History


A Victorian Advent Calendar – 3rd Dec

Considering the regular complaints about the commercialisation of the modern Christmas, I decided to have my own Advent Calendar this month – made from adverts that were printed in Victorian newspapers. Each day I will display an advert from my

A Victorian Advent Calendar – 2nd Dec

Considering the regular complaints about the commercialisation of the modern Christmas, I decided to have my own Advent Calendar this month – made from adverts that were printed in Victorian newspapers. Each day I will display an advert from my

75th Anniversary of the Destruction of the Crystal Palace

Today marks the 75th anniversary of the great fire that destroyed the Crystal Palace, an ill fated “shopping center” that had long since fallen on hard times and finally met its knackers yard in a blazing inferno. Although set up

A preview of the Natural History Museum’s exhibitions in 2012

The Natural History Museum — that South Kensington terracotta palace to science — showed off its plans for major exhibitions next year and running into 2013, and I am relieved to say, no attempt to do a tie-in with the

Support a London Museum this Christmas

I am going to make a suggestion. If you are looking for a present to give someone this Christmas, and you want something that they can use all year round – rather than socks and fragrances… give them a membership

The Waverley is in trouble

Ever since I moved to a flat next to the river, my summer evenings have been enlivened by the sight of a rather pretty boat chugging past the flat at night, with a distinctive paddle-steamer sound and decoratively lit for

I’m launching a new database of historic anniversaries

When pondering things to write on this blog, it’s useful to know if there are any particularly interesting historic anniversaries coming up in the future. It’s fairly easy, if tedious to wade through “this day in history” databases to see

The 17th century prison doorway in Westminster

Lurking on a little used side street in Westminster stands the last known remnant of a local prison and workhouse that has long since vanished. Tothill Fields Prison (or the Westminster Bridewell) was a “house of correction” for the compulsory

10th Anniversary of The Gherkin

At what point should you mark the 10th anniversary of a building? When construction starts? Or maybe when it is topped out with the last major steelwork? Or the day people first move in? Or — often slightly later —

Today marks the 40th Anniversary of London Bridge

Today marks the 40th anniversary of the rededication of John Rennie’s 1831 London Bridge – in Arizona. As I am sure you should know, The City of London sold the old Victorian London Bridge in 1967 to the American, Robert

100th Anniversary of the Escalator on London Underground

Tomorrow (Tue 4th Oct) marks 100 years since the first moving staircase was demonstrated on the London Underground, at Earl’s Court station to be specific. Not sure if TfL is planning to have a cake or other celebration though. There

Remains of an undercroft and 12th century bridge under John Lewis

In the late 1980s, a major redevelopment of the center of Kingston Upon Thames resulted in theĀ  building a dual carriage relief road, and a brand new John Lewis department store. One side effect of that was the uncovering of

A tour inside RAF Bentley Priory

Sitting inside a park in North London lies a former stately home which was during World War II, one of the main command centres for the Battle of Britain. RAF Bentley Priory, or plain Bentley Priory as it is know

200th anniversary of the New Marshalsea Prison in Southwark

At some point in 1811 — the specific date has been frustratingly difficult to pin down — a new prison was opened in Southwark that despite its short life was to become notorious in literary history as the inspiration for

700th Anniversary of the Banishment of Piers Gaveston

Today marks the 700th anniversary of the meeting of Parliament that resulted in the presentation of the Ordinances of 1311 to King Edward II, and the eventual banishment of Piers Gaveston from the realm. Piers Gaveston – the favourite, and

The Dairy Supply Company near the British Museum

Just around the corner from the British Museum is a building with a very distinctive architecture which usually causes people to stop and stare for a moment, even if only to wonder how a Pizza Express has ended up occupying

Hidden under a main road – the remains of Merton Priory

The construction of a moderately new main road in Colliers Wood, Sth London wiped out the remains of one piece of London history, but uncovered an even older remnant of even more importance. The lost history is the disused, and

Visiting the Roman Ruins under a 1970s office block

A rather boring office block in the City of London conceals a historic marvel in its basement – a very important Roman Bath House. Rarely open to the public, today was a chance to get down and see the remains