Archive for the ‘London’ Category

A bright sunny day and a chance to do the weekly butterfly and dragonfly survey on my home patch. It has been a somewhat slow start to the year with sporadic butterflies and just two records so far of Large Red Damselfly (two weeks ago – which was an early date for this site) and nothing since. As I made my way down to the Tarn I found a female Brimstone and then by the pool a Holly Blue.

Holly Blue

 

Approx 6-8 Large Red Damselflies were on the pool and 2 pairs were busily laying eggs. A single Azure damselfly was also present.

Large Red Damselfly

Azure damselfly

 

 

 

 

 

This was to be the highlight as the remainder of the walk only yielded a single Green-veined White and a second Brimstone.

Green-veined White (1st brood Female)

The nesting season for birds is well underway and today there were young Coots, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Mallard around the Tarn.

Coot and young

Greylag Geese and young

Canada Goose and young

Mallard and young

 

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Egyptian Goose (Alopochen aegyptiaca)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Rose-ringed Parakeet [sp] (Psittacula krameri)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)

Green-veined White [sp] (Artogeia napi)
Brimstone (Gonepteryx rhamni)
Holly Blue (Celastrina argiolus)

Azure Damselfly (Coenagrion puella)
Large Red Damselfly (Pyrrhosoma nymphula)

 

 

 

Our journey on the Emirates Cable car was certainly a unique experience.

O2 Arena

Tall Ships seen from cable Car

 

All that remains of the Medieval Franciscan Monastery in London, or the famous school which occupied the same site, are two blue plaques on the wall of a London office building.

The friary was founded in Stinking Lane, part of the Butchers quarter, in 1225. The land was donated by merchants, the timber by King Henry III and the church building was financed by the Mayor of London. It was a prestigious foundation and rapidly expanded -within 20 years it housed 80 friars. The church was expanded again in the 13th century to have 11 chapels and amongst those buried there are 3 queens of England – Eleanor of Provence (Henry III); Margaret (Edward I) and  Isabella (Edward II).

Greyfriars-site-map in early 16th century By Peter Damian – The Grey Friars of London by C.L. Kingsbury, Public Domain, https/commons.wikimedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=12313224

It continued on the site until it was closed down in 1538 on the orders of Henry VIII as part of his dissolution of the monasteries.  The building passed to the City of London and the church continued to be used for worship. Henry’s son, Edward VI founded Christ’s hospital, a school for Orphans, in the friary buildings in 1552.

The church was destroyed by the Great Fire of London in 1666 and was rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and became known as Christchurch.

Remains of Christchurch

For more details on Christchurch go to

( https://petesfavouritethings.wordpress.com/2016/09/29/london-churches-christchurch-greyfriars/ ).

View of Greyfriars site 1895 = Public Domain, httpsen.wikipedia.orgwindex.phpcurid=27356487

Christ’s Hospital school remained on the site until 1902 when it relocated to Horsham in Sussex. The site was redeveloped and now houses the offices of Merrill Lynch International.

 

Perhaps one of the strangest named churches in the city of London, St Vedast-alias-Foster lies within the shadow of St Paul’s Cathedral. Its dedication is to Vedast, a sixth century Bishop of Arras in France, who had restored Christianity to that area by the conversion of King Clovis of the Franks. It is an unusual dedication in England and only two others are known – one in Tathwell in Lincolnshire and the other is in Norwich (the church no longer exists and is only remembered in a road name). There are a number of possibilities as to how a  parish in central London came to be named after such a little-known French saint. One is that St Vedast was particularly venerated by the Augustinian Friars and that this may have been how the dedication arrived in London. Alternatively, it may have been set up by the Flemish community living in London. A third possibility is that we know that one Ralph d’Arras was the Sheriff of London around 1275 and he may have brought the dedication from his hometown. Although there is some indication of a church on this site stretching back possibly as far as  1170, there was certainly a church on the site by the end of the 13th century. The ‘alias-Foster’ in the title refers to its position in Foster Lane, although if there was only one church with this dedication in London why did the location have to be added. Maybe there is another church yet to be discovered?

