A Photographers & Visitors Guide & Timeless Stories


Tower Bridge

North Approach to Tower Bridge

London’s Tower Bridge ⇒  was built and ready for use by 1894.  The centre section still opens to allow tall vessels to pass.  The bridge lift schedule ⇒.

A little history:-

1912 – during an emergency, Frank McClean had to fly between the bascules (lifting sections) and the high-level walkways in his Short biplane, to avoid an accident.

1952 – a London bus driven by Albert Gunter had to leap from one bascule to the other when the bridge began to rise with the number 78 bus still on it.  – Harry Potter would have been proud.

The bridge is next to The Tower of London ⇐ and both are very close to Tower Hill Underground rail station.

Entrance to the bridge interior is from the either the north or south tower.  Entrance from the north tower is easier because it means that one goes down the only section of  stairs.  I do prefer stairs that go downward. 🙂

Do keep your ticket for later entrance to the old engine rooms.

At the base of the north tower there is a lift which leads to a small exhibition/film area.


Then to the two walkways.  Each walkway has a section of glass floor..


One small step for man.


One giant leap ~ these boots need a clean. 

Younger feet seemed to have less apprehension doing this.  Perhaps because when I was young glass was more fragile.


View to the East and Canary Wharf



View to the West including HMS Belfast ⇒



At the top of the South Tower and then down the stairs to the next lift.


Then out of the South Tower.


. . and follow the blue line on the pavement to the old engine rooms.




Coal fired steam was used to drive an hydraulic pressure pump.



Pressure in the system was accumulated under weights.


These are the engines which pumped water under the accumulators.




When there was sufficient accumulated water pressure it was used to power the bascules (central raising section) drive engines.  Since 1974 an electrical driven hydraulic system has been used.  Tours ⇒ of the less accessible interior are available.


Now on the South Bank there is access to HMS Belfast, a number of eateries and the extensive South Bank attractions ⇐ .

Greenwich Royal Observatory


The Greenwich Royal Observatory includes Flamsteed House and the Harrison Timekeepers ⇐.  In the midst is a small garden with this very impressive Dolphin Sun Dial.


The sun-dial is self-adjusting.  As the height of the sun changes with the time of the year, the shadow position changes its height and so indicates a corrected time..


The Greenwich Royal Observatory and Flamsteed House.


Inside the onion dome is the largest refracting telescope in the UK.  First used in 1893, it remains one of the largest refracting telescopes ever built.   Entry is free except the night sky observation evening. For more and to find out about night sky observation evenings please click here ⇒ .


The Planetarium ⇒for which there is a charge.


The Astronomy Center ⇒ is mostly educational and is free to enter.




Astrolabes and Armillary Spheres were used to predict/exhibit planet and moon positions..


Visitors to the Astronomy Center can touch part of the Gibeon Meteorite ⇒. At 4.5 billion years old it is the oldest thing that a mere earthling might touch.


An early spectroscope.  Spectroscopy ⇒.


Outside the Meridian Courtyard ⇐ is a 24 hour electric clock.  The use of roman numerals means that it is actually indicates 2 pm.

And, there is a lot more to see and do at Wonderful Greenwich⇐.

Flamsteed House, The Greenwich Meridian and The Harrison Timekeepers

Statue of General Wolfe, the Great Equatorial Telescope, Flamsteed House and the Time Ball at Maritime Greenwich

All about Wonderful Greenwich and its many attractions is here ⇐.

One of the and most significant and greatest endeavours of human history has been the pursuit of navigational method at sea.  It required the accurate measurement of astronomical observations and the development of a marine chronometer.  The later being particularly difficult. 

The Meridian Courtyard

The Meridian Courtyard is just in front of Flamsteed House, with the The Time Ball ⇒ on top.  Here you can stand on the worlds east/west divide at 0 degrees longitude.  Admission to Royal Observatory, Flamsteed House and the Meridian Courtyard is here ⇒

However you can stand on the meridian for free where the red meridian line crosses an intersection in the paths in the park on the tourist map here ⇒.

The Meridian Line

Greenwich Royal Observatory Meridian Line

There is usually a queue to stand astride the Meridian Line. This where the journey to east or west begins.

Inside Flamsteed House

Flamsteed House Sandglasses

Initially ones position, to the east or west of a starting point, could only be determined by dead-reckoning.  That is, by measuring the distance traveled.  At sea that meant measuring ones speed through the water. It was done by throwing a log overboard attached to a rope.  The rope had knots at fixed intervals and the number of knots that were drawn out were counted for a fixed period of time using a sand glass. It was contrived so that one Knot was equal to one nautical mile per hour.  A term that is still used today.

The dead reckoning method was woefully inadequate for long distances, no use for creating accurate charts and led to many disasters.

