A Travellerspoint blog

February 2017

KENSINGTON CARVINGS

Some artworks in London's Kensington Gardens

Abutting Hyde Park to the east, Kensington Gardens extends westward to notting Hill Gate and Kensington Palace. Once the home of the Museum of London back in the 1960s, the palace has been home to royalty for many centuries.

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

The Palace was the birthplace of Queen Victoria. A staue of her as a young woman stands in front of the Palace (see above illustration). This statue was sculpted by Queen Victoria's daughter Princess Louise (1848-1939). Louise lived and died in Kensington Palace.

Here are a few more pictures of Louise's depiction of her mother:

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

Notice the words on the base of the carving on the illustration above.

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens 1837

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens 1837

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

Young Victoria Kensington Gardens

Not too far away from the young Queen Victoria sculture, you will come across the Diana Playground, constructed in memory of another of Kensington Place's inhabitants, the late Princess Diana.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Near to the entrance of the Diana Playground, there is what looks like an old fashiond zoo animal cage. It contains something that attracts many people to go up close to it to examine it.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

The cage contains a dead tree, the stump of an (apparently) 900 year old oak tree. But, why is it in a cage?

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Go close to it, and you will see something that is both kitch and enchanting. The folds, nooks, and crannies of the tree are filled with tiny carved figures. These figures depict insects, birds, animals, and people.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

The figures were carved from 1911 onwards by the illustrator Ivor Innes.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

In recent years, the commedian Spike Milligan financed the restoration of this curious attraction.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

It's amazing what can be done with a tree stump. Someone ought to get to work get to work on this one:

[center]ELF 0  Tree stump Kensington Gardens tree trunk

ELF 0 Tree stump Kensington Gardens tree trunk

Kensington Gardens is filled with artworks by various sculptors including Henry Moore and George Frederic Watts (see illustration below).

Sculture by GF Watts in Kensington Gardens

Sculture by GF Watts in Kensington Gardens

However, the eccentric but charming Elfin Oak is the one that I enjoy most.

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Elfin Oak Kensington Gardens

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 08:11 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

EMIRATES AIR LINE

Views from high above London

Since time immemorial, a good view of London could be obtained by climbing up to the top of what is now known as Parliament Hill. Of course, many centuries ago there would have been little or nothing of what is now called London to be seen. As the city developed, various constructions have gone up, whose summits provide good vistas of London from above.

The Monument by night, London

The Monument by night, London

In 1671, the Monument to the Fire of London was constructed. For a small fee (now it is not so small!), the visitor could ascend the spiral staircase, and, on reaching the top, gain a great view of the city beneath. Now, it is still fun to ascend the Monument, but the views have bee wrecked by the tall buildings constructed all around it. At around that time, Christopher Wren's St Pauls Cathedral was built. Those with stamina to ascendt to the top of its dome would have been able to enjoy a great view. I have done this once, but cannot recall the view, only the awful climb!

Post Office Tower London

Post Office Tower London

In 1965, when I was just entering secondary school, the construction of the Post Office Tower was completed. For a few years after that, it was possible to take a lift to the viewing platform just beneath the rotating restaurant. If you were feeling particularly well-off, you could enjoy a meal in the dizzying roatating restaurant. Terrorism related to troubles in Northern Ireland were partly responsible for closing the Tower to the public.

London Eye viewed through a sculpture on the South Bank

London Eye viewed through a sculpture on the South Bank

Passenger pods on the London Eye

Passenger pods on the London Eye

Coinciding with the arrival of the Millennium in 2000, was the opening of the giant Ferris Wheel called the 'London Eye'. The views from this are, without doubt, fantastic, and worth paying for at least once.

The Shard

The Shard

In about 2012, the so- called Shard building near Tower Bridge opened. I have heard that the view from its summit is amazing, as it should be being so high above the ground.

