If you read or watch stories of the Tudors you will know that they spent some of their time at Richmond Palace. Surely you have wondered where this magnificent royal palace is now, the answer is that it no longer exists, unlike the nearby Hampton Court Palace which is still practically intact.
If you go to Richmond however you can still see traces of the old royal palace, including an old door. You can see the exact area on the map at the bottom of the article, it is located between the Thames and Richmond Green, streets in the area have names such as Old Palace Lane and Old Palace Yard.
The presence of the Old Deer Park just outside was no accident, the Tudor kings liked to hunt! The palace was one of the first buildings in the world to have flush toilets, built by Elizabeth I’s godson.
The history of Richmond Palace
The palace was built by Henry VII, the father of Henry VIII in 1501 after the palace of Sheen that was in the same place caught fire. The name of the building became Richmond in honor of the homonymous earl who was in Yorkshire and had nothing to do with this area of London. So it was the area that took its name from the building and not the other way around.
Richmond Palace was built in red and white brick and with fireplaces decorated in the fashion of the time. It had long galleries to put art, typical of the Renaissance period and was not fortified. It also had rather large and bright windows made with panels.
Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon spent their first Christmas in the palace and the king often held tournaments in the garden in front of the palace. The palace was particularly liked by Elizabeth I who died in this palace in 1603, like her grandfather Henry VII before her.
With the queen the Tudor dynasty also ended but the Stuarts continued to use Richmond Palace even if James I preferred the Palace of Westminster and failed here. Charles I gave the palace to the queen and it became the official home of their children. But King Charles I was beheaded and the monarchy removed. At that point the Parliament sold the building for £ 13,000 which was practically demolished for raw materials. It was never rebuilt.
For the first time you can visit Buckingham Palace’s gardens
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.
The statue remembering the children of Kindertransport
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.
The strong tornado that destroyed London Bridge
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.
Concerts coming up!
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