A better method required an accurate seagoing timekeeper.  Such a timekeeper could be set to keep the time at a meridian.  Greenwich was adopted and the time as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT).   Wherever the ship was it would have the time at Greenwich.  Therefore if at local noon the GMT timekeeper showed one o’clock the ship must be 1/24 of the way around the world.  If the clock showed two o’clock then the ship must be 2/24 around the world etc and with every second that passed a smaller division.   A fuller explanation and an extensive history of navigation can be found here ⇐.

After many years of effort John Harrison created the first maritime chronometer that would keep accurate time even on board a rolling ship.

Flamsteed House Harrison Timekeeper H1

Harrison Timekeeper H1

The project began with H1 which was not accurate enough.

Flamsteed House Harrison Timekeeper H2

Harrison Timekeeper H2

Neither was H2.

Flamsteed House Harrison Timekeeper H3

Harrison Timekeeper H3

Neither was H3.

Flamsteed House Harrison Timekeeper H4

Harrison Timekeeper H4

In 1759, after near 30 years of effort, Harrison created H4.  This device had the advantage of advances in metallurgy, temperature compensation and the important realisation that a smaller/faster movement would be less effected by a ships movement.

There are more Antique Timepieces at the London Science Museum⇐

And then:-

Flamsteed House Chronometer

Marine Chronometer

Mechanical Marine Chronometers can be as accurate as 5 secs gain or loss in fifteen days.

Flamsteed House Electric Clock

Electric Clock


Flamsteed House Early Quartz Clock

Early Quartz Clock

The first quartz clock was created in 1927 and worked by counting the electrically induced vibration of a piece of quartz.  By 1969 a miniature version could be worn on ones wrist.  Quartz chronometers can be as accurate as 0.7 seconds gain of or loss in 15 days.

Flamsteed House Atomic Clock

Atomic Clock

A cesium (atomic) clock operates by exposing cesium atoms to microwaves until they vibrate at one of their resonant frequencies.  They are accurate to within one second in 1,400,000 years.

The next generation of atomic clocks will keep time to one second in 15 billion years.  At last the perfect boiled egg.

Back to some of the artifacts in Flamsteed House.

Flamsteed House Museum Ornament

Freedom casket (contains the Freedom of London Scroll) presented to Sir George Biddell Airy (1801-92) Astronomer Royal, by the City of London in 1875


Flamsteed House Telescope

A Wooden Telescope

If you would like to know more about the development of navigation and its importance to our evolution it is here ⇐.

And, thank you for visiting Freed From Time (which isn’t as much of an anomaly as it sounds, probably  🙂 ).

Chelsea Physic Garden

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The Chelsea Physic (for healing) Garden ⇒ was established in 1673 and is the second oldest botanic garden in the UK after the Oxford University Botanic Garden ⇒. The garden has approximately 5,000 plants including those with exotic scents. It is a very peaceful and pleasant walled garden hidden away in west London. 

There are some free tours upon entry but there is an entry fee and charges for the workshops, courses and special tours. Please see the website link above.

The easiest approach is by the 170 bus (bound for Roehampton) from Victoria Station to Chelsea Physic Garden. On alighting, just outside the gardens educational center, walk back a short way along the bus route to Swan Walk and the main entrance is little way down that road.  Map of the Garden ⇐.

The garden is next to the the Royal Hospital Chelsea ⇒ (home of the Chelsea Pensioners).

Chelsea Physic Gardens Views and Flowers

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In the Greenhouses

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Pelargonium Rosa


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Pelargonium Milfield Gem


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Pelargonium Bute


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Pelargonium Copthorne


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Around the Gardens and Outdoor Flowers

Chelsea Physic Garden Statue of Sir Hans Sloane

Statue of Sir Hans Sloane

Sir Hans Sloane ⇒

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Chelsea Physic Garden Flowers Helienthus Annuus Ring of Fire Sunflower

Helienthus Annuus – Ring of Fire Sunflower


Chelsea Physic Garden Flowers Sweet Pea

Sweet Pea


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Farmopolis ⇒ is an ambitious project very near to the O2 arena on the Greenwich Peninsula.  At present only a very small part has been built and is still a work in progress.  It consists of a small café/restaurant with some indoor and outdoor seating and surrounded by plants rescued from the Chelsea Flower Show.  These plantings should be complete by the end of August 2016. 

Like many such venues I found the food and drink rather pricey and pretentious, but there are plenty of places nearby where a picnic can be enjoyed. There are events ⇒ at the site and the flowers are worth seeing.

Below is a view from the United Emirates Cable Car ⇐.

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London Water and Steam Museum, Express Tavern and Kew

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London Water and Steam Museum Garden

14 pics. Cities could not grow beyond a few tens of thousands and civilisation could not flourish without a plentiful supply of  clean water. Otherwise epidemics of water-borne diseases such as cholera and typhoid would devastate the population.  The development of filtration and pumping by steam engine was vital to progress.

The London Water and Steam Museum ⇒ (there is an entrance fee) explains the advances in water cleanliness and houses a number of steam-driven pumps, including some truly massive devices.  On designated days some of the engines can be seen working. 

