Walking the City of London

Author: The City Gent Page 1 of 15

Non-religious stained glass.

I love looking at stained glass and not all of it in the City is religion-oriented even though it may be located in churches.

So here’s my selection. Some have appeared in previous blogs but I hope you enjoy seeing them again.

I’ll start with one of my favourite places, the Guildhall Art Gallery, where these examples appear at the west end. They all relate to City Livery Companies and were created by Stella Timmins to celebrate the Queen’s Golden Jubilee.

The Worshipful Company of Engineers …

The Guild of Air Pilots and Air Navigators …

The Worshipful Company of Gardeners (with Alfred, Lord Tennyson!) …

The Worshipful Company of Shipwrights …

The Worshipful Copany of Environmental Cleaners …

Doctors and nurses who gave their lives in wartime are commemorated in two lovely windows in the church of St Bartholomew the Less.

They were designed by Hugh Easton, following the loss of the earlier windows during World War Two. Easton was an eminent stained glass maker who also designed the Battle of Britain memorial window in Westminster Abbey. The design of the nurse in the window in Westminster Abbey is strikingly similar to that in the window here …

The doctors’ window …

Traditional pub glass in the Lamb Tavern Leadenhall Market

St Mary Abchurch’s connection with the Fruiterers Company is commemorated by this charming stained glass window …

The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London – True hearts and warm hands at St Margaret Lothbury

Stained glass windows which date from 1923 at Farringdon Station …

At St Giles Cripplegate there are a number of modern stained glass windows. In the baptistery is the Cripplegate Window, which celebrates the centenary of the Cripplegate Foundation www.cripplegate.org which gives grants, advice and support to local organisations. The Foundation was formally established in 1891 but its origins lie in gifts made to St Giles’ for the poor and the needy dating back centuries. John Sworder made the first recorded gift in his will, dated 2 April 1500, and the head at the top of the window represents him, the first of the pious donors of the parish that we know by name …

On the north wall is a memorial window to Edward Alleyn, the parish’s generous benefactor. The design is the work of John Lawson of stained glass studio Goddard & Gibbs and depicts Alleyn in the centre, as well as the Fortune Theatre (which he founded), almshouses (which he built in the parish and which were destroyed in the Second World War), and St Luke’s Church, Old Street …

At Southwark Cathedral, a few feet from the door, is the magnificent Shakespeare Memorial Window, Designed by Christopher Webb, it was created in 1954 to replace another destroyed in enemy action. It shows characters from the Bard’s plays …

The design uses the concept of the Jesse Tree. Prospero in the central light forms the trunk, with Ariel above and Caliban at his feet …

I’m sure you can spot Falstaff …

In the right hand window we find Lady Macbeth ,,,

Is this a dagger which I see before me, the handle toward my hand? Come, let me clutch thee …

and Hamlet …

Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio: a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy …

At the base, the last two of the Seven Ages of Man … …

The sixth age slips into the lean and slippered pantaloon, with spectacles on nose … and his big manly voice turning again toward childish treble … Last scene of all, is second childishness … sans teeth, sans eyes sans everything.

All the characters portrayed in the window are identified in this short article.

Since this year is the 300th anniversary of Sir Christopher Wren’s death, I think it’s very appropriate to reproduce this image of the beautiful ‘Wren window’ in St Lawrence Jewry. It was created in 1957 by Christopher Webb

The great man is flanked by the Master Carver Grinling Gibbons and the Master Mason Edward Strong. Below the three major figures the window shows various craftsmen at work – bricklayers, carpenters, plasterers, stonemasons and two of Webb’s own stained glass artists.

And below them are two more modern figures …

Cecil Brown and Reverend Frank Trimingham study the church plan, with the outline of the footprint of the church in front of them. On each side are the beautifully etched towers of many of the Churches Wren built, along with two different views of St Paul’s Cathedral.

And finally an example of the stunning widows designed by the artist and glass maker John David Hayward in St Michael Paternoster Royal on College Hill EC4, where Dick Whittington was buried in 1423.

I’m sure everyone knows the Whittington legend. He had given up on making his fortune in London but, as he headed home with his faithful cat, he heard the bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out the words:

Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London

Well, the bit about him being Lord Mayor is true, and it was four times rather than three, but two of the terms were consecutive.

Here Hayward shows that critical moment on Highgate Hill …

The church bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out behind him.

One commentator has said he rather resembles a flat-capped Hoxton Hipster – maybe there is an iPad in that bag.

I love the expression on the cat’s face. Perhaps he has seen a mouse …

You can read more about the legend at the wonderful Purr ‘n’ Fur website.

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The Great Tooley Street Fire.

Last week I said I would write more about the man commemorated on this plaque and the terrible event that prompted his bravery …

Here’s the memorial in close up …

It records the death of James Braidwood, Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade and reads : To the memory of James Braidwood, superintendent of the London Fire Brigade, who was killed near this spot in the execution of his duty at the great fire on 22nd June 1861.

The inscription is inside a laurel wreath in front of a burning building. A hose snakes from the building over the top of the wreath and coils up at the bottom right while over at the left rests a fireman’s helmet. The imagery includes a fire engine wheel and an axe.

The words on the flat support read as follows : A just man and one that feared god, of good report among all the nation.
Erected by the M. or Southwark Division of the Metropolitan Police
.
(Beneath the support)
S. H. Gardiner, New Kent Road

The quote is from the Bible, Acts 10:22.

James Braidwood (1800–1861) …

If you had been in London on Saturday 22nd June 1861, you may well have been tempted to make your way, with thousands of other sightseers, to watch the Tooley Street Fire burn its way from Cotton’s Wharf, which was eventually destroyed, through to Hay’s and other wharfs and warehouses to Tooley Street shops.

Omnibuses were packed: ‘Men were struggling for places on them, offering three and four times the fare for standing room on the roofs, to cross London Bridge‘ and: ‘...every inch of room on London Bridge was crowded with thousands and thousands of excited faces’. Also reported: “Peripatetic vendors of ginger beer, fruit and other cheap refreshments abounded and were sold out half a dozen times over. Public houses, in defiance of Acts of Parliament kept open all night long, and did a roaring trade‘.

It is estimated some 30,000 spectators came from all over the city. By late evening the fire stretched from London Bridge to Custom House. Properties destroyed included offices, an American steamer, four sailing boats and many barges as ‘..burning oil and tallow poured in cascades from the wharfs and flowed out blazing on the river‘.

The following print from the time gives an impression of the scale and ferocity of the fire. The southern tip of London Bridge can just be seen on the right edge of the print …

Great Fire at London Bridge

Image credit: London Metropolitan Archives, City of London: catalogue ref: p5354642

The river is full of boats carrying spectators, and I suspect the watermen of the river found it very profitable to give people a close up view of the fire, although this could be dangerous. Look at the larger boat on the left edge of the print. A fire has started onboard and a figure is seen jumping into the river from the vessel.

