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London: How to visit Hyde Park Pet Cemetery

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In the northwest part of Hyde Park, almost hidden away is the famous Pet Cemeteryfrom the Victorian era. Not everyone knows where it is and it’s not easy to see even from Bayswater Road.

Opened in 1881, the animals of wealthy London families were buried here until 1903. It all started by chance when the park keeper a Mr. Winbridge allowed two children who always visited Hyde Park to bury their little dog Cherry in the garden. The following year another dog was buried and then another, until the cemetery began to become popular.

There are not only dog graves but also two cats, a couple of monkeys and other pets. They all have a small headstone exactly like a miniature human cemetery. There are over 300 small tombstones in the cemetery and often have writings that show how much these animals were loved by their owners.

Keeping pets was very fashionable among wealthy Londoners in the 1800s. The second dog buried here belonged to Prince George the Duke of Cambridge’s wife who was the granddaughter in the male line of King George III of the United Kingdom. He was an army officer and served as commander-in-chief of the British Army from 1856 to 1895. The little dog was a Yorkshire terrier and was killed after getting under the wheels of a carriage.

To visit it you have to book one of the tours that are organised every now and then to see the animal cemetery, otherwise you can only see it from the outside. To see when there are organised tours you can look here. There are regular guided tours to visit the cemetery and the good thing is that they are completely free. Even the pandemic has not stopped these initiatives. If you want to participate, just book online.

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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London Bridge, its long and interesting history

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London Bridge, London Bridge is falling down, Falling down, falling down, London Bridge is falling down, My Fair Lady.

This refers, to the Old London Bridge, not to be confused with Tower Bridge, the drawbridge.

Americans have the bad habit of confusing Tower Bridge with London Bridge,  try and google London Bridge, look at the images and you will see how many photos of Tower Bridge are in the results. But then again an American asked me once, right near the Tower of London, where the Eiffel Tower was, so confusion reigns.

London Bridge exists even now, but it’s a fairly insignificant bridge. So famous, but the new bridge is a big disappointment for tourists, so they confuse it with Tower Bridge.

There have been many bridges between the City of London and Southwark over the centuries. The current crossing, erected in 1973, is a caisson bridge made of concrete and steel. It replaced a stone arch bridge from the 19th century which replaced a medieval stone construction of years.

The Roman bridges

The Roman founders of the city of Londinium built the first wooden bridge. The current bridge is located 30 metres upstream of the previous alignments. The north and south entrances of the medieval bridge were designated by St Magnus-the-Martyr’s Church and Southwark Cathedral. Until 1729, London Bridge was the only road bridge across the Thames until Kingston.

Internal trade along the Thames and its estuary dates back to about 768 years century BC There is evidence of Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlements nearby, but London proper could not exist until a bridge was built. Two ancient fords were in use in the high tide section of the river. These were apparently connected to Watling Street which was London’s main street in Roman times.  Initially the bridge was made of wood, but in the 1176 one was built in stone.

 

And on the Thames there were not many bridges in those days, so it was always full of people coming and going. However, the beauty of London Bridge at the time was that it looked a bit like Florence’s Ponte Vecchio, it had houses and shops on its sides and a road that crossed it about 8 meters wide.

Old London Bridge

In the 1200 and 1300 the bridge was a meeting point, with many shops and even the heads of traitors were hung up after the execution. The head of William Wallace, a Scottish hero, was displayed here after the execution.

The bridge survived several fires, but during the Great London Fire of 1666, the bridge was badly damaged (a bridge should take you across a river, if it fails to do so, at that point it doesn’t do much for a bridge) and knocked out use.

Finally it was demolished in 1823. Such a shame, it would have been very photogenic and a major tourist attraction.

Rennie’s Bridge for a new modern city

The Old London Bridge, which had served for 600 years, was replaced by John Rennie’s five-arch granite bridge in 1831. The old bridge was inspected by a parliamentary committee in 1820. The medieval bridge, built in 1209, proved problematic. While the surrounding structures had been removed, the removal of a pier and the widening of an arch made the waterway less navigable. The foundations of the old building were deteriorating. The committee proposed a new bridge in May 1821.

The City of London Corporation obtained permission from Parliament in 1823 to demolish Old London Bridge and replace it with Rennie’s project (1794 – 1874), the works began on 15 March 1824.

