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Facts about Trafalgar Square you might not know



At the time of the Tudors in Trafalgar Square in London you could find the royal stables which were then moved to Buckingham Palace in the late 18th century to make way for the square.

The last building built as a stables was made in 1732 in the place where the National Gallery is now located. The famous Christopher Wren had also made a plan to build more stables, but it was never built.

In the early 19th century almost all the buildings on the square were demolished, John Nash had planned to create a square, part of his grand plan to modernise this part of London. John Nash died before he could get to work on his project.

One of the architects involved in the current project was Sir Charles Barry who also did the design of the Houses of Parliament.

Trafalgar Square is not the largest square in London; that record goes to Lincoln’s Inn Fields.

The famous Nelson’s Column dominates the square, the four bronze lions were added in 1867.  The reason for the steps found in the square is that Trafalgar Square is on a slope.

There are two equestrian statues in the square and they are both of kings: Charles I and George IV. There must have been another equestrian statue dedicated to King William IV who, however, did not leave enough money to make it when he died. So the space remained empty until 2001 when it was decided to put modern art in rotation. Each statue remains in this place for about a year.

Trafalgar Square was opened to the public on 1 May 1844

The famous fountains were not part of the initial project, they were put in place in 1845 and rebuilt in the 1930s. The sculptures of mermaids and dolphins were added after World War II.

In the southeast corner of the square there is a lamppost and in this lamppost is the smallest police station in London. However, it is not populated by mini policemen, it only has a telephone connected to Scotland Yard, but legally it is considered a real police station.

Among the buildings that overlook the square we cannot forget the National Gallery, Canada House, the church of St Martin in the Fields and South Africa House.

On the corner of the Strand and Charing Cross Road you will find a plaque, all distances from London are calculated from here.

Part of the square has now been closed to traffic since 2003.

The square is also the place where demonstrations and protests have been held since its opening in 1844.

The square’s pigeons came naturally and practically infested it for years, ruining monuments and buildings. Since 2003 it has been illegal to sell pigeon food and feed them.

There are also several birds of prey around Trafalgar Square used to control the number of pigeons. The pigeons in the square appear to have dropped from over 4000 to around 200, but it looks like the pigeons have simply moved to other parts of London.

Every year at the beginning of December a large Christmas tree is lit, donated by Norway as a thank you for the help given by Great Britain during the Second World War.

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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Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – a pub with a literary history



Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese is a Grade 11 listed building at 145 Fleet Street, City of London. There has been a public house at this location since 1538, when Henry V111 was the monarch.  It was called the Horn and like many city pubs burnt down in the Great Fire of London 1666,  but was swiftly rebuilt the following year. The pub is a short walk (about 700 yards) away from both St Pauls Cathedral and Blackfriars tube station. 
Photo: © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.
There is a single narrow entrance to a building that is deceptively small as it extends up to four storeys. The lack of natural light is evocative of its past history, as a cosy meeting place for famous literary figures.  Charles Dickens liked to sit at a table right of the fireplace on the ground floor, opposite to the bar. The pub is thought to have been referred to in “A Tale of Two Cities” as a dining place for Charles Darnay.   Robert Lewis Stevenson, Antony Trollope, and P. G Wodehouse all referred to the pub by name.  In “The Dynamiter”  Stevenson writes that ‘a select society at the Cheshire Cheese engaged my evenings”.  In Anthony Trollope’s novel “Ralph the Heir”,  one of the characters, Ontario Moggs, is described as speaking “with vigour at the debating club at the Cheshire Cheese in support of unions and the rights of man…”
P G Wodehouse on at least one occasion preferred to dine there, rather than at his club The Garrick. Agatha Christie wrote that her fictional detective Poirot dined with a new client at the Cheshire Cheese in her 1924 story, “The Million Dollar Bank Robbery” adding a description of “the excellent steak and kidney pudding of the establishment.” Oysters and Larks were also on the menu served up in pies. 
The Rhymers Club was a group of London-based poets, founded in 1890 by W. B. Yeats and Ernest Rhys. They met as a dining club at the Cheshire Cheese, producing anthologies of poetry in 1892 and 1894.
The founding meeting of the Medical Journalists Association took place at the Cheshire Cheese on 1 February 1967. At that time, doctors who wrote articles under their own name could be reported to the General Medical Council. From an initial membership of 48, the MJA now represents around 500 journalists, broadcasters and editors.
Last by not least, the pub had a famous parrot, whose death on October 30th 1926 was marked by worldwide obituaries.  Polly, a grey parrot, of unknown gender, passed out on Armistice night in 1918, exhausted from imitating the popping of champagne corks.  The bird was in the habit of addressing customers as “Rats” and placed orders with instructions to “Hurry Up!” Deservedly Polly holds pride of place as a Stuffed Parrot in the Bar. 

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The historic Kensington pub where Dickens and DH Lawrence used to drink



A traditional pub in South Kensington, famous for being patronised by Charles Dickens (who lived on this street at number 11 for a while) and DH Lawrence.

Even now it is a pub that is often packed with people in the evening and you won’t always find a seat if you don’t eat. If you want to experience the atmosphere of a historic pub but without the crowds, you can do it in the afternoon when you will also find a seat.

Charles Dickens used to drink in this pub

The pub also offers food and has a garden for nice days or you could go downstairs where you can find tables to eat in an area not too crowded. To get there you have to find a side door. The menu is typical of a pub, but if you are passing through and want to have traditional fish & chips or a pie with a pint of beer, this is a great place to do it. It is not far from the museums of South Kensington so we are in an area where many tourists will be passing through.

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In Hampshire looking for Jane Austen



Many people when they think of Jane Austen, they think of Bath, in fact, the well-known British writer lived for 25 years in the county of Hampshire.

This county appears relatively little in her novels, but if you go to Hampshire, you can visit some places related to the writer. In particular we can visit a museum dedicated to her which is located in a small brick cottage where the writer lived from 1809 to 1817.

This after having lived in Southampton and Bath. Clearly these larger places gave her ideas and inspiration that she would not have had in the country but it is only after returning to a quiet place that Jane Austen resumed writing.

The museum is located in Chawton and you can still see the original furniture such as the desk where Austen àwrote some of her works.

Edward, the writer’s brother had become rich and while Austen frequented wealthy circles, she was not from a wealthy family. The brother lived nearby and visiting him meant frequenting a wealthy and fashionable environment. His brother’s house still stands today and is called Chawton House, a 16th century Tudor-style house.

The house now houses in its library a collection of books written by women if you go just outside the house of St Nicholas church you will see the graves of Austen’s mother and sister. If you want to continue your Jane Austen tour in Hampshire you can take the scenic railway called Watercress Line to Aston where the Jane Austen festival is held every June. Aston was where Austen used to shop regularly.

The Vyne is a house definitely worth visiting, it is  located near Basingstoke and was a house from the Tudor times, where Henry VIII, Anne Boleyn, Catherine of Aragon and many others also stayed. Jane Austen was a friend of the family who lived here at the time and therefore she used to come often and participate in the dances and other social gatherings.

Jane had to leave her beloved cottage when her health deteriorated and so she went to live in Winchester to be near her doctors. That is why her grave is in Winchester Cathedral. Originally her grave did not say she was a writer because all of her books were published anonymously when she was alive

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