London Railings

London Railings
You see them at elegant terraces and squares. To me they are almost “Iconic” of London.
They are the cast iron railings, painted in a glossy black. They spread out from the elegant front doors and as often they are guarding the steps leading downstairs (the servants access)
During the second world war most of them were removed to be used in the war effort. As it turned out, the authorities had overestimated the need for iron or some administrator had fouled up. I have read stories about them being dumped at some lonely coastal area. In my latest search on the net I found, that many were dumped in the Thames estuary in such quantities that Tugs had to be used to navigate, as the huge quantities of cast iron threw the magnetic compasses out. whatever happened to them, they are back again in all there glory and together with, the now rare red telephone booths, say welcome to London.

The Reading Room

Close to our usual Bloomsbury Hotel is the British Museum. We often pop in for a cup of coffee and a bun in the Cafe’ and than have a short look around. The centre court is occupied by the circular building, that used to house the British Library’s Reading room. Over the years it was used by Karl Marx, Oscar Wilde, Mahatma Gandhi, Rudyard Kipling, George Orwell, George Bernard Shaw, Mark Twain, Vladimir Lenin,Virginia Woolf, H: G: Wells and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle amongst many other notable Persons. It reeked of history. On one visit I was determined to visit it and to find the regular seat of my favourite South African author Lawrence G. Green, but sadly the interior had been gutted to make space for the exhibition of the Chinese Terra Cotta Warriors. There was talks of it eventually being restored to its original glory, but this has sadly not happened.

The Umbrella Shop

When visiting London we like to stay in bloomsbury. After a solid breakfast in our hotel we often walk to the centre passing through Soho. At New Oxford Street we pass “The Umbrella Shop” James Smith & Sons. James Smith & Sons was founded in 1830 in Foubert’s Place. In 1865 it moved to its present place in New Oxford Street and has remained there almost unchanged. Apart from umbrellas, it makes and stocks Gentlemen’s canes and shooting sticks. The Umbrella Shop is known by all the Black Cab drivers, who learn its position as part of “The Knowledge”

In a London park

We love London and go there as often as we can. We are long past going to the tourist sights and now enjoy the parks and the London life in general. We visit our favourite restaurants and Cafes and generally watch life go by. We are often there in autumn when red and golden leaves decorate the parks. we enjoy passing the many institutions in Bloomsbury where our usual hotels is situated. I shall use the next few posts on London pictures