First glimpse of Ipswich


     Daylight savings began here this morning.   And so did spring!   It was a lovely light sweater day.  Yesterday was the Saturday street market in  front of the Town Hall.  Today we went exploring Chirstchurch Park and the shops of High Street.  This evening Mary cooked up a lovely lamb steaks, mashed potatoes and broccoli-cauliflower dinner. 

     Here are some introductory photos of Ipswich.  I will look more closely at many of these places during our month here.  But for now, here is what we’ve seen so far.


Ipswich : first images

Rick and Mary took us through Ipswich center; the High Street and Christchurch Park, Ipswich Public Library and the lovely tourist information center.  Ipswich will be a wonderful place to spend some time.   Here are  some photos; no explanations or research.  Just some images before I really start to explore.

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Town Hall with a café shop and gallery as well as studio space. 

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Dancing Queen bobble head…..I was tempted!


Tourist Information with very helpful staff


Ipswich Public Library, open every day so I’ll make great use of it.


Our first visitors…..

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Good-bye London. Hello Ipswich.


    It was truly a wonderful experience being in London.  We made friends, saw incredible places, enjoyed walks along the Thames and into the funky places of Whitechapel and Shoreditch.  Tower Hill to Charing Cross was a favorite walk for us too.  I loved my Toynbee Hall Life Drawing group and the welcome of the Friends of St Katharine Docks.  The cruising community was small but collegial and everyone learned from each other and shared their favorite places.  Leila at the Turks Head Café welcomed us like old friends and members of the neighborhood.  I admit to shedding a few tears when Coleen and I had our last afternoon tea.  She and I had spent many months of Sundays together walking and laughing our way to and from Toynbee Hall.  And I got to meet a cousin, Pam for the first time.  And the Janes and my other art friend Lucy…. And of course our time with Singkey and meeting her teacher Jessica.  But this is starting to sound like an Academy Awards speech so I’ll stop, probably forgetting to mention people we met and enjoyed.  I still have lots of London stories and maybe one day will catch up with them.  In the meantime we’ve already started to collect Ipswich stories.

And it’s baseball season!   Go  Red Sox!


Passage to Ipswich

   It’s hard to believe we’re no longer in London.  Maybe that’s because we’re still in England.  Ipswich has a population of 133,400 and London has over 8 million but High Street Ipswich today felt just as crowded.  Lots of lovely interesting things to see and do while we are here.  Mary and Rick are great guides as they wintered here on their boat 2 years ago. 

   We left London about 10:30 am Thursday and stopped overnight at Queenborough.  About 6 am Friday,  we untied our lines from the Queenborough floating barge and set off for Ipswich.  It was a long 10 hour passage with some rolling bits, but mostly quite calm.  We had a crew of 6.  Our Marmaris friends Rick and Mary Munden are with us for a few weeks.   Wynn Jones and Michael Smith came along too.  Each is just beginning to explore diesel trawlers so Randal invited them along. 


Our London friends Rick, Susie, Jane and David came to see us off as well as our cruising friends Ed and Sue and Al and Sally

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Michael watching as Randal backs out of the slip.  Rick is taking some photos as we pass out of the West Basin under the raised blue pedestrian bridge.


Leaving the west basin and aiming for the lock just past the open red pedestrian bridge. Both bridges had to be raised for us to get to the lock that we would go through to get into the Thames.



Jane taking a photo and Randal saying “see you somewhere down the Thames.”  Wynn in the yellow jacket is watching and learning.   We’re all waiting for the water level in the lock to lower to the level in the Thames which was at high tide.  You can only enter and exit the marina at high tide so must time your arrival and departures accordingly.                                                                                  


One last look back at the Tower Bridge


Michael sitting up on the fly bridge with Randal…

A far cry from the sleveless shirts and shorts of the Med or Tropics…  We needed hats and gloves and heavy jackets.


Mary, Rick and Wynn stand in the cockpit as we get one last look behind at the familiar landmarks of Tower Bridge, the Shard, Gherkin and Walkie Talkie. 


Mary in the galley whipping up some maple-bacon scones!

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Wynn and Rick as we cast off our lines from the floating barge where we’d tied up for the night in Queenborough on the Swale, an estuary off the Medway River.


We pulled up just after this fishing boat so they got our planned spot but then came and caught our lines so it all worked out.  Actually rather than catching fish, the boat was harvesting seaweed for aquariums. 


Morning on the Swale as the sun is just beginning to rise.


Locking in at Ipswich   Mary and Wynn and Randal

Jane Rick and "tour de Richmond"


    Soon I’ll be writing from Ipswich!  We leave SKD mid-morning Thursday for the 2 day passage.  Maybe with the slower pace of Ipswich I’ll catch up on some of my London stories. 

This email is about our visit with Jane and Rick (the 3rd Jane) in Richmond.  Later this morning Mary, Rick, Randal and I are off for an Alternative Art Walking tour I discovered last week.  Hope the rain holds off.



Randal and I were the only ones in our train car by the time we arrived in Richmond, “the end of the District line.”  It was just about noon so not the busy commuter time of day. 

  I had told Jane I was interested in almshouses so they were the first stop during our “tour de Richmond with Jane and Rick.”


Michel’s Almshouses

Michel’s Almshouses were founded in 1695 by Humphrey Michel. This charity owned property in The Vineyard and, at one time, land in Maiden Lane, which now forms part of the stage of the Adelphi Theatre. On his uncle’s death John Michel gave a further endowment to the charity. In 1727 William Smithet bequeathed to the charity a significant endowment of three houses and land in Kew Foot Road. On part of this land Michel’s Row, Rosedale Road and Benn’s Cottages were built. The original block of ten almshouses fronting The Vineyard was built in 1696 and rebuilt in 1810. The wing comprising six additional almshouses was added in 1860. A one-bedroom bungalow was built in 1990. The consecrated chapel is used as an almshouse. In 1983 six almshouses, consisting of two studios and four one-bedroom bungalows, were built on the site of Benn’s Cottages and are known as Benn’s Walk. The two studios were combined and converted into a one-bedroom bungalow in 2002.


Bishop Duppa’s Almshouses 1661 Almshouses being rennovated

  “Bishop Duppa’s Almshouses were founded by Bryan Duppa in 1661. Bryan Duppa, Bishop of Chichester was tutor to Charles, Prince of Wales, later Charles II, at Richmond Palace. Deprived of his bishopric, Bryan Duppa retired to a house on the site of the old Town Hall in Richmond. He promised that, if his pupil were restored to the throne, he would found almshouses in thanksgiving. After the Restoration in 1660, he was appointed Bishop of Winchester. He died in 1662 at his Richmond home.

     The present almshouses were rebuilt in 1851 in The Vineyard after a deal was struck with James Ewing, owner of Downe House, Richmond Hill whose grounds adjoined the dilapidated almshouses. James Ewing provided the new site and paid for the rebuilding, to a Jacobean design by Thomas Little, in exchange for the old almshouse site. The front arch and gateway was transferred from the original almshouse estate and has survived to this day.”

It was lunch time so we walked through Richmond center to the White Cross Pub.    I sneaked some photos of this artist painting the Richmond Bridge. 





The White Cross  (site’s photo)


Rick getting our drinks.

“Originally known as the Watermans Arms, the pub was built some time in 1748.

It was rebuilt in 1838, and changed its name to The White Cross in 1840. The landlord at the time was Samuel Cross which may explain the name change. The pub is built on the site of the observant Franciscan Friary which was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1534, but there may be some remains of the friary incorporated within our extensive cellars.

Have you ever been here during winter and high tide?

     There were so many of you waiting to get in on the extra high tides we had to invest in some more wellies – even Julie got caught out when she returned from holiday – Rob had to carry Tia (the dog) and left Julie to fend for herself!!

   If there are no wellies at the waters edge then just give us a call and one of our wonderful team will bring some wellies to you – where better to be stuck than your favourite local – the perfect excuse…”

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Tallest of its kind in the Capital  for a quick walk around this very posh place.

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The view from Richmond Hill

“The celebrated view of the vale of the Thames from the summit of Richmond Hill has long been the inspiration of writers and artists, both native and foreign.”   The only view in the country protected by and act of Parliament.

Protected view unveiled to public

An act was passed in 1902 to protect the view

      England’s only view to be protected by an Act of Parliament has been unveiled after a major restoration project.

The viewing area from Richmond Hill in south-west London gives a panoramic view of the capital taking in the river Thames, royal parks and palaces.

     Sir David Attenborough and Jerry Hall officially opened the first phase of the £3.3m restoration, largely funded by the Heritage Lottery. “


Jane pointing out Heathrow off in the distance and the sky scrapers of London.


