December 2015 - CHS Rentals

Month: December 2015

The Pavilion Café, Victoria Park
by Cedric

Located to the North East of the City and close to the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the Pavilion Café in Victoria Park must be one of London’s finest park cafés. Situated in an ornamental pavilion that has been revamped with a clean modern interior, the café is famous for its picturesque location and delicious menu.

It sits right at the side of the revamped lake and in all weathers it is glorious to sit outside and soak in the atmosphere of the park. The food menu features amazing breakfasts (including my favourite – crab Benedict), lunchtime specials like quiches and salads, and some of the best cakes in East London.

There’s always a lively atmosphere, with Hackney hipsters integrating seamlessly with young families and true locals. It’s the perfect place for a pit-stop when enjoying the delights of London’s finest park.

The text and photograph are by Matt Bramford as posted in ‘Spotted by Locals’

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Famous London Pubs – Lamb and Flag
by Cedric

To be found in Rose Street, Covent Garden, great London pubs do not get more historic than this one. The very first mention of a pub on this site dates from 1772, when it was known as The Coopers Arms – the name changed to The Lamb & Flag in 1833. However the first building in this spot dates back to 1638. The building’s brickwork is circa 1958 and conceals what may be an early 18th century frame of the house, which in turn replaced the original 1638 structure.

The pub acquired a reputation in the early nineteenth century for staging bare-knuckle prize fights earning it the nickname ‘The Bucket of Blood, and the alleyway beside the pub was the scene of an attack on the poet John Dryden in 1679 by thugs hired by John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, with whom he had a long-standing quarrel. Nowadays the pub is rather more friendly. There are no signs of the brawls but instead you enter a rather cramped, family-friendly bar that serves tourists a fine gravy-laden roast on Sundays. There is an excellent selection of beers.

The historic photographs of Charles Dickens, who is believed to have been a regular customer, are worth viewing, as is the diminutive staircase up to the loos, which may not be so easy to negotiate after a few drinks.

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London Zoo
by Cedric

London Zoo was opened on the 27th April 1828 by the Zoological Society of London, which itself was only established in 1826. It is the world’s oldest scientific zoo and was originally intended to house a collection of animals for scientific study. It was eventually opened to the public in 1847. As well as being the first scientific zoo, London Zoo also opened the first Reptile house in 1849, first public Aquarium in 1853, the first insect house in1881 and the first children’s zoo in 1938.

Today a collection of some 800 species of animals can be found. In turn some 19,000 individual mammals, birds, reptiles, fish and insects are housed making it one of the largest collections in the United Kingdom. The Zoo receives no state funding and relies on membership subscriptions from ‘Fellows’ and ‘Friends’ s, entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income.

The zoo is sometimes referred to as Regent’s Park Zoo as it is situated at the northern end of Regent’s Park, on the boundary between the City of Westminster and the Borough of Camden. The Regent’s Canal actually runs through the Zoo.

The Zoological Society of London also has a more spacious site at Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire where larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. Needless to say today an important role is played by the Zoo in preserving endangered species. Conservation both on the ground and in the field is the core of this work. From locating the remaining populations of threatened species to promoting sustainable wildlife-human relations in local communities, the Zoo’s projects address a variety of problems facing wildlife today by using a wide range of solutions.

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British Museum
by Cedric

Dedicated to human history, art, and culture, The British Museum is located in the Bloomsbury area of London. It has a permanent collection numbering some 8 million works and is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence. Exhibits originate from all continents and illustrate and document the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

Largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane, The British Museum was established in 1753. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, which was on the site of the current museum building. Its growth over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of British colonial expansion. There are many galleries dedicated to specific topics such as Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, the Roman Empire, Assyria, Mesopotamia etc. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of controversy and there are calls for their restitution to their countries of origin.

One of the most interesting exhibits is the Rosetta Stone, which is inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis, Egypt, in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text uses Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek. Presenting essentially the same text in all three scripts, the stone provided the key to the modern understanding of Egyptian hieroglyphs. It was discovered by a French soldier in 1799 during Napoleon’s Egyptian campaign but fell into English hands in 1801 and has been exhibited at the British Museum since 1802.

The Greek Revival façade facing Great Russell Street is a characteristic building of Sir Robert Smirke, with 44 Ionic columns 45 ft (14 m) high, closely based on those of the temple of Athena Polias at Priene in Asia Minor. The construction commenced around the courtyard with the East Wing (The King’s Library) in 1823–1828, followed by the North Wing in 1833–1838. The pediment over the main entrance is decorated by sculptures by Sir Richard Westmacott depicting The Progress of Civilisation and consisting of fifteen allegorical figures, which were installed in 1852.

