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London Landmarks and Architecture

Updated on April 28, 2018
Gloriousconfusion profile image

I'm a seasoned traveller and enjoy sharing sightseeing & travel tips . I particularly love London, my home of choice for over 50 years

London is Full of Historic Buildings and Fine Architecture

It is steeped in history, going back for hundreds of years.

Let me take you on a tour of some of the interesting architecture and landmarks around London. I have lived there for over fifty years, and never want to live anywhere else. Apart from being renowned for its entertainment, shopping and business facilities, London has many fine buildings and open spaces.

In this article I'll show you photographs of places which are well-known tourist attractions, and also some buildings you may not have heard of, with a little about their relevant history. Finally I will show you an area North London which consists almost entirely of Edwardian facades - a whole suburb which was built in the early 1900's and which has largely retained it's picturesque and much-loved Edwardian atmosphere.


Early History of London (called Londinium by the Romans)

In about 47 AD the Roman invaders developed a settlement , sitting on the River Thames, which they called Londinium. It was strategically situated at a narrow point in the Thames which could be bridged, and gave access to and from the rest of Europe.

Londinium was destroyed by Queen Boudica in 60 AD, rebuilt and gradually developed into a bustling port. The buildings were made of wattle and daub, which proved to be highly inflammable.

The Fire of London

The Fire of London in 1666 ravaged these wooden buildings, which caught fire very easily, the fire spreading outwards from Pudding Lane where it started. Much of the centre of London was destroyed. Although about 60% of London was laid waste, there were surprisingly few deaths, reputed to be only 16.

A law was passed that when the area was rebuilt, the new buildings had to be of brick and stone, to avoid such a widespread disaster happening again.

A memorial, called Monument, was built to remember the fire.

Sir Christopher Wren, a great architect of that time, was commissioned to rebuild St Paul's Cathedral, which had been destroyed in the fire.

London Burning - The Great Fire of London (1666)

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Monument - Designed by Christopher Wren

Completed in 1677, this now stands as a permanent memorial, where the fire started, not far from St Paul's Cathedral.

The column is 61 metres (202 feet) high and has a staircase with 311 steps which lead to a viewing platform with a magnificent view of London.

You can click on the link to see more about Monument - a website devoted enirely to the Monument and Christopher Wren.

Monument to the Fire of London

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Map Showing Monument, Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH, UK

A
Monument London:
Fish St Hill, London EC3R 8AH, UK

get directions

The Royal Courts of Justice - Also known as The High Court

Built in 1875, this fine Gothic building, situated in Strand, near the River Thames, inspires all who enter. With its corridors, nooks and crannies and odd stone staircases, it is so big that it's easy to get lost - indeed, as a lawyer, going about court business, I have myself been lost in the veritable rabbit warren of passages, on more than one occasion.

This is the court where many of the most famous lawsuits take place. It only deals with Civil Law, not Crime. There have been several extensions to the courts in recent years.

The courts are generally open to the public, depending on the nature of the case being heard - for instance some cases about private family proceedings and adoption are not heard publicly.

The Court is situated in the Holborn area, where there are many architectural gems, if you know where to look for them.

The Royal Courts of Justice

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The Royal Court of Justice, Strand on a rainy day

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Interior of The Royal Courts of Justice

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Map Showing Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL, UK And Carey Street At The Rear Of The Court

A
Royal Courts of Justice :
Strand, London WC2A 2LL, UK

get directions

B
Carey St, London WC2A 2JB:
Carey St, London WC2A 2JB, UK

get directions

Carey Street - at the Rear of the Royal Courts of Justice

Carey Street was mentioned in "Bleak House", Charles Dickens' tale about a Court case in Chancery that took generations to be completed

Below you can see the view from the back door of The Royal Courts of Justice and it still looks the same as it did in Charles Dickens' time, 150 years ago.

Of particular interest is the stone statue over the doorway opposite, and the ornate metal lamp light in the top right-hand corner of the photograph, which is framed on two sides by the doorway of the court.

Carey Street is in the Holborn Area in Central London.

View of Carey Street From The Back Entrance of the Royal Courts of Justice

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Do you Like Looking at Different Styles of Buildings - And learning a bit about their history?

Here's a poll to find out what people look for when they visit London

Have you been to London before, and what did you like doing there best?

See results

Edwardian Buildings in Muswell Hill, North London

Muswell Hill in the Borough of Haringey, North London is a popular residential area with many Edwardian buildings. The whole area was designed and developed by one builder, which gives it a very unitary feel.

There are very tight planning restrictions on the whole area to preserve the Edwardian facades. Recent planning applications for buildings which change the facades or modernise the area have given rise to a huge and united front of objections from local residents, and several redevelopments have been abandoned or toned down because of this.

Muswell Hill Library was one such proposed planning application

The Council owns the library and some land at the rear, and wanted to move the library to a different place, and then redevelop. The interior of the building was somewhat unsuitable for a modern library, and did not have appropriate disabled access, with steep steps to the front door, and toilets only on the upper floor. Eventually it was agreed to retain the present library and to make improvements to the interior. Another victory for maintaining the unified Edwardian appearance of the area.

