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.
Charles de Gaulle, a junior minister in a collapsing government and a relatively junior general in an army that was ceasing to exist, landed at Heston airport after a gruelling and perilous flight from Bordeaux, on Monday 17 June 1940. Few of his British hosts knew who he was, Winston Churchill being the exception. During his visits to France, Churchill had immediately noticed “a young, energetic general called de Gaulle.” `(In Gabriel Le Bomin’s biopic of de Gaulle, which features the early days of the two men’s relationship, Churchill is brilliantly played by Tim Hudson – who is also a London Blue Badge Guide!)Read more
Every tour of London will include a view of the Houses of Parliament and most guides conducting one will arrange for a stop so that people can take a photograph or selfie with Big Ben in the background. This provides the perfect souvenir of a visit to London.Read more
London remains one of the world’s most popular tourist destinations. The city’s blue badge guides help to bring it to life and many have written or contributed to guidebooks. Here is a selection of their work:Read more
The indelible mark left by the Huguenot community and their development of the silk weaving industry is the stuff of legend. Their skills and entrepreneurial drive led them to settle across the south of England and in America. In the aftermath of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, the small trickle arriving in Britain turned into a steady flow and, by the beginning of the eighteenth century, Huguenots made up five per cent of London’s population. Some of these refugee families headed to a small village, now a suburb of South London called Wandsworth.Read more
This is the second in a series of articles written by London Blue Badge Tourist Guides who used to be key workers in our capital city. Ray Sharman describes his work as a London black cab driver.Read more
Few people are as passionate about the Battersea area of London than muralist Brian Barnes MBE, who for the last forty-five years has been leaving his artistic touch on derelict industrial carcasses and council housing estates, some in plain sight and others in the most inconspicuous of locations. He first gained recognition in 1976 with his 267 foot long mural: Battersea: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, on Battersea Bridge Road, which depicted a brush sweeping away the industrial dilapidation along Battersea’s riverfront, and replacing it with a colourful utopian vision of social prosperity for the local community.Read more
When Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries in 1534 he handed over Islington and Archway to Thomas Cromwell. However, the unfortunate Cromwell had little time to enjoy his acquisition as he was beheaded in 1540. Today, Islington is a part of London supposedly full of well-off people living in expensive homes who like to feel they are spokespeople for those less fortunate than themselves. In fact, over 40% of Islingtonians live in social housing and almost 30% live in privately rented flats, so homeowners make up only 30% of this diverse Borough. Some of those houses are now very expensive!Read more
As a Blue Badge tourist guide in London, I am very familiar with the story behind the film The Dig. When giving a tour of the British Museum where the result of the famous excavation is displayed, it is usually a real highlight for visitors, both young and old. Let me tell you a little more about this amazing archaeological adventure story.Read more
Bridgerton, the most successful series to be produced by Netflix to date, has surpassed other period dramas in colour, drama and romance. The locations are exaggeratedly beautiful, the relationships are beguiling and the costumes dazzle with vivid tones and rich textures. London is the setting for many scenes and you yearn to visit each location, but do not watch Bridgerton for historical accuracy!Read more
Twenty miles south-west of London is ‘one of the world’s great gardens.’ The garden is Wisley, owned by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the world’s leading garden charity. The RHS was established in 1804 at a meeting of seven men in Hatchard’s book shop on Piccadilly. The idea came from John Wedgwood, son of Josiah, founder of the fine china company.Read more
2021 year marks the 550th anniversary of one of the most significant battles in British history. On the 14th of April 1471, the Yorkist army led by Edward IV defeated a Lancastrian army just north of the town of Barnet effectively ending the first part of that turbulent period of history colloquially known as the Wars of the Roses.Read more
Blue Badge Tourist Guide Richard “Rick” Jones explores sites in London with links to Lionel Lockyer, a physician espousing questionable remedies in the plague era. According to Chambers dictionary, a quack is ‘someone who claims, and practises under the pretence of having, knowledge and skill that he or she does not possess.’ A quack doctor, then, is a fraud.Read more