London History

.’. The Prospect of Whitby Public House .’.

This famous Pub, which was built in the 1520s, in the reign of King Henry VIII, proclaims itself to be the oldest riverside inn and has successfully served patrons during the reigns of 22 different Monarchs.

This historic Pub still retains its original 400 years old flagstone floor and boasts a very rare pewter bar top. The Pub has a small garden terrace which overlooks the Thames and a comfortable Riverside lounge, from where there are good views of the River and also of the famous gallows.

The Prospect of Whitby was originally named “The Devil’s Tavern”. As the original name suggests, the Pub had strong associations with sea rovers, sailors, pirates, thieves, smugglers and all types of “low life”, who were associated with the River.

The bodies of drowned men were often found along this stretch of the River. Several of theses men had, in fact, been customers of the many nearby Riverside pubs and inns. The poor men, after drinking too much ale, would be bundled into a small boat and taken out to the centre of the River and thrown overboard to drown. After victims had drowned, their bodies were retrieved and sold to medical schools and student doctors to be used for study.

During the late 1600s, one frequent visitor at The Prospect of Whitby was the infamous “hanging judge” Jeffreys, who lived close by in Butchers Row. The Judge became notorious for his brutality and had a liking for executions – he sentenced to hang at least 300 men (and transported at least another 800) after the Monmouth Rebellion in 1685. After condemning the men deathm it is said that the Judge would come here, sit on the rear balcony, and enjoy his lunch, while watching the men, whom he had condemned, hang at Execution Dock. The Judge must have been good at his job, because as a reward, King James II gave him a peerage. When James II was overthrown in 1688, Judge Jeffreys lost his privileged royal protection and became a wanted man.

From all the famous visitors at the Pub we have, Charles Dickens, Samuel Pepys, Turner, Whistler and Cox.


London History

.’. All Hallows Tower .’.

The Tower of All Hallows Staining, dated c1320, is believed to be part of the second church on this side.

The second church survived the Great Fire of 1666, althought the adjacent Clothworkers’ Hall was razed to the ground. In 1671 the church collapsed owing, it is thought, to weaking of the foundations caused by the large number of burials in the adjoining churchyard.

Rebuilt in 1674, it was finally pulled down in 1870 on the amalgamation of the Parish of All Hallows with the Parish of St Olave, Hart Street.

Between 1948 and 1954 the Tower formed the chanel of a pre-fabricated church, known as St. Olave, Mark Lane, substituing for St.Olave, Hart Street which had been gutted during the Second World War.


London History

.’. Old Post Boxes .’.

So much a part of our streets that we tend to take them for granted, the bright red free-standing pillar box is still a unique feature of Britain. Introduced in 1853 – in green but painted crimson from 1874 – the ruling monarch’s cypher is the best guide to their age. London’s first was at the corner of Fleet Street and Farringdon Street.

Traditionally UK post boxes carry the Latin initials of the reigning monarch at the time of their installation: in this case VR for Victoria Regina or in the case of a male regent, e.g., GR for George Rex.

Edward VII: 1901-1910 – About 6 per cent of UK boxes have the ER VII cypher, which also introduced the crown. The main change is the posting slot in the door to stop mail getting caught up in the top. The aperture was now rainproof, and this same design has continued through the reigns of George V and George VI to the present day.

George V: 1910-1936 – The mystery of George V is why there is no ‘V” in his cypher. In 1924 oval enamel signs were added to some boxes pointing to the nearest post office. Much subject to vandalism and now valuable collectors items, there are few such signs left in the wild

Edward VIII: 1936 – The abdication of  Edward VIII left few pillar boxes in his name as, although 161 were made, most were vandalised or had the cypher ground off. There are perhaps 15 left  in London.

While walking aroung today I found one GR, ERVII (King Edward VII), GRVI (King George VI), ERII (Queen Elizabeth II),VR (Queen Victoria). I know that is crazy but is very excited to found in the streets of London part of its history in such a great shape.


