This four-hour walk in London introduces us to Westminster, the heart of the English monarchy. We will visit the old abbey, find the lawn on which the football game was born, and taste ale in the oldest pub. Look into the Winston Churchill bunker, find out who catches mice at 10 Downing Street, get acquainted with the ceremonies of Buckingham Palace and walk through the parks. We will visit the famous Piccadilly Street and its neighbour, where tailors rented rooms to Rothschild and Isaac Newton. We will relax in Trafalgar Square if we wish, we will visit the National Gallery. Finally, we will find ourselves in the theatre district and the Soho quarter. Let us go!
We are in front of the leading portal of Westminster Abbey. This entrance to the church is also known as the Great North Door. The abbey was raised around the small church of St. Peter and became the heart of the English monarchy. The rulers of England were crowned and buried in this church. The first church appeared in the seventh century AD, when Tyburn Stream, flowing into the Thames, formed Thorney Island (blackberry island). Over time, the monks domesticated the blackberries, laid out gardens, developed land, and a royal palace of the Christian kings was built next to the abbey. Thus, it became the heart of England and the British Empire. By the way, blackberries still grow in the abbey's gardens, which are considered to be the most ancient in England.
This square is one of the most recognizable in the city. The classic two-tower Gothic portal adorns the main entrance to Westminster Abbey. In front of it is a memorial column of the Crimean War and Indian Uprising. Behind them is the entrance to the park of the famous Westminster School, founded by Benedictine monks before the Norman conquest of England in the eleventh century. The park is a large lawn called Dean's Yard. Many believe that this is where the game of football was born.
Westminster today refers to the Church of St. Peter and the famous palace, which houses the English Parliament and the London newborthhood. The name Westminster translates as Western Church which was the abbey's name at the beginning of its history, in contrast to the Eastern Church's Cathedral of St. Paul. The historic London developed between these churches. Our path will run along Story Gate street. If we could look underground, we would see ancient streams washing the blackberry island on which Westminster was built. Behind the complex were the royal lands, and the Storey family was the Guardian of these places. One of the Story family members who worked for the royal family, Edward Storey, was the most famous Guardian of the royal property. It is after him and his relatives that the former gate and current street is named Storey Gate. Don't forget to visit the public toilet in the small square.
Photo: [By Romainbehar - Own work, CC0] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=80911612) Translated with Google Translate
Story's Gate is home to one of England's legendary drinking establishments. The Shepherd Neame's Oldest Brewer in Britain. An English brewery founded in 1698 by Richard Marsh in Faversham, Kent, where beer and ales continue to brew. Shepherd Neame has over 360 pubs in Kent, London, Sussex, Surrey, Hampshire, Berkshire and Essex.
Photo: © Copyright Oast House Archive and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons License.
At the end of the thirties of the last century, the British military concluded that London would be subjected to massive bombings that could claim the lives of two hundred thousand people a day in the event of a war with Germany. in 1938 ministry of defence decided to build a military bunker in the city. Initially, they planned to equip rooms for the king and the prime minister. Later, the military office was established, and eventually, underground passages connected the bunker to Downing Street. From these rooms, Churchill addressed the nation. The words were spoken here: From here, I am leading the war. When Churchill was asked to cut the budget for culture favouring the defence industry, he said: If we do not have culture, what will we need to defend?
Photo: [By en: User: Jdhowens90 - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=920028)
Downing Street is named after Sir George Downing - informant of Oliver Cromwell - a man who challenged the English monarchy and paid with life and death. His corpse was dug up and ceremonially hunged up. Downing traded in real estate and made a fortune buying the entire street that now bears his name. Initially, there were three houses here. The house holding number ten used to be number five. Finally, all three properties were combined into one and became a famous address: Downing Street 10. This residence was intended for the treasurer of His Majesty and then for the Prime Minister. An interesting fact is concerning a door. She is black. Only once in the history of the house has the door been painted green. It was 1908 when Henry Asquith took over as head of government. In that year, the pension was introduced, the fifth Olympic Games were held, and the door changed from black to green to promote liberalism. The famous English cat, the chief mouse catcher, also lives in the house. This is an ancient tradition. Among the main mouse-catchers were the long-liver Wilberforce, who lived for 18 years, the Munich Mouse-catcher, who survived Chamberlain and Churchill, and the cat, Larry, who came here from a shelter. Larry is not particularly keen on catching mice but makes a big bully with a neighbour's cat Palmerston - a mouse catcher of the Treasury Department.
