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A Treasonous Toast (see photo of wine glass

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 To mark the Millennium numerous mementos were produced, many of which are now probably lost or consigned to attics. I have a wine glass engraved with the year 2000, produced for the purpose of toasting the event.  The Treasonous Toast I refer to, would have been one using glasses produced in the eighteenth century, each one engraved with an oak leaf, a rose and a blazing star. The design alone was very pleasing, but was also a code denoting the House of Stuart (by the oak leaf), the Heir Charles Stuart (by the rose) and the hope that the Stuart monarchy would be restored, like a blazing star.
 
The proponents of such a toast were Jacobites, supporters of King James 11, who, after his death in 1701, transferred their loyalty to his son Charles.  Jacobites were disparate groups of people united in their desire for restitution of a Stuart monarchy.  Some felt on principle that the deposition of an anointed king was wrong.
The manner of toasting was itself a code. When they raised a glass to the king , they held it over a finger bowl on the table, symbolising a toast made to the king exiled overseas.  Charles Stuart was brought up in Italy, but returned to Scotland to take up the Stuart cause in 1745. After some success, he was defeated at the Battle of Culloden and fled the country, escaping to the Isle of Skye.  Lack of support from France for further military endeavours, meant that this was in reality the end of Jacobite hopes.
 
   After 1745, it was actually deemed treason to raise these glasses in a toast. No doubt though in private clubs and secret meetings, a glass or two, continued to be raised for some time to come, in a treasonous toast.

In the nineteen sixties I worked in London stores. Worked as an Insurance Clerk in the City of London during the nineteen seventies. Divorced in the nineteen nineties. Now I am a retired Civil Servant, managing home and garden and escaping onto social media whenever possible.

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History

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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The strong tornado that destroyed London Bridge

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Not many of you will know this story, but read on to find out about this extraordinary event that happened in 1091. Extraordinary not so much for having a tornado in London, but for its power.

On the morning of October 17, 1091, it seemed normal and no one was expecting a tornado. Not any  tornado, but the strongest one recorded in London. In fact, it was probably a F4 or even F5 on the Fujita scale. Incredibly destructive with winds reaching 370 km per hour!

London was then almost entirely made of wood. There was just the White Tower of the Tower of London which was about ten years old and a few masonry churches. A tornado of this type blew almost everything away. Including London Bridge at the time that was partly destroyed by the tornado but also by the Thames current, which carried it away. It was still new having been built by William the Conqueror after 1066.

The famous church of St Mary-le-Bow was badly damaged, with the roof being thrown a certain distance violently. With so much force that the nine-meter-long beams were driven into the ground and only about a meter remained outside.

The river flooded the surrounding areas and not many buildings remained standing. London Bridge was rebuilt soon after, the main bridge connecting London with the southern parts of the country. The new bridge also had a short life, in 1140 it was destroyed by a fire.

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