Robin Kent’s original (below) was perfect. I straightened the Ferris wheel and darkened the sky in Lightroom. Then in Photoshop, added wisps of mist, and stars to make it mystical (above).
In 1956 when I was seven my mother and I moved to London. It was my job to light the coal fire in our flat at Queensborough Terrace, near Kensington Gardens. Central heating was not common then; therefore, London was a much foggier place. I remember fogs so thick it was hard to see a yard ahead. Coal fires helped create smog, a mix of smoke and fog. Yellow smog was tinged by the Sulphur in the coal. They were called “pea soupers”. The Great Smog of 1952 (Wikipedia) killed many Londoners. Dirty unwashed and untreated coals were eventually banned and smoke free coals and fuels used instead. Now central heating is the norm and fireplaces occasionally used to create ambience.
Bloomsbury is an area of the London Borough of Camden, in central London, between Euston Road and Holborn, developed by the Russell family in the 17th and 18th centuries into a fashionable residential area. It is notable for its array of garden squares, literary connections (exemplified by the Bloomsbury Group), and numerous cultural, educational and health-care institutions.
The earliest record of what would become Bloomsbury is in the 1086 Domesday Book, which states that the area had vineyards and “wood for 100 pigs”. But it is not until 1201 that the name Bloomsbury is first noted, when William de Blemond, a Norman landowner, acquired the land. The name Bloomsbury is a development from Blemondisberi – the bury, or manor, of Blemond.
At the end of the 14th century, Edward III acquired Blemond’s manor, and passed it on to the Carthusian monks of the London Charterhouse, who kept the area mostly rural.
In the 16th century with the Dissolution of the Monasteries, Henry VIII took the land back into the possession of the Crown and granted it to Thomas Wriothesley, 1st Earl of Southampton. The Russell family became landowners in the 18th century.
Historically, Bloomsbury is associated with the arts, education, and medicine. The area gives its name to the Bloomsbury Group of artists, the most famous of whom was Virginia Woolf, who met in private homes in the area in the early 1900s, and to the lesser known Bloomsbury Gang of Whigs formed in 1765 by John Russell, 4th Duke of Bedford.
Bloomsbury Square, laid out in 1660 by Thomas Wriothesley, 4th Earl of Southampton, was the first to be named as a square.
Bedford Square, built between 1775 and 1783, is still surrounded by Georgian town houses.
The British Museum, which first opened to the public in 1759 in Montagu House, is at the heart of Bloomsbury. At the center of the museum the space around the former British Library Reading Room, which was filled with the concrete storage bunkers of the British Library, is today the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court, an indoor square with a glass roof designed by British architect Norman Foster.
Also in Bloomsbury is the Foundling Museum, close to Brunswick Square. The Dickens Museum is in Doughty Street. The Petrie Museum and the Grant Museum of Zoology are at University College London in Gower Street.
Charles Darwin (1809–1882) lived at 12 Upper Gower Street in 1839. And…
I found this lovely red door on Broad Court between Drury Lane (about Drury Lane at Wikipedia) and Bow Street WC2B, part of the City of Westminster in London on December 26, 2015.
City of Westminster History
The origins of the City of Westminster (source: Wikipedia) pre-date the Norman Conquest of England. In the mid-11th Century king Edward the Confessor began the construction of an abbey at Westminster, the foundations which survive today. He built a palace, Between the abbey and the river so Westminster became the seat of Government drawing its power and wealth out of the old City of London.
By the 16th century urban development absorbed nearby villages such as Marylebone and Kensington, and gradually creating the vast Greater London that exists today. Westminster briefly became a city (in the sense of the seat of a bishop) in 1540 when Henry VIII created the short-lived Diocese of Westminster.
Following the dissolution of Westminster Abbey, a court of burgesses governed the Westminster area starting in 1585, previously under the Abbey’s control. The court of burgesses and liberty continued until 1900 and the creation of the Metropolitan Borough of Westminster.
The current City of Westminster boundaries date from 1965, created from the former boroughs of St Marylebone, Paddington, and the smaller Metropolitan Borough of Westminster (which included Soho, Mayfair, St. James’s, Strand, Westminster, Pimlico, Belgravia, and Hyde Park).
Red Phone Booths
Broad Court is a pedestrian walkway and has some lovely old red phone boxes (more at Wikipedia) there, the kind I used as a little girl.
For local calls, only pennies were needed. They were of course ‘old’ large pennies (12 to a shilling). Larger denomination coins were needed for non-local calls which were known as ‘trunk calls’. Once the handset was lifted, the coins were fed into a holding slot at the top of the box. Then the caller dialed the number that they wanted. If someone answered, the caller had to press Button A in order to be heard. If no-one answered, the caller pressed Button B and the coins were returned through a shoot underneath. Alternatively, with the agreement of the person receiving the call, charges could be reversed by going through the operator.
I rarely passed a phone booth without pushing button B on the off-chance that the last caller had forgotten to collect left-over coins or that there was a malfunction. It often paid off and a few pence bought a lot of sweets. I liked licorice sherbet fountains, an awful concoction of fizzy powder in a cardboard roll with a licorice straw that one could choke on while sucking on the straw.
The door and gates at 169 Church St, Stoke Newington, London:
A small wooden porch gives protection to the door rather than the caller. The single door may have been originally double. There is a lovely stained glass window over the door. Two square pillars support a beautiful, wrought-iron gate made by a Bristol blacksmith (date unknown). The gate has a scrollwork of ribbons, leaves and berries. It has a French style. On top of the gate was probably an eagle on a ball. These are replacement gates and railings as the original ones were taken for the War Effort (post 1939).
In approximately 1714 Edward Newen demolished the old building on the site and built a four story Queen Anne house with an “M” shaped roof to reduce height and keep the roof within the parapet. The name “Sisters’ House” was first used between 1849 and 1867 because it belonged to the four Bridge sisters.
Soon after the house was built Daniel Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe in his house nearby when he was 59.
After the Great Fire (1666), houses had to be built of brick and tile with pediments at the roofline to hide the wooden roof joists. By 1707 window frames had to be set back into the walls by the thickness of one brick. Party walls between houses had to be thick enough to resist fire for six hours. Houses were supposed to have a balcony on the first floor so that occupants could be rescued by ladder if necessary.
Church Street Workshops is a gateway to a small alley leading to a set of doors on a quaint set of little buildings (possibly old worker’s cottages) on Church Street, in Stoke Newington, London on December 23, 2016. Now they are little specialty shops.
The Worshipful Company of Merchant Taylors is one of the 110 livery companies of the City of London. Originally known as the Guild and Fraternity of St. John the Baptist in the City of London, was founded prior to 1300. The Company was an association of tailors but by the end of the 17th century it became a philanthropic and social association. They now sponsor and organize the “Golden Shears” competition for aspiring young tailors. Its seat is the Merchant Taylors’ Hall between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill (Financial center of London), a site it has occupied since at least 1347. (Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worshipful_Company_of_Merchant_Taylors)
The livery companies of the City of London stem from London’s ancient and modern trade associations and guilds. London’s medieval guilds evolved into corporations responsible for training and trade regulation. During the Middle Ages livery companies had close ties with the Church of Rome (prior to the Protestant Reformation). Most livery companies retain their historical religious associations, now members are free to follow any faith or none.
The reason for the camels on coat of arms, or crest, over the door is because St John the Baptist, the Company’s Patron Saint, wore a garment of camel hair.