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The Ivory Towers of All Souls College in Oxford

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The College of All Souls of the Faithful Departed was founded by Henry VI and Henry Chichele (Archbishop of Canterbury) in 1438. Unlike other Oxford colleges this one accepts only PhD Fellows and not undergraduate students.

It is famous for being extremely selective, until 2010 candidates were given only one word with which they had to write an essay for three hours, it was considered the most difficult exam in the world. Now the entrance exam has changed, but it remains extremely selective. After two days of exams about 5 finalists are invited to dinner and they have to take an oral test.

When you visit it, you cannot fail to notice the two towers of All Souls College, Hawksmoor Towers (it is said that the term Ivory Tower, used to describe the place where very academic people who have no contact with reality discuss problems, comes from these towers. Others say the term comes from the tower of Magdalen College).

You can also see the sundial built by Christopher Wren, the architect who planned London’s St Paul’s Cathedral. If you look closely, especially in the buildings to the north, you will see a series of terrifying gargoyles. Between the buildings to the north and those to the south is the chapel, unfortunately the original statues were destroyed in 1600 by some puritans and what you see are replicas of the 1800s.

The window, which you see in the western wall is called The Royal Window and dates back to to 1400 but obviously it has been changed several times. 

This college can only be visited from 2 to 4 pm on weekdays when the college is open, admission is free. A visit to Oxford could be a pleasant day trip from London.

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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Architecture

New York, the Empire State Building is 90

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The Empire State Building is a 102-story skyscraper located in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, and is one of the most famous buildings in the world. The Empire State Building was designed by William Lamb from the architectural firm Shreve & Lamb and built by the John McShain company. It took an astonishing 410 days to build. The building was officially opened on May 1, 1931. The Empire State Building has a total floor area of 2,768,591 square feet (250,000 m2), with 102 stories at 1,250 feet (381 m) tall.

It has been named as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. The Empire State Building’s Art Deco design was created by William Lamb, who incorporated elements of the past and present. The building was originally built as a symbol of modernity and to house the world’s most powerful radio station.

At that time it was the first building of this size in the world with 102 floors. For forty years, the builders claimed to have created the tallest building in the world. Today the Empire State Building is only the seventh tallest skyscraper in New York, worldwide more than 40 buildings are now higher. The colourful history of the building is hard to beat, no other skyscraper has become such a cultural icon. And not many other can claim to have been climbed by King Kong. This building has been featured in many movies and television shows including Spiderman 2, Independence Day, Ghostbusters, The Day The Earth

Many people have taken photos on the viewing platform on  the 86th floor.The building has a great view of Central Park to the west and Times Square to the east. 

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Architecture

A piece of Brighton’s West Pier for sale on eBay

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A piece of Brighton’s famous West Pier is now for sale starting at £ 850 on eBay. A surviving column that was once part of the West Pier since 1866. This column was the support for the glass windows at the Rotunda at the very end of the pier.

How can this salesman on eBay have a piece of the dock? The answer is simple, parts of the pier had been officially put up for sale to raise the money to restore one of the six original 1866 kiosks that stood on the pier. The item for sale is therefore an authentic piece of pier. Once refurbished, the kiosk will be placed on Brighton’s seafront, not far from where the ruins of the historic pier are located. If you want to buy it you can go here.

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Architecture

The strange Egyptian house in Penzance in Cornwall

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In all parts of the world there are always weird things to see and Cornwall is certainly no exception. If you go to Penzance, try to pass by the strange Egyptian house. It was built on Chapel Street by Plymouth architect John Foulston around 1835. At this time everything Egyptian was in fashion. In London at Piccadilly they had built the Egyptian Hall at the same time and the province tried to adapt to trends.

Photo: Jhsteel / CC BY-SA

It was a Plymouth bookseller who wanted this house, his name was John Lavin and he had a passion for maps and travel guides but he also traded minerals. He had then bought two properties here, which were in fact two cottages but he wanted to stand out so he had the two buildings join together with a single facade.

In addition to transforming the architecture of the two buildings, he also built a small mineral museum inside. The house still exists now and houses three apartments, it is a listed building. The interesting thing is that it is a precursor of the Art Deco that conquered the world a century later.

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