Muswell Hill Library

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Typical Edwardian Houses in Queen's Avenue, Muswell Hill

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Shops in Muswell Hill Broadway

Until recently, it was permissible to put in modern shopfronts, and there were some hideous anachronisms, but I've noticed that modern developments now seem to be re-instating old-style shop fronts.

Muswell Hill Roundabout

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Alexandra Palace in Haringey, North London

Where the first television broadcast took place

Originally built as a palace for Queen Victoria, Alexandra Palace burnt down in 1873, and was rebuilt to become the first television studio in one part, and an entertainment venue with one of the world's largest organs in another area. There was also an ice skating rink.

After it Was Rebuilt, Alexandra Palace Was Used to Transmit John Logie Baird's First Television Broadcast

The rebuilt Alexandra Palace suffered another fire in 1980 which destroyed a large area.

Rebuilding has continued over the years, but the BBC were unable to broadcast the News from there after the fire destroyed a large part of its facilities.

The facade of the rebuilt palace looks similar to the original facade before the fire in 1873.

I myself worked at Alexandra Palace for the BBC in the 1960s - you can see the actual tower where my office was, on the right hand corner of the building, and more clearly in the photograph below that, showing the Alexandra Palace fire in 1980.

Alexandra Palace - View from Crouch End

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Alexandra Palace Fire - 1980

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In the image above, which I took myself, you can see the Palace on fire for a second time, in 1980 when virtually the whole palace burnt down after an electrical fault.

It has been partially restored, and is now used for concerts and exhibitions and as a public hall. The Palace also houses the largest organ in the world, and, in that very hall, I took some of my solicitor's qualifying exams. The building was a bit run down at that time, with holes in the roof, and there were actually sparrows flying around our heads whilst we were trying to concentrate on law!

Map Showing Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace, Haringey

A
Alexandra Palace, London N22:
Alexandra Palace Way, London N22 7AY, UK

get directions

B
Muswell Hill London N10:
Muswell Hill, London N10 3PP, UK

get directions

London at Night

The Thames lit up
The Thames lit up

A Popular YouTube Video About London

Don't Forget to Leave a comment

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    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 

      4 years ago

      Muswell Hill is magnificent, wish I could live there:) Thanks for the cool lens, very informative!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Charito1962: London is steeped in history, and there are also lots of modern things to see - you'll love it.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Gypzeerose: Great idea - contact me if you do

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 

      4 years ago

      I have decided that I want to go to London this year - good idea, huh?

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 

      4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I definitely want to visit London, if I do tour Europe someday! It's been a long-time dream of mine.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @BLouw: Yes, London is so big that it's easy to stay over in your own area and not explore other parts. I keep promising myself to travel by bus to other areas just for the hell of it, but, even though I have a free bus pass, I never get round to it.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Brite-Ideas: Time to renew the experience!

    • BLouw profile image

      Barbara Walton 

      4 years ago from France

      This takes me back a bit! I lived in London for years and have either not seen these sights or have not fully explored them. Guess I was a West Londoner. It just goes to show that "He who is tired of London is tired of life" or words to that effect. Who said that???

    • Brite-Ideas profile image

      Barbara Tremblay Cipak 

      4 years ago from Toronto, Canada

      Was in London in 1978 (a long time ago) - had a wonderful time! Loved it

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Adventuretravels: That's great - thank you so much

    • Adventuretravels profile image

      Giovanna Sanguinetti 

      4 years ago from Perth UK

      Hello fellow Londoner! I am the United Kingdom Travel contributor on Squidoo. Your lens really shows what a great place London is to both visit and to live. I live in Crouch End. Near Ally Pally. I've enjoyed reading about my hometown. I have put this on all my social networks.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile imageAUTHOR

      Diana Grant 

      5 years ago from United Kingdom

      @goldenrulecomics: : Thank you for your message which will be dealt with as soon as possible.

      This is an automated reply.

    • arcarmi profile image

      arcarmi 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens! Thank you so much for yet another blessing!

    • goldenrulecomics profile image

      goldenrulecomics 

      5 years ago

      I used to love wandering the streets of London when we lived in England. It's such a great city!

    • profile image

      marsha32 

      6 years ago

      I had to jump over....I see so many familiar places from pictures my 15 yr old took on her recent trip to London. She went to the top of the Monument, even with her arthritis! I'm so proud of her. I need to update our Learning About England lens yet with pictures that she took while there.

    • kimbesa2 profile image

      kimbesa 

      6 years ago from USA

      I can see why you chose the photo of Waterloo Bridge, with the Eye and other landmarks. London is an awesome place! Thanks for this showcase!

    • profile image

      getmoreinfo 

      6 years ago

      I really like the architecture of the buildings, you have showcased some amazing images that makes me feel like I have been on a London tour.

    • jmsp206 profile image

      Julia M S Pearce 

      6 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      I would love to go to London and from I see the building and old houses are beautiful.

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