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Marathon Day at the Athletic World Championship in London – 6th August 2017

The City of London, Westminster and the Tower of London took centre stage on the day of the Athletic World Championship Marathons.

Whilst most of the events take place at the London Stadium, the marathon’s offer an opportunity for Londoners and visitors to enjoy the event.

A walk around the course illustrates how these events rely on large number of volunteers and considerable organisation.

The start and the finish of the race takes place on Tower Bridge and a large crowd congregated on the Tower of London where a fan zone was set up in the moat in the Tower complex.

The first marathon was the men’s marathon which attracted many of the best marathon runners in the world.

Kenya’s Geoffrey Kirui won gold with a time of 2:08.27. Ethiopian Tamirat Tola finished second in 2:09.49, two seconds in front of Tanzania’s Alphonce Simbu.

Video Review available 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.
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Review : Lumiere London Festival – 14th to 17th January 2016

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The Lumiere London Festival on Saturday became a victim of its own success when ten of thousands of people descended on the artworks at 30 different locations across the capital. Installations were temporarily switched off especially around the Kings Cross area.

It is the first time the festival of lights has been held in London and on a cold winter’s night it proved to be an irresistible attraction for many thousands of people. The illuminated art was mainly found in Piccadilly, Mayfair, King’s Cross, Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

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It was at Westminster Abbey that one of the most spectacular installations was taking place. The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener illuminates the West Front of Westminster Abbey in colour and light. The projection highlights the architectural splendour of the building and audiences  witness the statuettes of 20th-century martyrs reimagined. The figures are transformed by the illuminations into the main focal point of the front of the building.

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Patrice Warrener is recognised worldwide for his chromolithe projection system. His polychromatic illumination of buildings gives the impression of a spectacularly bright painted surface. He has designed more than 80 creations for locations all over the world.

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Another popular installation is the Garden of Light by TILT, TILT are a French collective that reclaim public space for their art. They create luminous, dreamlike structures using recycled materials processed to high technical production quality.

Founders François Fouilhé and Jean-Baptiste Laude started the collective to give prominence to light art and to encourage audiences to view it from a new perspective.The crowds were fascinated by the collection of plant sculptures basking under the glow of giant flowers and trees in Leicester Square.

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Nearby in Piccadilly, the crowds were entertained by Luminéoles by Porté par le vent, originally created for the Fete des Lumières Lyon, the brightly coloured fish dance gracefully over the street changing colours . Porté par le vent take inspiration from light and the elements for their creations, attempting to transform everyday locations into atmospheric dreamlands.

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In Trafalgar Square, the Centre Point Lights are not particularly spectacular but offer a little piece of London history. For decades, the three-metre high neon letters at the top of Centre Point have been visible and been a familiar landmark in London.

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Also in Trafalgar Square are Plastic Islands by Luzinterruptus, Plastic Islands is inspired by the ‘Eighth Continent’: the ‘Garbage Patch’ of marine litter that accumulates in the North Pacific Ocean. It comments on the alarming rate that rubbish is swallowing large areas of the Pacific Ocean and the lack of action to tackle this problem.

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Made from thousands of bottles, this installation provides a message that waste from one part of the world can have consequences on other parts of the globe. Luzinterruptus are an anonymous artistic group, implementing urban interventions in public spaces. Light is an integral part of their work, and is used to draw attention to social, environmental and political issues within cities and other environments.

If you are thinking about attending the last day of the festival on Sunday, it may be worth checking with the organisers whether some of the installations will be switched off due to the large crowds expected.

If you would like more information, visit the Lumiere Festival 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.
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Book Review – London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

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London: Architecture, Building and Social Change by Paul L. Knox (Merrell Publishers)

London’s diversity is truly remarkable, not just in its population but also its urban landscape with buildings of different centuries and architectural styles often occupying the same district. It is this unique distinctiveness of London that provides the focus of this book, London: Architecture, Building and Social Change. However to fully understand London’s development, the author contends  you must consider its economic, social and architectural history.

Fundamental to any understanding of London’s development is its rather unique history, as the author points out  ‘London did not grow from a single commercial, ecclesiastical or administrative centre’ but rather ‘ has grown piecemeal from an archipelago of villages and town centres to become a conglomerate metropolis of interdependent districts with twin cores.” Over time every district within this metropolis developed its own distinctive cityscape and instantly recognisable landmarks.

To illustrate this point, the twin cores of London, the City of London and Westminster developed over time to take on particular functions, The City of London was a commercial centre from Roman times whereas it was not until the 11th Century that Westminster became the centre of royal justice and administration.

The author considers in London’s development, a series of events had a major effects on the course of that development. First of all was Dissolution of the Monasteries in the 1530s, which took land away from the church which was transferred into private hands, therefore establishing the Great Estates. The Great Fire of 1666 swept away much of medieval London and bought about considerable building works. The coming of the Railways in the 1830s and 1840s bought a disruptive technology which tore up some London suburbs and bought access to large areas of the suburbs. Just as disruptive was the Blitz and bombings of the 1940s which decimated certain areas that often took decades to recover from.

If major events changed the face of London, so did individuals and the author suggest that a particular cast of characters were mainly responsible for widespread change. Amongst this cast were landowners, developers, architects, engineers, reformers, philanthropists and mayors.

To illustrate this interplay between events, people and architectural styles in real life, the author selects twenty-seven districts to discover their own distinctive character and pedigree. In the context of London’s general development, the book then considers the district’s specific developments that highlights the continuities and change within the specific areas.

