Monday, April 2, 2018


The next station on my 'Above the Underground' Challenge is Temple. This is one of just a few stations that are close to the Thames. Although many of you will not be as familiar with this station as the last few I've visited you will probably be familiar with a number of the local historical buildings. The station was opened in 1870. It was built using the 'cut and cover' method of  roofing over a shallow trench and serves both the Circle and District lines. It is only a two minute journey from the previous station at Embankment. Walking would take about 8 minutes.

The columns have interesting decoration which I haven't noticed at other stations.

This is #100 out of 270 of these Labyrinth puzzles by Mark Wallinger. A different one at every tube station. Have you started looking for them yet? Great to try and solve it before your tube arrives!

The roundel outside the station is a 1917 design by Edward Johnstone.

The building which houses the tube station continues a long way along the Victoria Embankment. The rest of the building is the 'Salsa', where food, drink, dance classes and music are on offer daily.

Above the tube station is a colonnaded rooftop, built to fit in with its surroundings.
I was expected a very green area but the rooftop is paved with a number of benches scattered around. I believe it was closed shortly after opening as it became the haunt of prostitutes. It still has limited opening hours.

The rooftop provides a good view of Temple pier and the River Thames

The station was constructed at the same time as the Victoria Embankment gardens. The gardens run from Westminster Bridge to Blackfriars Bridge in three separate sections, built on land reclaimed from the river in the 1860s. The embankment was built to house the main sewer which stopped other sewers flowing into the River Thames. At the same time the Metropolitan District Railway built another link into the Circle Line  - Temple station. Temple Gardens on the East side of the station were originally a narrow strip intersected with a narrow tar paved path and bordered by ivy and flower beds. In 1895 they were altered to incorporate a bandstand. Concerts were held on weekdays paid for by subscriptions from the press and  enjoyed by workers from the near by printing houses on Fleet Street. The bandstand no longer exists and has been replaced by a rose garden.

I walked through the gardens and into Temple Place.

At  4 Temple Place is Globe House, home to British American Tobacco.This is a modern building but they did retain the statues from its predecessor Electra House which was demolished in the 1990s. Electra house was the headquarters of the Cable and Wireless company. The bronze figures are of Mercury by the sculptor Sir Charles Wheeler. Being the Roman god of communication and messages, an apt choice for the original building. Elevated by the columns the life size figures give elegance and style to the building.

 Further along the road is Two Temple Place, once the home of William Waldorf Astor. It was built in 1895 as his home and office whilst away from the USA. 

The weather vane above the building is a representation of the Santa Maria, the ship on which Columbus travelled when he discovered America. Unfortunately the wind was blowing from the wrong direction for me to get a side on view of the ship. 

Inside is an array of wooden carvings representing a wide range of literary and historical figures.

Inside the main hall are these beautiful stained glass windows.

This is the stained glass ceiling above the main staircase. There are lots of interesting carvings and doors, hidden cupboards etc in the house. It is managed by the Bulldog Trust and entry is free to the public at certain times of the year when there is an exhibition on.
These bronze lamp standards designed by Frith adorn the steps at the front of the building. They were designed to celebrate the age of telecommunications and electricity

On leaving Two Temple Place I turned left and went down Milford Lane.

There is a gate leading into Middle Temple from the lane but I walked up the steps ahead of me through a large arch and onto Essex Street

This view is looking back towards the arch and the steps leading to Milford Lane. the street has a number of barristers' chambers
On the corner of Essex Street and Devereux Court is The Edgar Wallace pub. Originally named 'The Essex Head'  it was built in 1777. But in 1975 the pub was renamed 'The Edgar Wallace' in memory of  Richard Horatio Edgar Wallace, a journalist and crime writer who worked for Reuters and the Daily Mail. Many of his novels have been made into films.

At the end of Devereux Court is a gate into Middle Temple one of the Inns of Court. There are four surviving Inns of Court that were established in the 14th Cent: Gray's Inn, Lincoln's Inn, Middle Temple and Inner Temple. They were set up to provide accommodation for lawyers and their students. They very much resemble the colleges of  Oxford and Cambridge with each Inn having a chapel, library and dining hall. The Lawyers' chambers are grouped around courtyards and gardens.

