London

Abbey House, Baker Street, London

Abbey House, located at 219-229 Baker Street, London contains part of the central tower and a section of the façade of what was the headquarters for the Abbey Road Building Society (now Abbey National) from 1932 until 2002. The Art Deco styling of the building was designed by J. J. Joass and is original, the rest of the building was rebuilt as residential and commercial units as well as underground parking.

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The Regent’s Park, London

The area that is now Regent’s Park once belonged to the monks of Barking Abbey until Henry VIII dissolved the monastery and turned it into a hunting park. In 1835 it became a public park on the instructions of the future King George IV who at the time was the Prince Regent (ruling in place of his mentally ill father George III until his death in 1820 when he became George IV). That’s why the park is The Regent’s Park, but hardly anyone ever calls it that.

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Daunt Books, Marylebone, London

Daunt Books is a chain of independent bookshops founded by James Daunt with the Marylebone branch being the first acquisition. It was bought by Daunt in 1990 – before that it was an Edwardian bookshop built in 1910 which claims to be the world’s first custom-built bookshop. It’s one of those places that turns up all the time on best bookshops in London lists and as I happened to be walking past it on my most recent trip to London I decided to pop in and have a look for myself.

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The Wallace Collection, London

Back in May I went to the Wallace Collection to visit the Inspiring Walt Disney: The Animation of French Decorative Arts exhibition. In collaboration with New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art this exhibition, which finished recently, focused on how 18th century French art influenced Disney animators, particularly for the original Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. I enjoyed the exhibit, particularly the hand drawings of the transformation of Cinderella’s dress from rags, and the audioguide which was included in the £14 for adults admission price was really well done. Somewhat inevitably photography wasn’t allowed in the exhibition. Photography is allowed however in the Wallace Collection itself, which is free to enter.

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Special Operations Executive Memorial, London

The Special Operations Executive, headquartered in London, was formed in the Second World War to secretly recruit men and women who would perform acts of sabotage in countries occupied by Germany. The lengths that these brave men and women went through is truly remarkable and I’ve read a fair few biographies of some of the women recruited – I’d recommend A Woman of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy Who Helped Win World War II by Sonia Purnell.

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Throwback Thursday: Dolphin Lamps Along the Thames, London

George John Vulliamy, the superintending architect of the Metropolitan Board of Water, created these electric lamps that stretch along the Thames in 1870. Although they are referred to as dolphins – possibly because they are supposed to be modelled on dolphin sculptures that are part of the Fontana del Nettuno in Rome – they are actually sturgeons.

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Throwback Thursday: Boadicea and Her Daughters Sculpture, Westminster Bridge, London

Representing Boadicea (or Boudica or Boudicca or any other manner of spellings), the queen of a British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Romans in AD 60-61, this sculpture can be found by Westminster Bridge opposite Big Ben. It was created by Thomas Thornycroft with help from his son William and was commissioned in the 1850s but not completed until 1898, over ten years after the sculptor had died. It was installed at the bridge in 1902.

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St Mary’s Garden, London

St Mary’s Garden is a small public garden located next to the Garden Museum. It was created by Lambeth Borough Council in around 1932. It was originally part of the road which lead to the original Lambeth Bridge in 1862 which has since been replaced by a bridge further to the south.

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Throwback Thursday: Bowtell’s “My Children” Statue, Duke of York Square, London

This statue, known as both “My Children” and “Two Pupils”, represents children from the Royal Military Asylum that was based at the Duke Of York’s Square, London. It’s full title was the Royal Military Asylum for the Children of Soldiers of the Regular Army and mostly educated children who were orphans or who had fathers serving overseas.

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The Garden Museum, London

I’ve walked by the Garden Museum a few times whilst in London and when I found myself with an afternoon free I decided it was the perfect time to visit. I was largely prompted by their temporary exhibit at the time – on until 19 June – called Wild & Cultivated: Fashioning the Rose.

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