Entrance to St Vedast

The church was expanded in the 15th and 16th centuries, but as with many City churches succumbed to the great Fire of London in 1666. it would appear that although the church was gutted, the damage was not too severe as St Vedast appears to have continued in use form shortly afterwards. However in the 1690s, it became clear that the structural damage from the fire would need to be addressed and the church was rebuilt under the guidance of Sir  Christopher Wren, who completed the work in 1699. Again in keeping with many City churches, St Vedast was burnt out following the bombing raid of 29 December 1940. Plans for rebuilding were laid in 1947, but work on the restoration did not begin until 1953.

Font

Pulpit

Stained Glass above main altar

Secluded courtyard garden entered through St Vedast church

St Vedast, as it stands today, is a haven of peace and quiet in one of the busiest parts of the city. In addition to its architecture, the church also has a  collection of church silverware which include some pieces from before the Commonwealth period. This is quite unusual as most of these were destroyed by the Commonwealth inspectors.

Elizabethan Chalice and Paten.

Olympic Stadium, Stratford

The emirates airline cable car allows wonderful views of East London.

O2 Arena

Thames Flood Barrier

East India Dock (now a nature reserve)

Excel Exhibition Centre

Docklands Light Railway

We were very fortunate to get some great views of Tall Ships while we were crossing the river on the cable car.

Amazing! What is still to be discovered elsewhere in London?

Stephen Liddell

As the residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury for centuries, Lambeth Palace, which sits on the south bank of the River Thames in London might be expected to have its fair share of graves of prominent people in history.

However, recent building work at the now deconsecrated church of St Mary-at-Lambeth has unearthed some incredible and totally unexpected findings.    Despite every corner of this old church being carefully examined and renovated over the years, builders have just discovered the remains of several Archbishops of Canterbury from the 17th century beneath a medieval parish church in south-west London.

The renovation team were lifting flagstones and exposing the ground in the church when they uncovered what looked like an entry to a tomb.   To search the void, located next to Lambeth Palace, they used a mobile phone camera as their guide.

Incredibly the builders had discovered an ancient crypt that…

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On a recent visit to Greenwich for the tall ships Festival, Keith and I decided to take a ride on the emirates cable car.

In the middle of 2010, Transport forLondon announced plans to develop a cable car across the River Thames. It would connect North Greenwich to the Royal Victoria docks. The final design was 1100 m long with a clearance over the River of between 54 m and 87 m.  The following year it was announced that it would be sponsored by Emirates airline and construction began in August of that year. The cable car was opened on 28 June 2012 just in time for the London Olympics, connecting venues in the dockland area with those at the O2 Arena in Greenwich.

 

The cable car has 34 gondolas, each carrying a maximum of 10 people (although from my experience 110 people would be quite a squash). At its peak, shortly after opening, it carried 42,500 people a week but this is now settled back to an average of 28,000 journeys per week.

 

 

 

Greenwich Ecology Park

 

During our visit to the Tall ships festival, Keith and I took the opportunity to drop into the Greenwich Ecology Park to see if any Common Terns had arrived after migration at this breeding site and also to check whether the first dragonflies had emerged. The reserve was relatively quiet with just a few resident birds present – there were no Terns to be seen and no dragonflies either.

Greenwich Ecology Park

On leaving the reserve we walked towards the O2 dome and we found two Common Terns sitting on a barge in the middle of the river, along with a selection of Gulls.

Common Tern

Lesser Black-backed Gull

Herring Gull

Canada Goose

Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Tern [sp] (Sterna hirundo)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)

 

Keith and I spent a day at the Tall Ships festival this week. Our first stop was at The Royal Arsenal at Woolwich where a number of visiting ships were berthed.

Artemis built in 1926 as a whaler. Later converted to a freighter and now used as a floating hotel cruising the Baltic.

Replica of The Nao Victoria which circumnavigated the world in 1519-1522

Tolkien was built as a diesel powered tug operating out of Rostock. In 1995 she was in Rotterdam when the company who owned her went bankrupt. She was bought by a private individual who removed her diesel engines and converted her into a top-sail schooner. She operates cruises in the Baltic and the North Sea

 

TS Royalist belongs to the Sea Cadets and is used for training.

When the ships leave Greenwich on Sunday, they will sail to Portugal before crossing the Atlantic to Canada.