This is the Middle Temple Hall. It is said that this is the finest Elizabethan Hall in the country. It was apparently opened by Queen Elizabeth I in 1576 who dined here many times. It is still used as a dining hall. I was fortunate to visit the Hall during Open House 2017.

The double hammer beam oak roof was completed by 1570. It was the model for Trinity College, Cambridge.

The stained glass windows around the Hall display the coat of arms of many famous members.

On 2nd February 1602 the first recorded performance of Shakespeare's Twelfth Night took place in Hall as part of the Candlemas celebrations marking the end of Christmas festivities.

The High Table is 29 feet long and made from four planks from a single oak tree, reputedly  given by Queen Elizabeth I. The oak was cut down in Windsor Forest and floated down the Thames to be installed in the hall before the building was completed.  A table made from the hatch cover of Sir Francis Drake's ship The Golden Hind is kept beside the Bench and is where Members sign when they are called to the Bar.
Sir Francis Drake dined here in 1586. The records report 'he came into Middle Temple Hall at dinner time and acknowledged his old friendship with the society, those present congratulating him on his happy return with great joy'.

The Hall is still used today as it was in the 16th cent. Bench, Bar and students have lunch here daily and also in the evening. Masters of the Bench are elected by their peers and are senior members of the judiciary. Students are called to the Bar when they have successfully completed the BPTC (Bar Professional Training Course) which is a postgraduate course for law graduates who want to practise as barristers in England and Wales.

I left the Middle Temple through Elm Court which was redeveloped in 2016 to provide more seating.

Temple Church is jointly owned by the Inner and Middle Temple. During the week the church is open to the public. The photos of the Church and gardens were taken in the summer on one of my previous visits. The oldest part of the church is the round which was consecrated in 1185. The church was damaged in WW2 but was made good after the war when parts of the church which had been removed for renovation in  the 19th cent were returned.

The Temple Church is one of the oldest churches in London. It was built by the Knights Templar. The Templars were an order of crusading monks founded to protect the pilgrims on their way to the Holy Land. The Temple Church was their headquarters in England and was designed to be similar to the circular church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem.

Walk inside and you can't help but be impressed.

The grotesques and gargoyles were put in place during Victorian times.

Cast of the effigy of King John (1166-1216). The original effigy is in Worcester Cathedral.

The Temple Church
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem

In 1608 King James VI of Scotland and I of England granted the Templars' former land between Fleet Street and the River Thames to the societies of Inner and Middle Temple, two of London's four Inns of Court. Every barrister in England and Wales must, to this day, belong to one of the four Inns. To mark the 400th anniversary of this event a stained glass window was commissioned. It shows the scales of justice suspended from the sword in the centre. Either side of the crown are the symbols from the Coat of Arms of James VI of Scotland and I of England, the three lions of England, the Scottish lion rampart, the Irish harp and the Fleur d'lys of France. 
The left and right hand windows show the symbols of the two inns. The Pegasus of the Inner Temple and the Lamb and Flag of the Middle Temple.
The inscription states 'Repaired and Beautified 1687'

The stone staircase takes you to an upper gallery where you have views of the nave.

The church was also used for the filming of Dan Brown's 'Da Vinci Code'.

The column outside the church was erected in 2000 in the centre of what was formally the cloister courtyard of monastery of the Knights Templar.  The image of the horse with two riders is from the
seal of the knights who were originally too poor to have a horse each. The column also marks the point where the Great fire of London was extinguished in 1666 thus saving the Church.

I left the Inns through Mitre Court which brought me out onto Fleet Street.

A reminder that Fleet Street used to be the home of printing and jounalism. Printing started on Fleet Street around 1500 when Caxton's apprentice set up a printing shop there. By the 20th cent Fleet Street and the surrounding area were dominated by the National Press and printing workshops. In 1986 Murdoch moved his newspaper offices and printing to Wapping. It was the beginning of the end of the grip the printing unions had over the newspaper industry. Computer generated printing presses meant an end to the more time consuming manual printing presses  By 2005 all the major newspapers had moved out of Fleet Street.

