London Off The Beaten Path Tips by easyoar
London Off The Beaten Path: 1,696 reviews and 3,019 photos
Admiral Lord Nelson on top of his column
Admiral Lord Nelson to give him his official title is widely regarded as Britains best naval officer. He died at the Battle of Trafalgar on 21st October 1805 and was buried in St Paul's Cathedral on 08th January 1806. This is unusual as sailors who die at sea are usually buried at sea.
Nelson suffered from ill health for almost all of his life. This was compounded by the numerous wounds he suffered at sea fighting battles. He lost his right arm in Tenerife and lost his right eye in Corsica when a huge explosion sent large fragments into his face. If you look carefully at the statue of Nelson here, you will see his right arm is actually an empty sleeve with no hand!
It will be the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar on the 21st Oct 2005, I should imagine it would be a good day to visit Trafalgar Square as I am sure some special events will be planned! This photo os the statue of Nelson on top of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square.
Use Charing Cross Underground.
Duke of Wellington
This statue of the Duke of Wellington is right alongside the Wellington arch (you can see that in the background of my photo here!).
The arch and the statue are both memorials to the Duke of Wellington (1769-1852), who is a British hero for the part he played in the Battle of Waterloo. He later became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and lived in a house just across the road from this statue.
The Duke of Wellington is strongly associated with the Wellington Boot (a boot that is waterproof, made of rubber and comes up to just below the knee). You quite often see images of the Duke with his head coming out of a boot.
As most people know, George Washington was the first ever President of the USA. He is of course still widely lauded in the USA, and his picture appears on the front of the $1 bill.
I find it a little strange that he is celebrated in London with a statue however. He was originally working for the British military, but ended up fighting against them when the people in the USA rebelled when they wanted to stop paying high taxes to the British. Whatever the rights or wrongs of this, I can't imagine that it endeared him to the British government!, hence my surprise at the statue!
George Washington was born in 1732 and died in 1799. This statue can be found at the back of Trafalgar Square.
Comment from VT'er LindaOh:
I was on your London page and saw the George Washington picture. I thought you
might be interested in this absolutely useless information. I was watching the
discovery channel (I live in Ohio, USA). It was about unusual things to see
when visiting different places. According to the Discovery channel Geo.
Washington proclaimed he would never step on English soil again. So when the
statue was erected dirt was brought from the United States to put under it so he
wasn't standing on English soil. They never mentioned why there is a statue of
him, which I agree with you is rather odd. So the next time you are going past
it and if anyone happens to be standing there you can pass on this useless info!
Charlie Chaplin in Leicester Square
This statue of Charlie Chaplin can be found more or less in the middle of Leicester Square, in the grassy area there.
Unlike a lot of modern stars who change their names to be more fashionable, Charlie Chaplin did not use an assumed name - he really was called Charlie Chaplin (or Charles Spencer Chaplin to be really precise). He was born in London, England on 16th April 1889. Both of his parents were music hall entertainers (Charles Chaplin, Sr and Hannah Hill). However soon after Charlie was born, his parents separated, and he had to stay with his mother. Then in 1896 when his mother was not able to look after her children, Charlie and his brother Sydney were both admitted to Lambeth Workhouse. Later they were to go to Hanwell School for Orphans and Destitute Children.
Charlie had already made his debut on the music hall scene in 1894. His mother had been taken ill and could not perform, so Charlie stepped in to sing her song at the ripe old age of 5!
His story really is a rags to riches one. He went from a workhouse/orphanage to earning $125/week in 1913 working for a film company before going on to earn $1,075,000/year in 1917! Even in todays money that is a goodly wage!
Chaplin was one of the few stars who managed to successfully transfer from silent films to talkies. Some of his most famous movies are: Modern Times (1936), The Great Dictator (1940) and Limelight (1952). Chaplin died in his sleep on Christmas Day 1977.
Bizarre Baby Sculpture at St Martin in the Fields
This was a hard tip to categorize! It obviously is intended to have religious significance as it is located in the porchway of St Martin in the Fields (which is on Trafalgar Square).
