Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Video: London on my Mind

Friday, May 5, 2017
Loretta reports:

I’ve got London on my mind even more than usual because I’ll be heading there in a few weeks to spend the entire month of June in an orgy of visits to museums, theaters, historic sites, and other Nerdy History Girl irresistible temptations.

The film's narrator, Rex Harrison, like 1950s London, is with us no more. But the travelogue does capture the scope of the place, reminding me that a month will never be enough, and a lifetime probably wouldn’t be enough. I also chose this film because it spends a few minutes in Fleet Street, the Inns of Court, and a few other places that feature in Dukes Prefer Blondes.

Londoners and London lovers, please feel free to suggest places for me to visit. I’m still working on my itinerary.

This Is London Reel 1 And 2 (1950-1959), courtesy British Pathé.

Readers who receive our blog via email might see a rectangle, square, or nothing where the video ought to be.  To watch the video, please click on the title to this post.


Caecilia Dance said...

The Sir John Soanes Museum is interesting - the former home of neoclassical architect John Soanes (1753-1837) which has all sorts of antiques and a great painting collection including some Hogarth (the whole series of A Rake's Progress and Humours of an Election). I've heard good things about the Wallace Collection as well. Also, you would probably enjoy the Fan Museum in Greenwich.

Anonymous said...

Denis Severs house in Spitalfields: recreation of the residential interior of an 18th century house, as if the inhabitants were still living there. You're not supposed to talk while inside so that it gives the feeling of just wandering through someone's home. Spitalfields is also an interesting area, a mix of old and (very) new. Check out Princelet Street.

Victoria and Albert Museum (obviously).

Day trip to Bath if you've never been before: excellent Fashion/Costume museum and Regency architecture.

Camden Passage in Angel Islington (Google 'camden passage islington' and you'll find a website listing the shops and market days). Annie's Vintage Costume and Textiles is a great shop, and there's another vintage clothes shop (Cloud Cuckoo Land) around the corner in Charlton Place. If you go on a market day (Saturday maybe Wednesday too) there's usually a stall on the corner opposite Annie's selling vintage lace items. If you like knitting (and even if you don't) there's a fabulous upmarket knitting shop store called Loop which is great for yarn fondling.

If you're in the Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square area, a walk through Goodwin's Court is worth searching out. It's nothing major but is very picturesque (don't Google images beforehand because that will spoil it!). To get the best view enter it from the Covent Garden end (via Bedfordbury road) and exit into St Martin's Lane. Google the map but not the images.

Donna Hatch said...

How exciting that you'll be in England in June! I will be there in June for three weeks and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it! I will be in London, Brighton, Bath and the Lakes District. I hope you have a wonderful time and let's hope June brings us lovely weather!

Donna Hatch said...
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GrubStLodger said...

I came to say Sir John Soame's museum - it's really very unique and special.
I'd recommend a day in Greenwich, you could visit the museums there, but just wandering around the naval college is special.
The Museum of London is free and full of inspiration.. ... and it would be remiss not to mention Samuel Johnson's house, not far from the Cheshire Cheese pub in the video.

Marcia said...

How fantastic to have a month. Check out Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London

Loretta Chase said...

Thank you for the suggestions, and don't hesitate to keep them coming. I've put them all on my list!

Unknown said...

Hampstead and or Highgate villages. If the former try and see Fenton House and Keats's House and Church Row and St John's churchyard, full of artists, actors etc.. plus walk down New End and . If the latter get the 210 bus from Golders Green(Northern line Edgware branch) and stop at wonderful Kenwood House (free) an 18th century mansion on the top of the heath, lunch at the Spaniard's inn and then to Highgate.

For more working class London how about taking the Northern line to Kennington, turn left outside the tube and down Kennington Park Road late 18th houses where Charlie Chaplin lived at several addresses the turn into Cleaver Square next to City and Guilds art school. Then through to Kennington Cross and a bus back to Charing Cross - Craven Street next to the station with Ben Franklin's House... but you probably know this.

Behind Westminster Abbey there are hidden gardens you can walk through and some amazing 18th century streets Great College St, Lord North Street Smith Square, so near the main tourist but hidden from them. If you are in front of Westminster Abbey sanctuary you can walk through Dean's Yard - it is a public thoroughfare even though a security box at the front and this will take you through to Great College st. It may be closed because of security concerns but it never has been before despite IRA bombs, just ask, don't be put off.

Nearby Old Pye St and Strutton Ground (street market on weekdays) late 19th century dwellings that replaced the notorious Devil's Acre.

Loretta Chase said...

Jan, thank you! This is the kind of special insight one doesn't easily find in guidebooks. I've printed out your suggestions and they're coming with me to London!

Wendy said...

Definitely Sir John Soanes Museum. It's mindboggling.

Also, the Wallace Collection.

Another lovely small house is Leighton House in Kensington. He was a Victorian artist and collector.

The Courtauld Gallery is a very 'user-friendly' gallery. Amongst other things, it has the best collection of Impressionist and Post-impressionist paintings in London. It is part of Somerset House. Go in there and look at the famous staircase. On the Somerset House website you can find details of some walks they offer where they open up things that you can't normally get to. They look interesting but I've never managed to be there on the right day!

The National Portrait Gallery (next to the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square) is great for all the Kings and Queens.

A great walk is from Bankside to the Museum of London/Barbican. Start at Tate Modern or the Globe, walk across the Millenium Bridge, taking in views of St Pauls. Visit or walk round St Pauls. Go into One New Change and take the lift to the roof terrace. There you can look out over London. Then go back down to street level and walk up St Martins Le Grand towards Museum of London. On your left, just before you get to the museum is Postman's Park. There is a memorial there that honours ordinary people who gave their lives trying to save others. It is a very special place. From there you can either go into the Museum, wander round the amazing architecture in the Barbican or hunt out bits of London Wall. There are some interesting bits just to the right of the Museum, by a water feature.

Enjoy your time in London, it's a wonderful city to explore and much of what I have mentioned is free!

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