is Newman Passage, a fine example of the many narrow alleys that can be found in London. It's in Fitzrovia.
 This alley leads to Grimsby Street in Spitalfields. It's an arch beneath a railway and the steps take you over into an area near Brick Lane.
 This atmospheric photo is again beneath a railway in Braithwaite Street, near the Shoreditch High Street rail station.
Below is a little house at the end of a cul-de-sac and tucked almost under a railway line in Putney. I can't decide if I'd like to live there or not!
A typical mews entrance. It's Bryanston Mews West  in Mayfair. Always appealing, it invites you to walk into it and do a little exploring.
I don't think I've ever seen a mews tarmaced. I don't suppose the tarmac lorry can get through those small entrances to the mews. Cobbles are so lovely. This is Eaton Mews in Belgravia.
A very typical view of a mews. It's easy to see where the stables were. This is Queensgate Place in Kensington.
Another little alley, Lovat Lane in the City, still cobbled. I don't suppose this has changed in the 200 plus years since this was built.
A funny little house in a mews in Nottinghill where the chimney flue seems to have been added on as an after thought.
This alley is just up from a 'Roman' bath near Temple tube.
Every time I enter a mews or an alley I feel as though I've stepped back in time and it's the closest I'll ever get to time travel.