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A Walk along the Regent’s Canal in London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Although the River Thames dominates the centre of London, there are other waterways that offer plenty of interest to visitors to London. The Regent’s Canal in the north of London takes walkers into London’s industrial past, past the famous Camden market, through Regent’s Park, past London Zoo and ends with a colourful collection of narrowboats at Little Venice.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Regent’s Canal links the Paddington Arm of the Grand Union Canal in the west, to the Limehouse Basin in the east. This section is around 13.8 kilometres (8.6 miles) long. However it is the section from King’s Cross to Paddington that is the most popular with walkers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Regent’s Canal was designed by famous Regency architect John Nash who named the canal after his main patron, the Prince Regent, son of King George III who later become George IV. The canal was opened in 1820 and from the the mid 19th century, the canal had become busy and profitable. It was especially important for bringing timber, building materials and coal to King’s Cross Station from the industrial north. A new retail park behind King’s Cross Station called Coal Drops Yard uses some of the old storage warehouses. The canal as a working highway declined in the late 20th century and is mainly used now for leisure cruising and the tow path is used extensively by walkers and cyclists.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Many walks start from behind King’s Cross Station near to the Camley Street Natural Park where the towpath goes to Battlebridge Basin, home of the London Canal Museum.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Gradually you come across to the vibrant Camden Lock, Camden markets are world famous and one of London’s major attractions. It is great place to take a break and enjoy the wonderful selection of street food.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After the delights of Camden comes the more peaceful Cumberland Basin, with its moored boats and quick succession of low road and rail bridges.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

From the scenic, we go exotic with a number of wild animals on the other bank inside London Zoo, high above the towpath is a huge aviary designed by Lord Snowdon.

Look out for ‘Blow Up Bridge’, a boat full of gunpowder exploded here in 1874 demolished the bridge and the bridge had to be rebuilt.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A more peaceful section take you around Regent’s Park, a number of white mansions line the canal with large gardens running down to the water.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The relative quiet of Regent’s Park is replaced by the more busy Warwick Avenue with plenty of moored boats before finishing at the pool of Little Venice which is a picturesque open space lined with boats and surrounded by Regency houses. Boat trips run from here, there is a boat café and even a Puppet Barge theatre.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

If you are looking for something different away from the usual tourist trails, a walk along Regent’s Canal offers a great deal of variety in a walk through the north of London.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

A Short Guide to Marylebone Station in London

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Marylebone station is one of the smaller Central London railway terminus and is connected to the Marylebone Underground tube station. The station is known on the National Rail network as London Marylebone and is the southern terminus of the Chiltern Main Line to Birmingham.

The station opened in 1899 as the London terminus of the Great Central Main Line which linked the capital to the cities of Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester. The Great Central Railway also linked London to stations in High Wycombe and Aylesbury. Rugby, Leicester, Nottingham, Sheffield and Manchester.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The station was designed by Henry William Braddock and was on a more modest scale than many other London stations. However Braddock did try to develop a style that fitted into the local residential surroundings.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The original plan was for eight platforms, but only four were built, three inside the train shed and one to its west. The cost of the line extension meant plans to build a Great Central Hotel nearby had to handed over to a different. The hotel when it was built had limited success and was converted to offices in 1945, it become the headquarters of British Rail from 1948 to 1986. Strangely the building has gone full circle and was restored as a hotel in 1993.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Marylebone Station has never attracted the large number of passengers like other main London stations but in the early 20th century the line was heavily used for freight. In 1923, GCR was absorbed into the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER) and in 1948, LNER was nationalised to form the British Rail Eastern Region. Many prestigious locomotives, such as Flying Scotsman, Sir Nigel Gresley, and Mallard used the line. The construction of Wembley Stadium in 1923 led to the station being used to ferry large crowds to the stadium. From 1949, many long distance trains were scaled with more emphasis on local services towards High Wycombe and Princes Risborough.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Services to the station began to be run down, in 1960 all express services were discontinued, followed by freight in 1965. Marylebone’s large goods yard was closed and Marylebone became the terminus for local services to Aylesbury and High Wycombe only, with few services extended to Banbury. The station was transferred from the Western Region to the London Midland Region in 1973.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

After the 1960s, the station becoming increasingly run down and by the early 1980s, Marylebone Station was under serious threat of closure. British Rail announced plans to close Marylebone in 1984, these plans were challenged by local authorities and the public. Marylebone was reprieved from the threat of closure in 1986 and an £85 million modernisation programme of the station and its services was announced. This was funded by selling part of the station to developers. New platforms were built with new signalling and higher line speeds. In 1993, services to Banbury were extended to the reopened Birmingham Snow Hill station.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Chiltern Railways took over the rail services in 1996 and extended to Birmingham Snow Hill and Kidderminster. In 2006, new platforms were built bringing the total to six. In 2016, services to Oxford began and there are plans to upgrade Marylebone to deal with more traffic.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Other claims for fame for the station is that it is one of the squares on the British Monopoly board and has appeared in many films and TV series. The station was used for several scenes in The Beatles’ film A Hard Day’s Night which were filmed here in 1964.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

