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6 results for westminster-abbey found within the Blog

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A Gem of a Gallery

Posted by fairbankguy on 1st June 2018 in Christianity | diamond-jubilee,funeral-effigies,monarchy,treasures,westminster,westminster-abbey
High in the triforium, some 16m above the nave of Westminster Abbey, are The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Galleries. It’s accessed by the Weston Tower, designed by Surveyor to the Fabric Ptolemy Dean and the first structural addition to the 1,000 year-old Abbey since the 1700s.  As you ascend the 108 steps look for the 17 bands of stone used in its construction, which includes Purbeck marble, Reigate stone, Kentish ragstone and Caen stone - different building material used throughout the Abbey’s history.  When you finally reach the top you’re in for a treat, for here the Abbey has on display some of its finest treasures. The galleries are div...
 

Waltham’s Cross

Posted by fairbankguy on 25th October 2016 in sculpture |
A few miles north of London, just off the M25, lie the market towns of Waltham Abbey and nearby Waltham Cross. Both settlements have seen better days but they’re full of history that stretches back 1,000 years. Waltham Cross takes its name from one of the Eleanor Crosses that King Edward I erected after his wife Eleanor of Castile (d. 1290) died at Harby, Nottinghamshire.    Eleanor and Edward were happily married for 36 years and she bore him 14 children. When she died he was devastated and planned to erect a series of funeral monuments, wherever the funeral cortege stopped on its way to Westminster Abbey. Of the 12 he erected, from...
 

Take your Pyx

Posted by fairbankguy on 3rd February 2016 in History | goldsmiths,trial of the pyx,coinage,assay office,remembrancer
The Trial of the Pyx is an ancient ceremony that dates back to the 13th century. Its purpose is to check that all UK coinage produced at The Royal Mint is of sufficient weight and composition. The name ‘pyx’ refers to the boxes in which the coins are carried and comes form the Pyx chamber in Westminster Abbey, where important artefacts were housed. We believe there was some quality control in early medieval times but it was in the reign of Henry II (1154-89) that regular tests took place By the mid-13th century the Trial had begun to take the form we know today. Early trials were first held in Westminster until 1580, when Elizabeth I decree...
 

Ding Dong!

Posted by fairbankguy on 30th July 2015 in Government & Organisation | parliament,elizabeth tower,big ben,tower,westminster,houses of parliament,charles barry,pugin
Thanks to my fellow City of London Guide Lindsay Schussman, today I enjoyed a visit to The Elizabeth Tower, part of the Palace of Westminster, which houses Big Ben. It’s a stiff climb up the 334 steps but it’s worth it! To see the famous bell and its 4 smaller companions, then hear them chime (wearing ear plugs!) was unforgettable. The 96m tower was designed by architect Charles Barry, assisted by the Gothic genius that was AWN Pugin. The bell itself was not the first one; that 16 tonne one, built in Stockton-on-Tees, was damaged, so the Whitechapel Foundry made a new one. The new 13.7 tonne bell was hauled up by hand, 63m up to the belfry....
 

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...
 

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...
 
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