As is tradition we visited Nottingham’s Light Night event last Friday and as is also tradition, there just isn’t time to see everything so I planned a route around the city that would work for the time we had available. The only thing we didn’t manage to visit was the Museum of the Moon at the Concert Hall – kudos to everyone who was prepared to stand in the exceptionally long lines to get in, we decided in the end that we were prepared to skip it for other things.
St James’s Park is the oldest of London’s royal parks, named for a leper hospital that was on the site in the thirteenth century. Even though it was raining cats and dogs I decided to take a walk through the park and up to Buckingham Palace.
I visited the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors‘ headquarters in Great George Street as part of Open House London. It’s the only surviving Victorian building on the street and was designed by Alfred Waterhouse in 1899, who also designed one of my favourite buildings in Nottingham, the Prudential building and the Natural History Museum in London (which will feature in a later post).
I’ve written about the Supreme Court building in London before, particularly in regards to the beautiful sculptures outside, but Open House London gave me the opportunity to explore the interior. Designed by James S Gibson with Skipworth and Gordon it actually houses both The Supreme Court and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the court of final appeal for the UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies).
The HM Treasury building is directly opposite the Foreign and Commonwealth offices in Whitehall. The area you are allowed to visit here as part of Open House London was significantly smaller than at the FCO; only a fraction of the vast area composing the Government Offices Great George Street, or GOGGS, which houses HM Treasury, HM Revenue and Customs and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport among others was accessible.
Back in September I attended my first Open House London weekend which was fantastic and I managed to see everything I wanted to and more. The one place that I absolutely wanted to visit was the Foreign and Commonwealth Office building so I headed there near its opening time and after a brief security check I got in without having to queue – not the situation when I left as the queue then was starting to skirt around the building.
Aldwych is a closed station on the London Underground which opened in November 1907 with the name Strand, as you can see below, named after the street it is on.
St Mary le Strand is one of London’s “island churches”, standing on a traffic island by Somerset House. It’s the second church to be called St Mary le Strand, the first having been pulled down in 1549 to make way for Somerset House. Construction of the present church began in 1714, the architect being James Gibbs (architect of St Martin-in-the-Fields among many other places).
I’d taken photos of the exterior of St Clement Danes Church on a previous visit to London but I was finally able to spare the time to go inside in September. Right by the Royal Courts of Justice it is one of London’s two “island churches”, so-called because of the layout of the road around it. (The other is St Mary le Strand which will be the focus of a later post).
Whenever I’m in London for a few days I try and schedule an afternoon of just wandering around an area and taking photos of places I’ve not managed to visit before or where I’ve visited only briefly. Despite the intermittent rain after visiting Temple Church I decided to take a wander around Somerset House. There was some sort of event going on inside so I only took photos of the courtyard and exterior.