A Photographers & Visitors Guide & Timeless Stories

Central London

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is founded upon a religious site of the 7th century.  A monastery until 1539.  Then an abbey and had the status of a cathedral until 1560. Although it is still referred to as an abbey, it currently has the status of a “Royal Peculiar” and is directly responsible to the monarch.  It has been the place of royal coronation and burial since 1066.

Sited next to the Houses of Parliament ⇒, it is open to the public (for a fee – see the Abbey website ⇒ and history ⇒) but photography is not allowed inside.

The interior photographs that follow are taken from the Abbey website’s photo-gallery ⇒ that provides downloads for personal use.

About Picture this UK

Picture this UK (picturethisuk.org) Contains:- Best Places to Photograph in London, Best Places to Photograph near London, Best Places to Visit in London, Best Places to Visit near London, Best places to see in London and 100 + places to visit in London. Both inside and out.

Tower Bridge

British Museum

Please click on the ⇒Gallery⇐ for more






Cartoon Museum, London

The Cartoon Museum is moderately priced and hosts exhibitions, events and workshops for both children and adults (see website ⇒ ) and is very close to the British Museum ⇐ which is free to enter.  Cartoons and single frame caricatures  have been an integral part of British life and included political, satirical, sarcastic, social commentary, humour and the downright bawdy.  Earlier cartoons/caricatures, than those here, can be found at the Queens Gallery ⇒.

? but it is quite fascinating.

Although often irreverent, cartoonist could also be patriotic especially in times of war.

The infamous Andy Capp by Reg Smythe

And, a little social commentary from an unlikely source.

And, something to read.

And, learn how to draw cartoons.

Or the easy way, which made me hungry.

Postal Museum, London

The Royal Mail was first introduced by Henry VIII in 1516 and then made available to the public in 1635.  Later it became part of the General Post Office (GPO) which included the telephone system.  The Royal Mail has been integral to Britain’s growth and maintenance since early times.  More information (prices and location) can be found on it’s website ⇒.

Since early times the mail had to be protected from thieves and pirates.




It continued through two world wars, delivering to military personnel as well as civilians



The Royal Mail introduced innovations like the pneumatic delivery system, where a cylinder was sent by compressed air along a tube.  The Royal Mail system had more than 40 miles of tubes beneath London.  And ~.




Just across the road and down the hill a little is the the old Royal Mail’s underground system, where you can have a pre-booked ride (please see the website link above).



Down that hole

And return pre-packed ready to mail home.  🙂

Harry Potter, Kings Cross Station and Platform 9 and 3/4

Inside Kings Cross one might find Harry Potter’s famous Platform 9 and 3/4

By heading for Platform 9  …..

.. and finding the shop ….

….. and then the Platform

You will have your photograph taken but only pay for if you want to buy at the shop.  You can have a friend take photographs without cost.   But, on busy days there is a queue.

There are tours of London film locations like this one ⇒ and the Warner Bros Harry Potter Film Studios ⇒  at 20 miles north-west of London.  You can also google for travel inclusive tours.  Have fun but watch out for those shop prices.

A Rare Opportunity to Photograph Inside London’s St Paul’s Cathedral

No longer available for 2017: There is a rare opportunity for visitors to photograph the interior of London’s St Paul’s Cathedral between 6:30 pm and 9 pm (last entry 8:15 pm) on the evenings of :-

  • Thursday 27th July 2017
  • Thursday 10th August 2017
  • Thursday 17th August 2017
  • Thursday 24th August 2017
  • Friday 25th August 2017
  • Monday 28th August 2017
  • Thursday 31st August 2017

This is for hand-held non-commercial photography only and the upper galleries will be closed for the evening. 

For those without cameras suitable for low-light conditions, the early evening may present the best opportunity.

For more information, ticket prices and booking in advance please click-on Summer Lates ⇒


For a preview (photographs from 2015) and general admission, please click-on St Paul’s Cathedral ⇐ .

For permits and commercial photography/filming, please see here ⇒.


Postman’s Park


Postman’s Park contains a wonder. “The Material Prosperity Of A Nation Is Not An Abiding Possession: The Deeds of Its People Are”.  There are many plaques, each tell a story.

The park is opposite the entrance to London’s St Bartholomew’s Hospital on King Edward Street.  It is small but has many benches and is very pretty in summer (this is a dank day in February).   About Postman’s Park ⇒.


For a closer view please right-click on an image, choose “Open Link in New Tab” then left click on the image to magnify. Close the new tab to return here..