London Sculptures: The Young Lovers by Georg Ehrlich in the Festival Gardens in London


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Two Lovers statue by Georg Ehrlich features a young man and woman joined in an embrace in Festival Gardens with a dramatic backdrop of St Paul’s Cathedral. It was installed in the garden in 1973.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Georg Ehrlich was a Austrian sculptor who was born and studied in Vienna, during the First World War he served in the Austrian Army. After short stays in Munich and Berlin. he began to get some recognition for his etchings and lithographs. But returned to Vienna in 1924, and began to concentrate on building a career as a sculptor.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

In 1930 he married the artist Bettina Bauer. After the rise of the Nazi’s, Ehrlich decided that it was too dangerous for them to be in Austria and they moved to London. Ehrlich became a British citizen in 1947 and was elected an Associate of the Royal Academy in 1962.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Ehrlich’s work was shown at the Venice Biennale in 1932, 1934, 1936 and 1958 and he won a gold medal at the Paris World Exposition in 1937.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The artist has works in the Tate Gallery, British Museum and Victoria and Albert Museum. He died in Switzerland in 1966 and was buried in Vienna.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Great London Sculptures: Dr Salter’s Daydream in Bermondsey

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Walking along the Thames walk in Bermondsey near the Angel pub, you come across in a family group of sculptures. The scene is entitled Dr. Salter’s Daydream and tells the story of Dr Alfred Salter, his wife Ada Brown and their daughter Joyce with the family cat perched on the wall.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Alfred Salter was born in nearby Greenwich in 1873 and went on to study medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London. He qualified in 1896 and it looked like he would have a successful career ahead of him in medicine. However, in 1898, Dr Salter became a resident at the Methodist Settlement in Bermondsey and began to work amongst the people who lived in poverty in the area. Many of the population of the area worked in the docks but due to the causal nature of the work it was difficult to have any kind of financial security.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Whilst at the Settlement, Salter set up health insurance schemes and adult education classes and met Ada Brown who shared many of the doctor’s political and social concern views. The Doctor and Ada married in 1900 and in the same year established a medical practice in Bermondsey. The work of the couple led to a the establishment of a pioneering comprehensive health service in the area. To bring more widespread change to the area, Dr Salter and Ada decided to enter the political arena. Salter was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council in 1903, to the London County Council and eventually became a Member of Parliament for the area from 1922 up to the Second World War.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Ada was elected to Bermondsey Borough Council in 1922, and in the same year was elected as the first female mayor of the borough. Ada became an early pioneer of urban gardening, and organised campaigned against air pollution in London. By the 1930s she had planted thousands of trees, decorated many buildings with window-boxes, and filled disused open spaces with plants and flowers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Amid the couple’s social and political work, they had to endure a personal tragedy in 1910, when their eight years old daughter Joyce, died of scarlet fever. The couple carried on their work till the 1940s when first Ada then Dr Salter died.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

To remember and celebrate the lives of the Salter family, a series of sculptures were commissioned and in 1991, sculptor Diane Gorvin unveiled her artwork. Originally Dr. Salter was seated on a bench in old age looking and remembering his young daughter when she was still alive with the cat on the wall. The well-loved sculpture of the Doctor was stolen in 2011 and a new model was made and a sculpture of Ada added which pays tribute to her tree and planting schemes for Bermondsey.


© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Since 2014, the family group has graced this lovely spot over looking the Thames and reminds people about some of the area’s history and characters before large-scale redevelopment took place.

A Short Guide to St Katharine Docks in London

St Katharine Docks was one of the commercial docks in London which opened in 1828, the docks were built on the site of the former hospital of St Katharine’s by the Tower which dated back to the 12th century.

The decision to build the docks was controversial with around 11,000 people losing their homes and some 1250 houses demolished. The area was known for centuries for the medieval hospital of St. Katharine was originally founded in 1148 by Matilda of Boulogne and was the recipient of many gifts from kings and queens over the centuries.

Due to its favourable position next to the Tower of London, the decision for redevelopment was confirmed by an Act of Parliament in 1825, with construction starting in 1827. The project was undertaken by famous engineer Thomas Telford and was completed remarkably quickly with the docks opening in 1828.

The docks were designed in the form of two linked basins (East and West), with access to the Thames through an entrance lock. Steam engines designed by James Watt and Matthew Boulton kept the water level in the basins to an acceptable level. The cost of building the docks was estimated to be around two million pounds.

The docks were popular for a time with produce being bought into the centre of London, however as time moved on the inability to accommodate large ships began to limit their commercial success. In the 19th century, St Katharine Docks were amalgamated with the nearby London Docks. In 1909, the Port of London Authority took over the management of almost all of the Thames docks, including St Katharine.

The St Katharine Docks suffered considerable damage by German bombing during the Second World War and the docks were finally closed in the 1960s.

A number of commercial buildings were built in the 1970s including the Tower Hotel, however it was not until the 1990s that wholesale development took place that led to offices, public and private housing, a hotel, shops and restaurants, the Dickens Inn pub and a marina for small to medium-sized boats.

