Now that I am in Central London and the tube stations are closer together, I only walk a few minutes in each direction from the Underground stations but even so there is so much I want to record in these posts. I always like to find at least one thing that is new to me and hopefully new to those of you who know London.
I have now reached Holborn, the 28th station I have visited on the Central Line. The station has been in the news this year as customers have been asked to stand on both sides of two 'up' escalators for a six month trial. It is normal for customers to stand on the right allowing others to walk on the left. This understanding is adhered to at all Underground stations and visitors to London are soon asked to move if they stand on the left whilst on the 'up' escalator! It is hoped that by getting people to stand on both sides of the escalator it will reduce congestion. However I noticed no difference as people stood on the right whilst others continued to walk passed them on the left.
The station is on the corner of High Holborn and Kingsway and serves both the Central and Piccadilly Lines.
At the north end of Kingsway you can see where the trams used to enter and exit the subway. Peering through the railings I could see the old tram lines running along the cobblestones down the ramp into the tunnel. The tram network was discontinued in the 1950s.
There are one or two buildings of interest on Kingsway. This one is part of the facade of the old Holy Trinity church. The way the building curves has always interested me. Its interior was incorporated into a supermarket in the 1990s. The original Holy Trinity church was built in 1830 but had to be demolished in 1909 after work on the Piccadilly Line undermined its foundations. A new church was built in 1909-11 but was closed in 1991.Not a great history for a church.
On the corner of the building is this sculpture by Richard Wilson entitled 'Square the Block'
Lincoln's Inn Fields is London's first garden square. It was laid out in 1640 and by 1658 there were houses on three sides of it. The fourth side is taken up by Lincoln's Inn(see previous post). The garden is now enclosed by railings but is open to the public with a central bandstand, cafe and tennis/netball courts. It was here I used to play for the GLC netball team in the early 70s.
It is still the largest public square in London.
As these items were in a glass case just outside the entrance to the Museum I assumed it was OK to photograph them. They are corrosion casts by D. Tompsett done between 1942 and 47. He developed the technique of injecting resin into the blood vessels, tubes and cavities of human and animal specimens. The surrounding tissue was then dissolved with hydrochloric acid. These photos are a horse's heart and lungs. These were used as teaching aids for surgery.
On the opposite side of the square is Sir John Soane's Museum. Sir John was an architect and is probably most remembered for designing the Bank of England. There are three houses which form the Museum, although the front half of number 14 houses the Adam study centre. The museum is where Soane's lived and worked and kept his collections of art, sculpture, furniture and much, much more. Many of his architectural drawings as well as models are also displayed. No photography is allowed so I can't show you the inside of the building. Only 70 people are allowed in at any one time so often there is a queue outside. It is free entry and definitely worth a visit.
I left Lincoln's Inn Fields via a small alleyway in the North West corner. Here you will find the Ship Tavern. Established in 1549 it was much smaller then it is now and initially was used by farm labourers. It has always been a public house but in the reign of Henry VIII, it was used as a shelter for Roman Catholic priests and services were secretly held here. If the priests were caught they were executed on the spot. Some say the place is haunted with the screams of the priests, even though the pub was rebuilt in 1923!
At 252 High Holborn is the Rosewood Hotel. This building used to be the headquarters of the Pearl Assurance Company. Built in 1914 it was expanded over the next 50 years and has a number of heritage features including the Grand Staircase and the Baking Halls. The conversion into a luxury hotel was consequently overseen by English Heritage.
Across the road from the Rosewood is Templar House. This was the site of the Royal Amphitheatre and circus. The first boxing match under the Marquis of Queensbury rules was fought here in 1867. It is now home to Transport For LondonVery impressive door with this sign inside the doorway.
It must be the only place in London that has the Underground sign not related to an Underground Station
I turned off High Holborn onto Procter Street. Unusual as you walk or drive underneath the office block which is built over the road.
This is Fenner Brockway ( Nov 1888- April 1988) a British anti war activist and politician. During the war pacifists were handed white feathers by girls in the street as a sign of cowardice It was
said that Fenner was proud of the number of white feathers he received. He later became a labour Member of Parliament and formed the charity 'War on Want'
In the NE corner of the square is the Conway Hall, the only remaining Ethical Society in the UK!
Close by are the beautiful elegant houses in Bedford Row.
On the corner of Theobald's Road and Southampton Row is this Grade II listed building, a stunning neoclassical landmark constructed in the 1920s. It was extensively remodelled in 2003 and now houses offices and leisure facilities..
The back of Victoria House faces Bloomsbury Square.
I walked down Kingsway to Great Queen Street.
This building which is part of the Grand Connaught Rooms is where The Freemasons' Tavern stood which has its own place in history. On 13th Nov 1807 the first geological society in the world was inaugurated there and on 26th Oct 1863 The Football Association was formed here
Next to the Connaught rooms is the Freemasons' Hall, headquarters of the Grand Lodge. Built in 1933 it is a classic example of an art deco building. It is assumed that Freemasonry originated with the stone masons who built the great cathedrals and castles during the medieval period. Freemasonry is one of the world's oldest, non-religious, non-political charitable organisations
This was another interesting find as I always thought that the Freemasons was a very secret society but at their headquarters in the heart of London is a Museum with lots of items on display. I did go in for a look round and will post some photos of what I saw on my other blog.
There were a number of interesting shops on Great Queen Street including a hat shop with some unusual designs.
Enough window shopping, time to go home.