Mick Jagger lives here as well as Jerry Hall as well, sadly did L’Wren Scott.  Pete Townsend lives down the way.  Possibly Brad and Angolina live here too. David Attenborough…





Royal Star and Garter Home, Richmond just down from “the view.”

     “The Star & Garter Committee was established in 1915 under the auspices of the British Red Cross Society to care for the severely disabled young men returning from the battlegrounds of the First World War. It was Queen Mary who first expressed concern for the future of these young men, and Her Majesty charged the British Red Cross Society with the task of finding a ‘permanent haven’ for them. The Auctioneers and Estate Agents Institute purchased the old Star & Garter hotel on Richmond Hill and handed the deeds to Queen Mary who, in turn, entrusted the building to the British Red Cross. The Star & Garter became an independent charity in 1922, in 1979 HM The Queen commanded that the Home would in future be known as The Royal Star & Garter Home, and on 26 June 1990 the Charity was granted a Royal Charter.

     The Royal Star & Garter Homes has had a long and rich history but has always remained true to its philosophy that ‘ there is no such thing as a hopeless case’ and all the residents, now and then, are cared for with support and therapy. The first 65 residents admitted in 1916 were an average age of 22. Some were able to return home, while others were helped to live fulfilled lives for many years.

     A new purpose built home was specially designed by Sir Edwin Cooper and funded by the British Women’s Hospital Committee under the auspices of Queen Mary. It was Her Majesty, along with King George V who opened the new home in July 1924. The Charity continued to benefit from its royal links and operated within the magnificent building on top of Richmond Hill until 2013 when we were no longer able to provide the specialist care the residents needed and a state-of-the-art Home was built in Surbiton.


Gift to a “whipping boy.”

     “It seems an odd notion to us now that a royal court would have kept a child for the purpose of beating him when the crown prince did wrong. That’s just what did happen though. Whipping Boy was an established position at the English court during the Tudor and Stuart monarchies of the 15th and 16th centuries. This may not have been quite as bad as it sounds. The whipping boys weren’t hapless street urchins living a life of torment, but high-born companions to the royal princes. They were educated with the princes and shared many of the privileges of royalty. The downside was that, if the prince did wrong, the whipping boy was punished. It was considered a form of punishment to the prince that someone he cared about was made to suffer.”  tells more about the term and mentions Ham House and William Murray

Ham House

“A unique 17th-century treasure trove

Originally built in 1610, Ham House is the creation of an enterprising courtier, William Murray, and his tenacious daughter Elizabeth. As a boy, William was educated with the young Charles I, taking the role of his whipping boy.

Remaining friends as adults, they shared a taste for the latest fashions in architecture, art and interior decoration. William was given the lease of Ham House and its estate as a gift from the King in 1626.

This rare and atmospheric Stuart house sits on the banks of the River Thames in Richmond.

The house is internationally recognised for its superb collection of paintings, furniture and textiles, largely acquired 400 years ago. It is reputed to be one of the most haunted houses in Britain.

Outside, the restored 17th-century garden includes a productive kitchen garden containing many heritage crops, the formal ‘Wilderness’, complete with summerhouses, and many beautiful spots perfect for a picnic.”

Mark Romanek’s film of the Kazuo Ishiguro  Never Let Me Go location: ‘Hailsham House’ school: Ham House, Richmond.

My favorite location in Richmond was Jane and Rick’s home;  filled with color and light and all kinds of neat stuff!

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Jane and Jane Young and Parker


Life has been full of family and friends!  My nephew Andrew visited for a week and now our Marmaris Dead End Trail Hiking Gang pals, Rick and Mary are here with us.  They will stay aboard and help us make the passage from London to Ipswich.  They arrived Friday about noon.  Coincidentally my many years bike riding pal Kathy, whom I met in Roanoke but who now lives on Cape Cod; but who is in England with her daughter for a few days, came to visit Friday morning for a quick hello.  Friday afternoon we let Rick and Mary rest up just going on a short canal walk in the afternoon.  Saturday I lead a Charles Dickens walk following along the small brochure I’d bought in the Docklands Museum specially for their visit.  Today we visited the extremely crowded Columbia Rd Flower Market and the food haven Brick Lane where we had curry and doner at a local “dive” :  cheap but tasty!   I peeled off for my Sunday Life Drawing group but R R and M went to Sainsbury so Mary could track down some special coffee for a cruiser back in Marmaris.  They then headed back to the boat to rest up for Monday’s activities.  Have to cram stuff in as we’re leaving March 27th.

  While here in London we’ve met three very creative women all named Jane.  Along with sharing a name, they share a love of art and a need to create.  But each does that definitely in her own unique way.  It has been wonderful getting to meet them.  Hopefully when Randal and I are settled on our land in Virginia we will have visits from all of them.


Jane Young is the first of the 3 Jane women that I met.  She was helping out the Friends of St Katharine Docks who had a storefront shop here during the Thames Festival.   There was a lovely graphic of the Thames flowing through London on the wall which I admired and found Jane was the artist.  So we chatted a bit and I was quite taken, not only by the art, but by the artist!  I left Jane, went down to our boat, got a big piece of the pecan pie Randal had made, and brought it back for her.  After that I followed Jane’s websites and  and


Jane with the “Best of Times”  “Worst of Times” cushions I had ordered and a gift of her graphic of the Elephant Gate into St Katharine Docks.  Jane came to visit “between clients” and we had a picnic lunch on the boat.  If you are coming to London and want great suggestions for places to go and things to see, read Jane’s blog and discover what’s beyond  “Frommer’s or Fodor’s.”   Lots of great stories and enchanting histories. 

The next Jane  we met was Jane Lane-Roberts.  I wrote about her visits to DoraMac in earlier emails  On the 18th Randal and I took the District Line to Richmond to visit Jane and her husband Rik.  But that’s a really long story which includes our whirlwind tour of Richmond so we’ll save that for next email. 

The 3rd Jane is Jane Ameila Parker. 


Jane at her stall in Spitalfield

While researching mudlarking I’d found the website of Amelia Parker.  AKA Jane Amelia Parker.  So when we saw her “live and in person” at the Spitafileds Market we had to stop and chat.  Turns out Jane was about to fly off to Fethiye, Turkey  where she owns a home.  So we had to talk about our mutual Turkish experiences.  And then we amazed  “Jane Amelia” by asking if she knew “Jane Young,”  which of course she did.  Scheduling didn’t allow Jane Amelia and Jane Young to visit us together but we had lovely visits with each of them. 


Randal showing Jane his 2-eyed rock he’d found


“Clay Pipe people and patterns

New for November 2013 – a set of four cards featuring Clay Pipe Pete, an upright fella, and his lazy friend Smokey Joe.    Clay pipe fragments have been carefully chosen for their shape and size and arranged to make these two characters which I have overlaid onto old London maps.”

I bought a Clay Pipe Pete Takes the Train (1905) card to inspire me to maybe make something with my clay pipe pieces.   And to remind us of Jane Amelia.

Jane told us that she separates her graphic design business from her pipe creations business by using variations of her name.  If someone calls and asks for Jane she knows they want graphics or leather.  If they ask for Amelia they want the clay pipe creations.  Smart!!


Jane came to visit one night and she and Andrew were speaking a whole other language of art and design;  Randal and I listened and learned. is Jane’s blog about life/art in London. is Jane’s graphics company is Jane’s site for her leather wallets and holders.

Below is an excerpt from the Londonist interview with Jane Amelia.  I picked these bits because they describe how I feel about our website.

If you had to describe your blog in less than 15 words how would you do it?

     Photographic patchworks of observations found on, around and above London’s streets.

Why did you start blogging?

     I saw an article in Time Out a while back that listed some good London sites and blogs. I was intrigued, especially as I’d originally thought blogs were just the online diaries of the self-obsessed. I hadn’t realised they could be used as a scrapbook or a forum for ideas. And so I was hooked. Seeing as I already had lots of images taken along the Holloway Road and Upper Street, as well as those I’d taken for London The Way We See It, I thought this would be a great way to share my observations with like-minded souls. And so my little monster was created.

     Nine months later, my baby screams for attention at all hours of the day. I only wish there were more hours in the day and more days in the week – taking the photos is the easy bit, but collating them when I get home, editing them, posting them to Flickr and making collections for my blog, means I spend an inordinate amount of time at my Mac. But, I have to say, it’s ultimately worthwhile, especially when I get favourable responses and emails.

What about London inspires your blog?

     I am always spotting new things, even on those streets that I thought knew quite well, and these lead me to conjure up new categories; one broken boot scraper will lead to a collection, as will an old shop sign uncovered during a re-fit, or imprints left in wet cement, an old doorbell, a letterbox painted shut. I am also drawn to the textures and patterns made by peeling paint and rusting metal.

