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London 04
September 29, 2008
Pete's Pics > London 04
 
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At the south end of Whitehall is Parliament Square. On the south side of the square are Westminster Abbey (at the back) with St Margaret's Church contained in its grounds


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Big Ben looks onto the square as does the front side of the Houses of Parliament. The London Eye can be seen across the river


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The facade of the Houses of Parliament, the official name of which is actually the Palace of Westminster. With 1,100 rooms, 100 staircases and 3 miles of corridors, the Palace is home to the House of Commons (lower house of 646 elected members) and the House of Lords (upper house populated by 746 peers and other appointees)


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The detail all over the building is quite eleaborate


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Oliver Cromwell is a highly controversial figure in British history in which his attributes range from genocidal maniac to savior of the Empire. Here he stands in a courtyard of the palace


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Richard I - The Lionheart - who reigned from 1189 to 1199, is likewise honored with this equestrian statue. From leading his army at the age of 16, this laddie was variously Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Duke of Gascony, Lord of Ireland, Lord of Cyprus, Count of Anjou, Count of Nantes and Overlord of Brittany. Ambitious little tyke


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At the west end of the palace is Victoria's Tower also known as the Monarch's Entrance to the palace. This snap was taken from Victoria Tower Gardens and shows the "The Burghers of Calais", a sculpture by Auguste Rodin, that was purchased by the Brits in 1911


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Right across the street from current palace is the Jewel Tower, a surviving fragment of the medieval Palace of Westminster. Built around 1365 to house the treasures of Edward III its alternative name was the "King's Privy Wardrobe"


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The apse of St Margaret's Anglican church is also across the street from the Houses of Parliament


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George V who conked out in 1936 led to the Edward VIII debacle with "that" American woman, Mrs. Simpson. Unable to stomach a divorcee as Consort to the King, the powers that were exiled Edward following his abdication and elevated his brother George VI to do a bit of kinging


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The facade of St Margaret's. This is the parish church for locals and members of parliament alike, providing a simpler option than the abbey that stands at the right side of this shot


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St Margaret's interior. The church was consecrated in 1523


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Officially The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, this is Westminster Abbey, the traditional place of coronations and burials for the British Royals. Folklore has it that the Abbey was founded in 616 CE but most of the construction occurred fitfully from the 13th to the 16th century with the twin towers being added in the 18th century. Much of the stone for the original building was hauled in from France


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Nicholas Hawksmoor constructed these handsome towers from Portland stone between 1722 and 1745 - an early example of a Gothic Revival design. Further rebuilding and restoration occurred in the 19th century under Sir George Gilbert Scott. To the right is Dean's Yard, part of the Benedictine monastery


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Dean's Yard (actually a large enclosed rectangle behind this impressive facade) functioned as an on again, off again monastery throughout the tortuous history of religious freedoms and persecutions in English history


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Methodist Central Hall was built in 1912 for the centenary of John Wesley's death on the site of the Royal Aquarium, Music Hall and Imperial Theatre. A mixed use facility, it hosted the first meeting of the UN in 1946 and has been the chosen venue for many famous events. It is right across the street from Westminster Abbey


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Of the numerous statues around Parliament Square, this is probably the most widely recognized


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Lloyd George, the only Welsh Prime Minister to date, held that post from 1916 until 1922. His self-serving power grab in 1916 split the Liberal Party who have been relegated to a distant third in every election since. Part of his legacy includes the introduction of old age pensions, unemployment benefit and state financial support for the sick and infirm


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Margaret Thatcher had a running fight Greater London Council chief Ken Livingston, aka Red Ken, over the exhibiting of this statue. Mandela was still considered a terrorist when Livingston first began the baiting game


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Solid looking government building at the south end of Whitehall. Whitehall runs north from this point and terminates in Trafalgar Square about half a mile away


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A hundred yards up the road stands the London Cenotaph built in 1921 following WWI. Seen each year on international television during the national service of remembrance held at 11:00 a.m. on Remembrance Sunday, the closest Sunday to 11 November, Armistice Day. Cenotaph literally means "empty tomb"


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A little further north stands this memorial to the Women of World War II unveiled by the Queen in 2005. Naturally enough, in the throes of political correctness, much bitching ensued because there is no memorial specifically for Men of World War II. What a crock!