The Queen's Life Guard consists of two cavalry regiments in addition to five guards. The Horse Guards is housed in a historic building on a former barracks between Whitehall and St James Park. There is an old clock on the tower of the Horse Guards building above the arch. It was Westminster's main clock until Big Ben was built in 1859. A dark spot is visible on the dial above number two. It is believed that it appeared at the time of the execution of King Charles I Stuart in 1641. Cromwell, who then headed parliament and pushed to the execution, will be executed during the restoration of the monarchy. The parade and the changing of the horse guard take place in front of the main entrance to the barracks every day, on weekdays at 11:00, and Sundays at 10:00.
The trail dedicated to Princess Diana is located in St. James's Park and resembles a heart. Its length is about 11 kilometres. The tradition of complementing the facilities in St John's Park dates back to the legendary King Henry the Eighth of the Tudor dynasty. He ordered to break up the royal lands on the site of the old leper colony and build St. James's Palace. Each monarch had a hand in the park's design, from the prohibition to dry clothes in it and walk in sandals to the creation of a beautiful pond with a birdhouse. Every year on the Queen's birthday, the park hosts an equestrian parade called Trooping the Color. He leaves the stables of the Royal Horse Guards and goes to Buckingham Palace.
The Mall is one of the most remarkable streets in London. It was founded to become the primary avenue for royal ceremonies. Quickly, it has become the arena for various ceremonies and events. Parades, marathons, sports competitions take place here. But, unfortunately, the popularity of the Mall pushed in 1981, Marcus Sargent was arrested while trying to shoot at Queen Elizabeth's motorcade.
Queen Victoria has long been a symbol of the British Empire. During her reign, the British Empire flourished. The entire nineteenth century fell during the reign of Queen Victoria. The monument to the Queen is symbolically located in front of Buckingham Palace and directed towards Mall Street. Victory - Victoria is depicted on the top, and four angels are at the pedestal. Each of them is symbolic. The Angel of Justice faces Green Park, which connects Hyde Park and St James's Park. The Angel of Mercy looks at Buckingham Palace, and the Angel of Truth looks at Westminster. The monument was erected by King George the Fifth, grandson of Queen Victoria, in 1914. George the Fifth is the famous king who stuttered and became king by accident when his older brother ended up in Nazi Germany and abdicated the throne. Queen Elizabeth is the daughter of George the Fifth.
Buckingham Palace was built for the Duke of Buckingham, but King George III bought it off in 1762 when the Royal Palace of St. James ceased to suit the monarch both in size and decoration. His granddaughter Queen Victoria made this palace her residence in 1837, and since then, it has become the residence of the ruling monarchs of England. The most famous and most visited event in London is the changing of the guard at the palace gate. It runs daily from 11:00 to 11:30 from April to July and every other day in other months of the year. The ceremony begins at the Royal Barracks, runs along Mall Street and culminates in the changing of the guard at the palace gates. It is noteworthy that if you see four sentries, the queen is in the palace, and if only two - the monarch is on the road. The Guards of the Guard are soldiers of the active forces of the British Commonwealth. Their famous hats are made from the wool of Grizzly bears. For soldiers, the fur of males reared up is used to be a hat; for officers, the fur of females lowered down is used to be a hat. But the weight of the hat is the same for everyone. It weighs three kilograms. You can take pictures with the guardsmen, you can make faces, and they will not give any sign of sympathy or irritation. But if you touch them, this is a sign of aggression, and they have every right to use force.
Beneath the lawns of Green Park flows Tyburn Creek, which created the islet of Westminster. Remember we talked about him at the beginning of our walk? Green Park is known for the fact that there is nothing artificial in it. There is only nature and wildflowers grown from plant seeds brought from Sussex. They say that the wildflowers were collected in this park by King Charles II for his mistresses. His wife Katarina Braganskaya ordered to destroy all the flowers in the garden. The park became duels place In the eighteenth century, while a haven for robbers at the beginning of the nineteenth. Today, the park connects Hyde Park and St James's Park and is the smallest royal park. The statue of the goddess Diana was erected at the entrance to the park in the fifties of the twentieth century. Many consider this statue to be a mystical omen of Princess Diana.