     But it’s not all about old things; I also like to take shots of some of the great street art and graffiti that’s out there, as well as mis-spelled signs and stuff that amuses me such as an arrangement of windows that resembles a monkey’s face or a chair dumped in the middle of a roundabout.

     And I get some great ideas from the wonderful Smoke magazine which is a valuable source of inspiration; always brimming with interesting and amusing London-based articles.

Would you feel more or less connected to London; would you have missed out on things without your blog?

     I have always looked around me as I wandered about. I am not someone who just stares ahead or buries his or her head in a street map or guidebook. The only difference these days is that I never leave the house without a camera. Having my blog has therefore made me even more observant. has the full interview with Jane Amelia Parker

More about Jane Young and Jane Parker…………………….

London Historians’ Blog

Random musings about London’s history

19 July, 2012 by Mike Paterson

I’m constantly amazed and gratified by what a talented bunch our members are. I’m going to give three of them in particular a plug.

If you’ve joined London Historians very recently (or renewed your membership), you will have received with your members’ card a unique  hand-made bookmark. These have earned deserved praise from recipients.


They were kindly supplied by our very talented LH member Jane Young, whose company London Kills Me (aka Darrieulat & Young) makes fine screenprints, cushions and all manner of lovely home items, usually with a London theme. Jane is often out and about at special events, trade fairs and such as listed on her web site. Check it out.


Our other very talented Jane is Jane Parker. Her company, Amelia Parker (“London’s history recycled”), sells jewellery made from recycled old London objects, primarily clay pipes from the Thames foreshore. Very clever. And pretty. The jewellery’s not bad either, boom-boom. Jane can frequently be found on her stall at Spitalfields Market, usually Fridays and Sundays. But check the web site.


Julia Forte is a very busy London Historians member. When not running the fabulous Star at Night cocktail bar – home of the London Gin Club – Julia sells an eclectic range of unusual London ephemera under the London Peculiar banner. Some of these items are designed by Julia herself, some are interesting second-hand objects and collectables – antiques indeed. “Sellers of weird and wonderful London rarities, oddities and gifts.” 

(Sadly we’ve not had the chance to meet Julia Forte, but if she’s as interesting/creative/welcoming as Jane and Jane, we certainly wish we had!)


So if you’re looking for something special for your home – or a unique gift for a friend – Jane, Jane or Julia will most certainly fix you up.

London Kills Me
Amelia Parker
London Peculiar

Sunday at the Tate Modern and Clerkenwell


It has been a lovely day.  Randal and I went to visit our friends Jane and Rick Lane-Roberts in Richmond.  We were given a wonderful walk around and drive around tour which I’ll share in a future email .  Future email is getting to be a very overused phrase by me lately.  Not much time left in London so we have to make the most of it.

This email is another Ruth and Andrew adventure.  We visited an area called Clerkenwell and I really do need to return!  Lots to see there; this is just a very small bit.


Sunday was a day of “walking and seeing”.   Visit Andrew’s website     and you’ll begin to understand why we went off to see what we did rather than the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey.   Andrew and Randal did ride the London Eye and the Emirates cable car across the Thames.  I took a pass.  I prefer the view from the fire Monument .  But there’s still time so who knows.

We started the day walking along the Thames north bank towards the Millinneum Bridge where we would cross over to the Tate Modern.  On the way we passed this somewhat sad looking church tower which I’d always meant to investigate.  So we did.  It’s called the Tower of St Mary Somerset.

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“This tower of St Mary Somerset built after the great fire by Sir Christopher Wren was restored by the Corporation of London AD MCMLVI”   =  1956  (The rest of the church had been demolished earlier) is the best source for the history and demolition of the church and the preservation of the tower.


Second plaque at the church.

“1869-1874 First Church to be Demolished under the Union of Benefices Act But leaving the 120 Foot Tower which was saved by one Ewan Christian for Posterity. “

Ewan Christian, architect of the National Portrait Gallery in Charing Cross,  was in 1887 “appointed architect to the Charity Commissioners, his main work for them being a comprehensive survey of the Wren churches then still surviving in the City of London.”

Though  proposed in 2008 to make the tower of St Mary Somerset into a single residence, it has yet come to pass.

“WGDP were retained to advise on a Building at Risk. It is a Grade I listed building in the City of London by the name of: The Tower of St Mary Somerset designed by Sir Christopher Wren with Hawksmore Pinnacles.

Surrounded by large office blocks on three sides, all that remains of the former Church is the tower. The nave was demolished c. 1870.

The Tower has been vacant since about 1975. Up until then, it had been used by Bernard Miles, of the Mermaid Theatre, for rehearsal purposes.

This is the second Wren Tower that WGDP has dealt with successfully. The first, at Christ Church Tower to the north of St Paul’s Cathedral, is a Scheduled Monument and one which we successfully secured Scheduled Monument consent, listed building consent and planning permission to convert at Church Tower into a single dwelling.

On that experience, the City of London Corporation invited us and the developer of Christ Church Tower to look at St Mary Somerset.

WGDP marshalled all the information together to submit listed building and planning applications to convert St Mary Somerset Tower into a single residence.

Development is expected to commence during 2008.” Church towers that have become homes.

An interesting side note to the existence and demolition of churches and the graves below them.

“It seems this subliminal message holds some truth. By the mid-1800s, the graveyards of the City’s churches were overcrowded, massively unsanitary, and actually thought to be spreading disease through poor drainage of burial grounds. A wholescale clearing of Churches and their graveyards was undertaken, after the passing of the Union of Benefices Act 1860, and local men of God were responsible for overseeing the re-burial of masses of the City’s dead in the City of London Graveyard and Cemetery, the new municipal facility that boasted a huge area and good drainage. All across the site, these dead are buried in mass graves, hailing from Churches including St. James, Duke Place, St. Helen Bishopsgate, St. Martin Outwich and St. Mary Somerset & St. Mary Mounthaw. All four mass graves are sited in one area of one road on the site… “


On our way across the Millennium Bridge to the Tate Modern;  Andrew with St Paul’s in the background

Andrew happily allowed me to snap candid photos,   but drew the line at formal poses.


A padlock on the Millennium

Two journalist with opposing viewpoints  of the padlocks…


“Valentine’s Day: just don’t say it with padlocks : “   

“I was walking over the Millennium Footbridge in London and, yes, more locks! I returned a few weeks later and found that the locks were gone. Perhaps council workers in London had swooped in. I contacted the City of London, which maintains the bridge. “This isn’t a big issue for us as it is quite a rare occurrence with our bridges,” a spokesman said. “We don’t have an official policy on this but occasionally as part of general maintenance they are removed.”

“The lock of love: For years, couples from around the world have left padlocks on bridges as tokens of their love. Now Britons are unlocking their inner passions too”

I remember first seeing this phenomenon on Yellow Mountain in China where there were hundreds of them on the fence bordering the paths around the mountain top.

Huangshan, China

Although Pécs takes credit for love-locking in Europe, some believe the tradition originated in China. You’ll find these eternal mementos all around the country but one of the best places to see love-locks is Huangshan (Yellow Mountain) in Anhui Province, known as ‘China’s loveliest mountain’.

The mountain’s beautiful scenery and surroundings inspired classic Chinese poets and painters; think dramatic peaks, rugged trees and seas of clouds. The area’s romantic atmosphere spans from local legend that a beautiful girl fell in love with a poor man. Her father insisted she married a rich man instead, but on their wedding day, the girl escaped with her poor lover up Huangshan, and they threw themselves off the mountain to be together forever.

Nowadays, less drastic lovers attach padlocks to chains and railings on Lotus Peak, and throw the keys off the mountainside in memory of this legend.

Harry Callahan Images of Horseneck Beach  

Horseneck Beach will always say “home” to me and we still visit it each trip “up north.”  I even went swimming one September there not so many years ago with our pal Har from Dartmouth.

“Well, knock me down with that proverbial feather!!” to quote our new pal Jane Parker…. Because while wandering around the Tate Modern there were photos of Horseneck Beach in the Harry Callahan exhibit. And they were taken in 1971 when my family still lived in New Bedford (just near Westport/Horseneck Beach.)

Harry Callahan (American, 1912–1999)

Harry Callahan, Tate Modern – exhibition review

This show reveals the remarkable diversity of America’s great 20th-century photographer Harry Callahan

“In 1961, when RISD   [Rhode Island School of Design]  decided to establish a degree program in photography, David L. Strout, Vice President and Dean of the College, hired photographer Harry Callahan from the Institute of Design in Chicago (ID) where he had trained and taught under the New Bauhaus influence of Moholy Nagy. By the 1950s, Callahan had achieved a significant national reputation as an American modernist photographer. Over the next eight years, Callahan established an undergraduate photography concentration in the Graphic Design Department and in 1963, established an MFA degree in photography.”  really good interview with his widow/model  Eleanor and daughter Barbara.

