The BT Tower in London dominates the West End’s skyline, an area still relatively (for now) without skyscrapers. Now called BT Tower, its name was once the Post Office Tower and many in London still call it that.
It was built in the 1960s and opened to the public in 1966. Its role was to be part of the microwave transmission network. Since 1965 the BT Tower in London was the tallest building in London surpassing St Paul’s dome but in 1980 the tower was surpassed by the NatWest skyscraper in the City.
When open to the public the tower had a revolving restaurant on the 34th floor and other public galleries with magnificent views across London. In 1971 an IRA bomb exploded in a men’s room and in 1980 the tower was closed to the public for security reasons.
The tower was considered a ‘secret’, in fact despite being extremely visible, it did not appear on the maps until 1993. Now it mainly serves to control pollution in the air in London, occasionally someone mentions about reopening the revolving restaurant, but not there are concrete projects.
During the Open House Weekend the BT Tower is sometimes open to the public.
Exeter Cathedral; interesting things you can see
In England there is certainly no shortage of cathedrals, some splendid. Among the most beautiful are undoubtedly the Cathedral of Exeter or St. Peter’s Cathedral, which is located in a place of prayer that is over 1500 years old. The current cathedral, however, dates back to around 1100 after the arrival of the Normans, although now of that date we have practically only the two towers.
Another part of the cathedral dates back to 1270 when Exeter Cathedral was refurbished in a typically English Gothic. The cathedral was unfortunately hit by a German bomb in 1942, St James’s chapel was completely destroyed along with several medieval objects, some of which have been rebuilt piece by piece.
Fortunately some important historical artifacts had been taken away, in fact an attack on the cathedral had been foreseen, probably all these churches and cathedrals were hit in an attempt to demoralise the people.
What can you see at Exeter Cathedral?
You can still see the 50 mercies or genuflexors which are small shelves leaning against the wall that supported those who had to stand a long time to pray. These date back to the 1200s and are the oldest complete group in the UK. Also in this group is the figure of an elephant, the oldest in the United Kingdom.
There is the famous astronomical clock which dates back to 1484, the ancient library which dates back to 1100 and the gallery with 12 statues of angels playing different instruments.
The towers also have bells, the north tower contains a bell called Peter which however is no longer rung completely and the south tower has 12 bells which are among the heaviest in the world.
When you are at the cathedral you can be taken to the top of the roof and the North Tower, you have to climb 251 steps so you have to be fit but the views are spectacular. You must book in advance and here you will find the instructions.
Savoy Hotel in London; facts that will surprise you
From the start, the Savoy Hotel in London had all the comforts of the time: electricity, running and hot water, elevators and rooms with bathrooms.
The well-known hotel is located on land given by King Henry III to Peter, Count of Savoy in 1264. The latter belonged to the same House of Savoy as the kings of Italy.
Savoy Court just outside the hotel is one of the few places in the UK where you have to drive on the right and not on the left. The reason is that the Savoy Theater is to the right of the hotel and taxis can pass from the hotel to the theater without turning.
During the Second World War the Savoy probably had some of the best bomb shelters in London. Winston Churchill often brought his government here.
There are still 263 en-suite rooms but since 2005 the Savoy belongs to Fairmount Hotels and not to the Savoy Group as it once was Curiosities of the Savoy Hotel in London.
The hotel was opened in 1889 to accommodate American tourists who came to see operettas at the Savoy Theater, another piece was added in 1903-4
The Egyptian prince Fahmy Bey was killed at the Savoy Hotel in London in 1923 by his French wife. She was never convicted because at the trial it was revealed that her husband was cruel to his wife and had threatened to kill her.
The Savoy still houses one of London’s best hotel restaurants, called The Grill Room.
Next to the hotel is Carting Lane where a lamp (you can now see a replica) is said to have been powered by gases from the sewer. It is said that the Savoy’s guests had the lamps lit up. In fact this was only partially true, most of the gas came from the gas pipe and not from the sewer.
The first manager of the Savoy Hotel in London was Cesar Ritz and the first chef Auguste Escoffier, famous for inventing the Peach Melba in honor of the opera singer Nellie Melba.
A London’s secret: Kings College Chapel
Kings College Chapel is located in London on the Strand, it’s open to everyone and not very well known. Built in 1864 by the famous neo-gothic architect George Gilbert Scott who was also responsible for St Pancras station and hotel, the Albert Memorial among many things.
King’s College University was founded in 1829 by King George IV and the Duke of Wellington. The original building also included a chapel for praying but it was deemed too humble and was decided to build a new one. Gilbert Scott practically had to insert this chapel into an existing building, not an easy task.
The chapel is extremely opulent with a lot of use of red and gold colors, it has also been recently restored and you will see it at its best. Also take a look at the organ which dates back to around 1860 and produced by the Messrs Wills company. In the 1930s the organ was in poor condition and was repaired by Mr. Wills’ nephew who had built it 70 years earlier. In the 1970s it was completely renovated again, so what you see now is an organ that is over 150 years old.
Here you can see a 360 degree virtual version. There are regular religious rites in the chapel that are open to all, the chapel only works during the academic year. The chapel is located on the first floor of the Kings building directly above the Great Hall.
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