10 Facts About The Victoria Cross And The George Cross
The Victoria Cross and the George Cross are the highest medals awarded in the United Kingdom to military personnel and civilians for acts of bravery in wartime or peacetime. Many of them are displayed at the Imperial War Museum in Lambeth, South London. Below are 10 facts about the Victoria Cross and the George Cross.
10 Facts About The Elizabeth Line Running Across London
The idea for a line joining the eastern and western suburbs of London was first mooted in 1941 during the Second World War but it took over eighty years before this dream was realised. The Elizabeth Line, as it has become known, was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II who officially opened the line on 17 May 2022 at Paddington Station; passenger services started on 24 May 2022. Her Majesty was presented with an Oyster Card with £5 on it. Although she was shown how to use the card, she did not do so and left the station in a lift. The Queen spent time at the opening talking to Transport For London staff.
Lifeboats In London: The Work Of The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) On The River Thames
While most visitors to London might not associate the capital with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), the River Thames will be seen on virtually every tour of London and is often considered the backbone of the capital. Four of the RNLI’s 238 lifeboat stations are on the Thames, and their busiest is RNLI Tower Lifeboat Station by Waterloo Bridge. The others are at Chiswick and Teddington in Greater London and Gravesend in Kent.
Austrian Composer Joseph Haydn In London
One of the greatest composers in the history of music, Joseph Haydn, lived in London for four years during the 1790s, just as the Napoleonic conflict was beginning to convulse Europe. The King of England George III himself had mused on bringing the Viennese composer here, and several music-loving earls had sent invitations, all of which had gone unanswered.
Trooping the Colour – A Royal Birthday Parade
Many of us would love to have a birthday parade with marching bands, and soldiers perfectly turned out displaying their marching skills. Trooping the Colour marks Her Majesty The Queen’s official birthday. As the late Duke of Edinburgh stated, ‘it is not a “theatrical” production, (sic) it is a deadly serious demonstration of the basic infantry skills for which the British Guards are renowned across the world.’
10 Events During The English Summer Social Season
“The Season” always fascinates visitors to England. An endless whirl of summer events where it’s just as important who to be seen with as to actually have fun. We asked Sophie Campbell, Blue Badge Tourist Guide and author of The Season: A Summer Whirl Through the English Social Season to give us her unique perspective on this most English of traditions.
This has been an unbelievable year like no other. It has challenged all of us in so many ways. We’ve tried hard to ensure that life goes on, enjoying some of the simpler pleasures, like art and nature. But this has been a tricky time for art lovers and museum-goers around the globe. The United Kingdom is currently in a month-long lockdown, and the capital’s leading art galleries like Tate Britain and the National Gallery will close until early December.Read more
As a Blue Badge Tourist Guide, I feel proud and privileged to introduce visitors from around the globe to the greatest and most historic botanic gardens in the world: the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Both a UNESCO World Heritage Site with hundreds of years of history and a key scientific research centre at the forefront of saving our planet, the Royal Botanic Gardens of Kew offers endless wonders for all to enjoy.Read more
The most emotionally powerful story I tell as a Blue Badge Tourist Guide is that of the Unknown Warrior – a single British soldier who through his anonymity came to represent hundreds of thousands of British soldiers killed during the First World War.Read more
At 11 a.m. on 11th November 1920, Britain marked the exact moment two years previously when the Armistice ended the fighting of the First World War. Standing on Whitehall, King George V stepped forward to unveil a new permanent Cenotaph and join the nation in two minutes of silent reflection. This moment started the tradition of the monarch leading the nation in remembrance from the Cenotaph, which is still with us 100 years later.Read more
Sometimes described as “a green and pleasant land”, it is not surprising that England boasts a host of world-class gardens that attract domestic and international visitors alike. Among the most influential of these, and under two hours from central London, is Sissinghurst Castle Garden in the ancient county of Kent. Sissinghurst gained notoriety due to the garden itself and its creators.Read more
On Tuesday the 4th August, I was watching the news when suddenly the announcement “breaking news” from Beirut appeared on the screen. A huge explosion had destroyed most of the harbour and districts around it. I was shocked and horrified. Nowadays we are constantly bombarded by terrible images. But this one stayed in my mind and it was rekindled by a Zoom meeting with a Beirut family. I was petrified by their description. No hospitals, no homes, no schools in a country already torn apart by previous wars, the current pandemic and a gigantic financial crisis. At that moment I thought I had to do something.Read more
St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of London’s most famous landmarks, its majestic dome visible from many parts of the capital. This architectural masterpiece – a symbol of London’s strength and resilience – and has been the site of many historic occasions, including royal weddings and state funerals. It is a working church and a place for quiet reflection, but there are also many wonderful things to see inside on a visit. Blue Badge Tourist guide Patricia Gentry shares just a few of her favourites below.Read more
October is Black History Month in Britain. It is a great opportunity for everyone to learn more about people, places and objects that help tell the story of the Black presence in Britain – those whose names are not well known, and events that included people from Africa and the Caribbean who can help to inform the narratives of British history.Read more
To put it mildly, attitudes towards witches and sorcerers in the Elizabethan period were confusing and often contradictory. While Bloody Mary (reigned 1553 – 1558) was vicious in her treatment of witches, Elizabeth I (1558 – 1603) had a more ambivalent relationship to this subject. After all her mother, Anne Boleyn had been accused of being a witch because of a malformation of her left hand, which appeared in the form of an extra finger. Elizabeth, as a strong female ruler, may not have been happy about hunting down the fair sex, therefore, and accusing those who might be innocent of any crime.Read more
One of Windsor’s best-kept secrets is Windsor & Eton Brewery. Tucked away behind the railway arches – just minutes from the coach park and cark park in a simple, modest building – is the warmest and friendliest of breweries, with welcoming staff and a young manager who really love what they do. Ildi Pelikan describes below how she witnessed a special event on a visit to the brewery earlier this month with fellow Blue Badge Tourist Guide Leila Sukiur.Read more
It is often said that if you can remember the ’60s, then you were not really there. Well, I can remember them and, in particular, the outlandish clothes we wore, like bell-bottoms and floral shirts – and this was just the men. Male fashion led the way then and was celebrated with songs like Dedicated Follower of Fashion, a big hit for the Kinks. Blue Badge Tourist Guides need to know their modern history as well as what happened centuries ago.Read more
Fifty years ago this month, we lost one of the greatest musicians of all time. Jimi Hendrix died in Notting Hill, on 18 September 1970.
Johnny Allen Hendrix was born on 27 November 1942 in Seattle. He became “Jimi” only later. He had a diverse lineage with African-American and Native American roots. His grandmother Nora was said to be one-quarter Cherokee. Early 20th-century photos reveal her fine features, which bear a striking resemblance to those of her grandson.Read more