The other essential was the disposal of waste and an ornate example of this can be found in east London at the renovated Crossness Pumping Station ⇐

To get to the Water and Steam Museum: On Leaving Kew Bridge station, turn right, pass the very pleasant Express Tavern ⇒, and turn into Green Dragon Lane.  The tall chimney is an easy landmark.

Alternatively Kew Gardens ⇐ which includes Kew Palace is just over the nearby bridge..

There is more about our use of steam and the role of fossil fuels at the Science Museum ⇐.


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The above Boulton and Watt 64 inch (piston/cylinder diameter of 64 inches) has a beam weighing 15 tons and delivered 2.5 million gallons of water per day and was last used in 1944.

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This is the 90 inch Cornish engine with a beam weighing 32 tons and delivered 6.4 million gallons of water per day.  It was last used in 1943.  The steam cylinder is the massive dark object at the far end.  The nearer cylinder is the water pump.

London Water and Steam Museum 100 inch Steam Engine

This monster is the 100 inch Cornish engine. The 100 inch (8 foot and 4 inches wide) steam cylinder is the dark object the distance.  The beam weighs a staggering 54 tons and it once delivered 7.5 million gallons of water per day.  Built in 1869 it remained in service until 1958.

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More :-

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The above is the Waddon steam pumping engine.  It was the last steam driven water pump used in the UK and remained in service until 1983.

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London Water and Steam Museum Triple expansion Engine

Above is a triple expansion engine.  Designed to be more efficient as most of the steam pressure is used by passing the output of one cylinder to the next.

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On designated days (website ⇒) a small steam locomotive provides rides, although the track is very short.

Express Tavern at Kew

On the way back is the Express Tavern ⇒ which has a very pleasant menu and a broad range of beers.  Across the nearby bridge is Kew Gardens ⇐.

St Dunstans in the East

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Along Great Tower Street, west of the Tower of London ⇐, past All Hallows by the Tower (AD 675)⇐, there is St Dunstans Hill and the church garden. The church was Originally built around 1100 AD, destroyed by the Great Fire of London (AD 1666) ⇒, rebuilt and then severely damaged during WWII. The garden is now a quiet oasis in a busy part of London. 

More ⇒ and more (wiki) ⇒.

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The Blackfriars Pub

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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 ⇒.

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


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Blackfriars Pub Stained Glass


Blackfriars Pub

Ham House and the Oak Tree with an Eye

Ham House Oak Tree with Eye

If you got redirected by Google Images, Kew Place is here ⇐

19 pics.  I didn’t notice the eye (right in the middle) whilst I was taking the photograph at the back of Ham House.  It hasn’t been meddled with and probably has a rational explanation. There is probably a rational response like aaaargh.

The Ham House website ⇒ and about haunted Ham House ⇒.

You can get to Ham House using the 371 bus to Sandy Lane from near Richmond rail station or via York Gardens ⇐ (please check the post for bus and ferry travel) and then visit Ham House and return to Richmond rail using the 371 from Sandy Lane.

Ham House

Ham House


Ham House Charlotte Countess of Dysart by Joshua Reynolds 1775

Charlotte Countess of Dysart by Joshua Reynolds 1775


Ham House Main Hall


Ham House Table


Ham House Stairs


Ham House Ceiling


Ham House Long Hall


Ham House Side Room


Ham House Bedroom


Ham House Ornate Room


Ham House Painting of Sea Battle


Ham House, Tollemache Earl of Dysart

Tollemache Earl of Dysart


Ham House, Celar Bathroom

The above is a bath. It has a stool inside to sit on and get bathed.

Ham House, Cellar Kitchen


Ham House Garden


Ham House Cafe Garden

Cafe Garden


Ham House Dairy

Whimsical Dairy

The peeping Oak tree is just outside the dairy.

Ham House, Sir Lionel Tollemache

Sir Lionel Tollemache

The 4th Baronet, Sir Lyonel Tollemache, who kindly gave Ham House to the National Trust in 1948.

York House Gardens and Riverside

21 pics with more statues. York House Gardens are on Sion Road (in Twickenham) off Richmond Road on the H22 bus route passing right outside Richmond rail station (sss-simple).  For essential works, the gardens will be closed from 6 pm on 17th to 23rd July 2016 and from 1 pm on 23rd July 2016.

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Near the entrance is this lawn overlooked by York House (not open to the public).  Along the other side of that wall is a path that leads to:-

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… what looks like a perfect lawn but is really a pond covered in algae.

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Turning back to the end of the first lawn, there is a bridge.

York House Gardens Bridge

Over the bridge is a lawn and small pond.

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Turning right there is:-.

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Florence and the gang.  The players (perhaps you would like to give them names) are:-

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York House Gardens Squirrel

The director is taking a little time out for domestic chores. 