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Black White  &  Orange


Horseneck Beach 40 years after Harry Callahan; there are still sand dunes and beach grasses;  hopefully forever!

This photo was taken October 2011 when we visited our “up north friends.”

Dick, Randal and Orange bag  …The water was too freezing cold for me, but for “old time’s sake, I got in, got wet, and got out!  Har is still swimming!


I like sheep, wool and blue so I like this…..

Untitled 1968 by Jannis Kounellis

“Untitled comprises two upright wooden posts that hold four cross bars loosely wrapped with wool. Some of the wool is dyed in delicate shades of light blue. While the wool appears uncarded and untamed, it has been arranged on the cross bars in such a way as to suggest a harmonious coming together of a natural material and human work. The work is displayed leaning at an angle against a wall.

The piece is typical of Kounellis’ work of the late 1960s. At this time Kounellis, who was living in Rome and was one of the leading figures in the Arte Povera movement, had abandoned painting as a medium and had embraced an art made of everyday materials. He used wool, coal, iron, stones, earth, cacti, wood and even flames and live animals (in two controversial untitled works, exhibited respectively in the Galleria L’Attico, Rome, in 1967 and 1969, he used his own pet parrot and twelve horses).” for the full summary.

After a couple hours at the Tate Andrew and I were ready for lunch and our next venue, Clerkenwell.   Clerkenwell, like Shoreditch, is an area of artisans and refurbished buildings but still retains it’s neighborhood feel.  We discovered Sundays might not be the best day to visit the area as there’s not the usual interesting weekday activity.


Charity School recognizable to me by the blue coated children over the door.

The plaque reads…..

“This building, reputed to be from designs by Sir Christopher Wren, was erected as a church by Lord Hatton to serve the needs of the neighbourhood after St. Andrew’s Holborn had been destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. It was adapted for use as a charity school about 1696, was severely damaged by incendiary bombs during the 1939 – 1945 war, and has since been reconstructed internally to provide offices – the original facades being restored and retained. The figures of scholars in 18th century costume, taken down and sent for safe keeping during the war to Bradfield College, Berkshire, have been replaced in their original positions as a memorial of the former use of the building.”


No. 136 Clerkenwell Rd  Church of St Peter

“At the top of Leather Lane on Clerkenwell Road, look around for signs in the Italian Quarter – the wine shop, the food store and the driving school. The Italian Church of St Peter was opened in 1863 and still draws its congregation from all over London. Since 1883, it has held a procession every July to celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Plaques commemorating Giuseppe Mazzini, the Italian patriot, are found across the road at Laystall Street and also at the far end of Hatton Garden.

These days it’s hard to believe that this area was once famous for its gardens. See the clues in the street names of Vine Hill and Saffron Hill. John Gerard, who published his famous Herball or Generall Historie of Plantes in 1597, also had a Holborn garden.” tells the really interesting story of the Italian neighborhood and the church.


The story of No. 29 is quite humorous.  Now the Green Pub/Gallery/Restaurant

“No. 29. This former public house was erected in 1866–7. Named the Fox and French Horn, it replaced an earlier inn on the site, known in 1781 as the French Horn, and as the Fox and French Horn by 1796. (ref. 144) The rebuilding was carried out by the licensee Joseph Lambert, who had taken on the lease of the inn and five small cottages behind in Fox Place (now demolished, see Ill. 99). (ref. 145)

The new building, savouring mildly of Venetian Gothic, was one of the first works undertaken by the architectural practice of Walter Augustus Hills and Thomas Wayland Fletcher, a tempestuous partnership which nevertheless endured for twenty years. Hills and Fletcher had both been employed by Poplar District Board of Works as surveyors, and their most important achievement was the board’s new offices of 1869–70, on Poplar High Street.  Pubs were the mainstay of their business, however, and both men were more or less alcoholics. (ref. 146)

At the time of the rebuilding, Fletcher was still employed by the Poplar Board of Works, and possibly for this reason his name does not appear in the official records. (ref. 147) But he later claimed the design as his own, accusing his ‘reptile of a partner’, Hills, of taking ‘no responsibility’ for the work of the practice, other than the levelling. (Apparently the levelling instrument belonged to Hills and he would not lend it to Fletcher.) (ref. 148)

Although still working out his notice at the Board of Works, Fletcher was at pains to keep an eye on the building’s progress, rising three mornings a week at 4:45am in order to travel to Clerkenwell Green, and afterwards breakfasting at a local café before making his way to the board’s offices in Poplar. (ref. 149)

Since its closure as a pub in the early 1920s, the building has lost various decorative features, among them the Corinthian pilasters originally framing the ground-floor windows (Ills 95, 119).”

# 29 Clerkenwell is now the Green Pub / Gallery/ Restaurant


My photo of an Edward Hopper-esque Redhead in Clerkenwell…



Craft Central studios and showroom and St John’s Gate


Former National Penny Bank which now houses Crafts Central

“Although run as a commercial venture, the National Penny Bank was in its origins philanthropic, continuing a tradition of penny savings banks established principally in Scotland and Yorkshire from the 1840s. The founder and manager, (Sir) George Bartley, had been involved with Lord Shaftesbury and others in promoting penny banks in the late 1860s, and the National Penny Bank Co. Ltd, formed in 1875, was intended to put the movement on a firm financial footing.  Pennybank Chambers (originally Penny Bank Buildings) was only the second building specially erected for the company, which was supported by many prominent and high-ranking figures. (ref. 40)

When opened in August 1880, the ground and first floors comprised three shops and the bank itself, the latter occupying the corner and front to the square.  A fireproof floor of rolled iron and concrete separated this commercial section from the four floors of dwellings. These were two- and three-room tenements, four to a floor, with shared WCs on the landings. Illustration 561 shows the building as proposed. The prominent dovecote-like corner feature was intended as a laundry, but was omitted from the final design and a cheap rooftop structure of wood and corrugated iron provided instead.  As usual in such blocks, the flat roof was used as a drying-ground. (ref. 41) The building is faced in stock and red brick, and is ornamented with terracotta friezes incorporating the bank’s penny-piece emblem (Ill. 560). (ref. 42)

The Clerkenwell branch, one of more than a dozen across London, closed in the late 1880s, though the National Penny Bank Co. continued to own the building until it was wound up in 1914. (ref. 43) The lower floors continued in business use, mostly in connection with the jewellery and clock trades, but by 1960 the dwellings were standing empty.  In 1977–8 the entire building was refurbished by the London Borough of Islington as craft workshops for the Clerkenwell Green Association. (ref. 44) shows 1870’s image and 2010 image.

“Craft Central, the new name for Clerkenwell Green Association, is a pioneering not-for-profit organisation established over 25 years that is dedicated to building a strong future for craft and design.

Craft Central is a place where things happen. People get inspired. Creative businesses flourish and a community of designers and makers talk, meet and swap ideas. Put simply, Craft Central is a destination for those involved in craft who want to get somewhere, make something happen and see things differently.”

“Clerkenwell these days of course is a very desirable and fashionable part of town. To see it now you would be surprised to learn it was one of the biggest areas of concern for the Royal Commission for Housing the Working Classes 1884-85.  Charles Booth’s Poverty Map and Notebook of 1898 George Duckworth finds St. John Square to be coloured Purple a mixture of comfortable and poor with Jerusalem Court (leading off from the Tavern) as black:

“The blackest spot of all, you can’t paint it black enough, ‘savages’ said Zenthon a danger to the police” Survey into Life and Labour in London Notebook B353 pp150-151 (1898)

George Gissing’s publication of The Nether World (1889) also focused on Clerkenwell as an abject slum whilst presenting the new model dwellings to the area in a very unsatisfactory light. It is understood that Pennybank Chambers now artisan studios was originally a model dwelling which these pages intend to show more of.

Beginning with St. John’s Gate it was with great interest to discover it to be the childhood home of William Hogarth from 1701 to 1709 whose father had opened an unsuccessful coffee house in the building in 1703.  Also the home of Edward Cave  St. John’s Gate became the first offices and printing house of The Gentleman’s Magazine founded 1731 and thus sometimes workplace of Samuel Johnson from 1737”  this great site by Jane Young a new wonderful friend!  More about Jane Young and Jane Parker; two artisans in a future email.


The Printworks, former Victorian warehouse on Clerkenwell Rd.

