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Review: Lord Mayor’s Show 2018 in the City of London – 10th November 2018

The Lord Mayor’s Show is one of the oldest and most important traditions of London, its origins go back to 1215 when King John was in trouble with his Barons looked to the City of London for support. In 1215 the King was persuaded to issue a Royal Charter that allowed the City of London to elect its own Mayor, but there was an important condition. Every year the newly elected Mayor must leave the safety of the City, travel upriver to the small town of Westminster and swear loyalty to the Crown. The Lord Mayor has now made the journey for 800 years, despite plagues and fires and countless wars, and pledged his (and her) loyalty to 34 kings and queens of England.

For the next few hundred years, Lord Mayor of London was by far the grandest position to which a commoner could aspire, and the Mayor’s journey was the celebrity spectacle of its day. Over the centuries it grew so splendid and so popular that by the 16th century it was known everywhere as the Lord Mayor’s Show. It features in the plays of Shakespeare, the diaries of Pepys  and in the pantomime story of Dick Whittington, who was the Mayor of London three times. In the 20th century the Lord Mayor’s Show was the first outside event ever to be broadcast live and it still attracts a TV audience of millions.

The modern Lord Mayor’s procession is a direct descendant of that first journey to Westminster. The state coach is 250 years old and the show features the City’s businesses, Livery Companies, charities, Her Majesty’s Forces, the City Police and Londoners from all walks of life come together to enjoy a celebration of the City’s ancient power and prosperity.

This is a procession unlike any other in the world: this year there were over 7000 participants, 20 bands, 200 horses, 150 floats and hundreds of other carriages, carts, coaches and other vehicles including vintage cars, steam buses, tanks, tractors, ambulances, fire engines, steamrollers, giant robots.

The procession sets off from Mansion House at 11am,  and was led off by the Band of HM Royal Marines (HMS Collingwood) .

Some of the highlights of the procession include:

Other Royal Marine units followed by The Bank of England’s float returns to the Lord Mayor’s show for the fourth year running.

Next came, Gog and Magog, the traditional guardians of the City of London. They first walked at the head of the Lord Mayor’s procession around five hundred years ago.

The Hong Kong Economic & Trade Office, London focus on artificial intelligence and smart city technology look with two 5m-tall robots.

There were plenty of pandas in a China float.

The City officials bring up the rear of the procession with Late Lord Mayor, the Light Cavalry, and Pageantmaster

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment Band struck up the music for the new Lord Mayor.

The new Lord Mayor is Peter Estlin who becomes the 691th Lord Mayor and rides in the procession within the magnificent State Coach.

The new Lord Mayor is followed by the Company of Pikemen & Musketeers which is a ceremonial unit of the Honourable Artillery Company who provide a ceremonial bodyguard for the Lord Mayor of the City.

The procession lasted for around an hour long and reached  the Royal Courts at around 12.30. The return leg left Temple Place at 1.10pm and the tail of the procession arrived back at Mansion House at 2.30.

This eclectic procession is one of the great free shows of the London year, although part of a long tradition, the emphasis is always about fun and spectacle.  With an inflatable bear and pig, marching bands, military personnel, horses, carriages, colourful floats and much more. The Lord Mayor’s Show is one parade that you are never sure what you are going to see next.  The warm weather bought out huge crowds estimated at around 500,000 who enjoyed the procession and the free family festival fun in Paternoster Square and Bloomberg Arcade.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

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.
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The Taming of the Shrew at the Royal Opera House – 3rd and 4th August 2016

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The Bolshoi Ballet bring their acclaimed production of Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew to the Royal Opera House , with choreography by Jean-Christophe Maillot and music by Shostakovich.

Choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot’s brings a fast-paced and athletic production of The Taming of the Shrew that displays the considerable strengths of the Bolshoi. Shostakovich’s music matches Shakespeare’s brilliantly entertaining depiction of the battle between independent, tempestuous Katharina and the dogmatic Petruchio.

For more information or to buy tickets, visit the Royal Opera House 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 attract 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

 

Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre – 12th May to 13th August 2016

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Reuniting the stars of his celebrated film of Cinderella, Kenneth Branagh directs Richard Madden and Lily James as Romeo and Juliet, Derek Jacobi as Mercutio and Meera Syal as The Nurse, in Shakespeareʼs heartbreaking tale of forbidden love.

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Theatre 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

The Complete Walk : Shakespeare from Westminster Bridge to Tower Bridge – 23rd April to 24th April 2016

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Over the weekend of 23 – 24 April 2016, the banks of the Thames will be the location of  theatrical celebration as Shakespeare’s Globe invites the world to join The Complete Walk.

