Posts about History

  • Although there are plenty of monuments (with a small “m”) around London, there is only one Monument (with a large “M”): that to the Great Fire of London. The Great Fire of London, which raged through 400 acres of the city within the original Roman walls in September 1666, destroyed almost 90% of the city and left most of…

  • Jemima’s Journey Through Switzerland

    British Pathé was a leading news service in the earlier part of the twentieth century, when people would visit a picture house (or cinema) to see the latest news reels, instead of seeing them in the comfort of their own homes. British Pathé completed their YouTube channel this week and amongst around 85,000 films now online…

  • Borough Market

    The marketplace beneath the big railway viaduct near The Shard is Borough Market: one of London’s oldest. According to its own self-promotion, the market dates back to the twelfth century, when it was located at the southern end of the original London Bridge. Traders travel from far and wide to visit the market; a close…

  • St. Mary-le-Bow

    The church of St. Mary-le-Bow in London sits halfway between St. Paul’s Cathedral and the Bank of England, on the historic road known as Cheapside. The church is widely accepted by many Londoners as being the true centre of London: tradition indicates that in order to be a true “Cockney” (Londoner), one must have been born…

  • What remains of the original Blackfriars station on the Charing Cross railway in London – this signage – was restored in 2005, and is clearly visible within a short distance of the current Tube station at Southwark. The site of the station, now referred to as Blackfriars Road in order to avoid confusion with the…

  • Walk along the north side of the river Thames at Lambeth and only the comparatively new wooden boat sculptures will even make you notice White Hart Dock. It’s an enclosed pool of tidal water, fed from the river, which dates back to the 14th century. Now filled with little else than rubbish, it was once…

  • I have spent a lot of time walking around London over the past week, with the intention of finding new sights and things of interest instead of just repeating the same old sights I’ve seen and visited a million times before. One of them was unexpected, as I walked from Stockwell back to the West…

  • London is so big, that it’s difficult to know what to see when visiting for just a short time. I visited in order to take some documentary “street photographs” in summer 2012 and amongst the places I visited was the Barbican Estate: a largely brick and concrete, Brutalist estate in the City of London. I was repeatedly drawn…

  • The first crossing for the M4 motorway across the River Severn was opened in 1966. This bridge features heavily in my memories of travelling to Pembrokeshire as a child, as well as later visits to friends at university in Cardiff. Back then, I didn’t know the extent of the history of river crossings here. Until…

  • Jo and I took a stroll around the Ballenberg open air museum on her birthday weekend a couple of weeks ago. The museum and its buildings are officially open to the public between April and October, but the site, its paths and woodlands are left accessible after the business closes up for the winter. It’s a…

  • Frau Holle

    There are many unusual phrases which crop up from time to time when you live in a country where the national language is predominantly foreign. In the German language, there are a great number of phrases or unfamiliar references, from the slightly coarse to the bizarre. One such reference comes around at this time of…

  • An except from the exceptional temporary war-time rules of the Richmond Golf Club near London.

  • The view across the river and weir at Schwellenmätteli in Bern is wonderful on a late summer evening, and will be vastly improved from a photographic perfectionist’s point of view once the restoration work on the minster is complete. If I understand this article on Swiss newspaper website Der Bund correctly, there has been scaffolding…

  • Despite attempts at repeal through the years and with the exception of rallying and hillclimb events, spectator motor racing events have been banned in Switzerland for nearly sixty years. (Rallying and hillclimb events are allowed as the cars don’t race directly against one another and stringent spectator protection is enforced.) The Swiss have always been…

  • Looming over Evanton on the Cromarty Firth is Cnoc Fyrish (Fyrish Hill), topped by the strange construction of the Fyrish Monument. The construction was the brainchild of Sir Hector Munro of Novar, who had it built in 1792 to provide work for the unemployed during the time of the Highland Clearances.

  • If you’re heading along the A9 across the Cromarty Bridge in Scotland when the tide is out, you’ll see a number of blackened stumps sticking out of the mud of the estuary just next to the Ardullie roundabout for Dingwall. There is more of a history to them than you might think: they aren’t just random…

  • The older I get, the more I come to recognize the way in which my photographs aid my memory. This is borne out by the way in which I can scroll back through my Lightroom catalogue of digital photos – currently topping 61,000 entries on two external hard drives, with more to be added from…

  • When we visited southern Germany in 2011, one of the places I wanted to see was the former Nazi Party rally ground on the outskirts of Nuremberg. The site is one of huge historic importance and although all of the identifying insignia have been absent for nearly seventy years, much of the foundations and layout…

  • I drove through Brienz this weekend for the first time in a couple of years, and roadworks near the office where I used to work reminded me of the terrible events of August 2005.

  • Since the early part of the 20th century, Longines has become synonymous with timekeeping in the sports world and for measuring the accuracy of world records.

  • Schloss Banz

    Construction of this former monastery began in 1698. The church, built in Baroque style, was consecrated in 1719. The main altar, the chancel and the statues of saints in the church and on the facade are by Balthasar Esterbauer; the ceiling frescoes are by Melchior Steidl. In 1933 Duke Ludwig Wilhelm in Bavaria sold the…