Since the 1990s, St Katharine Docks have become a popular location for those visiting the nearby Tower of London and workers from the surrounding offices.

The redevelopment has paid tribute to the history of the site with some of the old warehouses used for offices and retail. There is a wide range of ships and boats in the marina from superyachts to Thames sailing barges.


Famous boats regularly moored in the docks include the royal barge Gloriana and MV Havengore which is best known for carrying the body of Sir Winston Churchill as part of his State Funeral.

St Katharine Docks is little known to many visitors but offers a fascinating glimpse into London’s maritime and medieval history.

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review : Fahrelnissa Zeid at the Tate Modern – 13th June to 8th October 2017

The Tate Modern presents the UK’s first retrospective of Fahrelnissa Zeid who is best known for her large-scale colourful canvases which often combines European approaches with Byzantine, Islamic and Persian influences.

This major exhibition brings together paintings, drawings and sculptures spanning over 40 years beginning with expressionist works made in Istanbul in the early 1940s, abstract canvases exhibited in London, Paris and New York in the 1950s and 1960s and finishing with the artist’s return to portraiture later in life.

Zeid was one of the first women to receive formal training as an artist in Istanbul and continued her studies in Paris in the late 1920s. However it was in the 1940s that the artist began to experiment and develop her own particular style blending European painting traditions with Oriental themes. In the exhibition, works from this period include Third-Class Passengers 1943, Three Ways of Living (War) 1943 and Three Moments in a Day and a Life 1944.

In 1945 Zeid and her husband, Prince Zeid Al-Hussein moved to the UK where he had been posted as Iraqi Ambassador. Her changing life experiences led to the development of her artistic career in London and Paris. Zeid’s exhibitions were generally well received by critics and she earned a growing reputation and was considered one of the most interesting female artists working at the time.

It was also at this time that Zeid’s work moved away from figuration to abstraction. Works such as Fight against Abstraction 1947, Resolved Problems 1948 and key pieces from her 1954 show at the ICA in London, such as My Hell 1951 and The Octopus of Triton 1953, represent the artist at her most productive creating large, vibrant and colourful canvases.

Unfortunately for Zeid, her privileged environment was to suddenly change when members of her husband’s family were assassinated in a military coup in Iraq in 1958, Zeid and her husband were forced to vacate the embassy and move into a modest flat. The change of circumstances led Zeid to experiment with painting on turkey and chicken bones, which she later cast in polyester resin panels, a selection of which will feature in the exhibition.

The shock of losing family and friends in the coup led to a return to figurative painting and especially portrait painting. For the last 20 years of her life, she painted portraits of her friends and family. The exhibition ends with a number of these portraits which includes Charles Estienne c.1964, Khalid Shoman 1984, Suha 1983 and Someone from the Past 1980.

Towards the end of her life, Zeid moved to Amman, Jordan, where she turned her home into an informal art school and taught a group of female students.

This fascinating exhibition introduces the extraordinary Fahrelnissa Zeid to a wider audience. Her remarkable career provides evidence of her ability to overcome numerous obstacles in the pursuit of her art. Whilst she did achieve success in the 1940s, 50s and 60s, since then her work has been generally overlooked and ignored.

Walking around the exhibition, it is difficult to understand why this should have happened? The large dynamic, colourful and intricate paintings are full of passion and drama. In many ways they are reflective of the artist who was a larger than life character. This Tate Modern exhibition considers Zeid as an important figure in the international story of abstract art and offers an opportunity to consider her considerable visual legacy.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Review : The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts Show at ExCel London – 9th April 2016

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The Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show at ExCel offered some exciting recreation for the those with a crafty inclination. There were a manageable 60 Exhibitors selling a wide range of equipment and accessories with a huge variety of fabrics, threads, yarn and paper products – a perfect place to stock up.

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This was definitely a great show for those who like a ‘hands on’ experience with many taster workshops offering help and support with new products and traditional crafts. You don’t often get the chance to go home with a crafty masterpiece and leave someone else to clear up the mess! Most workshops were £5 a session and very popular with adults and children. The drop in lecture theatre offered illustrated talks where experts unravelled the mysteries of their crafts [the sit down was very welcome too!].

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There was an eclectic mix of ‘Special Features’ to compliment the retail therapy. My particular favourite was the ‘Yarnia’ display, incredible life-sized knitted and crocheted figures depicting three scenes from C S Lewis’s, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – the theme being the evacuation from London.

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‘Glimpses of Brazil’ was an embroidery competition supported by the Embroiderer’s Guild and the colourful winners were on display. A timely reminder that Brazil is the venue for the 2016 Olympic Games in the summer.

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For those interested in Quilting, there were quilts from the Canadian Red Cross, made by Canadian women to support the WW2 war effort. They were made with anything the ladies could get their hands on and sent over to the UK as a compassionate contribution for the displaced people. Many modern quilts were also displayed by the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles.

This show really does have something for everyone who loves to craft and illustrates the considerable growing interest in Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts .

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Contributor  –  Kris Webb

If you would like further information, visit the show website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here