Next door is St Dunstan's in the West. The original church was built sometime between 988 and 1070 AD on the same site. The church survived the Great Fire of 1666 with the help of 40 scholars from Westminster School who used buckets of water to extinguish the flames.
The church was rebuilt in 1831 but the clock outside dates from 1671.

This was the first public clock in London to have a minute hand.

The figures of the two giants, Gog and Magog, strike the hours and quarters and turn their heads.

On the other side of Fleet Street look up and you will see many buildings with the original shop signs hanging from them.

In the days before numbering, shops were identified by their signs.

This is the sign for C. Hoare & Co, one of the last of the private deposit banks which were established during the 17th and 18th centuries. The bank has been run by members  of the Hoare family since it was founded in  1672. The bank moved into these premises on Fleet Street in 1690 trading under the sign of 'The Golden Bottle'.

Goslings Bank was established in 1650 at the 'Sign of Ye Three Squirrels', now 19 Fleet Street. It amalgamated with Barclays Bank Ltd in 1896, but is still known as Gosling's Branch.

This half timbered house is one of the few buildings to survive the Great Fire of London in 1666. The room on the first floor  is known as Prince Henry's room. There used to be a exhibition upstairs on Samuel Pepys but sadly the building is no longer open to the public. The archway below the building leads back into the Middle and Inner Temple.

On the corner of Fleet Street and Chancery Lane  is this Grade II listed building. Built in 1872 and occupied by George Attenborough & Sons Jewellers under which name it still trades.
The building is highly decorative with griffins and allegorical figures.

I turned right here onto Chancery Lane. Just a little way up on the right is the Maughan Library.
The  Library is the main research library of King's College, London. It used to be the headquarters of the Public Records office until it was acquired by the University in 2001. The origins of the site date back to 1232 when the 'House of Converts' was built as a refuge for Jews who had converted to Christianity. The present building was built between 1856 and 1898 to house the nation's records including the Domesday Book and the Magna Carta. The national Archives are now based in Kew.

Inside the library there is a dodecagonal reading room based on the the reading room in the British Library.
I walked back down Chancery Lane to continue my walk along Fleet Street. In the middle of the road is this column with the City Dragon on top. This is the Temple Bar Memorial built to replace the Temple Bar which was removed in 1879 as it had become an obstruction to traffic. The bar marked the entrance to the City of London where it was traditional for the Lord Mayor to welcome Royal visitors. The original Temple Bar was designed by Sir Christopher Wren and stood in Fleet Street for over 200 years but with the building of the Royal Courts of Justice and the need to widen the road it was decided it had to be removed. Instead of it being destroyed the Corporation of London took it down stone by stone (numbering them in the process). In 2001 the Corporation of London agreed to fund the return of the Temple Bar. It was rebuilt in 2004 in Paternoster Square at a cost of £3 million.

This is the Temple Bar today in its new position with St Paul's in the background.

Back to Fleet Street and the monument which replaced the Temple Bar in 1881. At this point the road now becomes The Strand. One side of the monument has Queen Victoria and on the other side there is a statue of the Prince of Wales who later became King Edward VII.

The Royal Courts of Justice which house the High Court and Court of appeal of England and Wales. This large great Gothic building was opened by Queen Victoria in 1882. Members of the public can go in and look around but no cameras allowed.

Opposite the Royal Courts of Justice in The Strand is this magnificent entrance to what was a bank. Unfortunately on 14th August 2017 this branch of Lloyd bank closed.

I'm pleased to say I visited it a couple of years ago and these were the photos I took then. I hope the public will be able to visit again in the near future. I think the building is being converted into a restaurant but I'm not sure.

Above this flying fish you can see the flamboyantly styled letter P, a reminder of its previous life as The Palsgrave Restaurant. Built in 1883 it was decorated with Doulton Tiles. All around the entrance there are tiles depicting animals, plants and figures.

The tiles were decorated by John McLennan who had worked for the Doulton Pottery factory for 33 years starting in 1877 at the age of 17.
In 1825 Twinings (the famous tea company) diversified into finance. needing more space. The Twinings shop,which is next door to the bank eventually took over the building next door and converted it into a bank. It was in 1892 that the bank merged with Lloyds but there was still a Mr Twining as manager until 1917 when he retired.

