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Taking the Plunge in Greenwich Park

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 23, 2020, In : Georgian 
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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Connecting the World from South-East London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Friday, April 17, 2020, In : Local History 
In the latter part of the nineteenth century the new industries of chemicals, electrical engineering and pharmaceuticals increasingly took the place that cotton and railways had occupied as the leading sectors in an earlier phase of industrialization. Increasingly too, it was the fast-growing economies of Germany and the US that blazed the path for the new technologies.

One of the new industries, electrical machinery under the influence of German know-how put down roots in Charlton in south-...

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Woolwich Arsenal: Classical Splendour Meets Storage Space

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, April 14, 2020, In : 20th century 

The Grand Store at the Woolwich Arsenal was built between 1806 and 1813, by James and Lewis Wyatt, and as the name implies was used to house items for the Arsenal itself, and for bits of kit for the army and navy. The picture shows Building 46, which was the western wing. It is built in brick, with Purbeck limestone dressings. In the middle is a triangular pediment supported on four giant pilasters. The windows are recessed and those on the ground floor are arched. The building was not made c...


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Merchant Seamen’s Memorial, Trinity Square

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Thursday, April 9, 2020, In : Local History 

Just north of the Tower and in front of Trinity House stands the Mercantile Marine Memorial, which was built to commemorate the merchant seamen killed in the Great War.


It is a vaulted passage way with three bays, and with Doric columns.The dead are listed under the names of their ships on bronze plaques on the walls. It was designed by Edwin Lutyens, with the sculpture by William Reid Dick. Reid Dick’s other work includes the boy and goose on Lutyens’ headquarters for the Midland Bank, no...


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End of the Line for London’s Effluent

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, City of London Tour Guide on Saturday, April 4, 2020, In : Victorian 

Situated 11 miles down river along the Thames Path from London Bridge is a Victorian building 

containing the world’s largest rotative steam engines. Crossness Pumping Station, built between 1859 and 1865,  is the end point on the south bank of the river of Joseph Bazalgette’s sewer system.


There were four engines built by James Watt & Co. named Albert Edward, Alexandra, Prince Consort and Victoria, named after the leading members of the royal family, which lifted the raw, untreated waste a...


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Medieval London: Holy Trinity Priory

Posted by Ian, City of London Tour Guide on Tuesday, February 4, 2020, In : Medieval 

If you peer in the window of a modern office building at the end of Leadenhall Street, where it meets Fenchurch Street, you can see what is left of Holy Trinity Priory. All that remains is an arch which once led from the choir to a side chapel. There is little to indicate the priory’s former grandeur.

Holy Trinity was one of England’s wealthiest religious houses, and after the crown it was the largest landowner in the capital. We have a papal taxatio - a valuation - from 1291 whic...


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Leadenhall Market: the Heart of Roman London

Posted by Ian McDiarmid, London Tour Guide on Friday, January 3, 2020, In : Roman London 

Leadenhall Market stands in the very centre of Londinium, for underneath its buildings and avenues lie the remains of the forum.

The Romans began their conquest of Britannia in 43AD, and the settlement of London began sometime after. We do not know exactly when, but perhaps the most important find from a great deal of archaeological digging in the capital points to very rapid development. A timber drain found under No 1 Poultry dates to 47AD, indicating that a road was constructed by ...


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Cartwright Gardens: classical calm off the Euston Road

Posted by Ian McDiarmid on Friday, December 20, 2019, In : Kings Cross 

Cartwright Gardens is a graceful crescent of brick buildings with stuccoed ground floors. The first floors facing the street have finely wrought iron balconies and the top, fourth floor is marked off from the lower levels by a heavy white lintel. Otherwise, the facades are plain with recessed sash windows picked out in white.

The effect is of restrained classical elegance. It lies just south of Euston Road in Bloomsbury, and features in our King’s Cross Walk. The buildings a...


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