Theme Week London – Covent Garden and Soho

7 October 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, London, Shopping Reading Time:  14 minutes

SOHO

Berwick Street Market - Soho © Fin Fahey

Berwick Street Market – Soho © Fin Fahey

Soho is an area of the City of Westminster and part of the West End of London. Long established as an entertainment district, for much of the 20th century Soho had a reputation for sex shops as well as night life and film industry. Since the early 1980s, the area has undergone considerable transformation. It now is predominantly a fashionable district of upmarket restaurants and media offices, with only a small remnant of sex industry venues.   read more…

Theme Week London – Greenwich

20 May 2015 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, London, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  14 minutes

Great River Race, Royal Naval College in the backgorund © Motmit

Great River Race, Royal Naval College in the backgorund © Motmit

Greenwich is a district of South East London, England, located in the London Borough of Greenwich. Greenwich is best known for its maritime history and for giving its name to the Greenwich Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time. The town became the site of a Royal palace, the Palace of Placentia from the 15th century, and was the birthplace of many in the House of Tudor, including Henry VIII and Elizabeth I. The palace fell into disrepair during the English Civil War and was rebuilt as the Royal Naval Hospital for Sailors by Sir Christopher Wren and his assistant Nicholas Hawksmoor. These buildings became the Royal Naval College in 1873, and they remained an establishment for military education until 1998 when they passed into the hands of the Greenwich Foundation. The historic rooms within these buildings remain open to the public; other buildings are used by University of Greenwich and the Trinity College of Music. The town became a popular resort in the 17th century with many grand houses, such as Vanbrugh castle established on Maze Hill, next to the park. From the Georgian period estates of houses were constructed above the town centre. The maritime connections of Greenwich were celebrated in the 20th century, with the sitting of the Cutty Sark and Gipsy Moth IV next to the river front, and the National Maritime Museum in the former buildings of the Royal Hospital School in 1934. Greenwich formed part of Kent until 1889 when the County of London was created. To mark the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, it was announced on 5 January 2010 that in 2012, the London Borough of Greenwich is to become the fourth to have Royal Borough status. The three others being The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and The Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Royal Borough. Due to its historic links with the Royal Family, and its status as home of the Prime Meridian and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.   read more…

Olympic Park sets gold standard for sustainability

9 August 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Green Buildings, Sport, Environment Reading Time:  11 minutes

Olympic Park © flickr.com - EG Focus/Anthony Charlton

Olympic Park © flickr.com – EG Focus/Anthony Charlton

It’s hard to believe that this area of east London was once a dilapidated and neglected quarter of the UK capital. With shiny new stadiums and visitor facilities nestling among the lush landscaped grounds, every detail of the 500-acre Olympic Park has taken into account environmental concerns, prompting 2012 organizers to bill it as the first sustainable Olympics. David Stubbs, head of sustainability for the London 2012 Games, was part of the original team that drafted London’s successful bid.   read more…

The Olympic Park in London

1 August 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, London, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks, Sport Reading Time:  2 minutes

Olympic Park London - April 2012 © flickr.com - EG Focus / Anthony Charlton

Olympic Park London – April 2012 © flickr.com – EG Focus / Anthony Charlton

The Olympic Park in London is a sporting complex under construction for the 2012 Summer Olympics and the 2012 Summer Paralympics, situated to the east of the city adjacent to the Stratford City development. It will contain the athletes’ Olympic Village and several of the sporting venues including the Olympic Stadium and Aquatics Centre. The park will be overlooked by ArcelorMittal Orbit, an observation tower and Britain’s largest piece of public art. After the Olympics, the park is to be known as Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II, though it will not be an official Royal Park of London. (PDF-Download London 2012 Olympic Park map)   read more…

London 2012 – Olympic Games, Paralympic Games and Cultural Olympiad

5 May 2012 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Sport Reading Time:  8 minutes

© London2012.com

© London2012.com

The absolute highlights of the summer are certainly the Olympic Games and the surrounding programs and events in London. Even for long-established residents of the city London 2012 will surpass all previous records again. A city of superlatives, which, by hosting and staging the Olympic Games, adds even more superlatives to the records. London is the first city which could win the bid for the Modern Olympics for the third time.   read more…

