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Tours of Somerset House

Today, I paid a visit to the impressive Somerset House in central London for a tour of the buildings. They hold tours on the first Saturday of each month which last about 45 minutes and are free of charge. However,


One hundred and fourty years of London Underground complaints

I have a small (and slowly growing) collection of old issues of the wondrous Illustrated London News. I originally started collecting them as sources for research, but I actually find they are quite wonderful to read (although sometimes I think


The woman who could sell Time

In the early part of the 20th century, domestic clocks were still not hugely reliable and regular resetting was generally needed. People who owned a telegraph line or one of the modern radio could listen for the time pips, but


Kirk Douglas in flowing silk

Kirk Douglas wearing flowing silk ribbons, and glittering bits of mirrors? Well, if the infamous movie The Vikings was to be filmed today, then that is what Hollywood’s Mr. Macho might have to wear as opposed to his manly leather


750th Anniversary of the Provisions of Oxford

In just a few weeks time, it will be the 750th anniversary of one of the most important events in English legal history. On the 7th April 1258, there was a confrontation between King Henry III and his barons in


An old news article about the Central Line Underground Railway

I have a copy of an article published in The New York Times on March 7th 1898 which goes into detail about the construction of the first stage of what we today call the Central Line on the underground. As


Marylebone Passage – of religion, printers and workhouses

Just along Margaret Street from the awesome gothic style church I wrote about a few months ago, lies another of those tiny lanes that I am finding increasingly fascinating. Marylebone passage is an oddly disappointing little alley, as it looks


Old map of London’s Docklands

I was in the Surrey Quays shopping centre yesterday while visiting an estate agent, and just outside the toilets is a sign which shows some of the history of the area. It sometimes surprises people that the “docklands area” isn’t


Evelyn’s Yard

If you walk down Rathbone Place, which leads off from Oxford Street you might notice a rather fine old fashioned looking pub on the right hand side – The Black Horse. Take a closer look and notice the alleyway next


A drinking fountain on Holborn Viaduct

I have wandered along Holborn for many years and only recently started paying attention to the odd little things that line London’s streets. Right at the very Eastern end of Holborn Viaduct, opposite the Old Bailey is a church, and


Going back to the Roman Baths

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the claimed Roman Baths just behind The Strand. The baths can be opened up if a group is visiting, and as I just happened to be taking a group to visit a nearby


British Rail and the Flying Saucer

I was reading this week’s issue of The Economist and there was an article about commercial space flight, and how in the hype of the early NASA successes – companies were planning passenger flights into space. Naturally, the PanAm flight


Of Carrots, World War 2 and School Dinners

I have recently rediscovered carrots. To me, they have always been a rather bland vegetable that arrives in thin slices on the plate next to the vastly more interesting vegetables and meat dish. A few weeks ago though, feeling lazy


The Royal Courts of Justice

As part of this weekend’s Temple Open Weekend – it turned out that the Royal Courts of Justice – just on the other side of the road – were also opened up, as it was here that they were holding


An Egyptian God pays a visit to my flat

A slightly freaky sight this morning. Following an accident last night with the cooking and a bad case of negligence on my part, quite a bit of muck was on the hob – so I applied a liberal coating of