37 screens along a 2.5 mile route between Westminster and Tower Bridge will play a series of specially-made 10 minute films, starring some of the world’s finest actors. Each film will explore an aspect of one of Shakespeare’s plays and will include scenes shot in the locations Shakespeare imagined when he wrote them.

Picture Cleopatra in front of the Pyramids, Shylock in Venice’s Jewish Ghetto, Hamlet on the rocks of Elsinore…The Complete Walk will be an interactive journey through Shakespeare’s life and work exactly 400 years on from his death

The films will play on loop throughout the weekend enabling you to join us for the entire route or to dip in and out of your favourite plays whilst strolling along the river.

David Harewood, Ruth Wilson, Gemma Arterton, Toby Jones, Douglas Hodge, Simon Russell Beale, Joanna Scanlan, Peter Capaldi, Jessie Buckley, Meera Syal, Dominic West, Eve Best, Alex Jennings, Michelle Terry, David Dawson, Will Keen, Nikesh Patel, Peter Capaldi, Sam West, Katherine Parkinson, James Norton, Ashley Zhangazha, Olivia Williams, Ben Miles, Ray Fearon, David Caves, Clare Higgins, Marty Cruikshank, Neil Maskell, Hayley Atwell, Danny Sapani, Aidan Gillen, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Lindsay Duncan.

This is a free event.

For more information, visit the Shakespeare’s Globe 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

 

Hamlet at the Barbican – 5th August to 31st October 2015

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Benedict Cumberbatch takes on the title role in Shakespeare’s great tragedy. Directed by Lyndsey Turner (Posh, Chimerica) and produced by Sonia Friedman Productions, the Barbican presents an exclusive twelve-week run of this anticipated new production in summer 2015.

As a country arms itself for war, a family tears itself apart. Forced to avenge his father’s death but paralysed by the task ahead, Hamlet rages against the impossibility of his predicament, threatening both his sanity and the security of the state.

Produced by Sonia Friedman Productions
Presented by the Barbican
Mon–Sat 7.15pm
(except Tue 25 Aug, 7pm start)
Matinee performances 1.30pm every Sat from 15 Aug

Approx 3 hours/including one 20-min interval

The Barbican has sold its current allocation of advance tickets, however small numbers of tickets may be returned or released for advance sale online.  There are also 30 £10 tickets available as day-seats for sale each day in person. Up to two tickets per person, sold at the advance ticket desk from 10.30am; the Barbican Centre will open from 9am. Returned and late-release tickets may occasionally become available at the last minute on the day of the performance

If you would like further information or book tickets, visit the Barbican website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and the 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

Book Review : Secrets of the National Archives by Richard Taylor ( Ebury Press )

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The National Archives are one of the most important and remarkable collections of documents in the world, the material in the archives covers over a thousand years of British history and contains over 120 shelf miles of documents.

The incredible scale and range of the documents make any representive selection problematical, however in the creation of this book, it has benefitted from a good deal of inside knowledge. In 2010, National Archives staff were asked what documents should be included and sent in their suggestions. Richard Taylor, a best selling author used many of the suggestions when he took on the role of  the books curator.

In the introduction of the book, Richard Taylor asks the question, Why do Documents have such a hold over us ?

Seeking to answer this question,  he discusses how documents are alive with insight into historical events. Whether secret, personal, public or bearing witness to historical events, each document has a story to tell that illuminates our understanding. Our curator uses the example of the Magna Carta to  illustrate how a document can take on a life on its own independent of the creators, he remarks ” It is astonishing, really, that a document sealed in a damp field in Surrey, between a little mafia of English barons and a king who would be dead the following year, should resonate down the centuries.”

The rest of the book considers the documents selected in chronological order which gives some indications that a document from one century can have significant importance for the centuries ahead.

The first chapter which covers documents between the 11th and 14th centuries  offers examples of this particular historical significance of documents.  The first document is one of the most famous in British history, the Domesday Book , in many ways little more than an inventory of land and ownership, however for future historians it offers an unprecedented snapshot of life in 1086. It also shows clearly that the Norman victory over the Anglo- Saxons on the battlefield was followed by the creation of a landowner class made up almost completely by the victors.

Other documents in this section include the Magna Carta, The Great Cause (claimants to the Scottish throne), a letter from Edward III and Manorial Rolls that document the devastation caused by the Black Death. Many of these documents may be familiar to many people but three other documents offer real surprises. The Jewish Tax Roll from 1233 illustrates medieval’s England’s financial dependence on the Jews and its hatred of them. The Domesday Abbreviato of 1241 offers what may be the first portrayal of a black person in England. Finally A Clerks Music of 1325 offers the first setting of music in multiple parts in England.