The fire as viewed from Tooley Street …

There were a number of casualties during the fire. Five men who were in a boat collecting tallow floating on the river were either burnt to death or drowned when their boat caught fire. A number of men working in the area of the warehouses fell into the river and drowned. Those suffering burns were taken to St Thomas’s Hospital, which also included a man who had his neck broken when the chain from a fire boat was caught around his neck.

The memorial in Tooley Street records the name of the most high profile casualty – the Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade Mr James Braidwood. The jury at the inquest heard that he had been in among his fire fighters handing out brandy and encouragement when the wall fell on him, killing him instantly.

The following report details the circumstances of his death:

‘Mr Braidwood, who had visited the men several times, was engaged in giving them some refreshment, when, all of a sudden, a terrific explosion occurred. In an instant it was seen that the whole frontage of the second warehouse was coming down, falling outwards into the avenue. Mr Henderson, the foreman of the southern district of the brigade, who was standing within a few paces of Mr Braidwood, shouted for all to run. The men dropped their hose branches. Two, with Mr Henderson escaped by the front gateway, and the others ran in the opposite direction on to the wharf where they jumped into the river. Mr Braidwood made an effort to follow Mr Henderson, but was struck down by the upper part of the wall, and buried beneath some tons of brickwork. His death must have been instantaneous. Several of his men rushed to extricate him, hopeless as the task was, but another explosion happening, they were compelled to fly. The sad fate of their chief had a most depressing effect upon all, and, to add to their trouble, the conflagration now assumed a most awful ascendancy’.

His funeral procession …

James Braidwood was buried at Abney Park Cemetery on 29 June 1861.

He left a widow and six children. His wife had already suffered a similar bereavement as a son from a previous marriage had died fighting a fire in Blackfriars Road in 1855 and Braidwood was buried next to him. The funeral procession was almost a mile and a half in length and, as well as the London Fire Brigade, there were members of the City and Metropolitan Police forces, members of the remaining private fire-brigades, along with many prominent persons of mid Victorian London.

As a mark of respect, every church in the city rang its bells. The buttons and epaulets from his tunic were removed and were distributed to the firefighters of the The London Fire Engine Establishment.

Braidwood was a truly remarkable man whose thoughts about fire fighting and, most importantly, fire prevention were way ahead of his time. For example, fire spread quickly throughout the warehouses as the iron fire doors, which separated many of the storage rooms, had been left open. It is believed if they had been closed, as recommended by Braidwood, the fire may have burnt out, avoiding disaster.

I have found researching this episode in London’s history to be absolutely fascinating. If you find yourself in Tooley Street, glance up at the memorial to remember the Great Tooley Street Fire and the Superintendent of the London Fire Brigade, Mr James Braidwood.

Here are my sources – I hope you find browsing them interesting :

A London Inheritance (excellent as usual).

The London Fire Brigade website.

James Braidwood – Pioneer of Modern Firefighting.

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A wander down Tooley Street – A King of Norway, charming chimps and a beautiful figurehead.

Why is this splendid Art Deco building on Tooley Street called St Olaf House?

Why is it called St Olaf House? The answer is beautifully engraved on the wall …

The man himself …

The main entrance …

St Olaf House was built between 1928 and 1932 for the Hay’s Wharf Company and now houses the London Bridge Private Hospital’s consulting and administration rooms. You can read more about the building here.

Walking east you come acoss Hay’s Galleria …

In a fountain at the centre is a 60 ft moving bronze sculpture of a ship, called The Navigators, by sculptor David Kemp, unveiled in 1987 to commemorate the Galleria’s shipping heritage …

There are also some chimps from the Chimps Are Family Trail

Further east on the south side of the road is The Shipwrights Arms, built in 1884 and now a Grade 2 listed building. I love the beautiful lady figurehead above the main door …

Back on the north side it’s easy to miss this commemorarive plaque …

It reads as follows : To the memory of James Braidwood, superintendent of the London Fire Brigade, who was killed near this spot in the execution of his duty at the great fire on 22nd June 1861. A just man and one that feared god, of good report among all the nation.

I shall be writing more about the heroic James Braidwood and the Great Tooley Street Fire next week.

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Lots to see at the Guildhall Art Gallery – William the Conqueror, Peabody Buildings, the regulation of bread and Lord Mayors’ Shows.

Visiting the Guildhall Art Gallery is always a treat. Exhibitions change all the time and, tucked away near the cloakroom, is the small City of London Heritage Gallery, which is free to enter.

There are not many exhibits but they are usually all fascinating.

Seek out this little display. It contains the William Charter of 1067, the City of London’s oldest document, which tells us what happened when William I reached London after the Battle of Hastings …

Written on vellum (parchment) in Old English, it measures just six inches by one-and-a-half inches. It also comes complete with one of the earliest surviving seals from William the Conqueror’s reign …

Translated into modern English, the Charter reads as follows:

‘William the king, friendly salutes William the bishop and Godfrey the portreeve and all the burgesses within London both French and English. And I declare that I grant you to be all law-worthy, as you were in the days of King Edward; And I grant that every child shall be his father’s heir, after his father’s days; And I will not suffer any person to do you wrong; God keep you.’

City of London historians point out that one of the citizens’ primary concerns, as expressed by the words – “And I grant that every child shall be his father’s heir, after his father’s days” – was to ensure that their property handed down to the son and heir, rather than attracting the interest of the Crown.

Nearby there’s a cabinet dedicated to the great philanthropist George Peabody (1795-1869). In retirement he devoted himself to charitable causes setting up a trust, the Peabody Donation Fund, to assist ‘the honest and industrious poor of London’. The Peabody Trustees would use the fund to provide ‘cheap, clean, well-drained and healthful dwellings for the poor’ with the first donation being made in 1862. The exhibition contains an illustration of the estate at Clapham Junction …

My ‘local’ estate is the one on Whitecross Street and dates from 1883 – the design is very typical Peabody, with honey coloured bricks and a pared down Italianate style …

Here he sits, looking pretty relaxed, at the northern end of the Royal Exchange Buildings …

You can read more about him here in my blog City Living.

The Assize of Bread and Ale was a 13th-century law which regulated the price, weight and quality of the bread and beer. This medieval custumal (collection of customs) has drawings of bakers at work and others being punished for selling underweight loaves …

The punishment for the first offence was to be dragged through the city with the offending loaf around the person’s neck …

Incidentally, a second offence punishment was to be put in the pillory for an hour …

This may not sound like much but in addition to being jeered and mocked, those in the pillory might be pelted with rotten food, mud, offal, dead animals, and animal excrement. Sometimes people were killed or maimed in the pillory because crowds could get too violent and pelt the offender with stones, bricks and other dangerous objects.