Advert for an apartment in the building

• New Development

• 704 Sq ft / 65 Sq m

• Converted Warehouse

• High Specification

Forming part of a new development on the corner of Clerkenwell Road and St Johns Sq, this new two bedroom apartment is located on the third floor of a converted warehouse originally built in 1879 called The Printworks. The developer has incorporated a high specification including a fully fitted Keller kitchens with Neff appliances and stone composite worktops, two fully tiled contemporary bathrooms, limed oak floorboards and an air circulation system throughout. An abundance of windows to all aspects offers excellent natural light.


No much happening on Sunday so it calls for a return visit during the week.


Another interesting building whose name, Hat and Feathers caught my eye as my grandfather was a hat maker.

“The present building, replacing an old tavern of the same name, was erected in 1860 for the publican, James Leask. Like its predecessor it was originally numbered in Goswell Street (now Goswell Road), taking its present address from one of a pair of houses with shops adjoining, rebuilt at the same time. No. 2, an eating-house, was amalgamated with the Hat and Feathers in the early 1880s; the other house, No. 4, has been demolished. Illustration 572 shows the original layout of the buildings. (ref. 71)

Leask’s architect was William Finch Hill of the pub and music-hall specialists  Finch Hill & Paraire, and the builder was also a Mr Hill. The façade—’gay without being crude’ (ref. 72) —is decorated with Classical statues, urns and richly ornate capitals and consoles (Ill. 574). The groundfloor front is probably largely original, the polished granite pilasters being added in 1897 to replace timber ones. (ref. 73) The facia, extending across the front of the former eatinghouse, is of twentieth-century date.

At the time of writing (2007) the building has not long been re-opened as the Hat and Feathers Bar and Restaurant, having stood empty or been occupied by squatters since about 1990.  great restaurant review but since then not much and not great.

Design London part 1


     After enduring a Philadelphia winter of really horrible weather including days with no power, the weather gods in England smiled down on my nephew Andrew during his visit to London.  (He flies home tomorrow.) The weather was sunny and perfect.  It will take me forever to write up all of our adventures, but here is one morning’s story.  Thanks to Andrew I’m learning about the creative artisan bits of London. 



Great Eastern Street just off Shoreditch High Street


Lots of street art and vintage buildings:

Old Blue Last Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Cos Entire AD 1700 and Rebuilt 1876


“The View London Review”

“On the corner of Great Eastern Street and Curtain Road stands Old Blue Last, whose site dates back to the 16th Century when it was once a theatre, and at another point a brothel. Voted as ‘The coolest pub in the World’ by NME, The Old Blue Last is now owned by cult magazine Vice.

The Venue

      Changing hands and buildings at various points over the last few centuries, the once-theatre was knocked down and replaced with a pub called The Last in the 1700s and in the 1880s it was bought by Truman’s Brewery, knocked down again and renamed the Old Blue Last. It was this final venue that housed an illegal knocking shop and strip joint within its walls.

     The front of the pub looks traditionally old, with the recently refurbished interior keeping its character, but improving on its old shabby decor. A spacious wooden floor as you enter is edged with Chesterfield sofas, low wooden tables and even a row of four old-fashioned wooden cinema seats with leather backs. Antlers are a key statement and can be spotted on various walls. A bookcase behind the bar houses other strange animals, like an armadillo, to take your attention as you wait to be served. A huge mirror also hangs behind the bar etched with the words Truman Hanbury Buxton Ales, and dates from 1886 when Truman’s took over. Upstairs is more intimate with its own bar and a small stage ready for live acts.

The Atmosphere

      An older than average Shoreditch crowd, a mature mob of after work suits and casuals sup ales and sip wine on the ground floor. People look at ease and comfortable – at home even – in the venue. Regulars make up the majority of punters and bar service is adequate for such a busy venue.”

Have to go back and look inside next time!


You are here…. On our way to SCP East


Sheridan Coakley  and I’m guessing the P stands for Products. is a really interesting article about his support for new American furniture designers

“Our flagship store, SCP East, is truly the beating heart of the whole company. Housed in a former furniture-manufacturing warehouse, it is one of London’s largest design stores and has had its doors open for business since 1985. Spread across two sizable floors, the store is a feast of design, accommodating both those looking to furnish the whole home or those in search of smaller affordable items of classic design.

     “The story of SCP is neatly intertwined with the complete cultural and commercial renaissance witnessed in the East End over the last two decades. From the heady days of the Brit Art scene to the economic revival of Brick Lane and Spitalfields. In the early years, the SCP East store had the feel of a furniture gallery and warehouse space, hosting exhibitions of SCP products by rising stars of the British design scene and of European design difficult to get in London. The slightly run down and decadent location only seemed to increase the rarified appeal of what was on show.”

     “SCP was founded in 1985 by Sheridan Coakley as a manufacturer and retailer of modern furniture. Inspired by the designs of the Modern Movement, Coakley decided to start selling classic and hard to find pieces and also try his hand a producing new designs in the same spirit. Nearly three decades on, SCP remains true to its founding idea, to make and sell design products that are functional, beautiful and made to last.

In 1986, SCP exhibited for the first time at the Salone del Mobile in Milan. On show were the first ever manufactured designs by Matthew Hilton and Jasper Morrison. The event established SCP as a pioneering force in the UK and international furniture industry.

Since those early heady days of creative entrepreneurialism, SCP has continued to develop new products every year. Employing the rich talents of designers that include Terence Woodgate, Konstantin Grcic, Michael Marriott, Andrew Stafford, Tom Dixon, Russell Pinch, Robin Day, Donna Wilson, Alex Hellum, Kay+Stemmer, Timorous Beasties, PearsonLloyd, Rachel Whiteread and Peter Marigold.

Today, SCP is firmly established as one of the UK’s most innovative and internationally respected manufacturers and suppliers of contemporary design. SCP is also an acclaimed and award winning retailer, regularly voted as one of London’s finest design shops.”


I like this really stark cabinet which makes me think my taste has become modern industrial or 1950s something.


I’ve always liked mix & match chairs bought when you find what you like rather than a matched set.


I really like these scrapwood pieces too, but only one per room I think as they are a bit overwhelming like madras shorts.

Waste cabinet in Scrapwood  £5,100.00

Designed by Piet Hein Eek   Manufactured by Piet Hein Eek

     “The Waste cabinet is meticulously crafted in Piet Hein Eek’s studio using traditional woodworking technique. It brings his quintessential vocabulary of recycled wood collage to a cabinet design of exceptional grace. Each piece is completed with a characteristic high gloss finish. Due to the nature of the material used in production, each piece is one-of-a-kind.”


£7,860.00 Piet Hein Eek

I wonder if he’s related to Piet Hein the Danish mathematician, designer, philosopher who wrote the wonderful little book called “Grooks.”


I could live in this building!  £4,096.00  similar


The colors aren’t me, but a desk and chair by a big window is and I love the long neck lamps.


Walking back from Shoreditch…

Eye-i   by Bruce McLean 1993  Best from this view rather than across the street.

The blond with one red eye is what I would have called it.

   “A large metal sculpture situated in North Folgate, outside the Bishopsgate Arcade.  Bishopsgate, North Folgate, Shoreditch High Street and Kingsland Road were all originally part of Ermine Street, the main Roman road from London Bridge to Lincoln and York. Could that be the reason for the two blue lines running up the centre of the sculpture? “


This abstract female face in bright coloured metal is by Bruce McLean. Glasgow-born McClean – well-known for his performance art – specialises in the irreverent and this 1993’s sculpture’s title refers to the Glasgow ‘Aye-aye!’ greeting and its prominent winking eye as well as the I-beams from which it is made.

199 Bishopsgate EC2

Tube: Liverpool Street  more about McLean more about Broadgate art  is a link to his silk screen which I really like. interview with Bruce McLean

Nest stop, 30 St Mary Axe (street) or The Gherkin as it is known.


A great landmark when you have to find your way home as it’s not so far from SKD Marina.

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“A fine pickle”   

   “As Norman Foster’s Stirling prize-winner demonstrates, some of the most exciting sculpture of our time is being produced by architects, writes Jonathan Jones

     It has everything that used to be scorned by the British public: radical shape, industrial materials, imposing itself on a City skyline that some argue should be reserved for Wren and Hawksmoor. Laughed at when it was announced, instantly popular when (quickly) built, this is the first great skyscraper to be built in London.”

“On curved stone benches either side of 30 St Mary Axe are inscribed the 20 lines of Scottish poet Ian Hamilton Finlay’s ‘Arcadian Dream Garden’.”  Time Out London  is the whole poem. is the building’s website explaining how incredibly eco- friendly it is and energy efficient.  Also explains how the windows are cleaned.


Taking photos of St Paul’s or each other or even a Selfie!

Then it was time for a snack to hold us until a late lunch at The Rock and Sole Plaice in Covent Gardens for fish and chips.  More about that next email.

