Sunday, October 30, 2016

Central: Queensway







As with the previous station at Lancaster Gate, this station does not have escalators so it's either walking up 123 steps or take the lift. You would think that as it has a lift it is disabled friendly but no you still have a dozen steps before you access the lift.










The station is on the corner of Queensway and Bayswater Road. The outside looks in need of a good coat of paint.


















Looking up Queensway I  noticed that a couple of hundred metres away is Bayswater Tube station.



I always try not to overlap areas around the stations so I only walked a short distance down Queensway hoping to see Queensway ice rink, the largest in London,  but unfortunately it is closed for renovation. I will have to put that on my list of places to revisit.















Moving away I turned right onto Inverness Terrace. On these roads parallel to Queensway you see rows of these 19th C, 6 floor, Italianate houses, many of which have now been converted into hotels or apartments. They look splendid against the clear blue sky this morning.



This house was built in 1823/4 and was designed by John Laudon, a landscape architect. Looking like a detached villa it is two houses disguised as one. Using  the dome and dummy windows he created the illusion of two houses to look like one detached villa. The idea of illusion was favoured by some  English architects of that time.

    
Another architectural illusion can be seen here at 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens. When the subterranean lines of the Underground (Metropolitan Railway as it was then) were first constructed in 1863, a method known as 'cut and cover' was used. Basically, dig a hole for the train and cover with a tunnel. One of the lines required the demolition of 23 and 24 Leinster Gardens which were part of a terrace of five storey houses. It was decided to build a 5ft thick facade which matched the houses. If you look closely you can see the dummy windows and lack of a letter box in the doors.

The gap behind the facade can clearly be seen from Porchester Terrace. The gap also provides a welcome open air space for dispelling fumes and smoke ( as the original trains were steam driven).
Following the line back to Queensbury Terrace you can still see a gap behind this property

More delightful Mews cottages



On Craven Hill Gardens is this block of flats, built in 1964, which seems to be totally out of place .

I returned to Bayswater Road to see the weekly art exhibition along the park railings. Every Sunday numerous artists display their work here. 





After walking up and down outside the park admiring some (certainly not all) of the artwork, I entered Kensington Gardens. I strolled through the park to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial  Playground. Opened on 30th June 2000 it is a permanent Memorial to Diana and her love of children. Inspired by the stories of Peter Pan, it has been created so that less able  and able bodied children can play together. There is no admittance for adults without a child and taking photos through the railings and bushes seemed totally inappropriate!

Next to the playground is the Elfin Oak, now enclosed in a wire cage to prevent damage.  The Elfin Oak sculpture was made from the trunk of an ancient oak tree (900 years old) which originated in Richmond Park. Sculpted by Ivor Innes in 1930 it has numerous elves, fairies and animals living in its branches and bark. Some readers might recognise it from inside the cover of Pink Floyd's 1969 album 'Ummagumma'




    

The area near the playground and the Elfin Oak has a number of picnic tables and a kiosk selling drinks and snacks. It also has this memorial fountain and clock. The words above the fountain say 'To the memory of a beloved son who loved little children'


I continued on to the Round Pond where it was good to see other geese beside Canadian geese enjoying the weather. The pond is a  popular place for feeding the birds and sailing model boats.



To the right of the pond is Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace is the Royal residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) as well as Prince Harry and some minor Royals. Diana, Princess of Wales, had an apartment here from 1981 until 1987.

The Palace was built in the 17th C for King William and Queen Mary. The Palace was needed quickly as the King wanted to move away from Whitehall to the cleaner air of Kensington. To speed  up the building of the Palace it was built in brick not stone and was completed in six months.
King William and Queen Mary  moved in in 1689. Sadly, Mary died of smallpox in 1694 and in 1702  William died after falling off his horse.


 There is a large bronze statue of King William III at the side of the Palace.



Designed by Princess Louise in 1893, this marble statue is of her mother, Queen Victoria. It shows the Queen in her coronation robes at the age of 18. Victoria was born in Kensington Palace and lived there until she became Queen in 1837.


There are formal gardens at the front of the Palace that you can see from a number of viewing points.





The Orangery is also in the garden and is now a restaurant open to the public. 


Another viewing point looking back towards the Round Pond.


I left the park past these ornamental gates.



I exited via Kensington Palace Gardens. This road has its fair share of opulent  billionaire's mansions and  Embassies. It was laid out on the site of the kitchen gardens of the Palace between 1844 and 1870. This view shows the Palace railings.


This view looks back along this wide tree lined road.












Half way down is this Victorian pillar box and  gas lamp

This long avenue is only lit by gas lamps. I think it might be the only road in the city where you can imagine what it might have been like to walk at night during Victorian times. There are 1500 gas lamps left in London and the majority of them are  lit and serviced by just 5 men. Those in Hyde Park and around the Houses of Parliament have their own lamplighters
During the day each lamp burns with a tiny pilot light. At dusk, a timer fitted in each lamp, moves a lever which releases a stronger flow of gas to light up the mantles. Looking up at this lamp the mantles were still alight. The five men who look after the gas lamps are actually gas engineers. They visit each lamp to check and wind the mechanisms, clean the glass and replace the mantles.


At the end of the road you can see the lodge gates, a common feature during the 18th C and 19th C. There are gates at either end of the road for security reasons.

There is also an armed  police presence  as this road has so many embassies and access to Kensington Palace. Once through the gates I was back on Bayswater Road just a short distance from Queensway station.

13 comments:

  1. A bit weird perhaps, but I was so excited to see the fake Leinster Terrace house. We wandered Hyde Park when we first visited London in 2008, without us realising we had strayed into Kensington Gardens. Another great an enjoyable jaunt, thanks. I hope some institution is archiving this.

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  2. The artists have discovered a great place to get lookie loos. Thanks for the tour.

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  3. Thanks for the tour, an amazing area which I never knew still had gas lights

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  4. You wonder why they haven't 'fixed' the situation for the disabled? Odd.

    Loved everything today. It's always a pleasure visiting.

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  5. Great photos and your descriptions are very interesting, Many of these places I have read of but never expect to see - so thanks for you posts.

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  6. So much to see - lovely shots!

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  7. You should have taken much effort.Great post.Thanks a lot.

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  8. Wonderful shots from the station.

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  9. The last time I went to Kensington Gardens was when Diana died. I think it is definitely time for a revisit

    Mollyxxx

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  10. You passed a variety of architecture here. The palace and gardens look lovely as well as the pretty street

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  11. i like those apartments - very posh :-)

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  12. Loved the beauty and history of this stop. Didn't know all that about the gas lamps (any of them) and wish we could have walked along this road after dark.

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  13. Wow, what a lot of infomation in this post! I haven't spent any time in this part of London, apart from Kensington Gardens, so I didn't know any of this. Fascinating about the dummy facades, the Elfin Oak and the gas lamps. Thank you!

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