They weren’t famous people and could easily have been forgotten. George Watts made sure that they were not.

Postman's Park Plaques 2











Museum of London

Museum of London Inside

An Extinct form of Wild Ox – The Aurochs 245,000 to 186,000 BC                             The 2012 London Olympics

34 pics.  The Museum of London ⇒ is at 150 London Wall (as distinct from the Museum of: London Docklands ⇐).  Inside is a quite extensive and interesting museum with a timeline that begins on the top floor, from prehistoric times to present day.  The museum is free to enter and non-commercial photography is allowed.

The museum is a short walk along St Martin’s Le Grand from St Paul’s underground rail station (central Line) .

Educational sessions, including those for young students, are available.


Back Foot of the Straight Tusked Elephant 781,000 to 50,00 years before present.

There are a large number of prehistoric, bronze age, pre-Roman, Roman, post-Roman (Saxon) and Norman exhibits.  Alongside are a number of educational placards and films.  Too many items to show here and get to the exhibitions of later London.  So, here is just a taste of early times.






museum-of-london-saxon-axesWhen the Romans finally left, about 400 AD, England was mostly populated by Saxon settlers and invading Norseman/Danes (Vikings) in the north.  The Saxons were weren’t necessarily all that war-like but spent most of their time farming.  The Norseman were commonly seafaring traders, it is just that some of them were a bit cantankerous.

On the other hand (imported from Waltham Abbey and King Harold’s Day ⇐ ) :-

King Harolds Day DSC_0971King Harolds Day DSC_0972In 954 Alfred (the Great) became the first King of All England.  By 6th January 1066 the position was taken up by Harold Goodwinson (Harold II).  On 25th September 1066 Harold Goodwinson defeated the viking forces of Harald Hadrada and Tostig at Stamford Bridge in the north.  Harold was then faced with a forced march of 241 miles to fend of the Norman invader, William (the Conqueror), in the south.  By October 14th the Saxon forces were defeated and Harold killed.  Thus began the Norman era and thence the reign of the Plantagenets and then the Tudors.

The London City Wall

Within the old city walls, William the Conqueror should only be referred to as William.  This is because he did not conquer London but instead gave it a charter.

To see the timeline click-on and then again to magnify.  It surprised me to note that our Magna Carta (in 1215 a limited Bill of Rights) was signed at roughly the same time as Genghis Khan conquered Persia.



Between 1558 and 1603 was the great boom of wealth, culture and global influence of the Elizabethan era.  The effect continued for some time after.


A silk dress for Anne Fanshawe (1625-1680) the daughter of the Lord Mayor of London

Sorry about the glare, I couldn’t find a way around it.


An Eighteenth Century Pleasure Garden

Britain and particularly London continued to advance in wealth and prestige :-






– although not for all:-


– for some there was debtor’s prison.  For others there was stark poverty, starvation, disease with the work house as the only relief in later times. There is the Industrial Revolution and it’s long term impact at the London Science Museum⇐  and Wheels on Fire ⇐ (the struggle for fair play).

The Victorian Walk


This is a fascinating walk into the past, complete with atmospheric background sounds.









The 1920’s boom


A lift at the Savoy Grill






At the mini cinema you can take a seat and watch an old newsreel.

But then there was the 1930’s depression, and then :-.






London and Britain itself were almost destroyed.  It needed the backing (and loss) of Britain’s entire empire, with considerable determination and sacrifice to hold on.  That effort stopped Hitler’s progress and provided a foot-hold for the USA to join us in the liberation of Europe.  If Britain had not been able to provide that foot-hold, the consequences could have been very different

At the end of WWII, Britain was in dire straits.  Rationing continued until 1953, eight years after the wars end. Austerity continued until the early 1960’s


Then things began to pick up.  6D is six old pence (when they were 240 to a UK pound).


Then London began to swing again with a great burst of original art, music and cultural evolution.  Not just in London but all over Britain.  We may not be so bright at the present but:-.


For more of the Past That Made the Present there is Wheels on Fire ⇐, a timeline at the Science Museum ⇐ and the History of Navigation ⇐.

Guildhall in London


The Great Hall

12 pics. London’s Guildhall was built between 1411 and 1440.  It can be found near Bank Underground Rail station, just off Gresham Street. History ⇒.  Right beside Guildhall is the Guildhall Art Gallery ⇐ which includes the remains of a Roman amphitheater.

london guildhall

The entrance is just to the left of this picture and the art gallery to the right (another post). The building is mainly used for social functions but members of the public can view the Great Hall, when not in use. Please see the website ⇒

In the Great Hall their are a number of statues and stone tableaus.  Here are just three.


