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A London Secret: Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park

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One of the many joys of London is to go to Isabella Plantation in late April or early May and see the azaleas in bloom and the garden is full of colors that are reflected in the water of the ponds. However, you can visit this garden at any time of the year, there are always things to discover.

The Isabella Plantation is located in a corner of the Richmond Park, it is a garden created in 1831 in a marshy area and includes in addition to many azaleas also camellias, rhododendrons and uncommon bushes and trees. It is interesting to see how certain plants typical of the British Isles grow next to Japanese or Chinese plants.

Much of what you see now dates back to the 1950s and 1960s, the pond was in fact dug in 1960. The stream was dug in 1989 and is now surrounded by ferns and aquatic plants. Free admission and don’t forget to bring your camera.

Worked in many sectors including recruitment and marketing. Lucky to have found a soulmate who was then taken far too soon. No intention of moving on and definitely not moving to Thailand for the foreseeable future. Might move forward. Owned by a cat.

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Things you might not know about Soho’s Wardour Street

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Perhaps the most important street in the neighborhood, Wardour Street in Soho was once called Colmanhedge Lane and changed its name in honor of Sir Edward Wardour who owned land in the area and who managed to obtain fresh water for the street’s houses from a spring not far away from`sw12 Wardour Street was called Prince’s Street until 1878 when the whole street became the current street.

In this street there was the church of St Anne dating back to 1600 which was seriously bombed during the Second World War, now it is used as a community centre. Mystery writer Dorothy L Sayers is buried here.

Wardour Street is one-way street. At number 33 was the famous Flamingo club in the 50s and 60s, which became an important venue for the mods of the time. Oddly enough, the Flamingo didn’t sell alcoholic beverages.

The history of Wardour Street in Soho

The street also existed in medieval times but was developed, like many parts of Soho in the late 1600s and became a centre for building and selling furniture and antiques and in the  early 1800s there were also many used book shops. Many houses were rebuilt in the early 1800s.

After the Second World War, Wardour Street in Soho became an area for movie distributors, nightclubs and live music venues. In this street was the legendary Marquee which was the place that launched dozens and dozens of musicians from The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Led Zeppelin and The Sex Pistols, almost all of them played here in their early days It was located until 1988 at 80 Wardour Street in Soho. Jimi Hendrix only played once in 1967 after the success at the Monterey festival, the queue for tickets went all the way to Cambridge Circus!

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For the first time you can visit Buckingham Palace’s gardens

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For the first time, the famous Queen’s Gardens at Buckingham Palace will be opened. Normally only the Royal Family and those invited to the Queen’s parties can see them. The reason for this decision is that this summer there will be no traditional opening of part of the building because of the pandemic and to compensate they open the gardens.

Visitors will be able to wander the garden paths and experience the calm of this garden in the heart of London. You will see Horse Chestnut Avenue, the plane trees planted by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, and the famous lake with its bee island of Buckingham Palace. You can also have a picnic on one of the lawns. The gardens will be open from 9 July to 19 September but there are also weekend tours in April and May. You can book your tickets here

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The statue remembering the children of Kindertransport

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You might have seen the bronze monument at the entrance to Liverpool Street Station. You may not know what it is. The statue depicts the children of the Kindertransport which brought over 10,000 Jewish children from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland to the United Kingdom.

We can see a little girl sitting on a suitcase with a teddy bear in her hand. The boy to her right holds a satchel and a violin case. The older girl behind him looks away as they wait to be picked up and separated.

The names of the cities on a stretch of track behind them show the places of origin of the children: Cologne – Hanover – Nuremberg – Stuttgart – Düsseldorf – Frankfurt – Bremen – Munich, Gdansk – Wroclaw – Prague – Hamburg – Mannheim – Leipzig – Berlin – Vienna

Between December 1938 and September 1939, nearly 10,000 Jewish children arrived on Liverpool Street via the port of Harwich and the Netherlands. Following the attacks on synagogues and German Jews instigated by the Nazi government at the Kristallnacht from 9 to 10 November 1938, the British government allowed children under 17 to immigrate, provided they found a foster family and a benefactor willing to give a deposit of 50 pounds.

The first to come were nearly 200 children from an orphanage that had been burned down in Berlin. The German authorities allowed children to carry a suitcase and a bag, with no valuables and only a photo. No adult escorts and no train station farewells were allowed. 

10,000 children were separated and ended up in different places in Britain and few saw their parents again, many of whom died in concentration camps. A good number of the children decided to stay in Britain at the end of the war.

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