“Salad or bedding, bedding or salad ?  Both ! yay. 🙂

Thames River at Twickenham

Facing the tableau and turning left one comes to the upper reaches of the Thames looking down river.  On the right is Eel Pie Island which is inhabited by artists.   There are cruises along this stretch of the river, passing the other side of the island, going to Hampton Court from Westminster or Richmond (the second is recommended), more here ⇐.

Continuing along the path in this direction comes to a dead-end but the other way comes to:-

Champions Wharf at Twicknham

… Champions Wharf.  Turning right and then right again, one is on Riverside and passes:-

Dial House, Riverside, Twickenham

… Dial House.

Bridge over Riverside, Twickenham

Then, under the same bridge one passed over in York gardens. Caution: This is a no-through road, but residents have use of it so there is occasional traffic.

Riverside, Twickenham

There is all-day lighting and, in the distance, is the White Swan Pub.

The White Swan Pub, Riverside, Twickenham

This is from just passed the White Swan with a beer garden to the left which is just on the river and occasionally gets a little covering of water.  The pub is very popular so, if you would like a table/meal, it is good idea to book.  For more about the White Swan and booking please click here ⇒.

Orleans House, Riverside, Twickenham

Further along Riverside is the Orleans House Gallery.  One can photograph inside but not when its closed which includes Mondays, which is when I was there.  More information is here ⇒.

Continuing along Riverside to its end one could turn left and then right along a pathway to Marble Hill House, which is open for guided tours at weekends in the summer but I don’t have any information about photographing it.  There is more information here ⇒.

Alternatively, one could turn right at the end of Riverside and take the Hammertons Ferry ⇒ (spring to autumn) across to Ham House ⇐ .

Hammertons Ferry, Twickenahm

The ferry on its way back, with a very young pilot.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood: Ancient and Modern and Clangers

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22 pics.  These Chinese Rock Gardens were gifts from the Chia Ch’ing Emperor of China (1796-1820) to the French Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon Bonaparte.  It is said that the ship carrying these gifts was captured by an English warship.  The English offer to return the rock gardens to the French, after the 1802 Treaty of Amiens, was declined.

It is recorded that gardens arrived at the East India Company’s Museum in 1809 and passed to the South Kensington Museum (now the Victoria and Albert Museum) in 1880 and now displayed at the V & A Museum of Childhood.

They are in remarkably good condition and worth looking at the detail (click on the image and then again to magnify).

For more about the Museum and pictures of the more vintage toys, dolls houses and other items, please click here ⇐. For their website, events and services please click here ⇒.

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Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Chinese Doll


Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Chinese Dolls


Dolls and Soft Toys

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Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Sailor Bear


Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Paddington Bear

Paddington Bear


Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood The Snowman, Dogtanian, Sooty, Sweep and Soo

The Snowman, Dogtanian, Sooty, Sweep and Soo


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Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Bagpus

And, the singing mice.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Bagpus Mice

The mice liked to sing so much that they would not work otherwise, not nohow.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Bagpus Mouse

They also like to play tricks on Professor Yaffle.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Bagpus Professor Yaffle

Professor Yaffle


The Pogles

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Pogles


Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Pogles Witch



Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood The Clangers

The Clangers live on their own small planet, communicate in mellifluous whistles and eat blue string pudding.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Clangers and Soup Dragon

Soup Dragon, Clangers and Froglets

They also like soup from the soup wells tended by the friendly Soup Dragon.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Small Clanger and Tiny Clanger

Small Clanger and Tiny Clanger

There are many characters in the Clangers, these are just a few.

A fuller understanding of British consanguineous eccentricity (i.e. as mad as knitting fog) might be obtained from taking a look at Bagpus, Clangers, Portland Bill, Dangermouse, Magic Roundabout (original version) and Shaun the Sheep (especially) on YouTube .

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Bunting form Lost in the Toy Museum

So, it’s goodnight from him, 

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Robot

..and it’s goodnight from ‘im.

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood – Vintage toys

24 pics. The V & A Toy Museum is in Bethnal Green just a little north of Bethnal Green Underground station on Cambridge Heath Road. There are numerous events and workshops for children including schools groups.  It is worth seeing their website ⇒.

The museum is free to enter and photography is allowed but difficult due the lighting and reflections from the glass cases.  Nevertheless it is worth a visit, especially since their stock keeps being replenished from a large archive.

There is a second post with Chinese Rock Gardens, more toys and favourites from television here ⇐. 🙂

The V & A Museum of design in South Kensington is even larger and can be found here ⇐.

Dolls Houses

This just a sample.

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V & A Museum of Childhood Toy House

V & A Museum of Childhood Dolls


Toy Cooker and Tea Sets

V & A Museum of Childhood Toy Oven

Victoria and Albert Museum of Childhood Toy Tea Set

Toy Theatres

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V & A Toy Museum Punch and Judy

Mechanical Puppet

V & A Toy Museum Mechancal Puppet

Johnny the Dunce is an early clockwork toy (circa 1850) with music and a swinging leg.