London History

.’. Staples Inn – Holborn .’.

Staple Inn is a building on the south side of High Holborn in London, England. Located near Chancery Lane tube station, it is used as the London office of the Institute of Actuaries and is the last surviving Inn of Chancery and is a listed building.

It was originally attached to Gray’s Inn, which is one of the four Inns of Court. The Inns of Chancery fell into decay in the 19th century. All of them were dissolved, and most were demolished. Staple Inn is the only one that survives largely intact.

Staple Inn dates from 1585. The building was once the wool staple, where wool was weighed and taxed. It survived the Great Fire of London, was extensively damaged by a Nazi German Luftwaffe aerial bomb on the 24th August 1944, but was subsequently restored. It has a distinctive timber-framed façade, cruck roof and an internal courtyard.

The Hall was rebuilt in its original form in 1955, incorporating timber and other materials saved from the old building.

The historic interiors include a great hall. Much of the building is used by the Institute of Actuaries. The ground floor street frontage is let to shops and restaurants who are required to use quieter signage than they do on less sensitive buildings.

I passed so many times in front of the entrance of this building and I never had the courage to go inside, this time I did and it was totally worth because you just can’t believe that at a such busy environment you suddenly have a place like this, calm, silence and so beautiful.


London History

.’. King’s Mews .’.

The word “Mews” comes from Saxon times when falconry was an essencial part of a noble upbringing. The change of the plumage was referred as Mewing and during this period the birds were caged and these cages and the accomodation for the falconers was know as “Mews”.

From 1377 onwards the King’s falconry birds were kept in the King’s Mews at Charing Cross (site of today’s National Gallery – Trafalgar Square). But in 1537 when a fire destroyed King Henry’s VII stables (located in the area now known as Bloomsbury) the King decided to take his horses and carriages to his Mews at Charing Cross and moved all his birds somewhere else. Was then when the royal stables became Royal Mews.

Those were the times where the King were a iconic person and the whole weath people want to be like. And if the King have his horses and carriages at a Mews we should also change the name of our stables as well. For that day on all the stables where know as Mews.

Mews lost their equestrian function in the early 20th century when motor cars were introduced. At the same time, after World War I and especially after World War II, the number of people who could afford to live in the type of houses which had a mews attached fell sharply. Some mews were demolished or put to commercial use, but the majority were converted into homes. These “mews houses”, nearly always located in the wealthiest districts, are themselves now fashionable residences.


London History

.’. Brick Lane .’.

Brick Lane must be one of the most famous streets of London. Situated at East End London, Brick Lane is known for its great hip public and art at every corner.

Winding through fields, the street was formerly called Whitechapel Lane but derives its current name from former brick and tile manufacture, using the local brick earth deposits, that began in the 15th century. By the 17th century, the street was being built up from the south. Successive waves of immigration began with Huguenot refugees spreading from Spitalfields, where the master weavers were based, in the 17th century. They were followed by Irish, Ashkenazi Jews and, in the last century, Bangladeshis. The area became a centre for weaving, tailoring and the clothing industry, due to the abundance of semi- and unskilled immigrant labour.

Brewing came to Brick Lane before 1680, with water drawn from deep wells. One brewer was Joseph Truman, who is first recorded in 1683, but his family, particularly Benjamin Truman, went on to establish the sizeable Black Eagle Brewery on Brick Lane.

The Brick Lane Market, developed in the 17th century for fruit and vegetables, sold outside the city. The Sunday market, like the ones on Petticoat Lane and nearby Columbia Road, dates from a dispensation given to the Jewish community. It is centred around the junction with Cheshire Street and Sclater Street and sells bric-a-brac as well as fruit, vegetables and many other items. Nearer to the junction with Hanbury Street are two indoor markets; Upmarket and Backmarket. The Brick Lane Farmers’ Market opened every Sunday in nearby Bacon Street on the 6th June 2010.