The second chapter that covers the 15th – 16th century shows England on the verge of Empire, the Agincourt Indentures goes beyond the story of Henry V’s great victory to reveal that the gallant English archers were motivated not just by glory but by money. The documents record that Men of Arms were paid 12 pence a day, mounted archers 6 pence per day and foot archers 4 pence a day.

It is the nature of documents that often the least significant at the time can have incredible historical significance, this point is made by An Indulgence issued in 1476 . This document is remarkable as the first printed document in England, printed in Westminster by William Caxton it revolutionised the production of books especially religious works. This had an unintended consequence, the selling of indulgences by the church reached industrial proportions which led to Martin Luther’s protest against Church corruption. On a similar theme, another document in this chapter, the Valor Ecclesiasticus  show how the Church’s wealth was decimated by Henry VIII whose inventory of church property contributed to the dissolution of the monasteries. An angry letter from Richard III and a letter begging for mercy from the future Elizabeth I are other highlights of this section.

The third chapter covers the 17th century, famous characters such as  Shakespeare, Guy Fawkes and Nell Gwyn all make an appearance but one of the most important documents of the period was the transcript of the Trial of Charles I. Written by a clerk, the proceedings are recorded for posterity and offer a viewpoint that the decision was made before the trial began and the King arrogantly believing that the court would not go through with its threats. The irony of the situation was many of the commissioners who signed the document were signing their own death warrant when Charles II was restored to the throne.

If the 17th century was dramatic, the next chapter covering the 18th century show the  British Empire expanding but not without its significant losses. The United States Declaration of Independence documents are the original prints by John Dunlap after the declaration had been ratified by Congress. Only 200 copies of the original prints were made but somehow three copies made their way to the ‘enemy’ and ended up back in Britain and eventually the National Archives. Other documents include Captain Cook in Botany Bay, the grim realities of the slave trade, the killing of Blackbeard, the capture of Dick Turpin, the Mutiny on the Bounty and the strange case of music piracy at the Bach Chancery proceedings.

The documents from the 19th century show that Britain’s problems were not just overseas, within Britain, certain interest groups were pushing for reform. Various documents record this movement, there is an anonymous threatening letter from workers to the gentry, a protest poster against the Workhouse and posters from the Chartists. If workers agitation was rife, the application for British citizenship for Karl Marx indicates that some answers were perhaps closer at hand than many people realised. Documents from two of the most controversial court cases are included, the strange case of the Tichborne Claimant and the visiting card that led to Oscar Wilde’s imprisonment. However the letters to the Police from people who were claiming to be Jack the Ripper is a chilling reminder that bizarre behaviour from the general public associated with high-profile crimes are not a modern phenomenon.

The section on the 20th century show that agitation is still a common theme with documents covering the suffragette to the women workers of Dagenham demanding equal pay.  Royal matters are also covered with the Instrument of Abdication  and Elizabeth II’s Coronation Oath. However the century was dominated by the two world wars, Battlefield Plans and Reports, the declaration of Sigfried Sassoon and the treaty of Versailles  give some insight into the madness of the First World War. Intercepted German reports of the St Naziare Raid, a Special Operations Executive report and the Percentages Agreement enlighten the Second World War. Outside the larger themes , telegrams received from the RMS Titanic and the Ruth Ellis confession make still make disturbing reading.

This well written and informative book, full of wonderful illustrations offers a window on earth shattering events by the viewing of often deceptively mundane and unimpressive documents. But the consequence of these pieces of material has been Empires have risen and fallen, Kings and Queens have being crowned and executed , reforms have been fought over, wars have been won and lost.

This book will appeal to people who would like to view British history from the primary sources and often discover the reality behind many of the myths that take hold over time. Looking at the illustrations of the documents brings you in many ways closer to the people involved, the shaky handwriting or notes in margins often clear indicators of the thought patterns of the authors of the document.

The book is also a reminder that information from the National Archives are constantly being  made available to increase our knowledge of the past. The National Archives really are a treasure trove that keeps on giving, available for anyone to use.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Ebury Press 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, we attract 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

Antony and Cleopatra at the Shakespeare Globe – 17 May 2014 – 24 August

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Location – Shakespeare’s Globe, Bankside, London SE1 9DT

Shakespeare’s Globe  presents one of Shakespeare’s most powerful plays in which two lovers are blown apart by love and war.

Cleopatra, the alluring and fascinatingly ambiguous Queen of Egypt, has bewitched the great Mark Antony, soldier, campaigner and now one of the three rulers of the Roman Empire. When Antony quarrels with his fellow leaders and throws in his lot with Cleopatra, his infatuation threatens to split the Empire in two.

Virtue and vice, transcendent love and realpolitik combine in Antony and Cleopatra, Shakespeare’s greatest exploration of the conflicting claims of sex and power, all expressed in a tragic poetry of breathtaking beauty and magnificence.