Sir Winston Churchill



Trafalgar and Nelson



Lord Mayor William Beckton

And, at the far end.


Great Hall Stained Glass

I found a small unlocked side door ( I do love an unlocked side door) and some steps leading upwards.  I found myself in the Old Library.

the-Old Library-at-the-guildhall-in-london

Old Library





There were a number of old paintings and some tapestries.


Joust on London Bridge 1390

Another side door and some steps down ~


Charles I, Edward VI and Elizabeth I

Leading to a a small hall.


It was here I got nabbed by security, who were confused as to how I got into the members area. I agreed with them and was politely escorted out with my badly behaved camera (well, if they will leave old libraries just lying about).

Thank you for the visit and may all your side doors be rabbit holes.

Covent Garden Market, London


The area was first settled in the 7th century, although abandoned by the 9th century it was eventually walled off by Westminster Abbey in 1201 for use as arable land and orchards.  The area was referred to as the “Garden of the Abbey and Convent”, and then later the “Covent Garden”.   By 1654 a small fruit and vegetable market had developed. By 1974 the market had become substantial and moved to New Covent Garden Market near Nine Elms.

More history ⇒.

These days the market houses outlets for arts, crafts, fashion and a number of eateries.  Whilst it can be expensive the entertainment is free.  A large, interesting and not necessarily expensive market can be found at Old Spitalfields Market⇒ which has some speciality days. 

Covent Garden:-.






A little opera (A Capella of course) with ones luncheon.


Or a string quartet.


Or perhaps a little bondage.


Maybe watch someone juggle with sharp stuff.

They do make an effort at Christmas.

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do
If you haven’t got a ha’penny, then God bless you!






The Blackfriars Pub

Blackfriars Pub Embossed Mural DSC_6156

The Blackfriars Public House is where Queen Victoria Street meets the northern approach to Blackfriars Bridge and is very near to Blackfriars underground rail station in central London. 

The bridge has recently been covered with solar panels. This makes it the largest solar power providing bridge in the world. Across the bridge is the South Bank ⇐ with its many attractions.

The Blackfriars region of London gained its name in 1317 from the black capes (capa) used by the brothers (frere) of the priory.  More ⇒.

The public house was built in 1905 on the site of an old Dominican Friary.  More and menus ⇒.

Blackfriars Pub Embossed Mural DSC_6157


Blackfriars Pub Embossed Mural DSC_6159

Don’t Advertise It. Tell A Gossip.  By Henry Poole


Blackfriars Pub Embossed Mural DSC_6161


Blackfriars Pub Stained Glass


Blackfriars Pub

London Transport Museum

London Transport Museum Horse Drawn Coach DSC_4734

The London Transport Museum⇒ is at the eastern corner of Covent Garden.  Entry is a little expensive at £17 (in 2016) for a single adult but there are a variety of concessions, group tickets and under 18’s go free.  The Acton Depot⇒ is much larger but only accessible as part of a tour or on an open day.

Vintage steam engines can be found at the Science Museum⇐ (free entry) and a classic/vintage vehicles race can be seen once a year at Crystal Palace Motorsport⇐.

London Transport Museum DSC_4730


London Transport Museum Model Coach DSC_4742


London Transport Museum Horse Drawn Tran DSC_4736

Horse drawn coaches developed into horse drawn trams (on rails).

London Transport Museum Tram DSC_4785

Then trams powered by electricity from overhead power lines.

London Transport Museum Motorised Omnibus DSC_4769

There were also motorised omnibuses.

London Transport Museum Vintage Motorised Coach DSC_4797

Then underground powered by electricity.  Although there were three oil fired steam locomotives used during construction of the underground.

London Transport Museum Old Waterloo and City Line Interior DSC_4791


London Transport Museum Steam Locomotive DSC_4758

This locomotive was used on an overground line but passed through several small tunnels, hence its minimal height.

London Transport Museum Steam Train DSC_4745


London Transport Museum Train Carriages DSC_4753


London Transport Museum Train Carriage Interior DSC_4751


London Transport Museum Train Carriege Interior DSC_4749

Sprung upholstery. More comfortable than modern day but heavier.

