May 2016 - CHS Rentals

Month: May 2016

The Proms
by Cedric

For music enthusiasts, one of the highlights of the musical calendar is the Proms. Presented by the BBC, the Proms is an eight-week summer season of daily concerts of orchestral classical music. This year the season opens on Friday 15th July and ends on Saturday 10th September and 91 concerts will be presented in 58 days. The majority of these take place in the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington, London. The Proms has been described as ‘the world’s largest and most democratic musical festival’.

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London’s pleasure gardens. The audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. In the context of the BBC Proms this now refers to the use of the standing areas inside the hall. As a consequence ticket prices are much lower than for the reserved seating. Tickets for either the Arena or Gallery in the Royal Albert Hall can only be purchased on the day of the concert. This can give rise to long queues for well-known artists or works. Those who stand are often referred to as ‘Promenaders’.

The opening concert features works Tchaikovsky, Elgar and Prokofiev with the BBC Symphony Orchestra conducted by Sakari Oramo. Many guest soloists and orchestras perform during the season but the last night of the Proms is a very special experience. Tickets for last night seating are subject to a ballot, which can only be entered if tickets to a number of other concerts have been purchased. Needless to say Promenaders queue all day or even through the previous night to obtain standing room in the arena.

The concerts were inaugurated on 10 August 1895 in the Queen’s Hall with the British conductor Sir Henry Wood as the sole conductor. However in May 1941 the Queen’s Hall was devastated beyond repair during an air raid and the Royal Albert Hall is now the permanent venue.

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Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships
by Cedric

This year’s Championships will take place between the 27th June and the 10th July. Wimbledon is the only one of the four grand slams to be played on grass. Being the world’s longest running and most prestigious tennis tournament, it is the one title that every top professional player would love to win. In keeping with a long tradition, there is still a strict white-only dress code for players.

Centre Court, which is the main show court, has a capacity of about 15,000 spectators. A retractable roof was installed in 2009 enabling play to continue in the event of rain. The roof takes up to 10 minutes to close, during which time play is suspended. However, the time to transfer from outside to inside play can be up to 45 minutes while the air-conditioning system acclimatises the stadium for indoor-grass competition.

The other show court is designated No 1 Court and it currently has a capacity of about 11,000 spectators. Plans have reached an advanced stage to remodel this court and to equip it with a retractable roof as well. In total 19 grass courts are in use during the two weeks of the Championships.

Wimbledon now attracts around 500,000 visitors during the two weeks while the television audience in Britain and around the world runs into very many millions. This is a far cry from the game’s humble beginnings. On 23 July 1868 The All England Croquet Club was founded. Its name was changed in 1877 to The All England Croquet and Lawn Tennis Club It was in July 1877 that the first lawn tennis meeting was organised, which was open to all amateurs. A total of 22 men took part and the total attendance for the final was 200. The pessimists were convinced that the new fangled game of lawn tennis would never catch on.

Since 1924 tickets have been allocated by a public ballot which is always heavily over-subscribed. But all is not lost as a number of tickets are always available each day. If you are hoping to get to see the action on Centre Court, Court No 1 or Court No 2 you should be prepared to queue overnight, which many do. However there are several thousand tickets available each day admitting visitors into the grounds and giving them the chance to watch games from the No 2 court standing enclosure and from unreserved seating and standing on the outside courts and on the big screen at ‘Henman Hill’.

The Championships are also famous for the two weeks of strawberries & cream. Each year at Wimbledon 28,000 kg of strawberries are eaten along with 7,000 litres of cream. Also 28,000 bottles of champagne are consumed.

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Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
by Cedric

Held without interruption since 1769, the Summer Exhibition will be held this year between 13th June and 21st August. The Royal Academy of Arts is at Burlington House, Piccadilly. Being now the largest open submission exhibition in the world, it is a showcase for art of all styles and media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film. This must-see exhibition is a unique window onto all areas of the contemporary art world.

The gallery exists to promote art and artists and opens its doors to anyone who considers themselves an artist. This allows them to have their work judged by their peers. All the artists share a deep held belief in the contribution that artists make to the world.

The works on display are selected and hung by Royal Academicians, and entry is open to all artists. In previous years, nearly two thirds of the exhibits were by non-Academicians. Everything you will see at the Summer Exhibition represents what is happening in the art world right now. New and recent art created by everyone from emerging artists to the biggest names in contemporary art and architecture.