Until 1997, when the British Library previously centred on the Round Reading Room moved to a new site, the British Museum housed both the national museum of antiquities and the national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.

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Donald Trump’s Ignorance about London
by Cedric

Having been born and having lived in London for many decades, I and all Londoners are outraged by the recent pronouncement by Donald Trump that “parts of London are so radicalised that the police are frighten for their lives”. This is complete and utter nonsense. I would happily visit any part of London during the day or at night and to claim that the police are frightened for their lives is simply ridiculous.

Normally I would not presume to comment publically about American politics but the thought that Donald Trump, a man with such misguided and ill informed views, is currently the leading contender for the Republican nomination and could be elected in 2016 as the 45th American President and the next ‘Leader of the Free World’ fills me and many others with horror.

There are reputedly more than 2 million Muslims now living in the U.K. They regard themselves as British and are integrated into British Society living normal, peaceful lives like any other citizens of this country. Yes, there has been some radicalisation amongst usually young men and women, but we are talking about a few hundred not thousands or tens of thousands. The vast majority of British Muslims abhor this radicalisation, which is a complete corruption of the teachings of the Quran.

You may ask why we do not just disregard the untrue assertions of Donald Trump but there are implications. London is an attraction for tourists, and some 3 million visitors come to here every year including many, many Americans. If people believe Donald Trump’s irresponsible statements they will be deterred from coming here and economic consequences for our city would be significant.

Whilst any loss of life is tragic, in conclusion let us put things into perspective:-

  • The worst Islamist atrocity in New York was the 9/11 destruction of the twin towers in 2001 when nearly 3,000 people including non-American lost their lives. In 2015 alone there have been six terrorist incidents in the US culminating in the San Bernadino shooting on the 2nd December when 14 people were killed.
  • In contrast the worst Islamist atrocity in London occurred on the 7th July 2005 when 56 people were killed by 4 suicide bombers Since 2005 until the present time there have only been 4 further terrorist incidents in Britain with minimal loss of life.
  • The murder count for 2014 for New York was 328.
  • The murder count for 2014 for London was 93.

Life involves a degree of risk although one does ones best to minimise it. However I would not be deterred from visiting New York or other cities in the US because of the above statistics. In turn I would hope that potential visitors to London will not be taken in by Trump’s ignorance and take a common sense view.

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Famous London Pubs – Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
by Cedric

A favourite with tourists due to its age, Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a Grade 11 listed public house (pub) located at 145 Fleet Street. The first pub on this site was the Horn Tavern, which was built in 1538. It was destroyed during the Great Fire of London in 1666. The present pub is one of a number rebuilt after the fire and it was renamed the Cheshire Cheese in 1667.

There’s no natural light inside and each room has a different style. The smallest, near the entrance, is Victorian in character. Above the doorway a sign reads “Gentlemen only served in this bar” but this rule no longer applies. A converted cellar decorated with beer barrels offers a rustic feel, while the higher floors are more elegantly furnished.

Some of the interior wood panelling is nineteenth century although some may even be original or at least very old. Prior to the building of the Horn Tavern there was an inn owned by the Carmelite Monastery dating back to the 13th century and the vaulted cellars are thought to belong to the monastery.

The entrance to this pub is situated in a narrow alleyway and is very unassuming, yet once inside visitors will realise that the pub occupies a lot of floor space and has numerous bars and gloomy rooms. In winter, open fireplaces are used to keep the interior warm.

In the bar room are posted plaques showing famous people who were regulars. Inside are striking original portraits, a roaring coal fire and woodchips scattered around the floor — as there would have been years ago ­– to soak up the spilled beer, dirt and bile walked in from the streets outside.

The literary figures said to have been ‘regulars’ include Oliver Goldsmith, Mark Twain, Alfred Tennyson, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, G.K. Chesterton, P. G. Wodehouse, Dr. Johnson and Charles Dickens although there is no recorded evidence that Dr Johnson ever visited the pub, only that he lived close by at 17 Gough Square.

While there are several older London pubs which have survived because they were beyond the reach of the fire or like The Tipperary on the opposite side of Fleet Street because they were made of stone, this pub continues to attract interest due its gloomy charm.

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