On committing a third offence the baker’s oven was pulled down. This was the end of the person’s business, so unless someone bailed them out, they would be destitute.

The legislation was continually updated as this poster from 1905 illustrates …

At the Gallery there are films running showing, among other scenes, glimpses of the 1960 Lord Mayor’s show …

There are two paintings of a show near the main gallery entrance. This is 12:18 and 10 seconds (2010) by Carl Laubin

The other is one of my favourites, William Logsdail’s painting entitled The Ninth of November 1888

Although it’s the Lord Mayor’s procession in this picture he is nowhere to be seen and the artist has concentrated on the liveried beadles (who he actually painted in his studio)…

… and the people in the crowd …

There is a minstrel in blackface with his banjo and next to him a little boy is nicking an orange from the old lady’s basket. On the right of the picture the man in the brown hat, next to the soldier with the very pale face, is Logsdail’s friend the painter Sir James Whitehead.

Naughty boy!

It’s a sobering thought that, not far away in the East End that afternoon, police were discovering the body of Mary Kelly, believed to be the last of Jack the Ripper’s victims.

By the way, the Heritage room also has on permanent display a back lit illustration of the famous Agas Map …

I have spent ages looking at it spotting street names that still exist today and open speces like Moorfields …

You’ll find an interactive version here, have fun exploring it.

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More Street Art to kick off the New Year.

Last week I had another wander around Brick Lane and nearby streets to see what I could find.

A lot of new stuff has appeared since my last visit and here’s my selection …

I like this chemist. They seem to keep their entire stock on display in the window ..

Goodbye Brick Lane – see you again soon …

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Ending 2022 on a lighthearted note.

I’ve been taking a relaxing break over Christmas so haven’t really thought about a theme for the last blog of 2022. So this is a bit of a mish-mash of images that I hope you might find interesting and amusing.

Delivering Christmas cards by hand I came across this doormat (it doesn’t take much to make me laugh this time of year) …

Mr Coot finding his way to the Barbican Centre by following the trusted yellow line …

Cute image of the year – proud mum …

Laid-back Bermondsey cat …

Lego Christmas tree at the Royal Exchange …

Building works on Coleman Street – what nice ideas …

Leadenhall market Christmas tree constantly changing colour …

Nice architectural lighting on Fore Street …

Betty Boop and Donald Duck on my Christmas tree …

Some of this year’s eating out experiences.

Bonkers mural in my favourite restaurant Trattoria Brutto in Farringdon …

Impressive entrance to Ivy Asia …

And finally, one of my favourite restaurant desserts – Chocolate Bombe at The Ivy City Garden …

Add hot chocolate …

Wow, that was good …

Best wishes to all my friends – thank you so much for subscribing. I wish you a happy, healthy and successful 2023!

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The Christmas Quiz!

Hello, friends, Happy Christmas!

It’s time again for the Christmas Quiz based on my blogs from 2022. I trust you are all OK in these difficult times and send you my very best wishes for 2023. I am sure that, like me, you hope that it will bring happier times for everyone than the year gone by.

Here are this year’s questions.

1. These families enjoying the pleasures of a sandy beach are not at the seaside. Where are they?

2. In the Seething Lane Garden a paving stone has a carving showing a pair of forceps and a bladder stone. Whose surgical operation is represemted?

3. Where will you find the extraordinary tomb of Dame Mary Page?

4. In St Margaret Lothbury you’ll find this lovely stained glass window showing the motto of one of the City Livery Companies – True Hearts and Warm Hands. What Livery Company is it?

5. What is this chap up to and where is he?

6. In 1818 a coffin was patented that would be extremely difficult to open. It was made of iron with spring clips on the lid and an example is on display in St Bride’s Church Fleet Street …

Why did people believe such an invention was needed?

7. A couple got married here in Wesley’s Chapel on 13 December 1951 and one of them went on to become Prime Minister, later donating this communion rail in 1993 …

What were the names of the couple?

9. Outside the Guildhall, this sculpture shows a man pausing on Highgate Hill having just heard the bells of St Mary-le-Bow ring out a message. He’s giving it some serious thought as his cat curls around his legs (note the tear in his leggings indicating that he has experienced hard times) …

Who is he? And what was the message he heard?

10. What were these items of footwear for and what City church hosts this little exhibition?

11. This door in Leadenhall Market at 42 Bull’s Head Passage is featured in a Harry Potter film. What part did it play?

12. Looking down onto the Thames River bed one can often see red tiles, bits of chalk and oyster shells. How did they get there?

13. What busy London railway terminus was home to the London Necropolis Company whose trains carried coffins containing deceased Londoners out of the capital to the new cemetery at Brookwood?

14. What East End Gallery boasts these beautiful leaves covered in gold leaf by the artist Rachel Whiteread?

15. The tree in the background is Cercis siliquastrum, but what is its more sinister nickname?

16. This sculpture is part of the 2022 Sculpture in the City project. Where can it be found?

17. This is the face of a young woman found drowned in the River Seine in Paris in the late 1880s. No one could identify the body, but the pathologist reportedly became fascinated with her serene expression and commissioned a death mask. Soon multiple reproductions were on sale throughout Paris …

However, she later became very well known for another reason. What was it?

18. Described as ‘the most outstanding English poet before Shakespeare’ here he is in the Guildhall Art Gallery …

Who was he and what is his most famous work?

19. This church’s dome, dating from 1672, was Christopher Wren’s prototype for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the first classical dome to be built in England at the time. What’s the name of the church?

20. This is the entrance to what was once one of the most heavily guarded areas areound St Katharine Docks. Can you guess what was stored there?

Answers to the quiz along with links to previous blogs and sources :

1. People had walked on the Thames foreshore for thousands of years but Tower Beach, as it was known, was created in 1934 by bringing 1,500 barge loads of sand to the site alongside the Tower of London. When it was officially opened, King George V decreed that the beach was to be used by the children of London, and that they should be given ‘free access forever’. Read all about it here along with some great images.

2. Samuel Pepys – at the age of 25 he survived an operation to remove a bladder stone ‘the size of a tennis ball’. You’ll find my blog about the garden here.

3. In the Bunhill Burial Ground. It appears that Mary Page suffered from what is now known as Meigs’ Syndrome and her body had to be ‘tap’d’ to relieve the pressure. She had to undergo this treatment for over five years and was so justifiably proud of her bravery and endurance she left instructions in her will that her tombstone should tell her story.

4. It’s The Worshipful Company of Glovers of London. Here’s the link to the blog about this window and other fascinating aspects of the church.

5. Taxi! by the American Sculptor J Seward Johnson is cast bronze and is now interestingly weathered. If you think the baggy trousers, moustache and side parting are erring on the retro, that’s because this particular office worker was transferred from New York in 2014. It was sculpted in 1983 and originally stood on Park Avenue and 47th Street. It’s now on the north side of Queen Victoria Street. Read more about what’s in the fairly close vicinity here.