Each of the other three spans was wide 42, 6 m. The road was wide 10, 9 m long 19, 5 m. Construction took six years. Bridge House Estates paid for using reserves and a government grant. Bridge House Estates has benefited greatly from the properties bequeathed by grateful merchants who used Old London Bridge to enter London. King William IV opened the new bridge and arrived on a barge from Somerset House .

The old London Bridge was demolished in 1832 and this created problems for the other bridges, as it served as a barrier against the tides, safeguarding them.

The current bridge

At the end of the years’ 50, it was recognized that Rennie’s bridge could not handle traffic and that there was the urgent need for a new bridge. Structural problems prevented the widening of the bridge. The London Bridge Act of 1967 allowed the construction of a new bridge on the same site. The bridge was dismantled and sold to McCulloch Properties Inc of California. Maybe McCulloch was thinking of buying Tower Bridge, we can’t confirm this. The blocks were numbered and sent to Lake Havasu City, Arizona. The old Southwark and Waterloo bridges, designed by John Rennie Sr., have also been removed. There remains only a land arch of his London Bridge on the south side of the bridge. It crosses Tooley Street and Montague Close on the south bank near Southwark Cathedral.

It is worth going to the current bridge, which is located under the shadow of the Shard, to take some magnificent panoramic photographs. If you go to St. Magnus the Martyr Church you can see where the bridge ended on the north side of the city. When you enter the church through the porch you are walking on the piece of land where a time there was the road. Also the whole area near the bridge on the south bank of the Thames has been redone and is a great walk. In the summer there are many free events.

 

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Oxford Circus in London is about to change in a big way

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Oxford Circus, in the middle of Oxford Street, will turn into an Italian-style square with two pedestrian zones. Not only will we have this big change for pedestrians, but the days of Oxford Street full of buses are also over. Good riddance, many will say, while those who rely on the bus to go to work in Oxford Street will be less excited.

The refurbishment will close Oxford Street for several hundred metres, and no bus lines will travel from Marble Arch to Tottenham Court Road without detours. Transport for London is preparing changes to the transport network to accommodate the works that the City of Westminster hopes will be finished by the end of 2021. From 28 August, the bus service 113 will only stop once in Oxford Street before ending at Marble Arch. For now, the N 113 will continue to travel via Oxford Circus to Trafalgar Square Buses 159 will be eliminated from Oxford Street. Instead, the route will begin and end will in Regent Street.

To complete pedestrianization, several bus lines will need to be redirected or eliminated from Oxford Circus before the beginning of the autumn works. On weekends, traffic will be diverted to Wigmore Street. Once the improvements are completed, the bus lines will be diverted through secondary roads which will be built in both directions or one way to support the bus flow.

Oxford Circus is one of the busiest intersections in London, with the shops of Oxford Street and Regent Street meeting at this point. This location has seen some notable events throughout its history, from protests to parties.

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Carlyle’s House in Chelsea, a journey through time

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Behind Cheyne Walk is this house of the 1708 typical of old Chelsea where the historian Thomas Carlyle (1795 – 1881) and his wife Jane (1801 – 66) lived after moving from Scotland and until their deaths. The house has been kept in pretty much the same condition they left it.

By a series of coincidences, Carlyle became a star of the literary world of 1800. Now you can visit the house as it was seen by Dickens and other artists of the 1800.

From 1895 belongs to the country and from 1936 is managed by the National Trust . The house is interesting as it contains documents and furniture from the Victorian era but it was also the home of a celebrity couple in those days, Thomas was an intellectual while his wife Jane was a famous beauty. Many of the artists and intellectuals of the 1800 visited this house. From Darwin to Dickens and from Thackeray to Browning, they all came here.

The living room is still very similar to the one painted by Robert Tait, in the painting on the right one can see Carlyle’s dog called Nero, it seems that Mrs. Carlyle was annoyed at how Tait painted her dog: as big as a sheep.

Mrs Carlyle died early, it is said from the shock of  Nero escaping from the carriage. Thomas Carlyle died in 1881 in this house. You can also visit the garden which is practically the same as it was left by the Carlyles, at the bottom of the garden the famous Nero is buried.`

Carlyle’s House is open Wednesday to Sunday from to 17, closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. Managed by the National Trust means that members of this organisation do not pay entrance. Located in 24 Cheyne Row, Chelsea, SW3 5HL the nearest subways are Sloane Square or South Kensington and the official website can be found here.

 

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