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Architecture of London, My London

Updated on February 4, 2017
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

If you visit London, you'll find it's full of surprising nooks and crannies - I love it

I am going to show you some lovely photographs of places to see in London - some you will recognize, and others might encourage you to visit London after you have seen what I have to show you. There is also a Poll about London and a poem, "Subway", written by me.

I came to live in Central London for a year when I was 17, staying with relations in Great Portland Street. Having previously lived in Central Africa, it was as different as chalk and cheese - London is bustling with life and shops and people, lots of green parks and squares, interesting architecture and museums, and you'll notice that London is never completely dark.

There are so many things to do in London and places to see. I thought it was wonderful.

My opinion hasn't changed, I still think London is the best place in the world, but I prefer to live in the leafy London Suburbs now. I am still within easy travelling distance to the centre, but can just as easily reach the surrounding countryside.

The Royal Court of Justice, Strand - Also known as The High Court

Source

You may well recognise the Royal Courts of Justice - a grand Gothic style building which was actually built in Victorian times

The front of the building is often shown on television news, when lawyers and litigants are interviewed during and after a big court case. The 7/7 Bomb Enquiry is one of the well-known cases, and many famous injunction proceedings and divorces have taken place there, including Paul McCartney's divorce. The Appeal of Julian Assange (the Wikileaks founder) was heard there.

The Great Hall, Royal Courts of Justice

Source



If you go through the front door, you will find yourself, after being searched and possibly frisked by Security, in the Great Hall.

And what a hall!

Tiled floor, Gothic arches, mysterious stone stairways winding up into I know-not-where, bewigged and black-cloaked barristers, anxious litigants, court staff, an air of weightiness.

Walk straight ahead until you get to the other end, and there, beyond dark oak panelled barriers, you will find the back door. And then, down a few steps and you will find yourself in Carey Street.

Images: The Royal Courts of Justice - by Diana Grant

Carey Street

Dickensian Carey Street viewed from back of Central Law Court
Dickensian Carey Street viewed from back of Central Law Court | Source

Carey Street Behind Royal Courts of Justice

Charles Dickens knew this area well, and wrote about it in his books

This is typical Dickensian London. Charles Dickens studied law before he became a journalist, and would have known the haunts round the Central Law Courts and Lincoln's Inn Fields very well. Portugal Street, with The Old Curiosity Shop, is a stone's throw from Carey Street, and one reason why I love Dickens' book "Bleak House" is because he describes in such detail all the haunts I know so well myself, as a lawyer.

Carey Street has a special meaning for Solicitors - if you say of a solicitor "he's gone to Carey Street", it infers that he has gone to a disciplinary hearing for financial irregularities and has been struck off the Solicitors' Roll (which means he is no longer permitted to practice as a solicitor because he has indulged in conduct unbecoming to the Profession). Solicitors quake in their proverbial boots at the very mention of Carey Street!

Wildy & Son

Wildy & Son - Law Book Sellers
Wildy & Son - Law Book Sellers | Source

Also in Carey Street is one of the most famous Law Book Sellers - Wildys. As well as selling new law books, they also stock second hand law books, a boon to law students, when the average new paperback law book, many of which are required reading, cost about £65 ($85). The entrance is through a little archway which leads to Lincoln's Inn.



British Museum

Source

The British Museum - One of the world's most important museums

Great Russell Street, London WC1

The British Museum houses about 7 million objects and is one of the largest collections of antiquites in the world, with historical and cultural artefacts from every continent - it houses a greater number of Egyptian artefacts than any other country, including articles excavated from Tutenkhamen's tomb, Egyptian mummies, wonderful statues and jewellery, and the Rosetta Stone, an engraved stone tablet which was the key to unravelling the heiroglyphics written in cuneiform.


Double Headed Serpent Mexico 15th-16th Century (British Museum)

Source

I designed this bumper sticker using the photo of the snake above

THIS COULD BE DANGEROUS
THIS COULD BE DANGEROUS | Source

Here's the Same Snake on a Shopping Bag

SNAKE TOTE BAG See More of My Designs on Zazzle
SNAKE TOTE BAG See More of My Designs on Zazzle | Source







Image right: Assyrian sculpture, one of a pair of human-headed winged lions guarding the Gates of Balawat




Image right: - a wooden carved griffin


Source


Image right: - a stone horse





Best of all, like most London museums, admission is free, so you can keep returning to your heart's desire.







You Need This - Streetwise London Map - Buy it before you visit the United Kingdom and get to London. Make sure you know where you're going and how to get there

Paddington Bear at Waterloo Station
Paddington Bear at Waterloo Station

Paddington Bear at Waterloo Station

With Companion

Me and Paddington Bear

Purely by chance, I had my

Paddington Bear sun hat with me,

so I put it on, and then we looked like twins!