7. Until well into the 18th century the only source of corpses for medical research was the public hangman and supply was never enough to satisfy demand. As a result, a market arose to satisfy the needs of medical students and doctors and this was filled by the activities of the so-called ‘resurrection men’ or ‘body snatchers’. Some churches built watchtowers for guards to protect the churchyard, but these were by no means always effective – earning between £8 and £14 a body, the snatchers had plenty of cash available for bribery purposes.

One answer was a coffin that would be extremely difficult to open and such an invention was patented by one Edward Bridgman of Goswell Road in 1818. Read more about the St Bride’s Museum where it’s on display here.

8. Margaret Thatcher (then Margaret Roberts) married Denis Thatcher here on 13 December 1951 and both their children were christened here. Read more about the Chapel here.

9. Dick Whittington is on Highgate Hill and the message from the bells of St Mary-le-Bow declares ‘Turn again Whittington, thrice Lord Mayor of London’. Well, the bit about him being Lord Mayor is true, and it was four times rather than three, but two of the terms were consecutive. Unlike the pantomime story, the historical Richard Whittington (1358-1423) was the youngest son of Sir William Whittington, a wealthy Gloucestershire Squire. By his early thirties, he was a successful London mercer and extremely weathy in his own right (and there is no record of him ever owning a cat). You can read more about him here.

10. Pattens were under-shoes slipped on to protect the wearer’s shoes or clothing – not least from the filth on the streets in the Middle Ages. The church hosting the lttle display is St Margaret Pattens and has long had an association with the Pattenmakers’ Guild.

11. It plays the door of The Leaky Cauldron, a popular wizarding pub. Here Hadrig leads Harry through the ‘pub door’ …

12. The picture, taken at Queenhithe Dock, shows a collection of medieval (and possibly Roman) roof tiles. Oysters were once a common food for the population (even poor folk) and large chalk beds were once laid down to provide a soft settling place for barges at low tide.

13. It was Waterloo Station. Read more about the Necropolis company’s fascinating history here.

14. It’s the Whitechapel Gallery – read more about it and see more images here.

15. It is also known as the ‘Judas tree’. This comes from the legend that Judas Iscariot, full of shame after his betrayal of Jesus, hanged himself from one of its branches. You’ll find the relevant blog here.

16. Aldgate Square – if you look closely you can just read the street sign. Here’s a link to this and other works.

17. In the 1950s a Norwegian toymaker, Asmund Laerdal, was commissioned to produce a mannequin in which people could practise mouth-to-mouth and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Seeking a non-threatening model, he chose LInconnue (as she was known) and when his mannequin was mass-produced she became world-famous for a second time, known to this day as ‘Resusci Anne’. The death mask pictured here is held in the fascinating Museum of the Order of St John.

18. This is Geoffrey Chaucer and the most famous of his works was The Canterbury Tales.

19. It’s St Stephen Walbrook. Read about a visit I made there four years ago here.

20. Ivory, of course, in a specially designed building. Read all about it and other fascinating sights around St Katharine Docks here.

I hope you enjoyed doing the Quiz and found it fun – my very best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

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More Christmas decorations and an unexpected snowfall.

I’ve been out snapping again seeing how places and organisations are getting in the Christmas mood.

Here’s the shopping mall at St Pancras …

And on guard at Searcey’s Restaurant …

Chiswell Street law firm …

The City tree in front of St Paul’s …

Another alongside St Mary-le-Bow ,,,

At the Mansion House …

On Moorgate …

At WeWork …

One of the nicest efforts, the Institute of Chartered Accountants …

Also brilliant is the ‘tree’ at One New Change …

88 Wood Street always looks welcoming …

London Wall …

Bread Street …

Goswell Road …

Festive pharmacy …

And finally, some real snow!

Do remember to log-in next week for the famous Christmas Quiz!

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It’s Christmas decorations time – let’s get in the mood!

Yes, it’s that time when I go out and about trying to capture a bit of decorative joy before the Festive Season begins in earnest.

And what better place to start than the stunning display at the Leadenhall Building, fondly known by all as The Cheesegrater …

I love the arch through the tree …

It’s also home to Emma Smith’s neon artwork We (2019).

We are alone …

We are all one …

Read all about the thoughts behind its design here.

Whilst there I enjoyed a rather lovely lunch at Bob Bob Ricard which is situated on the third floor …

The view from the lift …

The Gherkin, my favourite modern City building …

Another beautiful piece of architecture, King’s Cross Station …

Outside the Station …

At The Landmark Hotel …

On London Wall …

Illumino at City Point …

Also at City Point …

At the Barbican …

Just off Bishopsgate …

And finally, something a bit bonkers near Great Ormond Street that made me smile …

Little aliens have landed on a post box …

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A wander near the Tower of London. Windmill Girls and Waterways.

Visitors to the Tower looking down towards the river probably don’t give a second thought to this little strip of sand …

Here it is as seen from the cruise boat access bridge …

People had walked on the Thames foreshore for thousands of years but Tower Beach, as it was known, was created in 1934 by bringing 1,500 barge loads of sand to the site. When it was officially opened, King George V decreed that the beach was to be used by the children of London, and that they should be given ‘free access forever’.

Take a look at these wonderful images starting with the lovely girls from the famous Windmill Theatre …

East end lads having a great time …

Sadly it had to be closed in 1971 because of the danger of pollution to bathers.

You can see more if you click on this link to the article the images come from in the MailOnline.

This exciting sculpture, Girl With a Dolphin, was created in 1972 by David Wynne

It looks even better when its water fountain is working.

I know not everyone likes The Shard but I appreciate the way it mirrors the sky, especially on a stormy day …

That’s the well-camouflaged HMS Belfast in the foreground.

St Katharine Docks opened on the 25th October 1828 and this painting shows the first ships entering during the opening ceremony …

The docks as they appeared in full operation …

These formidable lock gates are still in place and fully functioning …

St Katharine, a 4th century aristocrat, refused to marry the Emperor Maximilian and was punished by being tortured on a spiked wheel before being beheaded. Her usual symbols are a wheel and a book, and may also include the more general symbols of the virgin martyr, a crown and a sword. The saint on this plaque has two appropriate extra symbols: the water and the Tower …

You will see her portrayed throughout the area …

Posh flats and yachts …

You can glimpse The Gherkin and The Scalpel in the background …

Ivory House, designed by George Aitchison & Son in 1853, is the only
original warehouse still standing in St Katharine Docks today. It gets its name because of the vast amount of ivory that passed through it. At its
peak in the 1870s, nearly 200 tons of ivory was stored annually. Apart from the ivory, other luxury imports were stored such as perfume, shells, marble,
carpets, spices and wine. The London docks were the world’s greatest concentration of portable wealth …

Note the thickness and height of the walls lining the street – serious security …

Across the river is Butlers Wharf, once used to store vast quantities of tea …

The sculptress Paula Haughney has a number of her works on display around the area which have as their theme the merchandise which used to be unloaded here. The stones used for these sculptures were part of the original dock. You’ll find a guide to where they are and their titles here

This sundial was created by Wendy Taylor

The work has reminders of the dock’s past. The chains which support it are reminiscent of anchor chains. The ring of the sundial is a giant washer. The central gnomon is an enlarged nail.