London Transport Museum Underground Train Interior DSC_4754

Some of the underground trains remained like this into the 1960’s and even 1970’s.  It is a testament to how well they were built.

London Transport Museum Routemaster Buses DSC_4795

The Routemaster bus⇐ also lasted well, the basic design being in use from 1956 to 2005.

London Transport Museum Vintage Taxi DSC_4803 copy
As luck would have it, I ran into one of these just outside the museum.

Super Bubbles on London’s South Bank

Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3066

Alien Relaxes Under Duvet

Along London’s South Bank there are a variety of street performers including singers, performance artists and bubbleeers.  Here are some pics of amazing bubbles outside the Tate Modern Art Gallery.  Being outside a modern art gallery, I’ve added a little whimsy.  😀

.Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3054


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3139


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3076


Dog on London's South Bank DSC_3081

A little dog defends the world from bubbles by giving them a good barking at.   Job done, he then had little snooze.

Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3125


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3065

Lifeboat Emerges From Jelly World


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3088


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3089


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3093

Prehistoric Alligator Gives Large Frog a Ride


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3101

Swimmer Leaps Out of Water – Frightened by Prehistoric Alligator


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3107

Jumbo Jet


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3110


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3141


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3113


Bubbles on London's South Bank DSC_3130

Jumbo Jet Makes Emergency Landing on Massive Bubble Bath – Frightens Prehistoric Alligator – Frog’s Had Enough and Goes Home on Bus

Well, might have.  😀

The Tate Modern Gallery

Tate Modern DSC_3011

The Tate Modern (website) occupies a huge building on London’s South Bank amongst a cluster of other venues, including the Globe Theatre.  It’s contents can be classified generally as modern art but does include some items of past political and ideological interest.

I was disappointed at the absence of poster, record cover and street art but there is a breadth of other items and probably something to suit most tastes.  I’ve tried to include a broad mix of items that I like and those that I do not.  Taste is a very personal choice and, I think, not a matter for value judgements (they thought so too and wouldn’t let me take my angle-grinder in  🙂 ).

The venue is free to enter and photography is permitted except in some of the exhibitions.  Further up river is the Tate Britain with a mix of classical paintings and some modern art sculpture.

Tate Modern Winnie Mandela

Tate Modern – Winnie Mandela


Tate Modern Revolutionary Posters


Tate Modern DSC_2993

For a closer view, click on the image and then again to magnify.

Tate Modern DSC_2976

This is half of an installation in progress.  The other half is the same but faces the other way with a platform in between and will be “A live art game for children and adults”.

Tate Modern Salvador Dali Autumnal Canibbalism

Tate Modern – Salvador Dali – Autumnal Canibbalism


Tate Modern Pablo Picasso Weeping Woman

Tate Modern – Pablo Picasso – Weeping Woman


Tate Modern DSC_2969


Tate Modern DSC_2970


Tate Modern Gerhard Richter

Tate Modern – Gerhard Richter

I did find that many of the larger works were better viewed at a distance and hence very effective when seen in the smaller scale of a photograph.

Tate Modern Gerhard Richter

Tate Modern – Gerhard Richter


Tate Modern DSC_3020


Tate Modern DSC_2971


Tate Modern DSC_2982


Tate Modern DSC_2973


Tate Modern Lee Bul Untitled (Cravings White)

Tate Modern – Lee Bul – Untitled (Cravings White)


Tate Modern DSC_2975


Tate Modern DSC_2980

I’ve included this as an example of post-modern existentialist irony.  That is, there is a sign outside the exhibition room that says “NO PHOTOGRAPHY” and me with no angle-grinder.  Some people have no sense of humour.


Southwark Cathedral Interiors, Stained Glass and Legend

21 pics. Southwark Cathedral has some of the finest stained glass that I’ve seen anywhere.  It is free to enter and a non-commercial photographers permit/sticker can be purchased from the shop for £2.50.  The Wiki hiistory is here and the cathedral’s website is here

The site of Southwark Cathedral has been a place of worship for more than a 1000 years and has a curious legend attached to its origins (see below).  It is is very close to London Bridge Station and near to Bankside, The South Bank, The New Globe Theatre, The Tate Modern and many other venues of interest (South Bank Attractions »). 

Beside the cathedral is the Borough food market where one can purchase almost anything from Falafel to Thai food.

For a closer view please click on an image and then again to magnify.

Southwark Cathedral End of Nave and Font

Southwark Cathedral End of Nave and Font

Southwark Cathedral.