Vintage Models

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V & A Toy Museum Toy Car

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Steam Locomotives

The first two of these models have small spirit burners underneath which raise steam and result in locomotion.  A good way to set your carpet on fire.

There are more model steam engines/locomotives here ⇐.

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V & A Toy Museum Toy Stevensons Rocket

Rocking Horse

V & A Toy Museum Rocking Horse

Teddy Bears

V & A Toy Museum Teddy Bears


V & A Toy Museum Painting of Boy in Top Hat

“We used to make our own amusement in the old days”.

London Transport Museum

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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⇐.

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

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Then trams powered by electricity from overhead power lines.

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There were also motorised omnibuses.

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

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

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Sprung upholstery. More comfortable than modern day but heavier.

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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.

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

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As luck would have it, I ran into one of these just outside the museum.

Crystal Palace Park and Dinosaurs

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While strolling through the park one day, in the merry merry month of May (at the southern end),
I was taken by surprise, by a pair of roguish eyes,
I was scared but I didn’t run away,

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Crystal Palace Park Dinosaurs


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“Me too”.

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El Magnifico.

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El Sticko. 

“I keep throwing the stick but El Thicko keeps bringing it back.  I hope it doesn’t start a trend”.

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“Did somebody say stick”.

Crystal Palace Park Moose


Crystal Palace Park Squirrel

“My tongue’s thwollen”.  More squirrels here⇐.

Crystal Palace Park Coot Chicks

Coot Chicks more here ⇐.

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This is all at the southern end of Crystal Palace Park.

Crystal Palace Park Heron


Crystal Palace Park Heron and Fish

“Bosch, got it”.

“Come here, me little Jacky, now aw’ve smoked mi backy
Have a bit o’ cracky, till the boat comes in

Dance ti’ th’ daddy, sing ti’ th’ mammy, dance ti’ th’ daddy, my little man

You shall have a fishy on a little dishy
You shall have a fishy when the boat gets in.”

Crystal Palace Park Guy the Gorrilla

Near the café at the southern (lowest) end of the park.

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This is from the northern (highest) end of the park.

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Crystal Palace Park Terrace

The upper terraces were once the site of the Crystal Palace.  Crystal (Glass) Palace was originally sited in Hyde Park and housed the Great Exhibition⇒ from 1851 to 1854 then the whole thing was moved to Penge and the Park created.  The structure was burned down in 1936 but the park remains and, once a year, is used for a race of classic/vintage cars⇐.

Crystal Palace Park Sphinx

On the upper terraces can be found four of these (two at each end).  Currently being refurbished they are actually caged to prevent further attacks upon tourists.  😀

If visiting the park it makes more sense to start at the northern (high) end at or the mid area (right next to Crystal Palace station), walk down hill (for the dinosaurs and ponds) and then escape by using Penge West rail station. And, I hope you enjoy your days out.

Burgh House and Hampstead Museum Interior

Hampstead Museum A Child of Africa by Christine Gregory

Hampstead Museum A Child of Africa by Christine Gregory

Burgh House contains the Hampstead Museum⇒ which, although small, is quite pleasant and useful to those with an interest in the locality and its history.  The house also provides an indoor/outdoor café (The Buttery) with some well kept flora⇐, is very near to Fenton House⇐ and not far from Hampstead Heath and Kenwood House⇐.

The Artwork

Hampstead Museum Peggy Jay Gallery

Hampstead Museum Peggy Jay Gallery


Hampstead Museum George Charlton Portrait

Hampstead Museum George Charlton Portrait


Burgh House Hampstead Museum George Charlton Figures


Burgh House Hampstead Museum Painting


Hampstead Museum Viaduct on Hampstead Heath by Rea Stavropoulos

Hampstead Museum Viaduct on Hampstead Heath by Rea Stavropoulos


The History

A sample of Hampstead history exhibits, spanning from the Mesolithic period to the present day. The exhibits include items from WWII.

Hampstead Museum Flint Artifacts

Hampstead Museum Flint Artifacts


Burgh House Hampstead Museum Mesolithinc People


Burgh House Hampstead Museum Beginnings


Burgh House Hampstead Museum 19th Century


Hampstead Museum Mayor's Chair

Hampstead Museum Mayor’s Chair


New River and Woodberry Wetlands

New River Squirrel

“Well hello, welcome to the New River Walk and the recently opened Woodberry Wetland Nature Reserve”. 

The river was new in 1613 when it was created to provide London with a water supply.  Now it is part of the Capital Ring Walk⇒ and this is just one section.   This Google map⇒ (collapse the left panel) will help and shows probably the best approach being from Manor House underground rail station through or alongside Finsbury Park to the river”.

There isn’t a lot of wildlife but it is a quite a pleasant walk and does have the occasional comedian.

New River Mallards

Mallard Ducks

“Well I’ve got the pipe now what about the slippers”.