Get your souvenirs here …

As I left the area and walked towards Tower Hill Station I noticed this curious building …

The London Hydraulic Power Company was established in 1868 to install a hydraulic power network in London. This expanded to cover most of central London at its peak, before being replaced by electricity, with the final pump house closing in 1977. This is the entrance to the Tower Subway which was originally an old pedestrian tunnel the Company bought to carry power under the Thames …

Just before I reached the station I noticed the Armistice Day wreaths left at the Tower Hill memorial. It commemorates more than 36,000 Merchant sailors who have no grave but the sea …

I also paused by the site of the old scaffold …

I have written about both memorials before in a blog entitled The Tower Hill Memorials – wars and executions.

Finally, just around the corner is this site …

I peeped through the railings …

The Royal Mint in its heyday …

This will now be the site of the new Chinese Embassy since its purchase in 2018. This has proved controversial and you can read more here and view plans here.

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Random subjects I found interesting, from street animals to stained glass. And did Batman and Robin share a bed?

Having a camera on my phone is a great asset but also leads to me taking pics of all kinds of random subjects that don’t have a particular theme. The time then comes when I don’t have a blog theme in mind so I cop out by publishing examples of this miscellaneous collection.

This is one of those times and I hope you enjoy this occasionally quirky selection.

I’ll start with the street animals.

Cricklewood Station boasts a friendly multi-coloured cow …

A cow painted in the red and green colours of the Portugal national football team stands outside a souvenir shop in the Algarve …

Same street – different cow …

Leadenhall market porker …

Every year the Worshipful Company of Paviours bring an inflatable animal (known as a St Anthony’s pig) to the Lord Mayor’s Show …

In medieval times the London meat market at Smithfield released pigs that were unfit for slaughter into the streets to fend for themselves. They were identified by a bell around their neck and some prospered sufficiently to get fat enough to eat. Every now and then the paviours (who maintained the roads) rounded them up and delivered them to feed the poor and needy in the care of St Anthony’s Hospital.

Now, from pigs to swans.

The Vintners and Dyers Companies share in the ownership of mute swans with the monarch and it is their job to catch and ring them in a ceremony known as ‘swan upping’ done each June. This man, the Swan Marker, is in charge of the Vintners’ Swan Uppers for the event, but also wears the uniform of Barge Master, dating back to the time when the Company owned a ceremonial barge on the Thames. Here he is with a feathered companion outside the church of St James Garlickhythe

The Barge Master badge …

Clever advertising in Portugal …

Gifts to take home from Portugal …

Gifts to take home from London …

A sunny day at the Regent’s Canal, St Pancras …

I grabbed this image since the sky and clouds were so attractive. St Stephen Walbrook (1672) was Christopher Wren’s prototype for the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the first classical dome to be built in England at the time …

Whoever decided to place this pool here in Cannon Street was a genius …

Lots of creative ideas for your pastry …

Batman and Robin street art snog …

You may be surprised to know that in the early 1950s comics they seemed to share a bed …

When observations were made about this the publishers were quick to make a statement, and I quote it here :

‘It’s necessary to point out that, no — they’re not sharing a bed, as many mistakenly think. You can distinctly make out a gap in the backboard, meaning that, though they are sleeping unusually close together for an adult guardian and his teen ward, they’re not in bed together‘.

So that’s cleared that up!

Nothing odd about a bit of nude sunlamp toning either, by the way …

Speculation as to the pair’s sexuality is discussed in The Slate article entitled, rather unfortunately, A Brief History of Dick.

I was invited for lunch at the Institute of Chartered Accountants and so got to see some of their splendid stained glass …

Another highlight of my year was seeing Tower Bridge raised. I have lived in London all my life and can’t recall witnessing this before in person rather than on TV …

And finally, another big ‘thank you’ to our wonderful City of London gardeners who work so hard all year to keep the place looking fresh and green …

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Fascinating surprises at the Guildhall Art Gallery.

A trip to the Guildhall art Gallery is always a treat and it is even more so now with its Inspired exhibition which runs until 23 December. It’s a new exhibition drawn from the Guildhall Art Gallery’s permanent collections that examines ways in which visual artists have taken inspiration from the literary arts – poetry, plays, novels, and also music.

Let’s start with this thoughtful, gentle man, sculpted by someone who knew him very well personally …

This is Terry-Thomas, a major star in the 1950s and 60s best known for playing disreputable members of the upper classes especially ‘cads’, ‘toffs’ and ‘bounders’ …

The last years of his life were tragic. Following his death, Lionel Jeffries called him ‘the last of the great gentlemen of the cinema’, while the director Michael Winner commented that ‘no matter what your position was in relation to his, as the star he was always terribly nice. He was the kindest man and he enjoyed life so much’.

This is the actress Valerie Hobson at the height of her career in 1948…

She gave up acting shortly after marrying her second husband John Profumo, the government minister who later became the subject of a sensational (and epoch-changing) scandal in 1963.

This picture was originally entitled Young Airman …

It’s now believed to be a portrait of Roald Dahl in his RAF uniform.

This is P C Harry Daley

His memoir This Small Cloud was published posthumously in 1987 and was a fascinating account of life as a working class gay man in the early 20th century.

This painting is entitled Keats Listening to the Nightingale on Hampstead Heath and represents the moment he was inspired to write his famous Ode published in 1819 …

The little bird can be seen in the top left hand corner, silhouetted by the moon …

Here’s the dramatic moment in Macbeth when, at a banquet, he sees the ghost of the murdered Banquo. His wife, the principal figure in the painting, tries to take control by firmly grabbing his shoulder …

The guests stare at him in surprise …

Beautiful sculptures on display include Sir Henry Irving as Hamlet …

Geoffrey Chaucer …

Goethe’s female character Mignon …

and the Hungarian composer Béla Bartók …

Learn more about these works by watching this excellent 15 minute video tour by Katty Pearce, the exhibition curator, or even better visit yourself – you won’t be disappointed …

Curator’s tour : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOO8TKdqZLE

I visited the day after the Lord Mayor’s Show and his State Coach was on display at the Basinghall Street entrance to the Guildhall piazza …

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The City and Wartime – special edition.

I wanted to do something special in view of the significance of tomorrow’s date so I will be writing about dramatic events that happened in or near the City during wartime. I also thought it would be appropriate to write again about some of the most moving of the memorials to be found around the City and suggest that this may be nice time to visit them since, for a few weeks now, wreaths, crosses and other tokens of remembrance will still be in place. Some of these stories and pictures have been posted before but I hope you don’t mind.

