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A Bit of Bishopsgate

Posted by Guy Fairbank on 5th March 2020 in Design | Bishopsgate,Victoria and Albert Museum,V&A,Pre-Great Fire buildings,Paul Pindar,Medieval houses,Stuart,Great Fire
Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington and, among its many treasures, you’ll find a rare survival of pre-Great Fire architecture from the City of London. Peter Pindar’s house originally stood on Bishopsgate, about where Liverpool Street Station now stands. When the station was developed the Chairman and Directors of the Great Eastern Railway Company gave it to the museum.  It’s made of oak and dates from around 1600, when merchant Paul Pindar had it built - more of him later. The impressive full-height windows would have originally been glazed, either with imported glass or local greenish glass. The semi-circular window shap...
 

Hidden London

Posted by fairbankguy on 5th March 2016 in History |
    In an anonymous-looking warehouse in Hackney you’ll find the Museum of London Archaeology Archives. And behind the brick and steel building in N1 I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a tour, led by two enthusiastic volunteers. Here are all manner of finds, from masses of bones to shards of pottery and large items deemed to big to store, are safely stored in buff-coloured boxes, clearly labelled. When anything is found at a dig they are deemed either ‘registered’ - of significant interest or man-made - or ‘general’, for items like broken shards or fragments of bone. Whenever a developer wants to build a new structure they have to...
 

The Chiswick V2

Posted by fairbankguy on 9th October 2016 in History | blitz,bomb-damage,bombing,second-world-war,staveley-road,v2,ww2
  Chiswick may be more famous for its eponymous Palladian house, Arts and Crafts Bedford Park and Fuller's Brewery but it’s also the site of the first recorded V2 rocket attack during the Second World War. On the evening of 8 September 1944, a rocket exploded in the middle of Staveley Road, Chiswick, outside number 5. Staveley Road lies just south of Chiswick House, the elegant mansion built in the 1720s for the 2nd Earl of Burlington by William Kent, and comprises a series of smart family houses constructed in the 1920s and 1930s. The explosion created a crater 9m in diameter and 2.5m deep. Three people were killed, including a 3 year-old...
 

Hidden Coade in the City

Posted by fairbankguy on 5th April 2018 in Design | coade,coade-stone,tours,walks,mrs coade,skinners company,lambeth,watermen,vintners,lion brewery,twinings
How many times have you crossed Westminster Bridge and gazed up at the large Lion Brewery feline on the southern end of the bridge? Or admired the two Chinese figures above the doorway to Twining’s in the Strand? Both sculptures were the product of a remarkable businesswoman by the name of Eleanor Coade. She was born in 1733 in Devon, the daughter of an unsuccessful wool merchant. In her thirties she headed for London and began to set up her own drapery business. She added the title ‘Mrs’ as a courtesy as it was highly unusual at the time for an unmarried woman to run their own company. Before long Mrs Coade had gone into partnership with a Da...
 

A Buzz around the City

Posted by fairbankguy on 22nd September 2015 in Food | beekeeping,bees,honey,city of london,wax chandlers company,honey lane,guildhall,nomura
Beekeeping has become quite trendy around London now and the City has caught onto this. It fills many companies' CSR and at the same time adds interest and a talking point. Indeed, if you’re a valued client of Nomura, you may receive a jar of honey as a present. Around the City you’ll find a hive or two on top of the London Stock Exchange in Paternoster Square as well as the Mansion House. I wonder if the Lord Mayor enjoys a dollop of honey on his toast in the morning? Today I had the pleasure of taking round some German students from Bavaria, some of whom are beekeepers. I naturally had to include a couple of spots along the way! Sadly th...
 

Ancient and Modern

Posted by fairbankguy on 20th May 2018 in History | art-deco,eltham,english-heritage,palace,tudor,henry viii,edward iv
In southeast London lie the remains of what was once a favourite palace of a young King Henry VIII, his father and grandfather. Eltham Palace dates back to the 1300s, when it was given to Edward II. In the 1470s Edward IV had a grand hall built - it was where he spent his last Christmas in 1482 - but by the 1600s this moated manor had gone out of fashion. It took a member of the textile magnates, the Courtaulds, to transform it into a place of luxury, with all the latest designs and gadgetry. For the last 20 years English Heritage have looked after it, and on a sunny spring day it is a glorious site. Eltham Palace is very much a palace of two halve...
 
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