View of Emirates Airway (from RoyalVictoria Dock), London

View of Emirates Airway (from RoyalVictoria Dock), London

Coinciding with the Olympic Games in London, the Emirates Air Line was opened. This cable car service, which connects North Greenwich (near the O2 - Millennium Dome) with Royal Victoria Dock across the Thames. provides the Emirates Airline Company with excellent publicity as well as providing a much needed additional crossing of the river. In addition, it is a wonderful tourist attraction, which unlike The Shard, is easily affordable.

Emirates  London cable cars

Emirates London cable cars

A cluster of Emirates Airways cable cars

A cluster of Emirates Airways cable cars


I have travelled on the cable car three times, always in bad weather. Nevertheless, the views from its small cabins are fabulous. Looking down, one gets great views of the Dockland developments and an unusual view from above the Millennium Dome. Looking out in less of a downward direction, there ar magnificent vistas of the myriads of other cabbins travelling in both directions.

Emirates  London Cable cars and gasometer

Emirates London Cable cars and gasometer

EM AIRW 6 View from  Emirates  London Cable Car

EM AIRW 6 View from Emirates London Cable Car

Traversing the river by means of this cable car system takes less than 10 minutes when it is not peak hour, but speeds up during rush hour.

Looking down from  Emirates  London Cable Car

Looking down from Emirates London Cable Car

I suppose that those with a fear of heights should avoid this attraction, but judging by what fellow passengers, who claim to be scared of heights, say this is quite manageable. It is an exciting, worthwhile way to see London from the top!

Emirates  London Cable Car: Royal Victoria Docks Terminal

Emirates London Cable Car: Royal Victoria Docks Terminal

North Greenwich terminal of the Emirates Airway

North Greenwich terminal of the Emirates Airway

Emirates Airways: See London differently!

Emirates Airways: See London differently!

The Emirates Airways gives a great view over the eastern part of London. The London Eye is better for overviewing the West , North, and South. Together, these two attractions provide a great way of seeing London without needing wings!

Birds eye view of Kensington Gardens (London)

Birds eye view of Kensington Gardens (London)

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 09:34 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london views car cable panoramas emirates Comments (2)

THE LINE - ART TRAIL IN DOCKLANDS

An exhibition along the Greenwich Meridian

The LINE is not straight.
It is interrupted by the River Thames.
Yet, it wriggles its way along the Greenwich Meridian Line.

Line logo

Line logo

"The route runs between the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and The O2, following the waterways and the line of the Meridian."
(see: http://www.the-line.org )

The line is a walk that connects a series of outdoor artworks, mostly sculptures.

It was opened in May 2015

The sculptures are all reasonably contemporary works of art.

Following the LINE provides one with fresh air, exercise, culture, and great views of parts of London that have been undergoing redevelopment in recent years.

Join me on a walk beginning at North Greenwich Station, close to the O2 (Millennium Dome).


The first thing we saw was an upturned electricity pylon. It was not there by accident:

"Shooting Star" by Alex Chinneck

"Shooting Star" by Alex Chinneck


The next work of art is a signpost placed on the Greenwich Meridian:

"Here" by Thompson and Craighead

"Here" by Thompson and Craighead

Close to this, there is an older marker recording the position of the Meridian:

Greenwich Meridian marker - not part of the LINE

Greenwich Meridian marker - not part of the LINE

Then another curiosity, a slice of a ship:

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

"Slice of Reality" by Richard Wilson

And beyond this, a view of a reed-bed:

Reed bed - not a sculpture!

Reed bed - not a sculpture!

And further along the riverside walkway, a sensuous work of art with a view of the Emirates Cable Car line in the background:

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume


Almost beneath the Emirates Airway Cable Car system, stands a work by Anthony Gormley:

[/center]"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

"Quantum Cloud" by Anthony Gormley

[/center]

Then the LINE is interrupted. To continue it, one must cross the waterways. And, the best way to do it is by taking the Emirates Airway Cable Car, which I will describe elsewhere. After 'landing', we saw a work by the late Eduardo Paolozzi:

"Vulcan" by Eduardo Paolozzi

"Vulcan" by Eduardo Paolozzi

"Vulcan" by Paolozzi

"Vulcan" by Paolozzi

"Vulcan" by Paolozzi

"Vulcan" by Paolozzi

The last sculpture we saw was the only disappointment:

"Consolidator 6543"1by Stirling Ruby

"Consolidator 6543"1by Stirling Ruby

Now, I have seen and photographed seven out of the ten sculptures currently on the LINE.
I look forward to seeing the remaining ones soon.