By coincidence, I have been reading historian Jerry White’s brilliant latest book The Battle of London 1939-45 and I reproduce below a short extract :

In the heavy seven-hour raid that started on Saturday 11 January 1941 and continued into Sunday … a High Explosive bomb burst through the roadway outside the Bank of England and exploded in the booking hall of Bank tube Station. The blast travelled through the top subways and escalators and swept shelterers and passengers off the platforms onto the path of trains pulling in. Fifty-two died … and the bomb left a deep crater blocking the seven-street interchange and three tube lines below

The City’s highway engineers, supplemented by army sappers, set to work on Sunday morning. Miraculously, and I use that word rarely, the ‘largest crater in London’ was speedily freed from rubble and on 1 February a temporary iron and steel bridge began to inch out from Cornhill to Poultry. It was completed and opened by the Lord Mayor on Monday 3 February …

The station was in use again by 17 March and by May the bridge had been dismantled and the interchange traffic was flowing once more.

Looking north a few weeks ago …

If you look carefully you can still see evidence of the wartime bombing with blast wounds on the wall of the Bank of England on Princes Street …

At 11:30 in the morning on 8th March 1945 Smithfield Market was extremely busy, with long queues formed to buy from a consignment of rabbits that had just been delivered. Many in the queue were women and children. With an explosion that was heard all over London, a V2 rocket landed in a direct hit which also cast victims into railway tunnels beneath – 110 people died and many more were seriously injured …

In the Grand Avenue, Central Markets, Smithfield (EC1A 9PS) is this memorial …

The original commemoration of names (above the red granite plinth) is by G Hawkings & Son and was unveiled on 22  July 1921. 212 people are listed.

Between Fame and Victory holding laurel wreaths, the cartouche at the top reads …

1914-1918 Remember with thanksgiving the true and faithful men who in these years of war went forth from this place for God and the right. The names of those who returned not again are here inscribed to be honoured evermore.

The monument was refurbished in 2004/5 and unveiled on 15 June 2005 by the Princess Royal and Lord Mayor Savory. The red granite plinth had been added and refers to lives lost in ‘conflict since the Great War’. On it mention is made of the women and children although the V2 event is not specifically referred to.

‘Thou hast put all things under his feet, all Sheep and Oxen’.

At the base is the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Butchers who helped to fund the refurbishment, along with the Corporation of London and the Smithfield Market Tenants’ Association.

It’s sometimes forgotten that the civilian population of London was also bombed during the First World War. The market was hit in 1917 by bombs dropped from a Zeppelin – you can still see the shrapnel marks nearby on the walls of St Bartholomew’s Hospital …

Herbert Mason’s famous photograph, taken from the roof of the Daily Mail building, of St Paul’s triumphantly rising above the inferno of smoke and flames below, came to symbolise for Britain and the world an apparently indestructible London …

The Cathedral did not escape totally. It was hit by a bomb which detonated in the North Transept …

Troops start a clean-up nearby …

In the foreground of the Royal Exchange stands London Troops War Memorial …

On either side two soldiers stand at ease, one representing the Royal Fusiliers and the other the Royal Field Artillery …

At the bottom of the list of battalions, two in particular caught my eye, the Cyclists and the Artists Rifles …

I came across this 1912 recruitment poster at the Imperial War Museum. It is poignant to look at this picture with its pretty village setting and then think of the industrial age war and slaughter that was soon to follow …

It was therefore quite a coincidence that, on 9th November 2018, the then Prime Minister Theresa May laid a wreath at the grave of a cyclist …

John Parr was the first UK soldier to be killed in the First World War on 21 August 1914. He was 15 when he signed up in 1912 but claimed to be eighteen years and one month. His comrades nicknamed him ‘Ole Parr’, which suggests that everyone knew he was much younger than he claimed, especially since on joining he was only 5 foot 3 inches tall and weighed just 8.5 stone! This is his grave at St Symphorium Military Cemetery, Mons, Belgium …

Parr was a reconnaissance cyclist in the 4th Battalion of the Middlesex Regiment and died on the outskirts of Mons, Belgium. Bicycles were commonly used in the War, not only for troop transport, but also for carrying dispatches. Field telephones were also limited by the need for cables, and ‘wireless’ communications were still unreliable. So cyclists – and runners, motorbike riders, pigeons and dogs – were frequently preferred by both the Allies and the German army. There is an interesting article on the subject by Carlton Reid in Forbes magazine 

The story of the Artists’ Rifles is a fascinating one.

The regiment was formed in 1859 by art student Edward Starling. It was a volunteer regiment and formed out of the widespread fear of a French invasion. Many of those who joined were artists, actors, musicians and architects and its first headquarters was located at Burlington House. The First World War would see the regiment literally leading from the front as they become a training regiment for officers in this period. It is also for this reason that the Artists Rifles had one of the highest casualty rates of any regiment.

This painting, Over the Top by John Nash, depicts his regiment in action. On 30th December 1917, the 1st Artists Rifles counter-attacked at Welsh Ridge, south-west of Cambrai. Nash called the action ‘pure murder’ as most of the company were killed. A sergeant, he counted himself lucky to escape the carnage …

Copyright : Imperial War Museum.

During the Great War, 2,003 of the regiment’s men were killed and over 3,000 wounded. Members of the regiment would be awarded eight Victoria Crosses and over 850 other military awards including the Distinguished Service Order (awarded 52 times) and the Military Cross (awarded 822 times). They were also mentioned in dispatches 564 times.

Incidentally, in the very first episode of the fourth series of Blackadder he becomes an artist, believing that this is his chance to escape the trenches. However, it is revealed that the artist’s role is to undertake a highly dangerous job – to draw the enemy’s defences from No Man’s Land.

The last episode of the series is renowned for its moving climax and you can view it here : Good luck everyone.

I also recommend a visit to the Tower Hill Memorial which commemorates men and women of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets who died in both World Wars and who have no known grave.

The First World War section commemorates almost 12,000 Mercantile Marine casualties and was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens with sculpture by Sir William Reid-Dick. It was unveiled by Queen Mary on 12 December 1928 …

The Second World War extension, which commemorates almost 24,000 casualties, was designed by Sir Edward Maufe, with sculpture by Charles Wheeler. It was unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II on 5 November 1955.

In the background, Neptune (standing on the old Port of London Authority headquarters) points towards the sea …

Within the garden the walls are overlaid with bronze plaques on which the names of the men and their ships are inscribed in relief. At regular intervals, between the inscription panels, are allegorical figures representing the Seven Seas. Here is one of them, Neptune with his trident …

And another, a mermaid combing her hair …

Images from my visit last November …

A few years ago I noticed a small cross resting on one of the allegorical figures, just above the dolphin’s head …

Here it is in close up …

How wonderful. Arthur Myers remembered by a grandchild and two great, great grandchildren. His ship, the Empire Lakeland, was sunk by a U Boat on 11 March 1943.