New River Wood Pigeon

Wood Pigeon

“I find it best to look the other way”.

Woodberry Wetlands East Reservoir

Eventually the river curves around (see map) to Newnton Close where one can choose to take the south path (on the left) beside the East Reservoir or continue on the north side of the river (on the right) . On the far side is a very pleasant indoor/outdoor café

You are now in the Woodberry Wetlands Nature Reserve⇒.  The reserve was opened by Sir David Attenborough on 30th April 2016.  A the time of writing (early May 2016) I did not see a lot of wildlife but it is early days yet and the habitat looks promising.

If you choose the river walk then, just beside the path at the far right corner, you will find Mr Toad (and Mole).

Toad Sculpture outside Nature View Apartments at Woodberry Wetlands

And, on the reservoir ⇓ a few clients are starting to appear.

Woodberry Wetlands Coot

“A bijou residence with lakeside views !  Those estate agents, really”.

Woodberry Wetlands Canada Goose on Water

Canada Goose

“New York or bust”.

Woodberry Wetlands Canada Goose

“Four score and seven years ago ~ “.

Woodberry Wetlands Heron Sculpture.

At the far end of the East Reservoir there is a quite substantial café beside this carving.  Across the road can be seen the West Reservoir.  At the West Reservoir’s approach there are the Riverside Gardens and the broad steps are a good place for a picnic.

Riverside Gardens Fountain and Sphere

Riverside Gardens


Riverside Gardens Fountain


Riverside Gardens Fountain Orbs


Woodberry Wetlands West Reservoir

Opposite the water feature is the West reservoir and at the far end are the water sports⇒ and indoor climbing⇒ centres.

London's New River 2

Continuing along the river path, one eventually comes onto Green Lanes beside the sports centre.  Turning left, it is only a short walk (see the Google map) to wonderful Clissold Park⇐ with its wildlife, animal enclosures and numerous facilities.

A little afterthought ~
Coloured Riverside Gardens Water Feature Spheres

St Mary’s Church in Stoke Newington

A view of the stunning St Mary’s Church⇒, designed by George Gilbert Scott, as seen from just inside Clissold Park⇐ at the eastern end. The church dates from 1858 and was built when the “Old” church (further down this page) was no longer adequate.   Inside the “New” church ⇓.

St Mary's Church Stoke Newington Interior


St Mary's Church Stoke Newington Altar


St Mary's Church Stoke Newington Stained Glass


St Mary's Church Stoke Newington Stained Glass 2


St Mary's Church Stoke Newington Font


St Mary's Church Stoke Newington

And, from the street ⇑.  Just to the left, on the nearer side of the street, is the old church ⇓.

St Mary's Old Church Stoke Newington

The old church site dates back to the early 14th century but was rebuilt during the 16th century.  This makes it the oldest Elizabethan church still in use in London.  It is also a venue for community events, artwork, music and for hire.  The website is here⇐.

Thanks for the visit and perhaps you would like the Clissold Park Goslings⇐.

Clissold Park, Deer, Goats and Ducks

Clissold Park

Clissold Park is one of the most pleasant places I have been fortunate enough to visit.  It has lakes with numerous waterfowl, a goat enclosure, a deer enclosure, a small butterfly house (sometimes), a paddling pool (sometimes), a playground, a skate park, a small aviary, tennis courts and an indoor/outdoor café.  Please click here⇐ for more information and an expandable park map.

The above view is from near the Green Lanes entrance.  Probably the easiest means of travel is to Manor House underground rail station then a bus 141 or 341 (from Stop C beside the shops opposite the Park View Cafe) traveling south and alight at the second stop after passing the large brick-built synagogue with two towers.

Clissold Park Fountain

Just to the left of the entrance is the first lake (the other is a little further along) where, of course, will be found some of these ⇓.

Clissold Park White Ducks

White Ducks

Clissold Park Canada Goose Goslings.DSC_3620For more Clissold Park wildfowl including Canada Geese Goslings please click here ⇐.






Clissold Park Egyptian Goose Gosling DSC_3928And, for still more with Egyptian Geese Goslings, Mallard Ducklings and Coot Chicks please click here ⇐.







And, there are some ducks here ⇓ followed by some four legged critters and the café with its Wisteria. 🙂

Clissold Park Tufted Duck DSC_3874

Tufted Duck


Clissold Park Tufted Duck DSC_4024

Another Tufted Duck

Which James Bond film does he ⇑ remind you of ?

Clissold Park Redhead Duck DSC_3919

Redhead Duck

” I may appear to be a little wooden but the girls are more relaxed” ⇓.

Clissold Park Female Redhead Duck DSC_4040

Female Redhead Duck

“Oh what bliss, four or five hours to put my feet up while his nibs does posing”

Clissold Park Redhead Duck DSC_3561-A

“Oh well, I suppose I could take a break.  Somebody peel me a grape”.