Wednesday’s Lunch at Covent Garden


   A little bit sad today as we saw Andrew off to Philly.  Andrew’s list of things to see and do were off the regular tourist map so that was fun for us to visit places we might not have, one being the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow.  But that’s for another email.  This one is not to be read if you are hungry especially for something naughty and fried like fish and chips!



Memorial to Oscar Wilde just near St Martins in the Field across from the National Gallery and Trafalgar Square.

I am so clever that sometimes I don’t understand a single word of what I am saying.

Oscar Wilde

I think that God in creating Man somewhat overestimated his ability.

   If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh, otherwise they’ll kill you.

          It is always a silly thing to give advice, but to give good advice is fatal.

“There is no such thing as a moral or an immoral book.

Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray

“There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.”

― Oscar Wilde, The Picture of Dorian Gray source of the quotes

“ Oscar Wilde was one of the greatest playwrights in the English language and, on the anniversary of his death, London sees its first public monument to his memory unveiled on the edge of theatreland.

     The story behind this historic monument began in the 1980s and early 90s when some his fans remarked that there was no public memorial to him in the very city where he lived and his plays were most performed. One of those fans, the film-maker, painter and author Derek Jarman therefore suggested a statue.

     After Derek died in 1994, a group of us from public life got together to form A Statue for Oscar Wilde committee to bring that about, and the unveiling of the memorial sees the successful end to our efforts.

     Sir Jeremy Isaacs: "This is a great day for London, theatreland, for Ireland and for Wilde’s family"

Working with me on the committee were celebrated actors Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellan and poet Seamus Heaney.

     We invited 12 artists to submit sketches and from those submissions, we chose the six we liked most. They went away and made models of their ideas and the one which impressed us the most was the portraitist Maggi Hambling.

     Maggi has had a life-long fascination with Wilde and had often painted him before. For the memorial, she has created a witty and amusing sculpture and called it A Conversation with Oscar Wilde.

     On a green granite sarcophagus, which serves as a bench on which the public sit, Oscar’s head in bronze is seen rising from the tomb chatting away. He is smoking a cigarette. On the granite is inscribed this quotation from his play Lady Windermere’s Fan: "We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars".

     The funds for the statue were raised by public subscription. In fact, hundreds of people contributed small amounts and various foundations generously put up five figure sums.

     I believe that the unveiling of this statue sees a great day for the theatre, for London, for Ireland, for Oscar Wilde’s family and for all those people who admire both the man and his work.

By Sir Jeremy Isaacs, the Oscar Wilde statue project leader “


After leaving Shoreditch we had a snack and then walked along Fleet St. and the Strand to Trafalgar Square but wanted to be at Covent Garden : You Are Here maps are great.

After we wandered about Covent Gardens a bit we went off to look for “the fish and chips place in Covent Gardens.”   I had read somewhere that “the best” and “very busy” fish and chips place was in Covent Gardens; best to arrive after 2 pm to avoid lines.  I, however, had failed to write down the name or address.  Luckily one “shop girl” knew exactly where I meant and we were just down the street.  “Walk to the huge ice cream cones, turn left and follow your nose.”  We did just that and found The Rock and Sole Plaice.  She had also told us to order takeaway and find someplace nice to sit.  I assumed that was because often it was too crowded to find a seat.

     As it was almost 2 pm we were able to find a seat; Andrew opted for indoors.


“The Ziyaeddin family bought the business and are still running it 35 years later. It was in the heady days of Covent Garden in the 1980s that the first tourists began to visit the area. They would ask local people ‘What is good British food and where can we get some?’ and they would usually be sent in our direction.”


Andrew had fish and chips and I had fried calamari, the “starter” portion. 

I was amazed at how quickly it came.  My calamari were quite good and tender and hot, just like I like it. 

Andrew liked his fish and chips though I wasn’t as enamored with the fish as he: we traded bits so we could each taste both.  As I’ve eaten calamari many places around the world, I am qualified to judge and think this quite good.    I also ordered a dish of mushy peas.  Always good but too much food…even after all that walking!


The friendly helpful cheerful owners/staff. 

Some reviews complained about the service, price and taste.  We had great service, enjoyed the food, didn’t feel rushed as we were there late and seats were available.  We did realize that food was about 1/3rd cheaper as takeaway rather than eat in; perhaps that’s why the “shop girl” had suggested takeaway and not for the crowds.    A reminder for next time.


I thought the restaurant’s  WW 2 history interesting


A testimonial to the Fenner sisters who  lived upstairs and taught the current owners how to “fry fish.”


You might need a magnifying glass but it’s worth it to read how the present owners were taught to cook fish by the daughters of the previous owner.  The Fenner sisters, Anna and Rachel, taught the new owners how it was done.  You can see the lines on the building that was used as a guide for whoever did the lettering. 


Andrew and Randal relaxing on the boat.

Fortnum & Mason Department Store and "the Map that Changed the World."


  I’m pooped!  My nephew Andrew arrived on Friday and we’ve walked miles and miles since then.  His interests are design, crafts, and architecture so we’ve looked at London a bit differently than we normally do.  Just now Andrew and Randal are riding the London EYE.  I’m here relaxing finishing this email I started days ago.  Out “to do while Andrew is here” list is still pretty long, but that’s much better than “too short.”  Thankfully the weather has really been cooperating.


     From my very knowledgeable Cousin Ernest…..“My favorite department store there was Fortnum and Mason.  I never missed a visit when I was in town. I always bought a supply of their marvelous jams and jellies… especially the many varieties of Orange jams they had… and brought them back for Mom, who loved them! Take a peek into Fortnum and Mason if you get a chance.” 


Meeting for coffee with our cruiser friends in Côte for coffee.  They have the loveliest Ladies Loo with a view into the marina.  Randal and I planned to walk to Piccadilly to visit Fortnum and Mason after coffee as the sun was shinning!


The sun was hitting the buildings across the Thames making the sharp geometrical shape stand out.  We walked along the Thames from Tower Bridge to Westminster Bridge. 

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Then clouds and drizzle came, then sun, then drizzle, then sun, then drizzle as we came to this statue of Boadicea across from Parliament.


Good advice

Although my pal Martha and I did bike through London back in the mid-1980s, I don’t think I’d do it now. 


Florence Nightingale and her Fortnum & Mason connection

1855 – Crimea

Queen Victoria, beef tea and Florence Nightingale

In 1854 the story of the Charge of the Light Brigade gripped the nation. The Crimean was the first war to be covered by on-the-spot reporters, so for once the home front was aware of the soldiers’ appalling conditions.

The Queen took a personal interest, sending Fortnum’s an order "to dispatch without delay to Miss Nightingale in Scutari a huge consignment of concentrated beef tea" after the scandal of the hospitals had become known in England.

Every ship that sailed for the Crimea carried cases labelled Fortnum & Mason. Many officers wrote begging us to leave it off to discourage pilferers – by now an epidemic, sparked by the sight of our name.

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Also good advice!

“Horse Guards is official ceremonial entrance to St James’s and Buckingham Palace and headquarters to the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment who provide troops for The Queen’s Life Guard.

   A royal guard has been kept here since 1660 when the original Guard House of the old Palace of Whitehall was on this site. The Palace of Whitehall, the largest palace in Europe at that time, was destroyed by fire in 1698 and replaced by the present Horse Guards building in 1753.”

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The delivery entrance was our first view of the store… and we were wet and tired…

“Fortnum’s began in 1707, when royal footman William Fortnum set up shop in St James’s with his landlord, Hugh Mason. Since then Fortnum & Mason has been an intrinsic part of the nation’s history and has a fascinating story to tell.

Fortnum, meet Mason

     In 1705 Hugh Mason had a small shop in St James’s Market and a spare room in his house. The Fortnum family had come to London from Oxford as high-class builders in the wake of the Great Fire, helping to establish the St James’s and Mayfair areas as the most fashionable in London. William climbed another rung by taking a post as footman in Queen Anne’s household – and the room at Mr Mason’s.

     The Royal Family’s insistence on having new candles every night meant a lot of half-used wax for an enterprising footman to sell on at a profit – so while the Queen’s wages paid the rent, William’s enlightened sideline melted down into enough to start a respectable business. The rest, as they say, is grocery.”

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A grand entrance way.

We browsed a bit; I used the lovely ladies loo, and then Randal was done.  When pals Mary and Rick get here I’ll return with Mary and really look around. 


We wandered through the fresh foods area of meats and sea food.

Cheaper to eat lobster and crab in New England than old London!

“Located in New Bedford, MA, America’s largest commercial fishing port, our Fisherman’s Market is the first wholesale seafood market in the northeast. We supply the public with the highest quality and most competitively priced seafood available. It doesn’t get any fresher than this! “



HARD SHELL LOBSTER OVER 2 lbs $10.95 / lb.