At one time the show was known simply as ‘The Exhibition’, where the likes of Gainsborough and Reynolds, Turner and Constable sharpened their skills against each other. Nowadays, although there’s a plethora of art fairs, commercial galleries and contemporary exhibitions to choose from, the galleries at Burlington House still make an unrivalled setting for artists to display and sell their artworks. Many of the pieces on display are for sale, and can range in price from under £100 for a limited edition print, to thousands for major oils and sculptures.

Regarding refreshments, there is a choice of the RA Grand Cafe or The Keeper’s House for a mid exhibition break.

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The Musical Museum
by Cedric

The Musical Museum is located in Brentford close to Kew Bridge and 10 minutes walk from Kew Bridge railway station. The museum contains one of the world’s foremost collections of self-playing musical instruments. From the tiniest of clockwork musical boxes to a Mighty Wurlitzer, the collection embraces an array of rare working player pianos, orchestrions, orchestrelles, residence organs and violin players. The Museum also contains the world’s largest collection of historic musical rolls.

The instruments and exhibits are arranged over three floors. The ground floor galleries display instruments once found in the large houses of the wealthy and in more humble dwelling and cafes. Visitors can take in the displays of musical toys and street instruments and experience the actions and sounds of self-playing instruments.

The building also houses a concert hall which doubles as a cinema that can seat up to 230 people. It is in the concert hall that the fully restored Wurlitzer theatre organ can be found. It was formerly the resident organ at the Regal Cinema in Kingston. A range of musical entertainment spanning organ recitals, cabaret, classical music and light opera is on regular offer. Performers come from many parts of the UK and overseas. The organ can also be attached to a roll playing mechanism.

The Museum was founded in 1963 by the late Frank Holland as The British Piano Museum. He believed that self-playing musical instruments should be preserved and played. He had started a personal collection of player pianos and other instruments but these eventually filled his flat. Consequently in 1963 the collection was moved to the redundant church of St. George’s in Brentford. It remained there until 2008 when a new museum building was opened nearby.

Staffed mainly by volunteers, specialist guides demonstrate instruments and audio tours are available in English, French and German providing a comprehensive introduction to the collection.

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Queen’s Club Tennis Championship
by Cedric

This year the Championships at The Queen’s Club will take place between the 13th and 19th June. The Aegon Championships are one of the six most prestigious grass competitions for male players on the ATP tour with both singles and doubles competitions. Each year, following the French Open in Paris, which is the climax of the clay court season, the Queen’s Club competition offers many top players the opportunity to adjust to playing on grass in preparation for the Wimbledon Championships starting on the 27th June this year.

Established in 1886 and named after Queen Victoria, The Queen’s Club in West London was the first multipurpose sports complex ever built anywhere in the world. The Club prides itself on being one of the finest racquets clubs in the country with a large range of racquets sports. It boasts 27 outdoor Lawn Tennis courts, of which 12 are arguably the finest grass courts in the world, 10 indoor Lawn Tennis courts (a winter bubble also houses 2 shale indoor courts), 2 Real Tennis courts, 2 Rackets courts, 3 Squash courts and a Gymnasium.

The tennis tournament is one of the longest-running and most respected on the ATP World Tour due to its amazing grass courts and fantastic, intimate atmosphere. Many players have gone on to do well at Wimbledon after playing Queen’s. Last year’s Queen’s singles champion Andy Murray will be joined this year by the 2015 French Open champion Stan Wawrinka and multiple Grand Slam winner Rafael Nadal as well as many other top players.

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Notting Hill Carnival 2016
by Harley Nott

August 28-29, 2016

The Notting Hill Carnival brings the streets of West London alive every August Bank Holiday weekend as London celebrates Europe’s biggest street party. With calypso music, steel bands and a huge array of tempting food stalls the Notting Hill Carnival is a huge party to which everyone is invited!

Sunday 28th is Family Day at the Festival with the children’s day parade, followed by the main parade on Bank Holiday Monday 29th with its amazing floats and costumed performers. It really is a spectacle not to be missed.

Second in size now only to Rio de Janeiro, the Notting Hill Carnival began in 1964 with only around 500 people attending. These days you can expect to see some 50,000 performers and hundreds of thousands spectators.

A number of local tube stations will be closed or subject to disruption during the carnival and we suggest you check which stations will be affected before you travel. However, guests staying in our London vacation rental properties: ALD, CVN, KNH, QSC2 and SSG are all within walking distance of the fun. Our property ASR is at the epicentre of the carnival. You will either love the noise and atmosphere or hate it!

You can find out more about the carnival here, at the time of writing it still displays details of the 2015 event but you’ll get a very good idea of the action.

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