St Stephen Walbrook’s Church is another historic City church destroyed in the London Fire and rebuilt by Christopher Wren.
It is called Walbrook because it is located on the bank of the Walbrook River, a church has existed since 1096 in the area where a Roman temple once existed.
St Stephen Walbrook’s church was too small for the population it served and was rebuilt 20 meters away again near the Walbrook which had already been covered by that point.
This church was later destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666 and completely rebuilt by Christopher Wren between 1672 and 1679. The interesting thing was that here Wren experimented with some architectural theories which he then also used at St Paul’s, for example the dome in the centre.
As soon as it was built, the church appealed to many,
including the Italian sculptor Canova. Like virtually all of Christopher Wren’s churches in the City it was bombed during World War II. Fortunately, part of the interior, including the pulpit, survived the bombing.
The rebuilding of St Stephen Walbrook’s church was paid for almost exclusively by financier Peter Palumbo and the church was reopened in 1987. It now has a Henry Moore altar which is also called Camembert
. The church in addition to having masses has a series of concerts or recitals that are free.
Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese – a pub with a literary history
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.
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.
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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