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A sign of the times. Having earlier negotiated the anti-terrorist tank traps surrounding the Houses of Parliament, an assault on Downing Street seemed to be a lost cause. Just ahead on the left is No. 10 where the First Lord of the Treasury aka the Prime Minister lives and No. 11, the home of the Second Lord of the Treasury nowadays known as the Chancellor of the Exchequer. As kids in the 50's we could just wander by


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A little further north is the entrance to Horse Guards Parade. The parade ground behind the building was a jousting field in the time of Henry VIII and used for various ceremonial purposes over the centuries. In the 1970's it sadly sank to being a parking lot for senior civil servants until the Provisional IRA's launched a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street in 1991 from a vehicle parked here. Not surprisingly, vehicles are no longer allowed to park anywhere in the area


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It is widely believed that a salient attribute for induction into the ranks of the Horse Guards is to be an inveterate shirt-lifter. Wonder if it comes from being around those horses all the time?


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Across the street from the Horse Guards, this group of yesteryear skinheads were enjoying a pint in the noonday sun


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About 1820, the Prince Regent decided to clear up the mess that had developed at the junction of The Strand, Charing Cross and Whitehall. John Nash was commissioned to landscape the area and produced London's largest square. Originally to have been King William the Fourth's square it was changed to Trafalgar to celebrate a victory in the Napoleonic wars


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The 18 feet high sandstone statue of Horatio Nelson stands atop a 151 feet high column and commemorates his death at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. The column was built between 1840-1843 and the guardian lions were added in 1867


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On the north side of the square is the National Gallery. The gallery was started in 1824 when the government bought a few paintings and has been in this location since 1838. The fountains in the square were intentionally enlarged in later years to reduce the volume of people gathering at political demonstrations


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These dolphin fountains are quite famous. I have no idea why. At one time, the square was home to about 35,000 pigeons which have been successfully removed in the last decade or so


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One of the guardian lions with St Martin's in the Field in the background. The present church was built in the 1720's but excavation indicate burial activity at this site as early as 410 CE


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The Coliseum Theater, also known as the London Coliseum, opened on St. Martin's Lane in 1904 and is currently one of London's largest and best equipped theatres


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Admiralty Arch, commissioned by Edward VII for his mother Queen Victoria, was completed in 1912. It is basically a fancy office block with a trio of arches through the center connecting the Mall to Trafalgar Square


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The Mall side of the arch looks just like the other side. An oddity in the left hand arch in this view is the presence of a normally proportioned stone nose sticking out of the wall at about 7 feet height. You probably were not aware of that


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Looking down the Mall - pronounced like the name Al preceded by the letter M - it is about 6/10ths of a mile to the statue in front of Buckingham Palace at the other end


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"The Grand Old Duke of York" of nursery rhyme fame was Prince Frederick, the second eldest son of King George III. This 124 feet pink granite column is topped by a 14 feet bronze statue of the prince and is just off the Mall. The monument was built in 1834, funded by the entire British Army forgoing one day's wages. Don't you just love democracy?


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Also just off of the Mall is St James' Palace, one of the oldest palaces in London. It is built around four courtyards and has been home to many kings and queens.


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The Queen's Chapel is a Christian chapel designed by Inigo Jones and built in 1625. It is part of the British monarch's personal religious establishment and is part of St James' Palace across the street


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The main entrance to the palace was built by Henry VIII and survives essentially unchanged


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The Victoria Memorial stands at the end of the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace


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The memorial was built in 1911 and was based on 2,300 tons of white marble. It has an overall nautical theme projecting the power of the British navy at that time


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Here is Victoria - not too bad having been sitting there for almost 100 years


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Nice pussy


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The guardsmen no longer stand guard outside of the courtyard gates. They are now situated back by the palace making them inaccessible to tourist and, one supposes, to bad asses


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Be warned - if you ever see these guys around anywhere, this is what Royal gardeners look like
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