Southwark Cathedral Choir and Sanctuary

Southwark Cathedral Choir and Sanctuary


Southwark Cathedral Sanctuary

Southwark Cathedral Sanctuary


Southwark Cathedral Sanctuary 2
Stained Glass

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 1

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 2

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 3

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 4

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 5

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 6

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass 7

Southwark Cathedral Stained Glass Harvard Alumni -

Restored by Harvard Alumni after WWII bomb damage



Southwark Cathedral Chest

Southwark Cathedral Shrine

Southwark Cathedral Edward Stuart Talbot

Southwark Cathedral William Shakespeare
The site of the original Globe Theatre is nearby and William Shakepeare lived in the parish for several years.

Southwark Cathedral Cat.

This is the cathedral’s present owner.  Well, he thinks he is and that he put the cat in cathedral. 🙂 .

“Everybody else is having a lie down so why not me”.  🙂






Southwark Cathedral LegendThe Legend of Mary Ovarie


Not far from the cathedral, on Bankside, there is a replica of Drake’s ship the Golden Hinde. Beside the ship is a stone tablet with the strange legend of Mary Ovarie and the origins of Southwark Cathedral.

You can click on the image to expand and magnify, but some of the writing is a little faded so it is reproduced below.



“Legend suggests that before the construction of London Bridge in the tenth century a ferry existed here. Ferrying passengers across the River Thames was a lucrative trade. John Overs who, with his watermen and apprentices, kept the “traverse ferrie over the Thames”, made such a good living that he was able to acquire a considerable estate on the south bank of the river.

John Overs was a notorious miser and devised a plan to save money. He would feign death believing that his family and servants would fast out of respect and thereby save a day’s provisions. However, when he carried out the plan, the servants were so overjoyed at his death that they began to feast and make merry. In a rage the old man leapt out of bed to the horror of his servants, one of whom picked up a broken oar and “thinking to kill the Devil at the first blow, actually struck out his brains”.

The ferryman’s distressed daughter Mary sent for her lover, who in haste to claim the inheritance fell from his horse and broke his neck. Mary was so overcome by these misfortunes that she devoted her inheritance to founding a convent into which she retreated.

This became the priory of Saint Mary Overie, Mary having been made a saint on account of her charity. During the Reformation the church of St Mary Overie was renamed St Saviour’s Church. In 1905 it became Southwark Cathedral and the collegiate church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie.”

   Well, would you Adam and Eve it.

The Tate Britain Art Gallery

Lady of Shalott close up

20 pics.  The Tate Britain contains a wide range of artwork ranging from the classical to modern. It includes the Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, which was inspired by the poem of Alfred Lord Tennyson (here ⇒) and worth reading.  The Tate Britain’s Website ⇒

I’ve introduced a little enhancement to compensate for the loss of colour/detail over time, but not so much as to lose the sense of age.   More advanced digital restoration of these pictures and a few more from other galleries can be found at In All Their Glory .

There are several works by the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood ⇒ which I particularly like for there vibrancy and detail which requires a patience born of dedication.

Edward Coley Burne-Jones 1 at the Tate Britain

Edward Coley Burne-Jones


Edward Coley Burne-Jones 2 at the Tate Britain

Edward Coley Burne-Jones


The Wedding of St George and Princess Sabra by Rossetti at the Tate Britain

The Wedding of St George and Princess Sabra by Rossetti

And, more historical works.

Elizabeth I by Steven van Herwijckat the Tate Britain

Elizabeth I by Steven van Herwijck

There are more paintings of Elizabeth I, together with their subtle meanings, at Hatfield House.

The Tate includes an entire wing dedicated to Turner. Here are just a few.

Turner Self Portrait at the Tate Britain

Turner Self Portrait


Palestrina - Composition by Turner at the Tate Britain

Palestrina – Composition by Turner


The Decline of the Carthage by Turner at the Tate Britain

The Decline of the Carthage by Turner

And, a good many items of classical appearance.

Tate Britain Sculpture 2


Tate Britain Sculpture 4


George Bernard Shaw Bust at the Tate Britain

George Bernard Shaw


Tate Britain Modern Art Statue“What do you think of all this modern art then”. “Don’t ask me, I prefer heavy-metal, although I suppose Cranach the Elder wasn’t bad”.

Tate Britain Modern Art Sculpture 1

“Some days one wonders if it’s worth getting out of bed”.

Tate Britain Modern Art Sculpture 2

“Ow, my eye”.

