Travel Tales and Pictures

Travel Stories and Photographs by John.


London, England - Part IV

Pictures enlarge if you click them.
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge is a drawbridge in London, England over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, which gives it its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London and is sometimes mistakenly called London Bridge, which is the next bridge upstream.

Tower of London

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress The Tower of London, more commonly known as the Tower of London, is an historic monument in central London on the north bank of the River Thames.
The Tower's primary function was as a fortress, a royal palace and a prison. It has also served as a place of execution and torture, an armoury, a treasury, a zoo, a mint, a public records office, an observatory, and—since 1303, the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

Royal Residence at the Tower of London

Raven Keeper at the Tower of London

When Catherine and I were visiting the Tower of London we asked one of the "Beefeaters" or Yeoman Warders if we could have a picture taken with him. He said sure. That night when we went back to the hotel, his picture was in the newspaper and it said he was the head Raven Keeper.

Yeoman Warders fill the post of Raven Master. The story goes that, when the observatory was in the north-eastern turret of the White Tower, The Astronomer Royal complained to Charles II that the ravens were interfering with his observation. The King then ordered their destruction, only to be told that if the ravens left the Tower the White Tower would fall and the Kingdom with it.

A limited number of ravens were therefore allowed to remain. They are cared for by the Raven Master, a Yeoman Warder whose job it is to ensure their well being. They are now an established feature of the Tower.

Guard at the Tower of London

The British Royal Jewels are kept in the building behind Catherine

Yeoman Warder giving a tour of the Tower of London

Catherine and I took a tour of the Tower of London giving by a Yeoman Warder. The Yeoman Warder on our tour told us that they were all retired British Military non-commissioned officers.

Crypt at Saint Martin's in the Field

Because of its prominent position, St Martin-in-the-Fields is one of the most famous non-cathedral churches in London. It is well-known for its "open door" policy under which the church is open to the public at all times of the day and night, its work for the homeless, and its regular lunchtime concerts. Many now-famous ensembles performed at the church, including the Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields, the New Trinity Baroque, and the London Soloists Orchestra.

There is a popular Cafe in the Crypt, where jazz concerts are held. All profits from this goes to the activities of the church with the homeless. The crypt is also home to the London Brass Rubbing Centre, and art gallery and a book and gift shop.

London St. Pancras Train Station

St. Pancras station is a railway station in north central London, between the new British Library building to the west and King's Cross station to the east. It is the southern terminus of the Midland Main Line, and is the main departure point from London for services to the East Midlands, via Leicester to Sheffield and other parts of Yorkshire.

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May 26, 2010 9:45 PM  

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