History


Fantasy Architecture: Restore the Regent Street Colonnade

An occasional series where I look at something and ponder – what if. Regent Street in central London, while looking very impressive and of a certain age, is a relatively modern street, with a layout that is just under 200

Steam Trains return to the Epping Ongar Railway

Over the weekend, the inhabitants of Ongar in Essex got extremely excited as the disused railway linking the town to Epping returned to life again – as a steam railway service. The railway built around 150 years ago, and taken

The world’s oldest surviving wooden church

If I told you that the world’s oldest wooden church is not in a dusty part of Palestine or Ethiopia, but in the green fields of the UK, you might be surprised. Even more so if I pointed out that it is just outside London.

A look around Chipping Ongar Church and Castle

St Martins Church Chipping Ongar Peeking out behind some wonky wooden buildings on Chipping Ongar’s main street is a glimpse of the ancient town church, which is nearly a thousand years old. Built around the time of the Norman Conquest

A bookshop has opened inside the Wellington Arch at Hyde Park Corner

Wellington Arch, the huge triumphal pile of stone at Hyde Park Corner has gained a tiny bookshop inside the arch itself – oh, and a new exhibition area upstairs. I doubt many people who casually wander past the huge archway

St Nicholas Church in Great Wakering

Although I was rudely thwarted in my attempt to visit the Foulness Heritage Centre yesterday (and the church next to it), I was slightly compensated by a look around another its sister church which was on my route between Shoeburyness

A small museum inside a military firing range

Lurking on the eastern most edge of the River Thames sits Foulness Island, a low lying marshy farmland that is also almost entirely controlled by the Ministry of Defence for weapons testing. Rather improbably, sitting in the middle of this

Three heritage events along the Central Line

A terrestrial alignment of heritage took place on Saturday as I found three heritage related events taking place within a few stops of each other on the Central Line. First stop was also underground related as the Post Office’s overflow

100 days until the…

As the news media will be obsessed today with 100 days, I thought I would join in the joyous celebrations of 100 days to the 27th July 2012. It is also, for example just 100 days until the 31st anniversary

Two overlooked lumps of old London Bridge

One of those “I never knew that” moments as I was rushing over London Bridge towards the tube station and going around the spike I dodged two stone plinths that people normally sit on. Out of the corner of my

A look around Boston Manor House

Sitting half way between posh Chiswick and ahem, less posh Hounslow lies Boston Manor, named after a Manor House – and one of the ancient manors of Middlesex. A short walk from the suitably named tube station is Boston Manor

70th anniversary of an aircraft factory hidden in a tube tunnel

After 16 months of preparation during the height of the blitz, a secret aircraft components factory was completed deep underground in North London in what were unfinished tunnels for the Central Line extension.

Punch on the London Underground

Just a few cartoons that I recently acquired about the London Underground that were published in Punch Magazine at the start of the last century. Apart from the jokes, which may or may not work a hundred years after they

The memorial to London’s largest ever explosion

At precisely 6:52 in the evening on the 19th January, 1917, one of the largest explosions in the UK took place – in Silvertown, East London. The explosion killed 73 people, injured 328 more and left around 600 people with

The dead bodies service from King’s Cross railway station

Although the necropolis railway at Waterloo Station running out to Surrey is quite well known, its northern counterpart is seemingly largely forgotten…

A look at the original Kings Cross station – at Maiden Lane

Just under 150 160 years ago the Great Northern Railway proudly opened its London terminus railway station at Kings Cross. However, it wasn’t the first attempt by the railway company at building a terminus station in London, and was a

A London history festival that’s worth looking forward to

The City of London has outlined the details for a weekend of heritage based events around the Square Mile that is looking like a rather good mini Open House Weekend. Technically, it’s a four day event — running from the

The De Morgan Gallery of Paintings and Pottery

In a single building near Wandsworth High St sits two museums. If you go in and turn to the left, you’ll walk into the local history museum, which I wrote about yesterday. Turn right though, and you enter the startlingly