On 2 April 1982, Argentine forces landed in and captured the Falklands Islands. A task force was dispatched in order to retake the territory and this was accomplished when the occupying forces surrendered on 14 June that year. Nine members of the Merchant Navy and eight members of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary were killed in the conflict and their names are recorded here beneath those of their ships …

There is a Korean War Memorial outside St Sepulchre-without-Newgate Church (EC1A 9DQ) …

The Southwark Cathedral World War I bronze remembrance plaque is beautiful …

Another suggestion for a visit is the National Submarine War Memorial on Victoria Embankment (EC4Y 0HJ). Although able to hide when submerged, once struck the vessels were often unable to rise to the surface and became effectively underwater coffins. In the First World War fifty four boats were lost and with them the lives of 138 officers and 1,225 men. At the inauguration in 1922 Rear Admiral Sinclair, the Chief of the Submarine Service, reminded those present that, during the Great War …

The number of those killed in the Submarine Service was greater in proportion to its size than any other branch of His Majesty’s fighting forces … one third of the total personnel.

In November 1959 new panels commemorating Second World war losses were unveiled by Rear Admiral B W Taylor.

Wright and Moore, writing for the 20th Century Architecture website, describe the memorial as a complex mixture of narrative and symbolism …

Sculptor: F B Hitch Architect: A H R Tenison Founder: E J Parlanti

The central figures recreate the scene set inside the submarine exaggerating it into a small, claustrophobic tunnel. The crew use charts and follow dials, the captain is braced at the centre with the periscope behind his head. Around the vessel a shallow relief depicts an array of sea creatures or mermen appearing to trap and haul the submarine in fishing nets, reminding us that the submarines were as much prey to the tempestuous elements as they were to the enemy.

On both corners are allegorical figures. Next to the list of vessels lost between 1914 and 1918, Truth holds up her mirror. Just further to the left in the picture are two of the 40 bronze wreath hooks in the form of anchors …

On the right, next to the vessels lost in the Second World War, Justice wears a blindfold and as usual holds a sword and scales …

Here is an image from last year’s service …

This is the Memorial at the entrance to the church of St Bartholomew the Great …

Much of the late 19th and early 20th century church restoration work was carried out by Sir Aston Webb (1849-1930) and he also designed the memorial. It includes the name of his son Philip, who was killed in action on 25th September 1916 …

And now to Holborn and this work by Albert Toft. Unveiled by the Lord Mayor in 1922, the inscriptions read …

To the glorious memory of the 22,000 Royal Fusiliers who fell in the Great War 1914-1919 (and added later) To the Royal Fusiliers who fell in the World war 1939-1945 and those fusiliers killed in subsequent campaigns.

Toft’s soldier stands confidently as he surveys the terrain, his foot resting on a rock, his rifle bayoneted, his left hand clenched in determination. At the boundary of the City, he looks defiantly towards Westminster. The general consensus on the internet is that the model for the sculpture was a Sergeant Cox, who served throughout the First World War.

Behind him is the magnificent, red terracotta, Gothic-style building by J.W. Waterhouse, which once housed the headquarters of the Prudential Insurance Company. Walk through the entrance arch to the courtyard and you will see the work of a sculptor who has chosen to illustrate war in a very different fashion. The memorial carries the names of the 786 Prudential employees who lost their lives …

The sculptor was F.V. Blundstone and the work was inaugurated on 2 March 1922. All Prudential employees had been offered ‘the opportunity of taking a personal share in the tribute by subscribing to the cost of the memorial’ (suggested donations were between one and five shillings).

The main group represents a soldier sustained in his death agony by two angels. He is lying amidst war detritus with his right arm resting on the wheel of some wrecked artillery piece. His careworn face contrasts with that of the sombre, beautiful girls with their uplifted wings. I find it incredibly moving.

I have written about angels in the City before and they are usually asexual, but these are clearly female.

At the four corners of the pedestal stand four more female figures.

One holds a field gun and represents the army …

One holds a boat representing the navy …

At the back is a figure holding a shell representing National Service …

The fourth lady holds a bi-plane representing the air force …

The work is tucked away in the building’s courtyard, Waterhouse Square (EC1N 2SW), and I am sure that most of the thousands of people who walk along Holborn every day have no idea it is there.

St Peter’s Hill runs north alongside the College and at the top you will find the Firefighters Memorial. On its octagonal bronze base are the names of the 997 men and women of the fire service who lost their lives during the conflict. The sculpture features two firemen ‘working a branch’, with their legs spread to take the strain of the hose …

A sub-officer directs others to assist. There are clues to the identity of this figure scattered among the debris at the figures’ feet: the letters CTD for C.T. Demarne. At the unveiling, his colleagues from the fire service claimed that there was no need for such clues. One who was interviewed by the Telegraph stated: ‘You can tell it’s Cyril by the way he’s standing…he always waved his arms about like that when he was ordering us about’.

Officer Demarne in full flow.

By 1943 over 70,00 women had enrolled in the National Fire Service in the United Kingdom. This memorial commemorates those who lost their lives in the London bombings …

The lady on the left is an incident recorder and the one on the right a despatch rider.

Some images from various archives …

Holborn 25 October 1940 …

Ludgate Hill …

King William Street …

Queen Victoria Street …

December 1940 – Cripplegate with the shell of St Giles church in the background …

Inside the church …

St Giles today …

It’s ironic, isn’t it, that some remains of the old Roman and Medieval City walls seen here in the foreground were only completely revealed as a result of the bombing …

Tower 52’s poppy …

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At the Museum of the Order of St John. How a drowned lady gained immortality.

Consider this lady’s beautiful serene face …

Known as LInconnue de la Seine, read on further in the blog to discover her story and how she became world famous.

One has to acknowledge that, when walking through Clerkenwell, this building comes as a bit of a surprise …

The plaque reveals its history …

The museum that now occupies the building is a treat and entry is free. It tells the fascinating story of this famous organisation, from its origins in Jerusalem over 900 years ago to today’s modern St John Ambulance service. I only visited a small part of the museum so will be returning and aiming to take part in a guided tour.

The first exhibits you see…

The Order’s motto today is Pro Fide, Pro Utilitate Hominum – For the Faith and in the Service of Humanity. This duty of care is just as relevant today as it was 900 years ago in Jerusalem. The principles of the Order can be summarised in three words, which are inscribed on the central podium shown in the image above.