There has been a Twinings tea shop on The Strand since 1706 when Thomas Twining bought Tom's coffee shop. At that time  London was full of coffee shops as they were the meeting places for business transactions. There was a lot of competition between the coffee houses but Tom's was different as it also sold tea. Tea was an expensive commodity as it was highly taxed but it became very fashionable during the 18th Cent among the upper classes.
This plaque can be found at the back of the building.

A little further on along The Strand is the church of St Clement Danes. This is one of two churches that seem to be stranded in the middle of traffic islands created by the widening of the roads.

It is one of  Christopher Wren's  churches which was bombed during WW2 and had to be rebuilt. From then on it became the official church of the Royal Air Force.

Round the other side of the church is a statue to Samuel Johnson (1703-1784) who worshipped at the church.

The other 'traffic island church' is St Mary-Le-Strand. This church has stood in the middle of The Strand, one of the busiest roads in Central London, for over three hundred years

In between the two churches is Australia House. It is a huge building and this year it is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

Almost opposite St Mary-Le-Strand is this disused station. This was the entrance on The Strand and round the corner on Surrey Street you can see another entrance.
What is so unusual about these entrances is that the station was called the Aldwych not the Strand and has been closed for over 20 years . It started life as The Strand tube station in 1907 but was renamed The Aldwych in 1915 when another station was called the Strand.
Although not open to the public I  did manage to have a tour of the station in 2012.

You could still see the old name of the station on the old tiles.

It was quite a way down to the platforms.

  I think they said 160 steps which isn't that bad but it's easy to lose your footing when going down a spiral staircase. When it was in operation there were 2 lifts for the passengers.

During the 2WW this tube station was used as a bomb shelter. During 1940 when London was being bombed every night there were 100,000 people taking refuge in the deep tube stations. This station has 2 platforms. One of them was allocated to the Victoria and Albert Museum and the British Museum for storing artefacts and valuable artworks, which included the Elgin Marbles. The second rail was used as a public shelter. In the beginning there were no toilet facilities, drainage or water supply and people just bedded down on the platform or between the rails. Conditions must have been horrendous. But gradually conditions improved with the installation of chemical toilets and bunk beds. By 1941 the Aldwych could accommodate 1500 people nightly saving many lives. The station is now used by film makers or for the emergency services to practice for possible tube disasters.

To the right of the old station is the Starnd campus of King's College London. One of the top 25 universities in the world it is the fourth oldest university in England.
The University has a number of distinguished alumni and lecturers including John Keats, Florence Nightingale, Desmond Tutu as well as Professor Lister who worked there from 1877-1893.

King's College, London was founded by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington in 1829 as a University College in the tradition of the Church of England. When the University of London was founded in 1836, King's became one of its two founding colleges. 

Within the University is this Grade 1 listed College Chapel designed by the Victorian architect George Gilbert Scott.

Next to King's College is Somerset house completed in 1786 it was built to house several government buildings. In 1990 the Courtauld Institute moved to Somerset House and the Courtauld Gallery opened to the public. Now Somerset House is an arts centre and you can walk from The Strand through the building to the Embankment.
This is the view from the arch.
Down the steps and you have a fine view of the central courtyard with its fountains of 55 jets of water.. It is a venue for concerts and theatre in the Summer and a skating rink in the winter. Today it provided a walkway for me back to Temple station.

This is where you emerge from Somerset House on to the Embankment. When it was built in 1776 the building stood on large arches rising out of the river. However this was all changed with the building of Victoria Embankment in 1864-70

 Back on Victoria Embankment you can sit and admire the river from these wonderful iron benches decorated with camels and sphinxes.

Look out for these cast iron lamp standards with dolphins adorning the columns.

On either side of the road are cast iron dragons from 1849 taken from the City's Coal Exchange which was demolished in 1963.

There is also a statue of Isambard Kingdom Brunel, a Victorian engineer, looking out over the Thames whose first notable achievement was to help his father, also an engineer to build the Thames Tunnel. The tunnel from Wapping to Rotherhithe was the first tunnel under a river anywhere in the world. Isambard was put in charge of operations and at one time nearly lost his life in a flood. The tunnel was eventually opened in 1843 as a foot tunnel but was later sold to the railways and became part of the Underground system in 1865. It is still in use today over 150 years later.