A number of the districts show little change especially those built by the great landowners of London, areas such as Belgravia, Mayfair, Chelsea, Kensington and Knightsbridge were built for the elites and due to their status managed to avoid much of the destructiveness of the railways and industrialisation. Unfortunately, the same could not be said of Camden and  Paddington whose initial rural status was decimated by the canals and railways.

If money and influence were mainly situated in the West London, there is little doubt that for much of the nineteen century, the negative effects of industrialisation such as  poverty, crime, disease and unemployment were concentrated in East London. The sections on Whitechapel, Hoxton, Shoreditch and Bethnal Green pay testament to the role that reformers and philanthropists played in these areas to create a safer and healthier environment.

In many ways the south bank of the Thames has been the poorer relation to the north and the sections on Borough, Southwark, Bankside and Lambeth illustrate that they were for centuries populated by industry and working class residential areas. However, the South Bank and Bankside’s more recent riverfront transformation as a location of entertainments is actually a return to the area’s function in medieval times onwards.

It is perhaps the areas between the extremes of wealth and poverty that show the greatest diversity, districts like Bloomsbury, Notting Hill, Bayswater and Clerkenwell have veered between various degrees of respectability and often attracted the artists, writers and academics who have documented the changing times. The same could said of Soho and Covent Garden, which became locations of respectable and not so respectable entertainments.

This is a remarkably readable and interesting book for anyone interested in the changing urban landscape of one of the world’s most enigmatic cities. It manages to be authoritative without being overly academic, the profile of the development of 27 distinctive districts, illustrated with over 500 original photographs provides a number of insights into the past, present and possible future developments of London. One of the major insights is related to the ongoing gentrification of London areas and the creation of London as a Global city.

This book is an essential reference book for anyone interested in London, written by a leading expert on urbanization. It offers a comprehensive overview of many of the major buildings and landmarks of the city  and provides the context to understand their importance in London’s general development.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended 

If you would like more information or buy a copy of the book , visit the Merrell 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 , 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.
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here

Review : Cycling, The Tour of Britain in London – 14th September 2014

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Cycling took centre stage in London when the finale of the Tour of Britain took place, crowds watched the action on the course that linked Westminster and the Tower of London.

The two elements to the final stage of the race were a Individual Time trail and a 88.8km stage which involved 10 laps of the course.

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Sir Bradley Wiggins

There was plenty of local interest for the Time Trail with a number of British riders which included Tour de France hero Sir Bradley Wiggins and sprinting legend Mark Cavendish.

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Mark Cavendish

With the considerable support of the London crowds, defending champion Sir Bradley Wiggins managed to clock a time of nine minutes 50 seconds over the 8.8km course.
This was enough to win the time trail and to move up third in the general classification, however he is still behind Dutch rider Dylan van Baarle and Michal Kwiatkowski of Poland.

Late Afternoon saw the final stage over 88.8km which involved 10 laps of the course, over this fairly level easy course it was always going to be difficult for those behind to make up time on the leader. A few breaks were finally swallowed up by the peloton.

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With the peloton geared up for a sprint finish , the home crowd were hoping for Mark Cavendish  would complete a British double to complement Bradley Wiggins win earlier.

However it was Marcel Kittel who repeated his Tour de France stage victory in London who just squeezed out Cavendish with Ruffoni third. In the overall classifications the winner was Dylan van Baarle , second was Michal Kwiatkowski and Wiggins third.

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Close finish Kittel beat Cavendish

The interest in the race shows that the British love affair with cycling shows no signs of diminishing and although Sir Bradley Wiggins was only third, he was still cheered all over the course.

London provides a great spectacle for sport especially cycling and any visitor to the capital is likely to find world class events going on.

When you are visiting London for the first time, you may be surprised by how the British enjoy a large number of sports and the range of events that are frequently available.

 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

Cycling : The Tour of Britain finale in London – 14th September 2014

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After the success of the Tour de France and Ride London, Cycling hits the streets of London again when the Tour of Britain reaches its finale. A top class field which includes  Wiggins, Kittel, Cavendish, Terpstra, Roche, Bauer, Dowsett, Chavanel, Swift, and Renshaw amongst others.

It is probablty the strongest field ever for this race and the London crowds will be treated to two treats on Sunday with the Individual Time Trial and then a circuit race.

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Stage 8a Individual Time Trial – 11:01

Riders will go head-to-head against the clock during an 8.8-kilometre individual time trial on the late morning of Sunday 14 September,  Taking place over a single lap of the London circuit, riders will start and finish on Whitehall, setting off a one-minute intervals and passing world-famous sights such as the Tower of London, Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament during their lap.

The first rider off will be at 11:01, with the final ten riders going off at two-minute intervals in reverse order of the Friends Life General Classification.

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Stage 8b Circuit Race – 15:30

Following a break, the professionals will be back in action late afternoon at 15:30, for the now traditional circuit race to conclude the 2014 Tour. Starting and finishing on Whitehall, riders will complete ten-laps of the Whitehall-Victoria Embankment-Lower & Upper Thames Street circuit, before making the turn at Tower Hill and racing back alongside the River Thames on Victoria Embankment for the final two corners through Parliament Square and back on to Whitehall.

During the stage riders will contest a YodelDirect Sprint on the Whitehall finish line on lap five, helping to decide the outcome of the YodelDirect Sprints jersey, but also if the overall standings are close, the winner of the Friends Life Yellow Jersey.

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For more information visit the Tour of Britain 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