Further towards the church steeple and a little to the right are the enclosures..

Clissold Park Goat

“Did somebody mention nibbles”.

Clissold Park Wisteria Unknown Flower

There is small geodetic dome for a butterfly house but it was not open when I was there.  There is also a small aviary but it was not possible to photograph through the complex mesh.  So I photographed a flower instead and then on to the deer.

Clissold Park Deer

Fallow Deer


Clissold Park Fallow Deer

You cannot enter these enclosure and these photographs were taken with a zoom lens. Nevertheless, it is an opportunity to safely see these animals and without having to travel far out of London. 

There are more deer at Bushy Park ⇐, Richmond Park and Hampton Court Old Deer Park. In those places it is possible to roam more freely (with care) although the deer can be difficult to locate in such large expanses.  The easiest to find are at Hampton Court Old Deer Park where the deer are either in the open field or somewhere beneath the single line of trees.

Clissold Park and St Mary's Church

A little further on is a view of St Mary’s Church (Stoke Newington).  The small footbridge crosses a short section of what remains of New River, which was new in 1613.  More of that later.

Moving to the left and going around, there is ⇓.

Clissold Park Cafe and St Mary's Church

The Clissold House café with its nearby hedge of Wisteria. At the bottom right can be seen a little of the old New River.

Clissold Park Female Mallard

Female Mallard

Which also has the occasional duck.

Clissold Park Wisteria

The Wisteria hedge


Clissold Park Wisteria Close Up

Wisteria Close Up


Clissold Park Wisteria at Cafe

On the other side of the Wisteria hedge is another area of the café.  Such places can be a little expensive, so a picnic is always worth considering.

Clissold Park Cafe

So as we leave the park, the church is at our backs and will be in another post.  Not far off is the Rose and Crown with menus⇒ where the prices are not too unreasonable for a meal and you can get a Sunday Roast up to eight or nine in the evening (probably a good idea to book ahead).

I hope you enjoyed the tour. Next is the nearby St Mary’s Church⇐ and then the slightly more rugged Woodberry Wetlands and New River walk⇐.

Clissold Park Goslings, Ducklings and Coot Chicks

“My name is Pond, James Pond, and ~”.         –   More here ⇓ and  Here⇐.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose and Goslings DSC_3877

Egyptian Geese and Goslings

“Here we come, walkin’ down the street, we get the funniest looks from, ev’ry one we meet.
Hey, hey, we’re the Goslings, and people say we paddle around.
But we’re too busy singing, to put anybody down”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose Gosling

“Whisper, whisper”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose Gosling DSC_3929

“You’re kidding”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose Gosling DSC_3928

“Oh my gosh, he’s right”.  “One small step for man, one giant leap for a little gosling”.

Egyptian Goose Gosling dsc_39321

“Oh look, I’ve got two of them”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose

“See what I have to put up with”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose and Goslings DSC_3962

“Where’s that bus.  Looks like we’ll have to swim for it”

Clissold Park DSC_3964

“I get around, get around round round, I get around,
I’m gettin’ bugged driving up and down this same old strip, I gotta finda new place where the kids are hip,
My buddies and me are getting real well known, yeah, the bad guys know us and they leave us alone,
I get around, get around round round, I get around”.

Clissold Park Egyptian Goose and Goslings DSC_3976

“We are sailing, we are sailing, home again ‘cross the sea.
We are sailing stormy waters, to be near you, to be free”.


Clissold Park Coot and Chicks DSC_4042

Coot and Chicks

Many people think that the expression “bald as a coot” refers to the white featherless shield on the adult coots forehead.

Clissold Park Coot Chick DSC_4042A

There might be another explanation.

Clissold Park Coot Chick DSC_4050

“I saw a mouse, where, there on the stair, where on the stair, right there,
A little mouse with clogs on, well I declare, going clip clippity clop on the stair”.


Clissold Park Mallard Duck DSC_4023

Mallard Duck

“Just call me Slick”.

Clissold Park Female Mallard and Ducklings DSC_4033

Female Mallard and Ducklings


Clissold Park Mallard Duckling DSC_4017

Mallard Duckling

“Oh soup.  The world is made of soup.  Oh frabjous day”.  🙂

Clissold Park Mallard Duckling DSC_4014“They call me Baby Driver, and once upon a pair of wheels,
Hit the road and I’m gone ah, what’s my number,
I wonder how your engine feels, ba ba ba ba”.


Clissold Park Moorhen DSC_3907


“This is the river police.  We know you’re here somewhere. Stop all that singing and come out with your wings up”. 🙂


More about Clissold Park and more goslings and ducks here⇐.

Clissold Park Geese, Ducks and Swan

Clissold Park Canada Goose and Goslings

Canada Goose and Goslings

“Announcing the Goslette triblings”.     –   More here ⇓ and  Here⇐.

“Oh dad”.  “Honestly, he’s so embarrassing”.