Tate Britain Modern Art Sculpture 3

“Last time I take you down the pub”.

Tate Britain Sculpture 1


Tate Britain Galleries


Tate Britain Staircase

And the dark shape just below is ~.

Tate Britain Sculpture 3

Thank you for coming and a drum roll for our next visit.

Wallace Collection Armoury

Wallace Collection Armour Armoured Man on Horseback

14 pics.  Part of the Wallace Collection which also contains many notable works of art.

The armoury is on the ground floor.  I suppose, for the gentry, such items were as much a statement of status as utilitarian. There purpose may not be so admirable to a more enlightened world but the workmanship, its alternate uses and the attendant history are best not forgotten. 

There is more of this past and extraordinary workmanhip at the Tower of London/White Tower.

Henry IV's Parrying Dagger st the Wallace Collection

Henry IV’s Parrying Dagger


Wallace Collection Armour


Wallace Collection Armour Shield


Wallace Collection Armoury Axes


Wallace Collection Armoury Swords 2


Wallace Collection Armoury Swords


Wallace Collection Armoury Daggers 1


Wallace Collection Armoury Daggers 2


Wallace Collection Oriental Armour


Wallace Collection Armoury Ornate Daggers


Wallace Collection Armoury Gun


Wallace Collection Armour Helmet


Wallace Collection Armour Helmets

Wallace Collection Ornaments

First Floor Gallery
Wallace Collection Rock Crystal Vase

18 pics. Some of the artifacts from the Wallace Collection (click here for more pictures and information)To see the detail, please click on an image and then again to magnify.

Wallace Collection Chalice


Wallace Collection Smoky Crystal Tazza Bowl


Wallace Collection Crystal Statuette


Wallace Collection Wood Carving


Wallace Collection Old Man Statuette


Ornate Vase at the Wallace Collection


Cameo Pictures at the Wallace Collection


Wallace Collection Napoleon Bonaparte and Jerome Bonaparte Cameo

Jérôme Bonaparte was Napoleon’s younger brother, who Napoleon made king of the fabricated realm of the Kingdom Westphalia (not quite the same as Westphalia).  It was created as part of ending the 30 years war and a model for the respect of sovereignty. The realm and monarchy lasted for about six years (maybe the clue is in the phonetics) but served its purpose.

Wallace Collection Ornate Cup


Wallace Collection Gold Statuette


Wallace Collection Table Clock


Wallace Collection Orante Gold Bowl


Wallace Collection Ornate Candlestick



“With this little spout, I feel like a small duck”.  “Oh alright, you can have one for Christmas.” 😀


On The Ground Floor Armoury

Wallace Collection Ornate Cup 2


More of the armoury here ⇒

The Wallace Collection

20 pics.  Some of the items from the extraordinary Wallace Collection.  Displayed at Hertford House in the heart of London (see Google maps), the collection was bequeathed to the nation by Lady Wallace in 1897 and is free to enter. As well as the sample items below, the collection also includes an extensive armoury and a number of beautiful gold, silver and glass ornaments.  And, here is the The Wallace Collection Website.

Among the paintings can be found two paintings by Titian, five Rembrandts, nine Rubenses, four Van Dycks, eight Canalettos, nineteen Bouchers, masterpieces by de Hooch, nine Teniers, Frans Hals, nine Murillos, two Velázquez and paintings by Domenichino, Cima, Daddi, Reni, Rosa, Thomas Gainsborough, Joshua Reynolds, Antoine Watteau, Nicholas Lancret, Jan Steen, Aelbert Cuyp and nine Guardis.  More information at the Wiki entry.

To view the amazing craftsmanship in more details, please click on an image and then again to magnify,  Enjoy :-).


The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals at the Wallace Collection

The Laughing Cavalier by Frans Hals.  Famous for his broad hat  😀 .

Rebecca and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert by Leon Cognietat the Wallace Collection

Rebecca and Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert by Léon Cogniet.  A little enhanced to compensate for the fading effect of age

At the siege of the castle of Torquilstone the beautiful Rebecca, daughter of Isaac the Jew, is abducted by the Norman Templar, Sir Brian de Bois-Guilbert (he’s the one with the templar cross on his tunic). Ulrica, an old Saxon woman who had set fire to the castle, exalts in her vengeful fury at the top of the distant tower.

The Witches in Macbeth by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps at the Wallace Collection

The Witches in Macbeth by Alexandre-Gabriel Decamps.





