All of this happened in complete silence, except for the sound of the horse's hooves.
We didn't go inside the Clock Tower. I found the picture of the bell on the internet.
This statue is one of the first in the world to be made of cast aluminum.
This is the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain.
Its statue is usually called simply Eros.
Four churches dedicated to St. Paul rose and fell near the east end of Fleet Street after St. Augustine arrived in Kent in AD 596. The Stuart King Charles II appointed a favorite architect, Christopher Wren, to renovate the fifth. That work had barely begun when the Great Fire of 1666 destroyed the fifth church along with nearly all of London.
Six days after the fire, Wren presented a bold plan for urban renewal. Charles liked it, but didn't have the money to fund it. By the time work might have started, Londoners had already started to rebuild along the lines that existed before the fire.
Wren's early designs for a new cathedral were rejected as too modern, too radical, too Catholic. He eventually submitted a plan that satisfied the church elders. Charles approved it, while granting the architect freedom to make "variations, rather ornamental than essential." This was obviously done with a wink and a nod, and Wren proceeded to change just about everything possible in the approved design. By the time the clergy realized what was happening, the construction was too far along to be changed.
Although Christopher Wren infuriated the church establishment, he produced a masterpiece of neo-classical architecture. He was eventually buried there, where the inscription on his tomb says Lector, si monumentum requiris circumspice — "Reader, if you seek his memorial, look around you."
Queen Anne's statue graces the entrance to St. Paul's Cathedral. Christopher Wren began construction on his magnum opus in 1675 under James II, but the work was not finished until James's second daughter was on the throne.
There has been a bridge across the Thames River for two thousand years. From time to time, it kept falling down.
The Romans built the first bridge in 43 AD, a sort of pontoon bridge that used planks laid across a row of anchored boats. There were a few other iterations until 1014, when King Æthelred the Unready allied with Norway's King Olaf to retake London from the invading Danes. As they sailed up the river, the Danes rained arrows on them, but they made cover from thatched roofs taken from nearby houses. They tied cables to the piles supporting the bridge and rowed away, pulling the bridge down.
A stone bridge was built here in 1176. People began building houses and shops on it, until it was hard to see the bridge for all the other stuff. There were a few disastrous fires, as in 1623 when a servant left some ashes under wooden stairs. Many houses were destroyed, and people in the sound houses started moving out. By 1657, all the houses had been razed.
The bridge was repaired many times, and eventually replaced in 1825. More repairs followed over the years, until it was decided in 1962 that it was again time to start over. American developer Robert McCulloch bought the old bridge, numbered every brick while taking it apart, and reassembled it as a tourist attraction in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. It was said at the time that he thought he was buying the more picturesque Tower Bridge downstream, but Mr. McCulloch knew what he was doing.
The story of the Tower of London has been the story of English monarchy since William the Conqueror started building it in the eleventh century. He began with the White Tower, which is still the central building there. Part of its structure was the old Roman city wall.
Although the Tower could serve as a defensive base for London, its main purpose was to protect the royal family in times of civil disorder.
The Plantagenet years were marked with intense palace intrigue, accompanied by significant expansion of the Tower's buildings and defenses. The Wars of the Roses and the Tudor years brought more expansion. By the time Henry VIII died in 1547, the Tower of London looked pretty much as we see it today — an impenetrable fort surrounded by two curtain walls and a deep moat.
Henry's daughters made brutal use of the place. His only son died young, and Bloody Mary became queen. She imprisoned her half-sister Elizabeth, who narrowly escaped execution for treason. When it was her turn on the throne, Elizabeth I also kept prisoners there, notably including her favorite Sir Walter Raleigh.
King Charles I allowed Parliament to get control of the Tower, facilitating Oliver Cromwell's takeover. Cromwell installed a small military guard, which has been present ever since. Those are the guys in red coats and fur hats who watch over the Queen's House and Waterloo Barracks. They have also served in more practical uniforms in several overseas wars, including a disturbance in North America in the late 18th century.
Since the Restoration, the Tower has been home to the Crown Jewels, except for a short time during World War II, when they were kept safe in a location that has never been revealed. The jewels last left the Tower for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.
The Royal Mint was here from the Middle Ages until it outgrew the space available in 1812. At that time, the Mint filled the whole space between the two curtain walls. Cotemporary with the Mint was the royal menagerie, which became the nucleus of the London Zoo in the early 1830s.
There are always half a dozen ravens living at the Tower. Legend has it that if they are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it. Their flight feathers are clipped to encourage them to stay.
Many prisoners, including Queen Elizabeth I, arrived at the Tower via the River Thames.
The Roman city wall of London was built in the late second or early third century. A small turret on the inner side of the wall marked a change in its direction at this point. Later an external bastion replaced the inner turret. William the Conqueror used the Roman Wall here to form the eastern side of his castle. In the 12th century the Wardrobe Tower was built on the remains of the last Roman bastion. Subsequently a large medieval building was built running northwards enclosing a narrow courtyard between it and the White Tower.
The building was demolished in 1879.
The White Tower is the original Norman castle, built by William the Conqueror in the late 11th century. It was a bit over 900 years old at the time of our visit. There are several exhibits here, including the Crown Jewels.
In the Upper chamber on the first floor of the Wakefield Tower was the King's private bedchamber, off of which is a chapel separated by a painted wooden screen. It was here, on 21 May 1461, where tradition has it that Henry VI was murdered on the orders of his cousin Edward IV. It is said that Henry was quietly praying in the chapel at the time.
Today, the chamber is set out as it was at the time of Edward I, as a throne room. The newer St. Thomas's Tower opposite, built later between 1275 and 1279, provided the King with more spacious and comfortable accommodation.
|Queen Anne Boleyn||Second wife of Henry VIII||19 May 1536|
|Margaret, Countess of Salisbury||Last Plantagenet Princess||27 May 1541|
|Queen Catherine Howard||Fifth wife of Henry VIII||13 Feb 1542|
|Jane, Viscountess of Rochford||Wife of Anne Boleyn's brother||13 Feb 1542|
|Lady Jane Grey||Uncrowned Queen of 9 days||12 Feb 1554|
|Robert Deveraux||Earl of Essex||25 Feb 1601|
It's a lovely little city in its own right – I wish we had been able to spend more time there. Charles Dickens also liked the place a lot. This is where he did a significant amount of his writing.
on to Canterbury