It is entitles "In the Beginning" which re-emphasizes the religious aspects of it. The baby is shown emerging from a large lump of rock. There are a couple of steps in place to help you get high enough up so that you can look down on this sculpture. The umbilical cord is also seen disappearing into the rock.
As this is in the outside porch of St Martin in the Fields, the church itself does not need to be open for you to be able to see this.
Memorial to Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde, or Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde to give him his full name, was born in 1854 and died in 1900. In the age that he lived, he was arrested for being homosexual, and thrown in to Reading prison where he wrote the famous "The Ballad of Reading Gaol".
Oscar Wilde started out in working life as a medical doctor. He was much for famous for his literary work however and wrote amongst other books, Lady Windermere's Fan and The Importance of Being Earnest.
The memorial in this photo is just off Trafalgar Square and is on Duncannon Street. It has the odd quote or two from Oscar Wilde. He was famous for his pithy quotes, such as:
A man who moralizes is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralizes is invariably plain.
Nowadays all the married men live like bachelors and all the bachelors live like married men.
One should never trust a woman who tells one her real age. A woman who would tell one that, would tell one anything.
I don't think there is a woman in the world who would not be a little flattered if one made love to her. It is that which makes women so irresistibly adorable.
I prefer women with a past. They're always so damned amusing to talk to.
One should always be in love. That is the reason one should never marry.
Dr Samuel Johnson on the Strand
Dr Samuel Johnson was a famous 18th Century scholar who lived in London in the mid 1700's.
Whilst living in London, he compiled the first ever English dictionary. Whilst compiling this dictionary, he used to get frequent letters from somebody supplying him with many new words. When he finally managed to trace who this person was, he discovered he was locked away in England's most notorious mental asylum in Crowthorne.
This statue of Samuel Johnson is just ouside St Clement Danes on the Strand. The reason the statue is there is because Dr Johnson used to attend mass at this church regularly.
Dick Whittington outside the Guildhall
According to popular legend, Dick Whittington was a very poor boy who started walking to London as he had heard the streets there were paved with gold. On arriving, he found out this was far from the truth. He turned around an started walking back home. But when he got to Highgate Cemetery, he heard the Great Bow Bell (the bell in St Mary-le-Bow - see my must-see tip) tolling and believed it was saying "Turn again Whittington, thrice mayor of London" (thrice means 3 times).
He turned and went back. Dick Whittington did indeed become Mayor of London, and was mayor three times between 1397 and 1420. However the rest of the story is pure fabrication. Dick Whittington was the son of a nobleman, who was anything but poor!
This picture was taken just outside the Guildhall and is on the outside wall of the Guildhall Art Gallery.
Birth place of Sir Thomas More
Sir Thomas More (1478-1535) is best know because he was the man who dared to take on King Henry VIII when he decided to break away from the Catholic Church.
The reason Henry wanted to break away was because he wanted to divorce his first wife, and the church did not allow that. Henry then became leader of the newly founded Church of England. Being leader he could do what he liked, and divorced his queen (he went on to marry a further 5 times!). However Thomas Mores dispute with Henry VIII cost him his life. He was later canonized (made a saint) in 1935.
This Plaque can be found down Milk Street, EC2.
Use St Pauls Underground.
King Richard The Lionheart
If you start at the corner of Parliament Square nearest to Big Ben, and then walk along the front of the Houses of Parliament. If you keep walking for a couple of minutes (the Houses of Paliament are pretty big!), you'll come across a statue of King Richard I.
King Richard I was also known as King Richard the Lionheart as he seemed to like nothing better than heading off into battle, especially if it involved helping the Christians defend the Holy Land. He got his nickname as apparently he was outstandingly brave in battle. If you believe the legends, he was also good friends with Robin Hood, who had had trouble with John (Richards brother) whilst Richard was away from the country fighting his battles.
This statue shows Richard in his battle gear ready to go out and fight.
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