We entered one of the most famous streets in London - Piccadilly Street. Piccadilly is a lace collar with pointed ends, supported by a thin wire or whalebone. Piccadilly was an essential attribute of the nobility's clothing in the sixteenth century. During the reign of Empress Elizabeth, there were warehouses for Piccadilly collars, which gave the street its name. The street and its surroundings became a desirable quarter for the nobility. Mansions and luxurious houses were built here, court tailors came and settled here. Since the seventeenth century, the Piccadilly area has become the founder of fashion, a symbol of prosperity and wealth. So it remains to this day.
Photo: [Rept0n1x - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=8334158)
Burlington Arcade is an example of a shopping centre from the first half of the nineteenth century. It is difficult to say which European cities can claim the priority in constructing such indoor shopping centres. It can be Milan, Paris, London. However, in London, the arcade storey is straightforward and practical. Lord Burlington did not know how to prevent pedestrians from throwing oyster shells and other rubbish over the fence of his house. So he did not find anything better than to build a shopping centre next to the wall. By the way, in the course of construction, it turned out that his wife would be able to shop not far from home, accompanied by her noble friends. Shops were rented in Burlington Arcade, primarily by jewellers.
No less prestigious is the parallel to Piccadilly Street, Jermyn Street. It is named after Baron Henry Jermyn, an influential courtier and owner of this street. Famous tailors began to settle here, or, as they would say today, couturiers. For example, Cesare Salvucci is an Italian silk merchant. By the way, it was here that tailors rented rooms to financiers. Theodore Rothschild rented a room in Cesare's house. In addition, Isaac Newton himself lodged at number 88 and then at number 87. The most expensive men's fashion salons are along the street Jermyn. On the road, there is even a monument to George Braian Brammell, the London dandy, the trendsetter of men's clothing in the mid-nineteenth century.
Photo: [By Brian Harrington Spier from Shanghai, China - Diamond Jubilee: 3rd June 2012, CC BY-SA 2.0] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=39691536)
Trafalgar Square is the heart of Victorian London. The place was known as early as the thirteenth century as Charing Cross. From here, all the roads in England were measured. After the victory of Great Britain over Spain and France at Trafalgar in 1805, the course of world history changed. England became the unconditional, sole and unshakable mistress of the seas and oceans. In the square centre rises Horatio Nelson column. Horatio was an English commander of the fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar. Trafalgar is a cape on the western coast of Spain and translated from Arabic means Cape Lavra, and in English culture means the Cape of the Great Victory. Initially, the height of the column was supposed to be 66 meters, but due to public discontent, the size was reduced to forty-four. The lions, conceived in the original design, appeared at the pedestal only thirty years later. For clarity, London Zoo provided the sculptor with the corpse of a lion. Unfortunately, the work on the sketches took too much time, and the corpse began to decompose. There is even a folk legend that the sculptor drow paws of lions from the feet of cats.
North of Trafalgar Square is the London National Gallery. It was opened in 1838, a year after Queen Victoria moved to Buckingham Palace. Lloyd's businessman and insurer John Julius Angerstein sold his private collection to the gallery. They even say that the gallery was built to accommodate the Angerstein collection. Be that as it may, today, the London National Gallery is one of the five most visited museums in the world. They also say that Angerstein was the son of Empress Catherine II or Elizabeth, Empress of Russia. He was born in St. Petersburg in 1735, but his birth parents were the Russian Empress Anna and London businessman Andrew Poulett Thompson.
The fountains at Trafalgar Square were part of the original project. However, the water supply proved to be costly. Over time, the fountains have been rebuilt several times, and the water filling system has been optimized. At present, to save electricity, the area is illuminated to reflect light from the water's surface in the evenings, creating the impression of ample illumination. Significant events are held in the square. The main Christmas tree of the city is erected here, which is brought from Norway every year.
We left London's Royal Historic District, Westminster. The street we are going on is often called London Broadway. This is because all of London's most famous theatres are located here. The road is named after Anthony Ashley Cooper, Earl of Shaftesbury, who fought to improve the situation in the quarters of London's poor: Soho and China Town. They are located along this street. By the way, Ashley Cooper came up with the idea of a ten-hour day. Before that, people did not work in a standardized manner. We conclude the walkthrough of imperial London. Other routes are waiting for us, and Soho or China Town is just around the corner.
Photo [By CherryX per Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0] (https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=21478212)