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume with Anthony Gormley Sculpture and Airway behind

"Liberty Grip" by Gary Hume with Anthony Gormley Sculpture and Airway behind

Walking the LINE is a most exciting and fulfilling leisure acrtivity, which I can strongly reccommend to everyone

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 09:21 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged art walkway sculpture london. Comments (1)

VICTORIAN SPLENDOUR

The National Liberal Club, 1 Whitehall Place, London , SW1A 2HE

Staircase, National Liberal Club

Staircase, National Liberal Club

If you are lucky enough to be invited to attend a function at the National Liberal Club in Whitehall Place, do attend! It is worth visiting this club if only to see its late Victorian, over-exuberant, somewhat decadent, pseudo- renaissance internal decor. The internal decoration makes great use of ceramic tiling. The Club is a superb example of Victorian over-exuberance.

Entrance lobby National Liberal Club

Entrance lobby National Liberal Club

I heve visited the place twice: once for a wedding, and once to celebrate the 9th anniversary of the Independence of Kosovo. On both occasions, I was overwhelmed by the Club's over-the-top architecture.

Ambassador of Kosovo looks on as an important British diplomat gives a speech

Ambassador of Kosovo looks on as an important British diplomat gives a speech

The Club was founded in in 1882 by William Ewart Gladstone. Amongst its past members, there were notable people such as Muhammed Ali Jinnah, David Lloyd George, Ramsay Macdonald, Dadabhai Naoroji, George Bernard Shaw, and the author of "Dracula" Bram Stoker. There are many portraits of well-known people hanging on the walls.

Duleep Singh: painting in National Liberal Club, lit by candles.

Duleep Singh: painting in National Liberal Club, lit by candles.


The present club house, which was designed by the architect Alfred Waterhouse (who also designed the natural History Museum), was opened in 1887.

For me the highlight of the place is its elegant curved Grand Staircase.

Large functions are often held in the vast Gladstone Library, whose walls are now lined with fake bookspines.

Gladstone library in National Liberal Club

Gladstone library in National Liberal Club

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 09:03 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london club londres Comments (0)

HERALDRY: College of Arms

130 Queen Victoria Street London EC4V 4BT United Kingdom

The College of Arms was founded in 1484. It has nothing to do with weapons. It is the official body that regulates the use of coats of arms and other heraldic emblems.

College of Arms viewed from Victoria Street

College of Arms viewed from Victoria Street

The College is housed in a building that replaced its earlier home that was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present building was built only a few years after the Fire. Originally, it was a four sided building enclosing a courtyard, but in later years the front part of it was demolished in order that Victoria Street could be made.

College of Arms courtyard

College of Arms courtyard

Only the entrance hall, which used to be a court-room for cases relating to coats of arms, may be visited. We were welcomed by a friendly lady who explained many things to us.

Former judges' 'throne' in College of Arms

Former judges' 'throne' in College of Arms

The entrance hall has the original judge's 'throne' as well as some portraits of previous Heads of the College including Sir John Vanbrugh and Queen Elzabeth the First's courtier, Sir Robert Dudley.

Ceiling in College of Arms

Ceiling in College of Arms

Of particular interest are three heraldic models, which used to be on display in St George's Chapel in Windsor. They relate to former, now deceased, Knights of the Garter. While the Knights are alive, their heraldic emblems are on display in the Chapel at Windsor. When they die, their emblems are removed from Windsor, and replaced with those of living Knights of the Garter. One of the emblems we saw at the College is an elephant. This was the emblem of Lord Kitchener (1850-1916).

Lord Kitchener's 'emblem' in College of Arms

Lord Kitchener's 'emblem' in College of Arms

Although visitors, arriving without a prior appointment, get to see one room only, it is well worth visiting.

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 10:12 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london england Comments (0)

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