Make the most of London


Explore London's History Through a Modern Mosaic

May 4, 2020
Explore London's History Through a Modern Mosaic
Over the last 20 years the riverfront in central London has been transformed. In many places it used to be dominated by derelict warehouses and seedy streets – not the sort of place for a pleasant stroll. How things have changed! In particular, on both the north and south banks of the Thames between Waterloo Bridge and Tower Bridge the pleasant river paths now make the regenerated river frontage accessible in most areas.

Whilst the path on the south has much of cultural interest (galleries, theatres, a cathedral) and lots of bars and restaurants, the path on the north side is generally much quieter as it borders the business area of the City of London. However, if you venture along the north bank you will be surprised by what you can find. One of my favourite things is not something of great age – it is only 6 years old – but I find that those on our guided walks are delighted by it. Venture between the Millenium Bridge and Southwark Bridge at Queenhithe and you will find, along the side of the only surviving Saxon dock, a 30 metre long mosaic which illustrates the history of London from the visit of Julius Caesar in 55 BC right up to 2012 AD.

The course of the River Thames from the centre of London flows all the way through the timeline on the mosaics, ending with wind farms in the Thames estuary. Spot the river wildlife woven into the illustrations. We often associate mosaics with the ancient Romans – who founded London – but this is a modern artwork created by Southbank Mosaics. It consists of 164 panels which were initially created offsite with the help of 200 volunteers and installed in its final position in 2014. The panels are bordered by friezes into which are embedded fragments of pottery, shells and other small artefacts from the period illustrated in the particular panel. These were found on the Thames foreshore by the volunteers under the supervision of a properly accredited archaeologist. Remember you may collect artefacts from the Thames foreshore, even those just lying on the surface, only if you have obtained a special permit from the Port of Thames Authority.

Although I have seen the mosaic many times, I am amazed how each time I spot a detail for the first time. When we are able to resume our walks join us on our River Thames walk to see this modern artwork which illustrates London’s history in such an accessible way.

The Roman London Wall: Why it Was Built

April 28, 2020

The wall is the most imposing survivor from Roman London. It can be seen to good effect at Tower Green, Cooper’s Row, and inside a car park on London Wall. At Tower Green it stands 20 feet tall, with an extra 10 feet added in the medieval period. On top of the Roman wall there was probably a walkway which would have had a crenellated breastwork and been punctuated by turrets. The wall was two miles long, making it by far the longest city wall in the province of Britannia, and it would have ...

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Taking the Plunge in Greenwich Park

April 23, 2020
The remains of the house of Queen Caroline lie in the south-west corner of Greenwich Park. Easily missed, they require a degree of imagination to reconstruct what this area adjacent to what is now the wall might have looked like.

Caroline famously did not get on with her husband, George Prince of Wales who succeeded to the throne as George IV in 1820. They married in 1795 and had decided by 1796 to live apart as much as possible. 

She lived in Montague House on the site from 1798 to 1813, ta...

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John Pizer a Possible Jack the Ripper Suspect?

April 23, 2020
After Polly Nichols was murdered by Jack the Ripper on 31 August 1888, followed by Annie Chapman a few days later on 8 September, the police questioned many members of the local community asking if they knew anybody locally who showed a hatred for prostitutes, someone who might attack them, rob them or rape them.

Many people were eager to help the police catch this terrible killer and came forward with a possible suspect - John Pizer, a Polish Jew working at a boot- finisher. Being in that t...

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Earth Day 2020

April 22, 2020

Wednesday 22 April marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.

It’s a time when millions across the globe partake in positive action in order to raise awareness and save the planet.

This year will be different. Earth day 2020 will be the first ever digital Earth Day. Participants are encouraged to use hashtags #EarthDay2020 and #EARTHRISE to safely raise awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s clear to see benefits of reduced air traffic from the wonderfully bright blue skies across London...

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Virtual Events for Your Enjoyment

April 17, 2020

  • British Music Embassy Sessions - PRS for Music has gathered UK artists unable to play the cancelled SXSW festival for the British Music Embassy sessions. Here’s the link to their live sessions on Youtube.

  • English National Ballet Philharmonic - The musicians that make the ENB Philharmonic play the Swan Lake Overture from their homes. Available on Youtube.

  • Support independent musicians performing at home - Isolate Live is a Facebook page that is organising online streamed concerts fr...

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