A Travellerspoint blog

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)

THROUGH A LONDON EYE

Here are a few pictures, which I have taken in London over the years. All of them have been previously published on my photo website ... http://www.ipernity.com/home/adam

Five kiosks - ringing in the rain! Near Bow Street Court

Five kiosks - ringing in the rain! Near Bow Street Court

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Evening jogger on Primrose Hill

Evening jogger on Primrose Hill

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Kensington Palace cloudscape

Kensington Palace cloudscape

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Helping hand, York House, Twickenham

Helping hand, York House, Twickenham

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British Museum

British Museum

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Classy act

Classy act

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Old and New, near the Monument

Old and New, near the Monument

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Two Horse-Power in Regent Street

Two Horse-Power in Regent Street

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Posted by ADAMYAMEY 10:15 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london londres Comments (0)

New DESIGN MUSEUM

Great building, poor exhibition

In 1837, the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen wrote his “Kejserens nye Klæder” (‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’). Two tailors weave some new clothes for the Emperor. No one can see them because they were invisible, they had no substance at all, they did not exist.

London’s Design Museum has just (November 2016) moved into what used to be the Commonwealth Institute (‘CI’) in Holland Park. Its construction was completed in 1962. I remember visiting the CI in the early 1960s, when its gloomy interior housed exhibits from various parts of the Commonwealth. I was more impressed by the building’s then original and fantastic architecture than by its contents.

The CI building remained closed and disused from long before the beginning of this century until this year when it re-opened as the Design Museum. The building’s exterior has been well-restored, but is somewhat hidden from the road by two ugly ‘rectanguloid’ (or box-like) low-rise tower blocks, which are an affront to both good design and good town-planning. I imagine that letting or selling space in these two buildings helped pay for the restoration of the former CI building.

The interior of the old CI building has been scooped out and replaced by a wonderful new interior, an exciting space worthy of a museum that is dedicated to design.

Sadly, the exhibition fails miserably. Leaving the splendid atrium, the visitor enters a series of ‘galleries’ crammed with ‘icons’ of (mostly) 20th century design. The cluttered exhibition spaces reminded me of charity shops or jumble sales. The only difference between the museum and the latter is that the objects on display are in better condition than those in jumble sales or charity shops.

The newly located Design Museum made me think of Hans Christian Andersen. The building is splendid, both outside and inside, but the exhibition does not deserve such a fine building. The clothing is great, but the Emperor is missing.

I have made a VIDEO to show the building's interor.

FREE ADMISSION EXCEPT TO SPECIAL TEMPORARY EXHIBITIONS

  • ***NEW ADDRESS: 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG****

NOW TAKE A LOOK:

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 06:21 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london kensington design_museum Comments (1)

DIVERSITY - Diverse City

A cultural mosaic

I have lived in London for most of my life. The few years that I lived outside the city made me realise how much I depend on the place.

London is actually a conglomeration of microcosms. Villages (e.g. Hampstead, Chelsea, Kensington, and Richmond, to name but a few) and towns (e.g. Westminster, Southwark, and Greenwich) have merged. There are settlements of immigrants, who have now become Londoners: Bangla, Punjabi, Greek Cypriot, Jewish, Arab, Chinese, Koreans, Turkish Cypriots, Gujuratis, and the list goes on and on. Like individual gems in a complicated piece of jewelry, each microcosm shines on its own but together the effect is a spectacular glittering ensemble.

It is very difficult to summarise why London means so much to me. It is ever changing, and always intriguing. It is wonderful to live amongst one of the most diversified populations in the world. In the small dental practice where I work,my colleagues are Poles, Iranians, Koreans, Lithuanians, Kenyans, Indians, Ugandans, Malaysians, and from time to time Mongolians. Within a stone's throw of where I live I can buy milk from Pakistanis, hire a cab driven by an Afghan, buy olives from a Greek, drink coffee made by an Italian, buy Prosciutto presunto actually) sliced by a Portuguese, kebabs from a Turk, have felafels cooked by an Israeli or by a 'Mesopotamian', noodles prepared by a Chinese, sushi made by Japanese, eat tandoori prepared by an Indian, have a chat with a Nigerian,and have money changed by a Syrian. There are even a few English in London!

I work 3 days a week, and often become a tourist in my own town on some of the other days. The variety of things available to do to enjoy one's spare time is almost infinite. To name but a few: cinema, theatre, alternative theatre, eating, drinking, exhibitions, museums, street performances, river-boating, shopping, walking, or just sitting and watching the world pass by.

Often, I feel sorry for the genuine tourist. There is so much for him or her to choose and not enough time to do enough of it.

As someone well-known once said - "When a man is tired of London, he's tired of life"

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 06:18 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london england uk londres Comments (1)

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