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London 02
September 28, 2008
Pete's Pics > London 02
 
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Kinds Cross, built in 1852, is a monument to King George IV. In this station is the mythical platform 9-3/4 featured in the Harry Potter stories


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St Pancras station, built 1868 to relieve congestion on existing lines, was a dual marvel. First, an outstanding example of Victorian gothic and second, the train shed was the largest single span structure in the world at the time


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Originally The Grand Midland Hotel, this distinctive structure is currently being renovated for use as an hotel and also as private condominiums. The station has also been updated and is a Eurostar Terminal offering fast service to Paris, Lille and Brussels


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Inside, we started searching for Marian...


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My oh my, how things have advanced since train arrivals were announced on a chalkboard


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We hunted down this statue, colloquially known as "The Meeting Place" - no sign of Marian


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Aha, the train shed. Must be getting warm now


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Whoopee! Actually found some trains


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And then, Poof! Like a Christmas elf, Marian materialized complete with knapsack and purse


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Marble Arch, a white Carrara marble monument, was built by John Nash in 1828 on the Mall as an entrance to Buckingham Palace. As the palace was extended, the arch was moved to its present location in 1851. At the junction of Oxford Street, Park Lane, Bayswater Road and Edgeware Road, the arch, which contains three small rooms, was used as a mini-police station until 1950


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Marble Arch is at the north-east corner of Hyde Park which is also known as Speakers Corner. A venue famed for demonstrations and protests, here is a faction of Hezbollah promoting the end of the Zionist State


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Polite and peaceful, these folk were happy to answer questions from sympathizers and hecklers alike


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Another kindly old Hezbollah agent


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Speaker's Corner used to be a seven-day-a-week entertainment with dozens of whackos on soap-boxes. It has since been reduced to Sundays only with just a few fiery fanatics holding forth - still an amusing spectacle


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This nutter, singing hymns for hours on end, did not attract much of a following. The more usual form of exchange is similar in value to those talking head programs on TV in which every question initiates a torrent of rote learned and totally irrelevant "talking points" rhetoric


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Mail addressed to Number One, London, will end up here, here being Apsley House, the former home of Richard Wellesley, Duke of Wellington. Located at Hyde Park Corner - the south-east corner of the park - the frenetic intersection connects Piccadilly, Constitution Hill, Grosvenor Place, Grosvenor Crescent, Knightsbridge and Park Lane


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With a serious identity crisis, this is known as the Wellington Arch, Constitution Arch and also the Green Park Arch. Commissioned along with Marble Arch by George IV to commemorate victories in the Napoleonic Wars this edifice is at the center of a huge traffic circle in front of Apsley House


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The Quadriga represents the Peace landing in a war chariot and is the largest bronze statue in Europe. Even this memorial was moved from its original location to make way for a road widening scheme way back in 1882. The arch also served as the second smallest police station in London until 1992


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On the same traffic circle is this war memorial dedicated to all those who fell in combat


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Now to Mohamed's shop. In 1834 a wholesale grocery store was opened in Stepney. The proprietor, Charles Harrod, moved the store to Knightsbridge in 1849 where it eventually became the largest department store in the world with over a million square feet and 330 departments. These buskers were trying to earn a crust outside one of the entrances


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Harrod's, on its 4-1/2 acre site, was purchased in 1985 by Ali and Mohamed Fayed for about $1 billion. Mohamed's son, Dodi, was killed in the 1997 car crash in Paris with Princess Diana. The store is truly fabulous although we did not observe anybody making a big ticket purchase :-(


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Toward the other end of the south side of Hyde Park is what is now known as the Royal Albert Hall. Originally commissioned by Queen Victoria in memory of her consort Albert as The Central Hall of Arts and Sciences, the Queen changed the name to Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences when laying the foundation stone.


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Across the street form the concert hall is the Albert Memorial itself. Albert died from typhoid in 1861 at the age of 42. The 176 feet high monument was officially opened in 1872


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Albert is robed as a Knight of the Garter and is holding a catalogue of The Great Exhibition


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Detail of the pavilion


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The Asia group, one of eight allegorical statures surrounding the central structure


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Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens blend together to form a 640 acre park. This lake is known as the Long Water at the west end and as the Serpentine at the Hyde Park end


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Despite the loss of three or four pubs each week on a national basis, those in London's residential areas have reinvented themselves and seem to be surviving


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Typically, pubs rely more on niche restaurant offering with the traditional pub features providing the liquor license to augment the menu


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Vegetable shop on the Edgeware Road. Such selections are much wider than they were when we left England in the 70's


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Must be a bummer to park


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Hooray! A flash of patriotism
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