Barbican Centre in London

1 December 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, House of the Month, London, Museums, Exhibitions, Opera Houses, Theaters, Libraries Reading Time:  6 minutes

© flickr.com - Rich/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Rich/cc-by-2.0

The Barbican Centre is a performing arts centre in the Barbican Estate of the City of London and the largest of its kind in Europe. The centre hosts classical and contemporary music concerts, theatre performances, film screenings and art exhibitions. It also houses a library, three restaurants, and a conservatory. The Barbican Centre is a member of the Global Cultural Districts Network. The London Symphony Orchestra and the BBC Symphony Orchestra are based in the centre’s Concert Hall. In 2013, it once again became the London-based venue of the Royal Shakespeare Company following the company’s departure in 2001.   read more…

Beaconsfield in Buckinghamshire

21 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  5 minutes

© flickr.com - Cristian Bortes/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Cristian Bortes/cc-by-2.0

Beaconsfield is a market town and civil parish within the unitary authority of Buckinghamshire, England, 23 1/2 miles (38 kilometres) west-northwest of central London and 16 miles (26 kilometres) south-southeast of Aylesbury. Three other towns are within five miles (eight kilometres): Gerrards Cross, Amersham and High Wycombe.   read more…

All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Wimbledon

19 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Sport Reading Time:  8 minutes

Main entrance © Gabinho/cc-by-sa-4.0

Main entrance © Gabinho/cc-by-sa-4.0

The All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, also known as the All England Club, based at Church Road, Wimbledon, London, England, is a private members’ club. It is best known as the venue for the Wimbledon Championships, the only Grand Slam tennis event still held on grass. Initially an amateur event that occupied club members and their friends for a few days each summer, the championships have become far more prominent than the club itself. However, it still operates as a members’ tennis club. The club also houses the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum.   read more…

The Oval Cricket Ground in London

7 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, London, Sport Reading Time:  11 minutes

The Oval © Chino990/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Oval © Chino990/cc-by-sa-4.0

The Oval, currently known for sponsorship reasons as the Kia Oval, is an international cricket ground in Kennington, located in the borough of Lambeth, in south London. The Oval has been the home ground of Surrey County Cricket Club since it was opened in 1845. It was the first ground in England to host international Test cricket in September 1880. The final Test match of the English season is traditionally played there. In addition to cricket, The Oval has hosted a number of other historically significant sporting events. In 1870, it staged England‘s first international football match, versus Scotland. It hosted the first FA Cup final in 1872, as well as those between 1874 and 1892. In 1876, it held both the England v. Wales and England v. Scotland rugby international matches and, in 1877, rugby’s first varsity match. It also hosted the final of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy.   read more…

Portrait: Guy Fawkes and the Bonfire Night

5 November 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: London, Portrait Reading Time:  17 minutes

by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

by Crispijn van de Passe the Elder

Guy Fawkes, also known as Guido Fawkes while fighting for the Spanish, was a member of a group of provincial English Catholics involved in the failed Gunpowder Plot of 1605. He was born and educated in York; his father died when Fawkes was eight years old, after which his mother married a recusant Catholic. Fawkes converted to Catholicism and left for mainland Europe, where he fought for Catholic Spain in the Eighty Years’ War against Protestant Dutch reformers in the Low Countries. He travelled to Spain to seek support for a Catholic rebellion in England without success. He later met Thomas Wintour, with whom he returned to England. Wintour introduced him to Robert Catesby, who planned to assassinate King James I and restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. The plotters leased an undercroft beneath the House of Lords; Fawkes was placed in charge of the gunpowder that they stockpiled there. The authorities were prompted by an anonymous letter to search Westminster Palace during the early hours of 5 November, and they found Fawkes guarding the explosives. He was questioned and tortured over the next few days and confessed to wanting to blow up the House of Lords. It is jokingly said in Britain that Guy Fawkes was the last man who ever walked into Parliament with honest intentions.   read more…

Chilham in Kent

16 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  3 minutes

© flickr.com © Ray in Manila/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com © Ray in Manila/cc-by-2.0

Chilham is a mostly agricultural village and parish in the English county of Kent with a clustered settlement, Chilham village centre, in the northeast, and a smaller linear settlement, Shottenden. Well-preserved roads and mostly residential listed buildings in its centre have led to its use as a location in television and film.   read more…

Montacute House in South Somerset

8 October 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Palaces, Castles, Manors, Parks Reading Time:  20 minutes

Montacute House © DavidBrooks

Montacute House © DavidBrooks

Montacute House is a late Elizabethan mansion with a garden in Montacute, South Somerset. An example of English architecture during a period that was moving from the medieval Gothic to the Renaissance Classical, and one of few prodigy houses to survive almost unchanged from the Elizabethan era, the house has been designated by English Heritage as a Grade I listed building, and Scheduled Ancient Monument. It was visited by 125,442 people in 2013. Designed by an unknown architect, possibly the mason William Arnold, the three-storey mansion, constructed of the local Ham Hill stone, was built in about 1598 by Sir Edward Phelips, Master of the Rolls and the prosecutor during the trial of the Gunpowder Plotters. Sir Edward Phelips’ descendants occupied the house until the early 20th century. For a brief period the house was let to tenants, one of whom was Lord Curzon, who lived at the house with his mistress, the novelist Elinor Glyn. In 1931, it was acquired by the National Trust. The house is maintained by the National Trust. Its Long Gallery, the longest in England, serves as a South-West outpost of the National Portrait Gallery displaying a skilful and well-studied range of old oils and watercolours. Montacute and its gardens have been a filming location for several films and a setting for television costume dramas and literary adaptations.   read more…

Cullen in Scotland

26 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General Reading Time:  10 minutes

© Clydecoast/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Clydecoast/cc-by-sa-3.0

Cullen (Scottish Gaelic: Inbhir Cuilinn) is a village and former royal burgh in Moray, Scotland, on the North Sea coast 20 miles (32 kilometres) east of Elgin. The village has a population of 1,300. Cullen is noticeably busier in summer than winter due to the number of holiday homes owned. The organs of the wife of Robert the Bruce are said to have been buried in its old kirk (church) after her death in Cullen Castle. Robert the Bruce made an annual payment to the village in gratitude for the treatment of his wife’s body and its return south for burial. In 2000, the recent non-payment of this sum by the government was challenged and settled to the village’s favour. The village is noted for Cullen Skink (a traditional soup made from smoked haddock, milk, potato and onion) and its former railway bridges, two of which are now part of the national cycle network. These bridges were required, at considerable cost, due to resistance to the railway line being routed any closer to Cullen House. The most westerly (and by far the longest) viaduct is highly photogenic, and often features in tourist guides and Scottish calendars. Near Cullen is the peak Bin Hill, visible from some distance, such as from Longman Hill.   read more…

Portrait: Britain’s longest-reining monarch, great and exemplary European, conciliator, beacon of stability, constancy, integrity, conscientiousness, Britishness, solid as a rock, institution, inspiration and companion of generations of people around the globe: Queen Elizabeth II and the end of an era

19 September 2022 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Portrait Reading Time:  31 minutes

Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 © Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defence

Queen Elizabeth II in 2015 © Joel Rouse/Ministry of Defence

Elizabeth II was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until her death in 2022. She was queen regnant of 32 sovereign states during her life and served as monarch of 15 of them at the time of her death. Her reign of 70 years and 214 days is the longest of any British monarch and the longest recorded of any female head of state in history.   read more…

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