Wallace Collection Fireplace DSC_2649


Wallace Collection Fireplace DSC_2662


Wallace Collection Vase


Wallace Collection Ornate Clock DSC_2668



Wallace Collection Ceramic Ornaments



Wallace Collection Ornate Cupboard DSC_2605


Wallace Collection Ornate Cupboard DSC_2648


Wallace Collection Ornate Desk


Wallace Collection Ornate Wardrobe


Wallace Collection Ornate Cupboard DSC_2693

All Hallows by the Tower AD 675

Toc H Lamp at All Hallows by the TowerAll Hallows by the Tower (AD 675) is the oldest church in London and almost the oldest in the UK. Some of its fascinating history can be found on its website here and its wiki history here. Older churches can be found here and the oldest UK church still functioning is St Martin’s (AD 597) near Canterbury.

The image above is of the Toc H Lamp signifying membership of that international charity which was founded by army chaplain Rev Tubby Clayton as a refuge from the fighting in Belgium during WWI.  The Reverend was later vicar of All Hallows from 1922 to 1962.

Sanctuary at All Hallows by the Tower

First Steps Sculpture by John Robinson at All Hallows by the Tower

First Steps Sculpture by John Robinson

Stained Glass at All Hallows by the Tower

All Hallows is a working church and engages in such enterprises as a food bank.


Cherubs at All Hallows by the Tower

Baptismal Font Cover by Grinling Gibbons in 1682 for £12

Crypt at All Hallows by the Tower

Altar stone from the castle of Richard 1 at Athlit in the Holy Land

Part of the church was destroyed during WWII but there is a spiral staircase that leads down to the oldest part of the church, including a small museum with Saxon arches. At the end of the aisle is this alter with the rock face beyond.

Spire of All Hallows by the Tower

The church is easy enough to find, being a little to the west of the Tower of London and its green spire easily visible at a distance when emerging from Tower Hill underground rail station.

The Natural History Museum London

The Natural History Museum, the very interesting Science Museum and fabulous Victoria & Albert Museum are all close together and very near South Kensington underground rail station.  All are free to enter, although a small donation is usual, and have picnic areas (a wise choice).

The Natural History Museum also contains The Earth’s Treasury and The Vault of precious items. Both are worth seeing.  It is advisable to arrive early at the Natural History Museum to avoid queues and download/save/print the the map.  The website. Here is the architecture and a few of the exhibits. 

The Architecture and Charles Darwin

Exterior Architecture at the Natural History Museum


Lion Statue at the Natural History Museum


Interior Architecture at the Natural History Museum


Charles Darwin Statue at the Natural History Museum

Charles Darwin Statue


The Exhibits

Diplodocus at the Natural History Museum


At the main entrance “Dippy” (diplodocus), sometimes a Blue Whale, welcomes visitors with equal aplomb. Dippy likes walks in the park, sushi and going to the theater. Would like to meet similar, must have good sense of humour.

Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum

At the side entrance one is greeted by a smaller cousin.  And then ~

Elevator into Vulcanic World at the Natural History Museum

The escalator to hell.  It actually leads to a display of information about the earth’s early years and volcanoes.  Included is a mock min-market that shakes to simulate an earthquake.  It wasn’t working when I was there.  How come they always turn off the dangerous stuff whenever I arrive ? It’s a mystery to me.

Human Evolution Skulls at the Natural History Museum

Near the elevator, on the ground floor, you can meet one’s ancestral relatives. The top row is the present and then seven rows of one million years each.  Spot anybody that you know ?.  To read the labels, click on the image and then again to magnify.

Unfortunately the dinosaur gallery was closed during my visit, but there were a few on show.

Animated Dinosaur at the Natural History Museum

This little tyke is animated.  Noticeably breathing and occasionally moving in his/her sleep.

Cynognathus Skull at the Natural History Museum


The Cynognathus was supposedly about the size of a dog.  If that’s true, I wonder if Lord Baskerville knows it’s out.

Megatherium Americanum Extinct Mammal at the Natural History Museum

Megatherium Americanum

Aka, prehistoric stick insect.

Killer Bird and Pseudo-elephant skulls at the Natural History Museum

Killer Bird and Pseudo-elephant

“My mother always said you were a skinflint, look at me when I’m talking to you and when are you going to fix that shelf and stop calling me beaky”.  “Aaaarg”

Shell and Triton's Trumpet at the Natural History Museum

Shell and Triton’s Trumpet


 at the Natural History Museum

Baler Shell

The Baler Shell, so-called because it is very useful for baling out canoes (honest).

