London Favorite Tips by grandmaR
London Favorites: 1,783 reviews and 2,074 photos
Statues of Great Britain and America
Favorite thing: Someone who has never been to London should definitely take a bus tour. We took the Big Bus, and I can recommend it. It gave us an orientation and overview of the city in a relatively short period of time (a bit more than 24 hours) that we could not have gotten in any other way. Also the top of the bus is windowless, so you don't have to cope with reflections
The only problem with such a tour (other than the weather if it is raining) is that you can take a lot of photos in a very short period of time, and may not remember what the thing pictured is. Particularly if, as in this case, it isn't a building which is in most guidebooks.
There are no tours of this facility, which is why it isn't in guidebooks. Domestic BBC programming comes from Broadcasting House in another part of the city, and tours of that facility are available.
I do not know what the guide said which led me to take the picture, but I absolutely couldn't figure out what it was of.
Fondest memory: So one of my fondest memories is of M.K. (Martin), the VTer who identified the location for me as Bush house
It is between Australia House and India House in Westminster, London. This photograph is taken from the Big Bus on the Aldwych Circle side. The inscription above the columns reads, "Friendship Between English-Speaking Peoples." The World Service does broadcast in English, but also in 42 other languages as well.
From 1940 to 2008 (when the lease expires), Bush House has been/will be the home of the BBC World Service (originally called the Empire Service) and BBCi. American businessman Irving T Bush planned the building, and the first part was finished in 1928. In 1929, Bush House was declared 'the most expensive building in the world', at a cost of $10,000,000.
According to the website, "The centre block opened in 1923, and boasts marble walls and floors. Portland stone was used to build it, the floors were made of Indian Hardwood, and the foyers all have Travertine marble on the floor. The foyers are heated by radiators set inside the stone walls, with grilles letting the warm air through into the rooms."
"The main entrance ..[has] two statues... symbolise[ing] Great Britain and America, they each hold a flaming torch and a shield which have the British lion and the American eagle on them. In between the statues is an altar embossed with a Celtic cross."
In 1930, when The Strand was excavated for the east wing, a Carrara marble head of a grim visaged Roman man was unearthed. The slightly damaged head now sits in the Centre Block reception.
In June 1944 a bomb landed outside Bush House. Three staff were severely injured, and one of the statues lost an arm. Thirty years later, an American businessman who worked for the Indiana Limestone Company was visiting his daughter in London and saw that the arm was missing. He persuaded his employers to send a replacement, and a stonemason to attach it.
Women re-enacting Roman crafts
Favorite thing: One of my goals to see in London was the British Museum. After I visited the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles I wanted to go to one other quintessentially British section of the museum - something that I could see here better than anywhere else. I decided on Roman Britain.
It was therefore serendipitous that the museum was also having Roman days re-enactments on the day of our visit. We took advantage of the displays and they enhanced our museum experience.
Another example of serendipity was our visit to the National Gallery. I had certain pictures there I wanted to see, and we went through the National Portrait Gallery on the way. We lucked into an exhibit there on children's authors which was terrific.
Fondest memory: Horace Walpole coined the word "serendipity" in one of his 3,000 or more letters. In a letter of January 28, 1754, Walpole says that “this discovery, indeed, is almost of that kind which I call Serendipity, a very expressive word.”
Serendip was the old name for Sri Lanka. Walpole took the name from part of the title of “a silly fairy tale, called The Three Princes of Serendip: as their highnesses traveled, they were always making discoveries, by accidents and sagacity, of things which they were not in quest of....”
This illustrates the beauty and flexibility of the English language, and also the essense of traveling - taking advantage of serendipity.
Near Liberty's of London
Favorite thing: I remember that my mom was completely crazy about half timbered buildings with thatched roofs when we were here in 1950. In Stratford, my dad took lots of pictures of the thatched roofs there. I wasn't as impressed, but there were a lot of things about Europe that my mom thought were wonderful that kind of went over my head.
I'd forgotten about that until I was in Libertys of London, and we walked out a different way that we came in and found ourselves here.
Although Libertys is old dating back to 1875, these buildings were built in 1924 when all the buildings on Regent St. were torn down and rebuilt in this style. Libertys was built with the timbers from the HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan
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