Faith – Like monks, the first Brothers of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem vowed to be poor, chaste and obedient …

Care – They took one other vow – to honour and care for the sick and the poor

Valour – Most of the Brothers were Knights trained in the arts of war. They used these skills to defend the Holy Land …

From the earliest times, the Order had female members. St Ubaldesca joined at Pisa around 1150 and after her death in 1205 she was canonised for her lifelong devotion to the care of others. This painting, from the 1600s, depicts her in a pious pose wearing the robes of the order …

I really like this poster from the 1950s representing as it does the spread of the modern Order throughout the world, initially via the British Empire …

A 1955 portrait of a St John Ambulance Brigade Officer and Nurse …

There’s definitely even more of a hint of Florence Nightingale and her lamp in this painting …

These two examples of suits of armour date from the 1500s to the 1800s but they broadly represent the kind of protection worn by the opposing forces during the Order’s long struggle with the Ottoman Empire.

The Turks favoured mail shirts …

The plate armour worn by European knights offered better protection but it was heavy, inflexible and – under the Mediterranean sun – soon became uncomfortably hot …

Siege relics …

A magnificent 16th century banqueting table decoration that once belonged to the treasury of the Knights of Malta in Valletta ..

The Ashford Litter …

A breakthrough in the transportation of patients allowing them to be moved comfortably by a single person.

The order played a pivotal role in caring for casualties in the First World War …

Just one of a number of display cabinets …

The triangular bandage is a staple component of first aid kits with many different uses. In the late 19th century the St John Ambulance Association started providing printed versions demonstrating how to use it …

Also in the cabinet there is an evocative painting from 1917 of a ward at the St John Ambulance Brigade Hospital, Étaples. The blanket of each bed is emblazoned with the eight-pointed cross of St John …

The insignia can be seen again on a red plaque above each bed, naming the donor who provided funds for it …

The Hospital in Étaples was the largest voluntary hospital serving the British Expeditionary Force during the First World War. It had a staff of 241, all from the St John Ambulance Brigade, and was considered by all who knew it to be the best designed and equipped military hospital in France, caring for over 35,000 patients throughout the war. On the night of the 19th May 1918, the hospital was hit by a bomb which killed five members of staff. Shortly after, on 31st May, a second bomb hit the hospital, resulting in eleven deaths and sixty casualties.

In April 1945, Ada Evelyn-Brown was one of a group of St John Ambulance nurses sent to care for newly liberated prisoners at the infamous Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in north-west Germany. Her photograph album is on display at the museum …

Finally, to a beautiful but tragic lady.

This is the face of a young woman found drowned in the River Seine in Paris in the late 1880s. No one could identify the body, but the pathologist reportedly became fascinated with her serene expression and commissioned a death mask. Soon multiple reproductions were on sale throughout Paris …

In the 1950s a Norwegian toymaker, Asmund Laerdal, was commissioned to produce a mannequin in which people could practise mouth-to-mouth and cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). Seeking a non-threatening model, he chose LInconnue and when his mannequin was mass-produced she became world-famous for a second time, known to this day as ‘Resusci Anne’.

I loved my visit to the museum and highly recommend it.

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Great sculpture and flying broomsticks, all within a 15 minute walk.

Sculpture in the City is back along with a fun new pop-up shop in Leadenhall Market. If you work nearby scroll down to the end of this blog for more details – you won’t be disappointed. Here’s a hint of what’s in store …

Let’s look at some sculpture first, and I shall include the explanatory plaques that accompany the works. This is just a selection – go to the website for full details.

I’ll start with the seriously weird at Aldgate Square EC3N 1AF …

Onward now to others starting with Summer Moon at Undershaft EC3A 8AH (Next to St Helen’s Church) …

I love the texture …

… and the location …

Sandwich at Undershaft, EC2N 4AJ (In front of Crosby Square) …

Rough Neck Business at 100 Bishopsgate EC2M 1GT …

Orphans at Cullum Street EC3M 7JJ …

Burial at St Botolph-without-Bishopsgate Churchyard EC2M 3TL …

Cosmos at Undershaft EC3P 3DQ (Between Aviva and the Leadenhall Building) …

Untitled at 70 St Mary Axe EC3A 8BE …

Generations (Part2) at The Leadenhall Building EC3V 4AB …

Miss at the corner of Bishopsgate & Wormwood Street EC2M 3XD …

And finally The Granary at Cunard Place EC3A 5AR …

Now for something completely different and lighthearted.

The fantastic Monster Supplies Company has opened a pop-up store in Leadenhall Market only a few steps from the Lamb Tavern …

Train strike day – no problem! Just grab a very reasonably priced flying broomstick and soar above the traffic as you head home …

The store was packed with visitors when I called in yesterday …

With Halloween coming up, and Christmas not far behind, there are lots of wacky present opportunities …

Kids seemed to love items with rather disgusting or gruesome names …

These are difficult times so pop along to Leadenhall Market. I guarantee you will feel more cheerful after your visit and maybe come away with Hope and Laughter …

The shop is open Tuesday to Friday from 11:00am to 6:00pm. If you can’t visit in person for any reason you can buy online here.

All proceeds from sales go to support the wonderful Ministry of Stories charity, a creative writing and mentoring centre for young people in Hackney aged 8 to 18. You could also visit their store in Hoxton which I have written about before in my blog entitled, not surprisingly, A visit to the Monster Supplies Store.

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Structures, clouds and reflections on a sunny day.

Bright sun, fluffy clouds, blue sky – just right for taking pictures. I decided to photograph some of the City’s newer buildings and see if I could make them look good – even the boring, ugly ones.

Here are the results.

I’ll start with everyone’s favourite …

The Gherkin, with the Guild Church of St Katharine Cree in the foreground.

Both reflected in the Scalpel building across the road …

The Gherkin reflected in the windows of Holland House …

This picture, which I took from a boat on the river, shows how the Gherkin is gradually being surrounded by new developments …

The Scalpel

The view from the roof garden at 120 Fenchurch Street …

The Walkie Talkie as seen from the same location …

The Cheesegrater

Lloyd’s of London

Lloyd’s meets 19th century Leadenhall Market …

Another new building starts to loom over the area …

Tower 42

The St Botolph building at Aldgate …

Clouds reflected …

At Liverpool Street Station …

City canyons …

Views from Bank junction …

Henry Greathead, the engineer who built the Underground railway, with the Shard and the Lloyd’s buildings in the background …

The Duke looks the other way …

Morning light at Ropemaker Street and nearby …

A spaceship moored in Cheapside …

London Wall looking east …

The tower of St Elsyng Spital – 14th century meets 21st …

London Wall Place …

The 17th century tower of St Alban Wood Street casts a shadow on modern neighbours …

The old Broadgate location is now a hole in the ground …

Looking north …

The Cornhill Devils are still keeping an eye on developments …

At the Barbican …

The hanging gardens …

The Shard from the river with HMS Belfast in the foreground …

With City Hall and a much older neighbour …

Some earlier images …

Lucky timing with a rainbow …