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A Modern Monument to 2,000 Years of History

July 21, 2020
A Modern Monument to 2,000 Years of History

As you cross the Thames on the Millennium Bridge (the “wobbly bridge”) you may well not be aware that immediately below you on the north bank river path there is a fascinating record of the history of London and the UK, scientific instruments/inventions and religion in London over the last 2,000 years.

 

Leading up to the year 2000 the northern riverside, round where the bridge is now, was completely regenerated. An accessible and pleasant riverside promenade was created where previously it had been a not very inviting area for the public.

 

As part of this regeneration, in 2002 one of the City of London’s livery companies, the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers, presented a “monument” to the City of London to mark the Millennium. It is a three-sided glass and steel obelisk designed by Joanna Migdal called the Millennium Measure. Cleverly MM is also the abbreviation for millimetre and also two thousand in Roman numerals, and the sides of the obelisk measure 2 metres or 2,000 millimetres.

 

One side traces significant events in the history of London and England/the UK from the creation of London by the Romans in the 1st century AD to the year 2000. Another covers religious developments in London from the Temple of Mithras in the first century to the first mosque in London in the 20th century. The third traces worldwide scientific inventions over the time London has existed. Many ideas which we may think were British inventions during the Industrial Revolution are in fact much older. How many of us would know that the idea for a steam turbine was developed in the first century AD – seemingly by Hero of Alexandria? It was no more than a toy and it took another 18 centuries before the modern steam turbine was produced.

 

The obelisk is absolutely fascinating and whenever I pass or lead a guided walk past it the temptation is to spend a long time taking in all the information – do you know what an odometer is? This is an ideal time to go on a walk through the City of London along the riverside – yesterday I was the only person on the promenade around the Millennium Bridge so no problem with social distancing. We are currently offering River Thames tours for private groups, so come along to see this modern monument!

 

A Recording Studio in St Johns Wood - but Not Abbey Road!

July 21, 2020

Abbey Road Studios in St John’s Wood is one of London’s biggest tourist hotspots that isn’t open to tourists. Thousands of people visit each year, graffitiing their name on the studio’s outside wall (and their neighbours’ walls too) and attempting to recreate the Beatles’ famous walk over the zebra crossing from the cover of the Abbey Road album. And rightly so. London should be proud of being the place where arguably the most famous album in the world was recorded, part of London...


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London’s First Coffeehouse

July 6, 2020

London’s first coffeehouse was founded in 1652 by the churchyard of St Michael’s, Cornhill. It was not quite the first coffeehouse in England, which had been founded in Oxford two years earlier, and it was not really a coffeehouse - more of a coffee shack. Business blossomed for the man behind it, Pasqua Rosee, and soon he was selling 600 dishes a day. From this start, the capital had acquired several hundred coffeehouses by the turn of the century, a development which set London apart fr...


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Ten Things To Know About Mary Seacole

June 18, 2020

Mary Seacole is credited as being a brave doctress and entrepreneur. There was an inner strength within Mary Seacole which made her overcome many barriers. Here are some facts about her. 



1. Born in Jamaica

Mary Seacole was born Mary Jane Grant on 23 November 1805 in Kingston, Jamaica. Her father was a Scottish soldier, and her mother was a practitioner of traditional Jamaican medicine. In 1655 Jamaica was seized by the British. At the time Mary was born, most Jamaicans worked as slaves. Howeve...


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Ten Things To Know About Florence Nightingale

June 18, 2020

Florence Nightingale is credited as the founder of modern nursing. She strived to improve the standards of nursing, notably during the Crimean war. There was something special and extraordinary about Florence Nightingale and here are some facts about her.



1. ‘International Nurses Day’ is on her birthday

International Nurses' Day is celebrated around the world each year on 12 May, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale's birth. Her birthday is also celebrated as International CFS (chronic f...


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Other murders in 1888

June 15, 2020

In 1888 there was a population of 5.5 million people in London. Murder was not that common as there were only 28 killings that year. At least six of these were crimes committed by Jack the Ripper! What about the other killings which are rarely mentioned? 


Apart from Martha Tabram, Mary Anne Nichols, Annie Chapman, Elizabeth Stride, Catherine Eddowes and Mary Jane Kelly, who were these other women? Well, the first was Emma Smith, a prostitute, who on 3rd April that year was attacked in the stre...


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