London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets
London Under: The Secret History Beneath the Streets

Peter Ackroyd is a brilliant writer - I haven't read this particular book, but have several of his other books, mostly relating to London or history. He knows his stuff and is a brilliant researcher.

 

Books About London

The London Encyclopaedia
The London Encyclopaedia

Plenty to read about here

 

London has several subways to take people across roads and avoid traffic




Below is my poem about one such underground passageway:


Subway

A long dark passage leading nowhere and everywhere

Grey stained cement walls in the half-light

Austere and unforgiving

Black rivulets running from the ceiling cracks

Pervasive smell of urine taints stale air

Openings at intervals where daylight glimmers

On upward slopes to uncertain places

Random writing on the wall

A man could sleep here in his box

Ignored by life and death alike

Just the irregular footsteps passing by

Echoing his heartbeat


© By Diana Grant

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
Big Ben
Big Ben | Source

The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben

No list of things to see in London would be complete without mentioning Big Ben, our famous clock over the Houses of Parliament!

Houses of Parliament













Big Ben



Fireworks at Alexandra Palace
Fireworks at Alexandra Palace
Fire at Alexandra Palace
Fire at Alexandra Palace

Alexandra Palace, North London - Offers fantastic panoramic views over the whole of London


mage right: Fireworks at Alexandra Palace

Image below Roughly the same view - Alexandra Palace on Fire in 1980.

Alexandra Palace is a Grade II listed building, standing on one of the highest points in London. It was built in 1873 and was to be 'The People's Palace' . It was burnt down almost immediately, and quickly rebuilt.

In 1936 it became the first television station used by the BBC, with a tall radio tower which is still used.

View of City of London from Muswell Hill
View of City of London from Muswell Hill

Muswell Hill

An Edwardian suburb in North London

The whole area was purchased and developed between 1896 and 1913 by a builder and developer, James Edmonson, who designed the buildings in the main shopping area, Muswell Hill Broadway, and many of the surrounding streets, giving Muswell Hill a uniquely consistent character and appearance.

Quiet and leafy Muswell Hill is built on one of the highest points in London

Images of Muswell Hill: Diana Grant


Muswell Hill Broadway


Muswell Hill was designated as a Conservation Area in 1974 to protect the area's generally unspoilt character and in 1991 this Area was extended to further local streets

Cornwall Terrace - one of a group of buildings known as "the Nash Terraces" - Designed by the Architect Sir John Nash

Cornwall Terrace - John Nash
Cornwall Terrace - John Nash | Source


One of my favourite London Buildings, Cornwall Terrace is a block of eight double-fronted houses overlooking Regent's Park. The Nash terraces are fine examples of Regency architecture and are a fitting landmark for this part of London, at the top end of Portland Place where it leads on to Regent's Park on the East side. I still marvel at its beauty, even though I have passed it hundreds of times - it never fails to give pleasure.

 Sir John Soane Museum
Sir John Soane Museum | Source

Sir John Soane Museum at 12-14,Lincoln's Inn Fields - What makes the Sir John Soane of particular interest is that it is the single collection of just one man

See the Sir John Soane Museum on YouTube - This is a wonderful, idiosyncratic museum and I used to visit it when I worked for a barrister, a few houses to the right of this building.

Sir John Soane was a wealthy architect and Professor of Architecture at the Royal Academy, who was an extensive collector of all kinds of artefacts, from sculptures to a large collection of Hogarth's paintings, including The Rake's Progress, and many political cartoons of the 18th Century. The museum contains his personal collection, and he rebuilt or converted three adjacent houses between 1792 and 1824 to contain it, creating interesting nooks, mirrors and balconies and, in the picture room, pictures on shutters which open to reveal more pictures underneath, which themselves open to a third layer of paintings, to utilise all available space. On his death, he left the building and the whole collection to the State, with a proviso that nothing in the house could be changed from the way he had designed it.

The two enjoyable YouTube videos below will give you two different perspective of the Sir John Soane Museum.


Royal Courts of Justice
Royal Courts of Justice

Take This Poll about London Sights - See How You Measure Up Against Other Pollsters

Just a bit of fun!

Whether you plan to visit London or have already been there, or maybe you even live in London, stop by and vote for which place in London you think looks the most inviting?

If you didn't like the look of any of this page about London, this poll is not for you!



Which London sight mentioned on this web page did you like best?

