Melrose Abbey in Scotland is in the town of the same name in the Scottish Borders. Virtually all historic buildings found in the Borders (the border area between England and Scotland) have been destroyed numerous times by the English. Melrose Abbey is no exception.
What makes it important is that despite being destroyed and now only ruins remain, many decorative parts still remain. Like the gargoyles and the Gothic rose windows.
One of the many reasons why this abbey is famous is because it is said to host the heart of Robert Bruce, the famous king of Scotland in the Middle Ages. Other medieval Scottish kings were buried here.
The history of Melrose Abbey
Let’s start from the beginning, the abbey was built in 1100 by Cistercian monks under the order of King David I. It was located in the same place as another monastery, this one dedicated to St Aidan of Lindisfarne. The Cistercian abbey was followed by the town of Melrose, being an important religious centre, there was no lack of trade.
The abbey was almost destroyed by the English king Edward I in 1322 and then rebuilt. It was later set on fire by Richard II and its reconstruction lasted over 100 years.
In 1544 it was again damaged by English troops when the British wanted Mary of the Queen to marry the son of Henry VIII. After this event the abbey was never restored and was never a functioning monastery again.
It suffered further damage later from the cannon fire of Oliver Cromwell’s army. In the end, the poor abbey never managed to stand up for long.
In addition to visiting the ruins, you can also start from here St Cuthbert’s Way, a path that goes up to the monastery of Lindisfarne in Northumberland. It had been the route taken by St Cuthbert himself in 650 from the old monastery of Melrose. In all it would be about 100 km, but you don’t have to do it all. However, it crosses some very beautiful landscapes. Melrose itself is a nice little town even if it doesn’t have much of a memorable one.
London Bridge, its long and interesting history
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.
Oxford Circus in London is about to change in a big way
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.
Carlyle’s House in Chelsea, a journey through time
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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