Around the corner from Brunel's statue is Strand Lane. At the bottom of this Lane is a bit if an oddity known as the 'Roman' bath. Inside the tiny building is this brick built cistern or tank. Recent research has discovered that it had nothing to do with the Romans but was a feeder cistern for a sumptuous grotto fountain built in the gardens of the old pre-chambers Somerset House for James 1's Queen, Anne of Denmark.

In 1776 a newspaper advertisement announced the opening of a 'cold bath' in Strand Lane.. There was enough speculation about the origin of the cold bath that the property was taken over by the National Trust who commissioned an enquiry into its origins.

Back out of Strand Lane onto Temple Place where there is a Cabmen's Shelter. One of only 13 remaining shelters. These wooded structures have been around since 1875 providing shelter, food and drink for the cabbies. A number of the ones remaining now sell food and drinks to the general public but not this one, which appears to be closed. Oh well, time to return home. Once again, the distance covered whilst researching Temple station was not very far but there is so much to see and write about that these posts just get longer and longer!


  1. Your photos are lovely but the amount of time and research you put into these posts is amazing. No need for guide books - just come and look up posts here!

  2. I'm admiring the stained glass windows most of all.

  3. So much to admire indeed...I loved the whole tour, especially appreciate the photos where you got to go anywhere to places mostly not open to the public ....loved the tour of Mr. Astor’s “little” home away from home ...all of the beautiful Hall, the church, and the interesting Twinings doorway....and all the wonderful history you shared. And the sign that said repaired and beautified in 16(whatever it was) ...that is awe inspiring. Loved it all. Thank you.

  4. You really took your time to really look around you. I love those Egyptian seats. Funny how many little things there are to notice.

  5. Wonderful tour filled with older buildings with great architectural details

  6. What an amazingly comprehensive post...makes a reader feel that she's right there with you. I must admit my favourite photos were the nice plain red ones identifying the station, and after those the flying fish!
    An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

  7. Awesome. Great series ... I must say I liked the wooden carvings.

  8. There was a awful lot to take in. I really liked Kings College Chapel. There was a brief feature on Australia House on tv last week. I learnt that it was purpose built and it seems with little expense spared. I guess the tv piece was stimulated by Australia House turning 100.

  9. What a beautiful neighborhood. Loved the house of Astor, and all the statues, gargoyles, and stained glass windows - -wow, your post looks like a month of work! Impressive! Hope I can arrange that sunny day for you in April:)

  10. Wow so much to see in such a small area. Reeking history as usual. My dad had to go to Australia House to get the immigration papers all those years ago.

  11. Wow - so many great shots of this area! Lovely.

  12. I am stunned buy how much history you can see in such a short distance in London, one of your best yet

  13. That's definitely a lot to take in but the sights are gorgeous to see!

  14. Thank you for the tour of a part of London. I never paid attention to a "Temple" line. Now you made me homesick !

  15. So much history in London, what a phenomenal tour you have just given us. Thank you.
    Wren x

  16. What a beautiful photo tour you have given us ~ marvelous!

    Happy Days,
    A ShutterBug Explores,
    aka (A Creative Harbor)

  17. Great post/photos. You spent some time doing that post Thank you

  18. Thanks for the extensive tour. I've heard of gargoyles before but never grotesques. Interesting. - Margy

  19. I love those stained glass windows! As always wonderful photos and very uplifting to come to see your blog. Thanks so much for being a friend to me and my blog and thanks for your comments on my blog. I try to do a few comments back each day but I am far behind!

  20. I think I have missed this area of London. I must go back! My favorite photos are of the stained glass. Such bright colors!

  21. an interesting place to visit. Loved the little ship sailing the wind :)

  22. What a great post. I love you know so much about where you live.

  23. I knew I'd been here before as soon as I linked over from a different source, but your station stops are always always worth a second or third (or...) look! Today I was especially admiring the beautiful stained glass windows and wondering about why the Victorians used so many gargoyles and grotesques ... what was the purpose? (I'll visit Google or Wiki and see what I can learn.)

  24. What an absolutely delightful walk through London.


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