London Life Part Two – history and architecture!

As regular readers will know I love taking pics of architecture (particularly pretty doors and iron work to the bewilderment of my children!) and I had plenty of opportunity in London. We arrived at St Pancras  station which is an incredible building, one day would love to depart from here on the Eurostar or the Orient Express as I love train travel and it is a wonderful station, very modern on the inside with lots of shops and cafes (including a champagne bar!) but the outside is the best bit.The web site has a nice little bit on the history of the station with more pics if you are interested.

Edited to add – According to my Google banner today 13th July is the architect, Sir George Gilbert Scott’s 200th birthday – well done Sir for a fine building!

London 1 - St Pancras

No pretty pics of the British Library which we went to that day – lovely gardens and it is nice inside but too much of a brick block for me. We did see some very lovely things in the Treasures collection including old maps and illuminated manuscripts and they have a very good feature on their website that lets you look at some of these in more detail called ‘Treasures in Full’ and an online gallery called ‘Turning the Pages’.

 However the following day was heaven as we went to Hampton Court ! I didn’t realise that the Flower Show was on that week which meant it was very crowded coming home on the train so we stayed and had tea there and caught a later one. Hen House  has wonderful post all about the Flower Show – she went a couple of days after us so I didn’t get the chance to bump into her which is probably a good things as the children would have been very embarrassed by me trying to introduce myself to one of my ‘imaginary friends’!

I have wanted to visit for a long, long time because of my fascination with the Tudors, particularly Catherine of Aragon who has always interested me not just for her love of embroidery and allegedly introducing blackwork to England but also because of her story which is such a powerful one and the outcome of it changed so much about English religious culture which again is one of my interests. I have just started re-watching the Tudors from series one and am going to treat myself to series four as I missed most of that when it was shown live (on far too late at night!).

The place did not disappoint and I was also very pleased to find that there was the newer palace of William and Mary from the 18th century behind the Tudor one which I had not realised. I prefer Tudor architecture and decor to Baroque but the gardens and apartments were lovely.Below pics show the outside of their palace and one of the beautiful symmetrical gardens.

London - Hampton palace

London - Hampton garden 2

This was the really exciting bit though.The pics below show the Clock Court, Tudor Gardens and window in the Great Hall, the ceiling of  the Watching Chamber and Henry’s kitchens which fed 1200 people a day when he was there with his retinue.

London - Hampton clock

London - Hampton garden 1

London - Hampton window

London - Hampton ceiling

London - Hampton kitchen

I think that gold ceiling would make a marvellous inspiration for a goldwork piece!

And there was even more excitement with a very good exhibition about Henry’s early life which we looked at after the main house including paintings of two people you might recognise.

London - Hampton Catherine

The lovely Catherine of Aragon and her rival Anne Boleyn.

London - Hampton Anne

There was a very poignant part of the exhibition detailing all the stillbirths and deaths of Catherine’s children and both her and Anne suffered because of their failure to produce a male heir. It really does make you appreciate what women went through in childbirth and how the status of women has changed thankfully.

We also met the great man Henry the 8th himself with his last wife Kathryn Parr – during the day they had a series of short re-enactments with some actors recreating part of their story and I was lucky enough to get some lovely pics of the in the courtyard.

London 2 - Hampton King

Fab costume , I do fancy doing Tudor re-enactment myself but would only ever opt to be a lower staus role. I will leave the really fancy stuff to my very talented friend Kat , who by the way has just had her second baby girl – big congrats and welcome! I am sure the baby will be as beautifully dressed for re-enactment as the whole family are. Her Tudor section is here if you want to have a look at the wonderful things she makes.

We later went to the Natural History Museum  which Jake loves and they had a dinosaur exhibition which was very good (the sort with the moving ones in!) This building was designed to look like a cathedral to honour of all God’s creations and it is an amazing building . I bought a book on the history of the building and it is made of terracotta not carved stone as I had originally thought and was created by Alfred Waterhouse. More pics and history on this site  if you are interested.

London  - NH Museum 1

London  - NH Museum 2

There was a bit of modern architecture appreciation as we stayed in Docklands so took another trip to Canary Wharf where we marvelled yet again at how tall the buildings are.

London  - Canary Wharf

We are having a quiet couple of weeks here now doing some house and garden fettling. I am finding my Makower farm fabric quilt a challenge as I am designing it myself so no pics yet just a lot of moving fabric around and trying not to cut it out wrongly but hopefully I will have some progress on that by the end of the week.

Well this has been a very long post – time for a cup of tea I think!

Hope you all have a lovely week and thanks for visiting.

2 thoughts on “London Life Part Two – history and architecture!

  1. Hampton Court looks fabulous -it’s nearly 40 years since I last visited and I think there’s a great deal more to see these days. I’d really love to see the kitchens especially if they were being used. Might plan another London trip in the autumn I think:)

    • It was – am just rewatching all my Tudors series in honour of my visit and my series 4 DVD arrived this morning! I know it’s not very accurate in lots of ways but I do love the costumes and the settings and they seem to recreate the buildings well.

      The kitchens were not in use on our visit but they are at certain times when they have re-enactment groups in cooking. I am sure details of that would be on their web site. I am hoping to go back again – next summer maybe and would also like to visit the National Gallery to look at the Holbein portratits.


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