Directed by Jonathan Munby, the cast includes Eve Best , Philip Correia , Phil Daniels and Clive Wood .

From 17 May 2014 – 24 August

Tickets
£5 standing, £15 – £42 seats.   For more information and book Tickets, visit the Globe website here

Review : Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Exhibition and Tour

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Shakespeare’s  Globe Theatre

Location – 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London, SE1 9DT

Shakespeare’s Globe is situated on the South Bank of the Thames in Southwark. It is a modern reconstruction of the Globe Theatre, an Elizabethan playhouse  that was originally built-in 1599, destroyed by fire in 1613, rebuilt in 1614, and then finally demolished in 1644.

The modern Globe is situated around 700 ft from the site of the original theatre and was designed to recreate as near as possible the experience of watching a play in the time of Shakespeare. The modern Globe was created due to the initiative of American actor and director Sam Wanamaker and  is based on the original Globe of 1599, although there are no plans of the theatre, considerable academic research went into the design to make it as accurate as possible to the original.

The tour guides tend to be very knowledgeable and some are actors in their own right and entering the theatre offers a unique experience, walking  through the wooden doors you are transported into the days of Shakespeare.

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To the modern theatre goer, the facilities are a bit of a shock with the theatre open to the elements and the most rudimentary seating. There is no microphones or speakers, all music is played live and the audience can be seen by the actors as the plays are performed in daylight or lit by internal lighting.

One major difference between Shakespearian and Modern Theatre is that in the original Globe, the audience were not passive but part of the action. There tended to give feedback to the action, if the audience did not like the action they were not shy to let the actors know.

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In rebuilding the Globe, the organisation went to considerable lengths to be ‘authentic’ ,  It is built from materials available in 1600 (oak, lime plaster, and thatch) using construction methods of the period: the oak timbers are joined together with wooden pegs. Costumes are made from the textiles of 1600, such as linen, wool, leather, and silk, based on patterns and garments surviving from the early 17th Century.

Inside the theatre, it is necessary to understand how the Shakespearian Theatre worked. The stage thrusts out into the yard where up to  700 people can stand to watch a performance. These members of the audience often paid just a penny for the cheapest view and  were referred to as ‘groundlings’ or  by more derogatory names such as ‘penny stinks’.
If you had a little more money, you would be seated in the boxes and if you were very privileged in the Gentlemens’ Boxes/Rooms or Lords Rooms.

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The stage is covered by the Heavens, the roof painted with stars, moons, and signs of the zodiac. Beneath the stage is Hell, an area from where devils or witches might appear. Above the stage is the Attic where sound effects are created.

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After a tour of the theatre itself, visitors can explore the exhibition based under the Globe Theatre that explains in more depth, the life of Shakespeare, the London where he lived, and the theatre for which he wrote. It also provides some insight into the area surrounding the Globe which was once London’s most notorious entertainment district, surrounded by  taverns and bawdy-houses.

Since the theatre opened in 1997,  it has staged  a large number of acclaimed plays and events. Because it is open to the elements, performances are restricted to May through to October.

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In 2014 the Theatre opened a new Jacobean Theatre based on one that was located in Blackfrairs. It is known as the Sam Wanamaker Theatre and plays will be performed all year round.

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The Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Tour offers a interesting and entertaining  insight in  Elizabethan Theatre. The building of the theatre itself is a major achievement and the tour guides explain in detail how the vision of Sam Wanamaker came into being and has provided a wonderful monument to Shakespeare and English Theatre.

The Shakespeare’s Globe Exhibition and Tour will appeal to a wide range of people and all ages, it is an opportunity to be transported back in time to understand the type of environment in which one of the world’s greatest playwrights learnt his trade. There is no doubt that Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is one of the more unique sights in London.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

The Shakespeare’s Globe has an Exhibition and Tours all the year round:

Exhibition & Tour Opening Hours and Tickets

Exhibition

Daily: 9.00am – 5.30pm

Globe Theatre Tours

Daily : 9.30am – 5.00pm

Tours depart every 30 minutes. First tour at 9.30am, last tour at 5pm.

Tours depart every half an hour between the times shown and the tour itself lasts  for around 40 minutes and you can explore the exhibition at your leisure.

Tickets

There is no need to pre-book for the Exhibition & Tour. Tickets can be bought on the admissions desk on the day, every day.

Exhibition and Globe Theatre Tour

Adult: £13.50
Senior (60+): £12.00
Student (with valid ID): £11.00
Children (5-15): £8.00
Children (under 5): Free
Family (up to 2 adults & 3 children): £36.00

For more information and tickets please visit the Globe 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, we attract 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