The statue of William IV, Greenwich

WHAT: Statue of William IV

WHERE: Greenwich Park (map)

BY WHOM: Samuel Nixon

WHEN: 1844

Poor old William IV. The last of the Hanoverian kings of Britain, he is all but forgotten today, succeeded as he was by his niece Victoria (whose name is virtually a synonym for the entire 19th century), and preceded by his brother, the rakish, obscenely extravagant George IV (who gave us the Regency).

Continue reading “The statue of William IV, Greenwich”

A dastardly murder in Pall Mall

If you’ve never been to Westminster Abbey (or it’s ages since you last visited), now is the perfect time to go.

The absence of foreign visitors and coach tours might be hitting some of us in the wallet, but the usually overcrowded cultural attractions – the Tower of London, the British Museum, our other museums and galleries, cathedrals – are suddenly oases of calm. You are unlikely to get this opportunity again, so go visit! You will come away refreshed and uplifted.

Continue reading “A dastardly murder in Pall Mall”

The Firefighters Memorial, St Paul’s

75 years ago George Orwell, the author of 1984 wrote, “as I write, highly civilised human beings are flying overhead trying to kill me”.

He was talking about the Blitz, the WW2 bombing campaign by the German airforce that attempted to destroy London’s industry and infrastructure and shatter the morale of the population. Between September 1940 and May 1941 over 18,000 tonnes of high explosive was dropped on London, up to a million and a half homes were damaged or destroyed, and nearly 30,000 people killed. It seems almost impossible to us, living here in this cosmopolitan city, that all this horror and destruction took place within a human lifetime.

And this monument commemorates some of the people who helped London survive: the firefighters – professionals and auxiliaries, men and women – the “heroes with grimy faces” as Winston Churchill called them.

Continue reading “The Firefighters Memorial, St Paul’s”

Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner

DSC_0047

Today I was going to go round Banqueting House, the last properly surviving bit of the old Palace of Whitehall, but when I got there it was closed for an event, so I went off and photographed some war memorials instead.

Of all the memorials in London, the most striking is the Royal Artillery Memorial located on (essentially) the traffic island at Hyde Park Corner. You can see it as you sit on the bus as it heads north, but it’s well worth taking the time to get up close.

Designed by Charles Jagger and Lionel Pearson, the Memorial is a stunning piece of realist sculpture and one of the finest examples of statuary anywhere in London.

There are some pictures below of details from the bronze figures around the monument and from the sculpted friezes, and a broader selection can be found here

Continue reading “Royal Artillery Memorial, Hyde Park Corner”