- Travel and Places
London Landmarks and Architecture
The Royal Court of Justice, Strand on a rainy day
When you visit London, look at the historic buildings and fine architecture
Let me take you on a tour of some of the interesting architecture and landmarks round London, where I live, and never want to live anywhere else.
London is steeped in history, going back for hundreds of years.
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.
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.
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.
London Burning - The Fire of London (1666)
Monument, designed by Christopher Wren - now stands as a permanent memorial, where the fire started, not far from St Paul's Cathedral
Click on the link to see more about Monument - a website devoted enirely to the Monument and Christopher Wren
If you would like to read a bit more about Christopher Wren's wonderful architecture, you will find this book very useful.
This is the book description:
"Wren was gifted with a fertile imagination, and his artistic gifts were complemented by his brilliant technical ingenuity. This combination is apparent in Wren's greatest work, St. Paul's Cathedral in London, which required rebuilding after the Great Fire of 1666. The famous dome of St. Paul's is a masterpiece of engineering, but it is also considered among the most beautiful in the world; it occupies a striking place in the London skyline as a legacy to England's greatest architect."
The Royal Courts of Justice
The Royal Courts of Justice - Also known as The High Court
Built in 1875, this fine Gothic building 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.
Interior of The Royal Courts of Justice
The Court is situated in the Holborn area, where there are many architectural gems, if you know where to look for them.
Carey Street - at the Back of the Royal Courts of Justice - Mentioned in "Bleak House", Charles Dickens' tale about a Court case in Chancery that took generatio
This is 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.
Make sure you don't miss something which you would have liked to see, had you known about it
If you like to see what's in the back-streets, or lesser-known small museums, of which there are many, this is the book for you
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?
Muswell Hill, North London - 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.
Muswell Hill Library
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.
Typical Edwardian Houses in Queen's Avenue, Muswell Hill
Muswell Hill Roundabout
Where the first television broadcast took place
Originally built as a palace for Queen Victoria, Alexandra Palace burnt down in 1873, before it came into use.
Poster: The Burning of Alexandra Palace
After it was rebuilt, Alexandra Palace was used to transmit John Logie Baird's first television broadcast
I myself worked there 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
Alexandra Palace Fire - 1980
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!
You've Seen some English Sights, Now See How Many of These English Proverbs, Sayings and Tongue-Twisters You Remember
London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets - Peter Ackroyd. What lies under the streets of London? Underground passageways, the tube, the waterways, u
Peter Ackroyd is a first class writer - I have read several of his books, and he is a master of description and suspense - one of the finest British authors within his sphere of the history and architecture of London
If you liked my web page about London, you'll like this informative web page too
- A Day in London
This is one of the best blogs I've come across. Daithaic has given lots of detail about London, and lots of pictures. He has also blogged about London's superb underground, and this all makes an enjoyable and informative read