See results

A Beautiful Logo designed for the London Olympics - By Claire Benoit, Illustrator

Source

Link List to other websites - About places mentioned on this web page

If you want more detailed information of a historical or architectural nature, here are some links to web pages you might find interesting:

My Guestbook - Reader Feedback

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    • srsddn profile image

      srsddn 10 months ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Nicely described, Diana. I passed through London twice, while travelling up to Manchester and also on my way back, but could not get chance to have a closer look of London. But still it looked like a great city with beautiful buildings. Thanks for describing it in detail. I enjoyed going through your Hub.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 3 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Max Globe: No floods there!

    • Max Globe profile image

      Max Globe 3 years ago

      Wow, I love your lens! The information, the way it's written and grouped. And your photos are so fine:) You featured one of my favourite places in London by the way - Muswell Hill. Thank you for this beautiful lens.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Gloriousconfusion: That would be a very positive and joyous way of remembering her. I'm sure you won't be disappointed

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

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

      This is an automated reply.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      My sister Carolyn was an Anglophile, someday soon I will visit in her memory.

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @MissMalaprop: Yes, Borough Market is one of the best

    • profile image

      MissMalaprop 4 years ago

      I spent the month of July in London in 2004 during college. I LOVED it. I've always been an Anglophile, and I celebrated my 21st birthday at Windsor Castle. I discovered so many awesome nooks and crannies in London. My favorites were Portobello Market (there was also this lovely cafe near the Tube stop there that I loved, that had the best cappuccino!), as well as Borough Market!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 4 years ago from United Kingdom

      @Michey LM: Thank you so much, Michey

    • Michey LM profile image

      Michey LM 4 years ago

      You gave great pictures for places which are beautiful and full of history. Sent Angel Dust in your way.

    • xceeduk profile image

      xceeduk 4 years ago

      Nice post - I have added it to my related lens on travelling in London. Hopefully, it will do us both some good :-)

    • profile image

      AlleyCatLane 4 years ago

      Thanks for the tips. I hope to visit Lobndon one day - hopefuuly in the near future.

    • profile image

      baronbarnaby 5 years ago

      London Underground uses Transport for London's Travelcard zones to calculate fares, including fares for use on the Underground only. Travelcard Zone 1 is the most central, with a boundary just beyond the Circle Line and Travelcard Zone 6 is the most outlying and includes London Heathrow Airport. All of Greater London is covered by zones 1 to 6. londonunderground.ws

    • profile image

      baronbarnaby 5 years ago

      London Underground uses Transport for London's Travelcard zones to calculate fares, including fares for use on the Underground only. Travelcard Zone 1 is the most central, with a boundary just beyond the Circle Line and Travelcard Zone 6 is the most outlying and includes London Heathrow Airport. All of Greater London is covered by zones 1 to 6.

    • ajgodinho profile image

      Anthony Godinho 6 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I enjoyed your virtual tour of London and especially liked all those photographs. I've transited through London many times in the past 15 years, but one day I should take the time to visit. This lens definitely made me want to visit. Blessings! :)

    • gypsyman27 lm profile image

      gypsyman27 lm 6 years ago

      I enjoyed this a lot, very well done. You have given me a view of London that I didn't have. See you around the galaxy...

    • KimGiancaterino profile image

      KimGiancaterino 6 years ago

      I didn't do too well on the quiz. Time for another trip to London. Congratulations on your purple star!

    • Gloriousconfusion profile image
      Author

      Diana Grant 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      @TonyPayne: Thanks for Blessing - much appreciated. Yes, it's actually easier to write from a personal point of view, and especially so if you feel really enthusiastic about something. I just wish I had taken to digital photography earlier in my life!

    • TonyPayne profile image

      Tony Payne 6 years ago from Southampton, UK

      This is just an excellent lens, and I left a well deserved Blessing behind. It's your own take on London, with your own photographs and memories, rather than something straight out of Wikipedia etc. I lived in London for 15 years, from 1977 to 1994. I spent the first 11 years in Harringay, just south of Wood Green, so close to Muswell Hill and Alexandra Palace. Wish I had lots of photos from that time, but sadly I don't have any. Now I know better and take hundreds on every trip.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Beautiful lens! As mentioned, I LOVE England, and hope to take an extended tour someday. As a fanatic British history buff, visiting England is my dream!

    • profile image

      lovetouring 6 years ago

      Good lens, we offer tours of London and are often asked about some of the quirky aspects of London and special places to go and lenses like this demonstrate that London has a wealth of quirky attractions and things to see. Something most other cities just can't or don't offer.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Thank you for these tips and wonderful photos! I purchased the map you suggested. We are every excited about our upcoming trip to visit London this summer!

    • profile image

      tgnyc00 6 years ago

      Great lens! You deserve a SquidLike!

      Don't forget to check mine out at:

      http://www.squidoo.com/manhattan-properties