London 2012

22 August 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Sport Reading Time:  10 minutes

2012 Olympic Torch Relay © flickr.com - Matthew Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0

2012 Olympic Torch Relay © flickr.com – Matthew Smith/cc-by-sa-2.0

The 2012 Summer Olympic development is a process running from 2005 to 2012, following the successful London bid for the 2012 Summer Olympics. While many of the plans were included in the bid portfolio, which gained the favour of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) over the four other bids on 6 July 2005, there were more details released and decisions made afterwards. The London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) was created to oversee many of these developments, though such a large-scale event requires the co-operation of many other agencies. These organisations are sometimes integral parts of the London 2012 plans, while others are unrelated but can still have a great effect. The day after the announcement saw one of the worst terrorist attacks in Britain, as London was struck by four bomb blasts. While the motivation was not linked specifically to the success of the bid it was to have an effect on the development and planning of the event.   read more…

Theme Week London – City of Westminster

15 April 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  7 minutes

Westminster Palace - Parliament at Sunset - UNESCO World Heritage Site © Mgimelfarb

Westminster Palace – Parliament at Sunset – UNESCO World Heritage Site © Mgimelfarb

The City of Westminster is a London borough occupying much of the central area of London, England, including most of the West End. It is located to the west of and adjoining the ancient City of London, directly to the east of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, and its southern boundary is the River Thames. It is an Inner London borough and was created in 1965 when Greater London was established. At its creation Westminster was awarded city status, which had been previously held by the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster.   read more…

Theme Week London – Docklands

13 April 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, London Reading Time:  11 minutes

West India Quay © Gordon Joly

West India Quay © Gordon Joly

Docklands is the semi-official name for an area in northeast and southeast London, England. It forms part of the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets, Newham and Greenwich. The docks were formerly part of the Port of London, at one time the world’s largest port. They have now been redeveloped principally for commercial and residential use. The name London Docklands was used for the first time in a government report on redevelopment plans in 1971 but has since become virtually universally adopted. It also created conflict between the new and old communities of the London Docklands. Efforts to redevelop the docks began almost as soon as they were closed, although it took a decade for most plans to move beyond the drawing board and another decade for redevelopment to take full effect. The situation was greatly complicated by the large number of landowners involved: the PLA, the Greater London Council (GLC), the British Gas Corporation, five borough councils, British Rail and the Central Electricity Generating Board. To address this problem, in 1981 the Secretary of State for the Environment, Michael Heseltine, formed the London Docklands Development Corporation (LDDC) to redevelop the area. This was a statutory body appointed and funded by central government (a quango), with wide powers to acquire and dispose of land in the Docklands. It also served as the development planning authority for the area.   read more…

Theme Week London – City of London

12 April 2011 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Architecture, London, UNESCO World Heritage Reading Time:  11 minutes

City of London skyline © David Iliff

City of London skyline © David Iliff

The City of London is a small area within Greater London, England. It is the historic core of London around which the modern conurbation grew and has held city status since time immemorial. The City’s boundaries have remained almost unchanged since the Middle Ages, and it is now only a tiny part of the metropolis of London, though remains a notable part of central London. It is often referred to as the City (often written on maps as “City”) or the Square Mile, as it is just over one square mile (1.12 sq mi/2.90 km2) in area. These terms are also often used as metonyms for the United Kingdom’s financial services industry, which has historically been based here. In the medieval period, the City was the full extent of London. The term London now refers to a much larger conurbation roughly corresponding to Greater London, a local government area which includes 32 London boroughs as well as the City of London. The local authority for the City, the City of London Corporation, is unique in the United Kingdom, and has some unusual responsibilities for a local authority in Britain, such as being the police authority for the City. It also has responsibilities and ownerships beyond the City’s boundaries. The Corporation is headed by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, an office separate from (and much older than) the Mayor of London.   read more…

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