Emma Elizabeth Smith was viciously assaulted and robbed in Osborn Street, the part of Brick Lane that meets Whitechapel High Street, in the early hours of 3 April 1888. It was one of the first of the eleven Whitechapel Murders, some of which were attributed to the serial killer, Jack the Ripper.

In 1742, La Neuve Eglise, a Huguenot chapel, was built on the corner of Brick Lane and Fournier Street. By 1809, it had become The Jews’ Chapel, for promoting Christianity to the expanding Jewish population, and became a Methodist Chapel in 1819.

Early Bangladeshi immigrants in the area attracted more larger immigration from Bangladesh in particular from the Greater Sylhet region, where many settled in the area of Brick Lane. These settlers helped shape Bangladeshi migration to Britain, families from Jagannathpur and Bishwanath tend to dominate in the Brick Lane area.

But what really makes Brick Lane this amazing place is the fact that everywhere you look art is there. And new artists can express themselves in different ways and make our day a colourful day.

Have a walk at Brick Lane, enjoy every step and keep your eyes open to what can surprise you.


London History

.’. Space Invaders .’.

Invader (born 1969) is a French urban artist who pastes up characters from and inspired by the Space Invaders game, made up of small coloured square tiles that form a mosaic. He does this in cities across the world, then documents this as an “Invasion”, with books and maps of where to find each invader.

Invader started this project in 1998 with the invasion of Paris – the city where he lives and the most invaded city to date – and then spread the invasion to 31 other cities in France, and for my luck he also invaded London, Cologne, Geneva, Newcastle, Rome , Berlin, Lausanne, Barcelona, Bonn, Ljubljana, Vienna, Amsterdam, Bilbao, Manchester, Darlington are among the 22 other European cities which have been invaded. In the world, Los Angeles, New York City, San Diego, Bangkok, Tokyo, Katmandu, Varanasi, Melbourne, Perth and even Mombasa are now invaded with his colourful characters in mosaic tiles.

The mosaics depict characters from Space Invaders and other video games from the late 1970s. The images in these games were made with fairly low-resolution graphics, and are therefore suitable for reproduction as mosaics, with tiles representing the pixels. The tiles are difficult to damage and weather-resistant.

Invader installed his first mosaic in the mid 1990s in Paris. According to the artist, it was a scout, or sentinel, because it remained the only one for several years. The programme of installations began in earnest in 1998.

The locations for the mosaics are not random, but are chosen according to diverse criteria, which may be aesthetic, strategic or conceptual. Invader favours locations that are frequented by many people, but also likes some more hidden locations. In Montpellier, the locations of mosaics were chosen so that, when placed on a map, they form an image of a giant space invader character.

The mosaics are half built in advance. When Invader arrives in a city he obtains a map and spends at least a week to install them. They are catalogued, pictured and Invader use a map indicating their locations within the city. Typically, mosaics are located 10 to fifteen feet above the ground, and often on street corners in areas of high visibility.

One of the more prominent places where the mosaics have been installed is on the Hollywood Sign. The first was placed on the letter D on December 31, 1999. During further trips to Los Angeles, Invader has placed mosaics on the 8 other letters of the sign.

Invader also works on another project that he titles “Rubikcubism”, which consists making artworks made of Rubik’s Cubes. Invader has had solo exhibitions at art galleries in Paris, Osaka, Melbourne, Los Angeles, New York City, and London.

Most recently, Invader placed two of his iconic tile works on the World Of Wonder Storefront Gallery, located at 6650 Hollywood Blvd., in Hollywood, CA. for the 4th annual I Am 8 Bit group show.

In 2010, he was one of the featured artists in the film Exit Through the Gift Shop in which it states he is a cousin of Thierry Guetta (Mr. Brainwash).

But who cares aboout it all….all I really care about is that they are DAMN CUTE!