FROZEN LOBSTER CK MEAT 2 LB pkgs $49.95 / ea.



KING CRAB LEGS $22.00 / ea.


BLUE CRAB MEAT $10.00 / lb.

Some Fortnum & Mason history….

1773 – The Boston Tea Party

Boston Tea Party inspires American Independence movement

It is not on record who supplied the tea, but it was probably not us: we have never charged extortionate prices and none of our teas do at all well with salt water. Since Independence, though, our American cousins have been among our most loyal customers.

1794 – The F&M Post Office

The Fortnum & Mason Postal Service

     Until the General Post Office came into being, the business of sending and receiving mail was open to anyone – and Fortnum’s grasped the opportunity. It had letterboxes for paid and unpaid letters which were picked up six times a day (this was before stamps, and the recipient usually paid the tab). Soldiers and sailors, already among the company’s best customers, received a discount.

     The arrangement drew all sorts of traffic to the store to be tempted by the already magnificent window and interior displays. This arrangement lasted until 1839, when the GPO was founded – a year before the Penny Black with its bust of a youthful Victoria.

1886 – Young Mr Heinz

Mr Heinz brings Baked Beans to Piccadilly

Since the middle of the century Fortnum & Mason had been the leader in tinned goods – and chief provider of information on how to open the tricky devils with a pocket-knife. This made us the obvious first stop for a young entrepreneur lugging five cases of samples from the USA. Recognising a future staple we took them all, introducing the mighty baked bean to Britain for the first time – one of the more prosaic entries in our ever-expanding list of historic gastronomic firsts.

More history on their website.  Reading about Fortnum & Mason during the 2 World Wars, Depression and time of great Expeditions is quite interesting. 


Wrapping Fortnum & Mason   

Standing at the entrance of the Geological Society across the street and view from the Geological Society Library window.

(I had no idea the façade we saw wasn’t a permanent part of the store until I read the following.  Duh!!!)

     “The new “wrap” for the shop – giant artworks covering up much-needed maintenance works on our Piccadilly and Duke Street frontages – is designed by Rory Dobner.”

     “Rory, who was born in England and studied at the Chelsea School of Art & Design and Central St Martin’s, is influenced by classic English children’s illustrations such as E. H. Shepard’s Winnie the Pooh and Peggy Fortnum’s Paddington Bear. He drew on another children’s favourite, Alice in Wonderland, for this highly collectable new range of teaware. He was also inspired by the idea of tea parties of the past: “Everyone remembers their grandmother laying the table with sweets and cakes and cut-up sandwiches,” * he says. “I want to encourage people to set up tables [for tea] again, we’re all in such a rush these days [but] I think people are doing that more and more.”

   “This attention to detail is even more important when one’s designs are blown up to the size of a six-storey building on one of London’s busiest thoroughfares. Rory wanted his illustration to be “peaceful”, rather like “a breeze going past, capturing a moment” as butterflies carry banners and his famous smoking goldfish and monocled cat peer out of windows at passers-by.

    ‘I used to go to department stores as a child, I loved the amazing displays. I never imagined I would be part of one,’  he marvels.”

* When  I turned some “young adult” age, or maybe even a bit older,  my mom made a tea party for some of my girlfriends.  We had apricot nectar lemon pound cake on special china plates and drank from cut glass goblets.  And we sat in the dining room rather than at the kitchen table.  We were all impressed!  link to see the famous clock we missed because of the maintenance work.

The Geological Society and “the map that changed the world.”

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The Geological Society of London was founded in 1807.  It is the UK national society for geoscience, and the oldest geological society in the world.

Library and Information Services

Welcome to one of the finest Earth Science libraries in the world. The Library contains over 300,000 volumes of books and serials and 40,000 maps, making it a collection of national importance covering all aspects of the geological sciences. We currently subscribe to over 600 journal titles from around the world.

The Library’s dedicated staff are available to assist you with all your information needs. is a really interesting article about the chandeliers hanging in the library.    I thought they were lovely but I do know in a library setting “lovely doesn’t always = functional.”   And as it was professional courtesy that allowed me to take any photos at all, I only took this one. 


A favorite book of Randal’s so he really wanted to visit “the map.”

Simon Winchester’s book about William Smith’s map and a post card of the “map that changed the world.”  Photos of the map weren’t allowed due to copyright.


William Smith LLD 1769 -1839       Mary Anning 1799 – 1846  souvenir postcards 

“To emphasize what Smith considered his greatest achievement–he was the first to discover that the strata of England were in a definite order and the first to show that their fossil contents were in the same order–he published an ordered column of colored tablets that he referred to as a geological column of organic (organized) fossils in 1816 while copies of the map were still printing. (see Contents, Part III).  For all its complexity the map itself was incomplete without the concomitant ordering of the fossils. Smith was probably the first to understand that both the strata and their fossil contents were in such a natural order and that it was an order of indefinitely wide extension, i.e. from local quarries to the whole of England and beyond. “   This University of New Hampshire site was recommended by the Geological Society.

I was more intrigued by Mary Anning.  Wish I’d paid more attention during my year of geology at U Mass.

  “Mary Anning was born on 21 May 1799 in Lyme Regis. Her parents Richard Anning (c.1766-1810), a cabinet-maker and carpenter, and mother Mary had at least ten children, with only two surviving to adulthood – Mary Anning and her brother Joseph (1796-1849).

      Her father Richard was known locally as a fossil collector, selling his finds to tourists who flocked to the seaside resort at the end of the 18th century. However his death in November 1810 left his family with £120 of debts and having to rely on relief given by the Overseers of the Parish Poor. 

      Both Joseph and Mary had been tutored by their father in how to collect fossils. Their first major find, an Ichthyosaur, was discovered by her and her brother in two sections in 1811 and 1812. Other examples of this fossil ‘crocodile’ had been found before, but this was the first to come to the attention of gentlemen scientists in London one of whom, Everard Home, described it in a paper read before the Royal Society in 1814. It was to make her name.

     Mary’s second major discovery was of a nine feet long animal, with a small head like a turtle but very long neck. It was described at the Geological Society’s meeting of 20 February 1824 and was recognised by William Daniel Conybeare as being a virtually complete example of a Plesiosaurus. The find not only established the Anning family credentials as fossil dealers, but Mary became a draw in her own right.

     Tourists came to Lyme to not only buy fossils but to see her. Lady Harriet Silvester (1753-1843) visited Mary on 17 September 1824 and noted in her diary:

     “the extraordinary thing in this young woman is that she has made herself so thoroughly acquainted with the science that the moment she finds any bones she knows to what tribe they belong.  She fixes the bones on a frame with cement and then makes drawings and has them engraved…It is certainly a wonderful instance of divine favour – that this poor, ignorant girl should be so blessed, for by reading and application she has arrived to that degree of knowledge as to be in the habit of writing and talking with professors and other clever men on the subject, and they all acknowledge that she understands more of the science than anyone else in this kingdom.”

     Other discoveries were to follow, such as the ink bags from fossilised squids which could then be ground down to be made in fossil ink. ‘Coprolites’, that is fossil faeces were identified by Mary as early as 1824 and in 1828 saw her third major find, that of a fossil flying reptile [Pterodactylus]. In December 1829 she discovered the fossil fish Squaloraja, seen as the intermediary between sharks and rays and in 1830 her last important find, that of the Plesiosaurus macrocephalus (named by William Buckland in 1836).

     By the 1840s, her large fossil finds (and the income they derived) had all but dried up. However, in recognition of her achievements, she received three different annuities and subscriptions raised by the scientific community in the last decade of her life. She died at the age of 47 years of breast cancer.”


Going home on the Picadilly line : entertainers are fairly common in the tube stations. 

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One “final” cold snap where we had sleet on the pontoon and my cyclamen because it really seems like spring. 

The cyclamen were my favorite wild flowers in North Cyprus. 

Southwark Cathedral Part 2 : The American Connection.


     Randal needed more fiber pills (he’s not much for fruit or veggies) so we walked down Borough Street to the Holland and Barrett shop to buy some.  Southwark Cathedral is just nearby so we stopped in to take the “American Connection” photos.  The Cathedral was crowded, Vivien wasn’t there and the John Harvard Chapel was closed for a service.  Oh, and the café was too crowded to find a table.  Other than that….  My researching turned up some interesting tidbits….


   Southwark Cathedral Part 2  : The American Connection.


“It’s Spring, Sir!”  Corporal Klinger in MASH 

I always think of that line when I see the first inklings of spring which we have now in London.  I’m told it’s really a bit too early but lots of trees and flowers are blooming. 