Clissold Park Canada Goose Goslings.DSC_3620

“Where’s Agnes”.

Clissold Park Canada Goose Gosling.DSC_3628

“I’m off”.

Clissold Park Canada Goose and Goslings DSC_3643


Clissold Park Canada Goose and Goslings DSC_3667

“I say, lets all go see the fountain.”.

Clissold Park Lake

Clissold park also has a Fallow Deer enclosure, goats, an aviary and is quite close to the new wetlands nature reserve at Woodberry.  More of these things later. In the meantime:-

White Duck Family DSC_3589

White Duck Family

Charlie is the original “odd duck”.

Clissold Park White Ducks DSC_3590

He leads his aquatic family from the bank side, quacking all the way.

Clissold Park White Ducks DSC_3578


Clissold Park White Ducks DSC_3596

It looks and sounds very much like a trainer calling instructions to a rowing crew

Clissold Park White Ducks DSC_3601

“Don’t do that when I’m talking to you”. “Really, no manners whatsonever”.

Clissold Park White Ducks DSC_3603

And, off they go again.

Clissold Park Female Tufted Duck DSC_3572

Female Tufted Duck

“Quackers”.  Well one can’t have a post about ducks without it.

Clissold Park Redhead Duck DSC_3562

Redhead Duck

“One should be more sedate”.

Clissold Park Redhead Duck DSC_3563

“And keep up appearances”.

Clissold Park Redhead Duck DSC_3561

“Oh the stress”.

Clissold Park Swan

“Stress ! You should see my bill for neck maintenance”.

Clissold Park Pigeon

“On the other hand”

“I’m sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Watchin’ the tide roll away, ooh
I’m just sittin’ on the dock of the bay
Wastin’ time

doop doo doo, dup be doob be doo doo”.

More about Clissold Park and more goslings and ducks here⇐.

Burgh House and Hampstead Flora

Burgh House Flower 2

Burgh House provides space for the small Hampstead Museum⇐ and a pleasant indoor/outdoor tea-room (The Buttery).  It is close to the charming Fenton House⇐, not far from Kenwood House⇐ and the outdoor seating area has some nicely kept flora.

Burgh House Blossom


Burgh House Bluebells


Burgh House Flower 3


Burgh House Flower DSC_3457


Burgh House OrchidOrchid

The above orchid is from inside Burgh House and the flora below is from picturesque Hampstead.

Hampstead Bluebells


Hampstead Flower DSC_3471


Hampstead Garden

Hampstead Street

Fenton House, Porcelain, Instruments, Views, Hampstead

20 pics. Fenton House is not spectacular but it is very charming with a large collection of porcelain (including Meissen) together with several musical instruments and paintings.  Its website is here (it isn’t open every day and there is a charge but there are occasional concerts) and some of its history here.

The above view of the gardens is from the third floor balcony and in the distance can be seen The Admirals House (where the origins of Mary Poppins was written) which has its own history here.

One can photograph everywhere except the harpsichord in the dining room (it belongs to the Queen) and the large framed pictures on the third floor.

Unfortunately there is no café but there several places for refreshment near the corner of Mount Square and Heath Street and along New End there is The Duke of Hamilton and The Buttery of Burgh House (they are all on Google Maps).

Not far away, just to the north of Hampstead Heath, is Kenwood House which is free to enter.

Fenton House Meissen PorcelainThe Meissen.

Fenton House Meissen Figures 1.

Fenton House Meissen Figures 2.

View Across London From Fenton HouseAnother view from the third floor balcony showing the Shard of Glass in the distance.

Fenton House Porcelian DSC_3323.

Fenton House Porcelaiin DSC_3321.

Fenton House Glassware.

Fenton House Bedroom.

Lady Binning Photograph at Fenton House.

Fenton House Dragon.

Fenton House Lute.

Fenton House Musical Insrument.

Fenton House Musical Instruments.

Fenton House DSC_3341.

Fenton House Harp.

Fenton House Porcelain Ornaments.

Fenton House Vase DSC_3290.

Fenton House DSC_3338.

Fenton House Painting

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park, Fox and Flowers

Fox in Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park

Tower Hamlets Cemetery was opened in 1841 and its last use was in 1966.  It is now a lightly managed woodland, a nature reserve and has an ecology center.  It is the only woodland for miles and comes complete with many cheeping birds, squirrels and the occasional fox.  About Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park ⇒.

The park is located just south of Mile End underground station (on exiting the station turn right then second right onto Southern Grove and the park gates further down on the left).

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park DSC_3267


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park DSC_3230


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park DSC_3243


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park DSC_3252


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park DSC_3255


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Flowers DSC_3237

The above are artificial (fooled me).

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Flowers DSC_3193

These are just outside the southern railings.

Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Flowers DSC_3203


Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park Flowers DSC_3206

More from Tower Hamlets Cemetery Park in spring with squirrels ⇐.

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.