Queen Conch at the Natural History Museum

Queen Conch


Faceted Picture Globe at the Natural History Museum

There are loads of stuffed animals.  I picked just one.

Dodo at the Natural History Museum

Dodo Bird

The Dodo bird, it is reported, became extinct because it was not sufficiently afraid of mankind.  There’s a lesson in that somewhere.

Ichthysaurus Fossil at the Natural History Museum

Ichthysaurus Fossil


Goethite at the Natural History Museum


I can take a hint.

The Earth’s Treasury 2 at the Natural History Museum London

More from the Earth’s Treasury at the Natural History Museum London.  There is also Earth’s Treasury 1 and The Vault of precious items.


Fire Opal at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

Red Crystals at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

Yellow Crystals at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

Amethyst Crystals at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

Red Crystal Gem at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

Copal at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London


Shell at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London.

Brown Ore at Earth's Treasury in the Natural Hstory Museum London

And crunchy chocolate cake to finish, I think.

The Vault and the Cursed Amethyst at the Natural History Museum London

The Latrobe Gold Nugget

Latrobe Gold Nugget made of rare crystallized gold.

At the end of the Minerals Hall at London’s Natural History Museum is The Vault which contains a number of precious objects including the Latrobe Gold Nugget, the Medusa Emerald, the Cursed Amethyst and a Martian Meteorite.   19 more pics ↓ .   And, more at the Earth’s Treasury and Earth’s Treasury 2.


The Vault

These are just a few of the rare items in the vault.

Yellow Sapphire and Padparadscha

Sapphires come in various colours and, like ruby, are made of corundum. The orange/pink is a rare colouring of sapphire known as padparadscha.

Imperial Topaz


Rain in Seawater – An Aquamarine variety of Beryl


The Scotch Koh-i-Noor – A Goshenite variety of Beryl

It is a bit of a mystery how it got its name, as it probably came from Brazil.

Sapphire Button


Opal Necklace


The Hope Chrysoberyl

This was once a part of the collection of Henry Philip Hope along with the Hope Diamond.

The Medusa Emerald

The medusa is regarded as one of the world’s finest mineral specimens.

Cut Morganite


Crystal within a Crystal

A pink morganite crystal that grew around a blue aquamarine core.

Amethyst Boulder

It is amazing to think what might be found inside an ordinary looking rock.  🙂


The Cursed Amethyst

The Cursed Amethyst

It is reputed that the Cursed Amethyst was stolen from an Indian temple in 1857 and then passed through several unfortunate hands before being owned by Edward Heron-Allen who bequeathed it to the museum.  Whilst Heron-Allen owned the gem he had it kept in a bank vault within seven locked boxes.  The whole story can be found here.


The Tissant Meteorite from Mars

Tissint Meteorite

Tissint Meteorite

The Tissant Meteorite landed near the village of Tissant in Morocco in 2011, taking 700,000 years to travel from Mars having being ejected by that planet.  Its particular importance derives from the indications that there was once liquid water on Mars.   If there is water, now beneath the surface, then solar-powered electricity can be used to split the H2O into Hydrogen and Oxygen.  The second can be used to support life, and both together as rocket fuel.

On the other hand, we could take more care of our own planet first.  🙂


The Minerals Hall

With thousands of specimens.



Iridescent crystals


Iridescent Stalactites

Iridescent Stalactites




More at the Earth’s Treasury.

Earth’s Treasury at the Natural History Museum London


It would be rather marvelous to think that this opalescent wonder is a moon rock.  Even more marvelous to realise that it came from our own Earth. 

More pics with an ocean in a small opal and still more at the Vault and more at Earth’s Treasury 2 .


Small Blue Opal in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum



This a real monster at around three feet tall, but it lacked a little colour, so a tiny tweak and ~


If that were a drink it would be so delicious.

Opal in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum

Milky Opal in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum



Mineral Slice in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum


Small Colection of Gemstones in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum

Red Gemstone Rings in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum

There are literally hundreds of these.
Colecton of Gemstone Rings in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum

Shell and Coral in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History Museum

Carved Meershaum Pipe in Earth's Treasury at the Natural History MuseumI’m not sure what a carved meerschaum pipe is doing here but I think she would be welcome anywhere.

Such wonders all around,
We need but stop and search the ground,
We need but pause and view the sky,
And cherish time before end is nigh.