Archive for April, 2016

The Salt Tower was built around 1230 as part of Henry III’s curtain wall. It has an upper chamber which has been used as accommodation for prisoners. Most famous of these was John Balliol, King of Scots from 1296-1299. It has a display of prisoner graffitti.

The E is thought to refer to the future Elizabeth the First. The signature is of John Baptiste Catiglione, Elizabeth's Italian tutor who was imprisoned here by Queen Mary.

The E is thought to refer to the future Elizabeth the First. The signature is of John Baptiste Catiglione, Elizabeth’s Italian tutor who was imprisoned here by Queen Mary.

 

This globe is by Huw Draper, Bristol inn-keeper and Astrologer who was imprisoned on charges of socery

This globe is by Huw Draper, Bristol inn-keeper and Astrologer who was imprisoned on charges of sorcery.

 

John Lyon ws  imprisoned  in the Salt Tower on charges of importing a Catholic book into the country

John Lyon ws imprisoned in the Salt Tower on charges of importing a Catholic book into the country

Sunsets are one of my favourite scenes to photograph. here are some photos taken at the end of the afternoon on a recent boat trip on the Medway Estuary in Kent.

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Originally opened as a method of raising capital funds for the impoverished government of the day to raise funds for public works and government expenditure. Lenders lent sums of money to the bank and were issued with notes against government bonds which could then be transferred from one person to another. Thus the bank note was born. Although this aspect of bank notes is now lost the Bank of England notes still carry the line ‘I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of …..’ and signed by the chief cashier. This is because these original notes could be cashed for coinage at the bank.

The bank first operated from offices within the Mercer’s Hall in Cheapside and then moved to the Grocer’s hall in Poultry.

Mercer's Hall

Mercer’s Hall

 

Grocer's hall

Grocer’s hall

It was not until 1734 that it moved into its own building in Threadneedle St, where it has remained to this day, although the original building occupied  less than 20% of its current area

The original Threadneedle St building

The original Threadneedle St building

. It is thought that this was the world’s first purpose-built bank. The original banking hall from this building survived the redevelopments and was not replaced until the 1920’s.

The original banking hall which remained in use until 1920's

The original banking hall which remained in use until 1920’s

The first major redevelopment was between 11765 and 1788 when two wings were added to the original building.

One of the wings added to the original building  between 1765 and 1788

One of the wings added to the original building between 1765 and 1788

The Wakefield Tower was built by Henry III sometime between 1238 and 1272. In early records it is sometimes known as the Record or Hall Tower as from 1360 it was used to store the records of the Kingdom. Its current name seems to date from the holding of prisoners in the tower following the battle of wakefield in 1460. Its most famous prisoner was King Henry VI who lived here from 1465 until he was briefly restored to the throne in 1470.

Wakefield Tower

Wakefield Tower

However, it was not long before he was returned to his prison on 21st May 1470. He was murdered in his chamber the following day.

 

Entrance to lower chamber of Wakefield Tower

Entrance to lower chamber of Wakefield Tower

In the lower chamber is an exhibition on torture at the Tower. Surprisingly torture was not as frequently used in the middle ages as we might think. Between 1540 and 1640 records show only 81 cases in which its use was sanctioned – of these 48 were carried out at the Tower of London. In this exhibition is a replica of a medieval rack, which is based on plans drawn up in the 18th century from the remains of an original medieval rack discovered in a Tower store room.

Replica of Rack

Replica of Rack

Lichens and Mosses

Posted: April 21, 2016 in London, Natural History, UK
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These small plants are often overlooked, but are really attractive. Here are some photos I took recently on a trip to the London Wetland Centre

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Common Seals

Posted: April 19, 2016 in Mammals, Natural History
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Here are some photos of Common seals taken on recent boat trip on Medway

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Andrew Cunningham was born near Dublin in 1883 and after schooling in Dublin and Edinburgh went to Dartmouth naval College. After graduation he was quickly promoted and by the outbreak of World War I was a destroyer commander. He served in the Dardanelles and Baltic and was awarded a Distinguished Service Order on 3 occasions for his part in military actions. between the world wars his rise through the ranks continued and by the outbreak of World War II he was commander of the Meditteranean fleet. he was the commander at the battle of Taranto in 1940 and Cape Matapan in 1941. In 1943 he was appointed First Sea Lord a position he held until 1946.

He was created a Baron in 1945 and a Viscount the following year. After his retirement from the Admiralty he served in a number of ceremonial roles including that of Lord High Steward at the coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953. he died in 1963. This bust is in Trafalgar Square alongside other famous Admirals.

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The cradle tower was built around 1350 as a personal watergate entrance for King Edward III. It later became another tower for holding prisoners. Two prominent prisoners held and tortured in the Cradle Tower were John Gerard, a Jesuit priest, who was arrested in 1597 but subsequently escaped and Anne Askew, a protestant martyr who was burned at the stake in 1546 for heresy.

The upper floor of the tower was rebuilt in the 19th century.

Garganey

Posted: April 14, 2016 in Birds, Natural History
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During our recent visit to the London Wetland Centre, Keith and I took the opportunity to spend some time photographing the Garganey in the wildfowl collection and to get a recording of the unusual clicking noise that they make.

 

 

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River Medway: Napoleonic forts

Posted: April 13, 2016 in History, Kent, UK
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On the islands in the River Medway are the remains of a number forts built to protect the docks from attack. Their construction was matched by the building of large garrison forts in the Medway Towns area.