Just across from the flowering tree in the south churchyard is the memorial to Mahomet Weyonomon, Sachem of the Tribe of the Mohegans.


Mahomet Weyonomon memorial

“On 22 November 2006 HM The Queen accompanied by HRH Prince Philip visited the Cathedral to unveil a granite boulder from Connecticut in the churchyard to commemorate the Sachem Mahomet Weyonomon.

     The story goes back to an entry in the Daily Journal for August 11th, 1736:

On Sunday last about one o’clock in the

Morning died of the Small Pox, in the 36th

Yeare of his Age, Mahomet Weyonomon,

Sachem of the Tribe of the Mohegans in the

Province of Connecticut in New England. He

was Great Grandson to the famous Sachem

Uncafs or Onkafs, who took part with the

English upon their firft fettling of that Country. He

was very decently interred laft Night (from his

Lodgings at Mr Midhurst’s in Aldermanbury)

in St Mary Over’s Burial-place.

The background to the story is the familiar colonial tale of settlers appropriating the land belonging to the original native population. In this case it was the tribal lands belonging to the Mohegans in Connecticut. When the settlers first took the land, Mahomet’s grandfather Oweneco came to England to petition Queen Anne. The Queen ordered a commission who found in favour of the Indians that they were unjustly deprived of their lands and the governor and company of the Colony of Connecticut was ordered to return the lands. Not only was this ignored but further encroachments took place. to the point where the Mohegans were unable to subsist on the remaining territory.

So in 1735 Mahomet Weyomon accompanied by John Mason, his son Samuel and Zachary Johnson came to London to petition King George II for restoration of their lands.  They lodged in the City in the Ward of St Mary Aldermanbury.  But before they could present the petition the whole party died of smallpox. The city authorities were happy to bury Mahomet’s European companions in the City but Mahomet had to be buried in the churchyard of St Mary Overy. It was quite a common custom at that time for burials to take place at night and we may imagine what a dramatic spectacle it was when the body was brought by torchlight over London Bridge.

At the unveiling ceremony in November, present with the Queen was the tribal chairman Bruce Two Dogs Bozsum and other members of the tribe. An audience with the monarch that failed in 1735 was finally achieved. The monument was carved by Peter Randall Page. “ is the Washington Post story. photo of the unveiling and explanation by the artist of his sculpture which originally was sitting on the grass to look as if it indeed was rising from below.  Now not so much.  I actually thought it was supposed to represent a Native American Indian burial ground.

John Harvard Chapel and the Harvard family of Southwark

“The baptismal records for St Saviour’s Church  (now Southwark Cathedral)  record that the son of parishioners Robert and Katherine Harvard was baptised here on 29 November 1607. He was given the name John.  Robert was a prominent businessman who had a butcher’s business in Pepper Alley and was also warden of St Saviour’s.

     John lost many family members, including his father, in the Southwark Plague. His mother Katherine went on to remarry, possibly twice more. However, after the death of both his mother and elder brother, John and his wife Ann left for Massachusetts in 1637. He died of consumption in 1638 and left half his estate and his library of books to the proposed new college, now known as Harvard University.

    The Harvard Chapel in the Cathedral commemorates this ‘godly gentleman and lover of learning’.”

John Harvard and Oscar Hammerstein II

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The John Harvard Chapel

  A service was being conducted in the chapel; these photos are from my first visit.

John La Farge Stained Glass Windows

    The window in the Harvard Chapel is by the New York stained glass artist, John La Farge. It was commissioned and paid for by Joseph Hodges Choate (1832-1917), himself a Harvard graduate. Choate had an illustrious career in law, and headed many organizations, including the Union League Club and the Century Association.  A life-long Republican,  he was appointed Ambassador to the Court of St James’s in London in 1899, where he worked closely with John Hay, Secretary of State, on the territorial treaties between the US and Britain concerning Canada.

     The main subject is the Baptism of Christ, alluding to the baptism of John Harvard in the church in 1607. This depiction is after Nicolas Poussin.

     On the upper left are the arms of Harvard University and on the right those of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, where Harvard studied. In the centre are the Royal Arms, as they appeared between 1415 and 1603; however, the supporters and crest are of a later period, probably dating from the restoration carried out in 1948.

Charles Morton, another Harvard link to Southwark….

  In 1686 Charles Morton, son of Nicholas Morton, rector of St Saviour’s (now Southwark Cathedral) emigrated to Massachusetts, where he became Fellow and Vice-President of Harvard.

Twice at our morning cruiser coffees when Southwark Cathedral has been mentioned, so has the name of John Harvard.  And that’s when the debate begins.  The stained glass windows in the John Harvard chapel proclaim John Harvard as the founder of Harvard College.  However, in telling its own history, Harvard University acknowledges its establishment in 1636 “by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.”   So why is Harvard called Harvard?    “By the time John Harvard died, he knew what he wanted to do with his estate. Of course he had to take care of his wife, who received half his money. The remainder, £800 (twice the sum granted by the colony’s General Court in 1636 for the establishment of a college) and his entire library, he gave to the new school in Cambridge. The bequest ensured that his name would never be forgotten.”

Harvard is the oldest institution of higher education in the United States, established in 1636 by vote of the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It was named after the College’s first benefactor, the young minister John Harvard of Charlestown, who upon his death in 1638 left his library and half his estate to the institution. A statue of John Harvard stands today in front of University Hall in Harvard Yard, and is perhaps the University’s best known landmark.

The John Harvard Statue at Harvard….isn’t…..

1. That isn’t John Harvard.

Even though the name “John Harvard” is written in stone on the statue’s base, the likeness is not, actually, that of John Harvard. In fact, there are no living representations of John Harvard.

In 1884, Daniel Chester French created the famous statue, and Sherman Hoar sat as a model for the head of John Harvard. Hoar later went on to serve as a member of Congress and a US district attorney.

2. John Harvard wasn’t the founder of Harvard University.

What? Yes, that’s right. The engraving on the statue states “founder,” but this is also not true. Actually, Harvard didn’t even attend the College. He was the first major benefactor to the University. He donated half of his estate and his library, which consisted of over 400 books.

Harvard University was officially founded by a vote by the Great and General Court of the Massachusetts Bay Colony.


Oscar Hammerstein II:  Plaque located in the John Harvard Chapel

     “Inside the Chapel there is a plaque to Harvard-educated Oscar Hammerstein II*. Oscar fell in love with the English Cathedral Choral tradition and would regularly visit the Cathedral and take the head boy of the Boy’s Choir to lunch with him. He gave the Cathedral Choir an endowment and two of the choir members are, to this day, known as the Hammerstein Chanters.”

*Everything I read says Hammerstein attended Columbia where he met Richard Rodgers.  The rest of the information seems correct as I found news stories where Hammerstein’s widow unveiled the plaque.  So I guess I’ll write to the Cathedral ….

“Cathedral Plaque Honors Lyricist LONDON, May 24, 1961  UP) — Mrs. Dorothy Hammerstein, widow of Lyricist Oscar Hammerstein, unveiled a plaque to his memory in Southwark Cathedral to day. The service was attended by about 30 members of the London cast of "The Sound of Music," the last work written by Hammerstein in collaboration with composer Richard Rodgers.   Mr. and Mrs. Rodgers attended the ceremony. Much of the dedicatory service was taken over by the cathedral choir. Hammerstein’s will provided 2,000 pounds ($5,~ 600) to support two choirboys at Southwark Cathedral. They are called the Hammerstein charters “

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Sam Wanamaker and Shakespeare

    “On the right of the memorial to William Shakespeare, is a memorial tablet to the American actor, Sam Wanamaker, who was the driving force behind the building of the present Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Bankside. His ambition was achieved despite opposition at the time from local councillors, who did not want it to become a tourist attraction. How times have changed! Unfortunately, he did not live to see his dream become a reality, dying before it opened its doors to the public.” tells the very history of the first Globe Theatre. 

Randal and I have not actually visited the Globe.  I must say I’m much more a fan of Dickens than Shakespeare, but I will at least go take some photos of the outside one of these days.

Sam Wanamaker and the McCarthy era blacklisting….

Letter: BBC program looks at the life of blacklisted actor Sam Wanamaker  is a really interesting story about Wanamaker’s experiences during the McCarthy era causing him to flee the US rather than testify against fellow actors.   The program "Who Do You Think You Are?" on BBC 1 is the episode of actress Zoe Wanamaker, Sam’s daughter, learning of about her father from FBI files and then her Ukrainian grandparents.  “Before doing this program, Zoe Wanamaker only knew snippets of her family history. She was born in New York, but when she was three her father, an American actor, director and producer, fled to the UK to escape the anti-communist McCarthyite witch-hunts. (Her mother, a radio soap star, was born in Toronto).” is the link to my first visit