Globe Theatre

Associated with William Shakespeare, the theatre’s replica building in London’s Bankside is a popular tourist attraction. If you travel with a group, don’t miss the interactive extra lessons on Shakespeare’s most well-known plays.
Tickets for summer performances are available from 5 – 6 GBP.

GR8 to Know
The original Globe caught fire several times. Once it was the staff’s own fault: a gun was used to create real sound effects but the ball fell on the thatched roof and the whole building burnt down completely.

National Trust

nationaltrust02The charity organization founded in 1895 holds and preserves a majority of Britain’s monuments and coastline. A great number of volunteers and huge amounts of donations help to conserve the British landscape for the forthcoming generations.

Click HERE for a map to see all the Trust has to offer.

 

THE CITY of London

The most famous places / sights / landmarks:

  • St Paul’s Cathedral;
  • the Bank of England (and Museum);
  • the Monument (of the Great Fire of London);
  • Millennium Bridge;
  • Shakespeare’s Globe;
  • The Guildhall;
  • Saint Bride’s Church.CityofLondon-map

The City of London was once “London only” – in Roman times it was Londinium surrounded by walls. You can still see the ruins of these walls.

In the Bank of England, the UK’s money is held in notes and bars of gold. In its museum, you can see the history of money making in England, touch a real gold bar and see all the types of weapons once were used to defend the bank.

The Guildhall (= the town hall) of London has been the central governing building of the City since 1440. Once set up by the guildsmen, it’s still the administrative and ceremonial centre of The City of London. Two legendary statues, Gog and Magog can be seen there. There are still City Guilds in London – they used to control all the businesses in the City, but nowadays they do charity work.

The “gates” of the City are guarded by red dragons, which are statues holding the coat-of-arms of the City. These dragons can be seen as decoration on some buildings, lamp-posts etc.

The Lord Mayor is only mayor to the City of London. The first was appointed by Richard I, called Henri Fitz-Ailwin de Londonstone. A Lord Mayor in London in chosen for one year. When he is appointed, a 260-year-old (built in 1757) beautiful golden stage coach carries him through the City.

A Lord Mayor in Scotland is called a Lord Provost – there are 69 of them in the UK (31in SCO). We call them “The Right Honourable”.

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What’s On at the Tower of London

ceremonyofthekeysThe Ceremony on the Keys

  • watch live how the Warders close the Tower (tradition for 700 years) – every day!;
  • visitors are escorted in and out the Tower (9.30 p.m.-10.30 p.m.; the ceremony starts at 10.05 p.m.);
  • you must book a ticket (free) online (only) – the event is fully booked for about a year long
  • you can’t take photos / videos; can’t go to the toilet or buy refreshments during the ceremony

The Crown Jewels

  • The Coronation Spoon (over 800 years old, used at coronations for holy oil)
  • The Sovereign’s Sceptre (with the Cullinan I diamond or Great Star of Africa, the largest colourless cut diamond of the world)
  • St Edward’s Crown (worn at the moment the monarch is crowned since 1661)
  • The Imperial State Crown (since 1937, worn at the State Opening of the Parliament

whitetowerThe White Tower

  • built to show power and
    strength and fear the intruders of London;
  • inside:
    • The Royal Armouries (e.g. of Henry VIII)
    • Chapel of St John the Evangelist, built in the 11th century
    • torture tools (axes, swords, blocks, etc. used in executions)

henryviiisarmoury

The ravens of the Tower

Ravens have been in the Tower since it was built. They are the kings of the Tower and the guardians, as the saying goes: “If the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will fall.”

According to the legend, it was King Charles II who ordered to protect the Ravens. There are seven ravens to guard the Tower (six plus one – and there are more – spare).

towerravens03-ravenmasterIt is the Raven Master who looks after the Tower ravens, moreover, the ravens only respond to him. All of our ravens are bred in captivity, not taken from the wild. To prevent the ravens from flying away, their lifting feathers are trimmed by the Raven Master. This procedure does not hurt the birds in any way, but by unbalancing their flight, it ensures they stay safe and do not stray far from the Tower. Look carefully and you will see the ravens’ graveyard and marker in the south moat (visible from the Middle Drawbridge). This is a great indicator of the respect in which they are held at the Tower.

Despite their having one wing trimmed, some ravens do in fact go absent without leave and others have had to be sacked. Raven George was dismissed for eating television aerials, and Raven Grog was last seen outside an East End pub. 

The ravens at the Tower eat 170g of raw meat a day, plus bird biscuits soaked in blood. Generally, a raven that comes from the crow family (and is its largest member) lives for 12-15 years, but at the Tower, a raven lived even up to 44 years.

towerravens01

The Tower of London

FACTFILE

Age: more than 900 years

Built by: William the Conqueror

Its roles in British history: a Royal palace; a prison; an arsenal; a Royal Zoo; a place of execution; a Royal mint.

The Tower of London was a prison over a lot of centuries. The prisoners were brought via the River Thames from Westminster. Their trials were held at Westminster and crowds of people waited on the riverbank to find out the verdict.
The executioner had a long sharp axe. He stood behind the accused on the boat. If the accused was guilty, the executioner pointed his axe towards the victim. If not guilty, he pointed it away. People knew that if found guilty there was a public execution 48 hours later.

Famous prisoners of the Tower were: Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard (2nd and 5th wife of Henry VIII); Lady Jane Grey and her husband, Guildford Dudley; Queen Elizabeth I; Guy Fawkes; Samuel Pepys…
Many people have been locked in the Tower, for religious beliefs or suspected treason. Many Tudor’s prisoners entered the Tower of London through the Traitors‘ Gate.

People and goods arrived and left the Tower via the River Thames, through a door in the walls called the Sallyport.

GUARDS – YEOMEN WARDERS

The responsibility for looking after the prisoners was given to the Yeomen Warders or Beefeaters. The Yeomen Warders originate from twelve Yeoman of the Guards, who were once private bodyguards of Henry VIII. There are about 40 of them nowadays.

Today, in principle, they have to look after any prisoners at the Tower and safeguard the British crown jewels. But in practice (as there are no prisoners nowadays in the Tower) they act as tour guides. There are twelve Yeomen Warders working at a time.

The Yeomen Warders take part in one State ceremony. At Coronations, they form a guard of honour inside the annexe at Westminster Abbey.

Their nickname is Beefeater. It comes from the time when the Yeomen Warders at the Tower got part of their salary with chunks of beef up until the 1800s.

YEOMEN OF THE GUARD

The Queen’s Body Guard – the Yeomen of the Guard are a bodyguard of the British Monarch. There are 73 Yeomen of the Guard, they are all former officers and sergeants of the British Services.

It is the oldest of the Royal bodyguards and the oldest military corps in Britain. The Yeomen of the Guard accompany the current monarch at investitures (e.g. a new bishop, archbishop etc.) and summer Garden Parties at Buckingham Palace, and so on. Their most famous duty is to ‘ceremonially’ search the cellars of the Palace of Westminster prior to the State Opening of Parliament, a tradition that dates back to the Gunpowder Plot of 1605, when Guy Fawkes attempted to blow up Parliament.

Yeomen Warders wear two types of uniform – the State Dress Uniform on state occasions, and the normal everyday uniform. The latter is a blue dress with some red and the initials ER in the centre. ER stand for Elizabetha Regina – Regina means Queen in Latin, so the initials refer to Queen Elizabeth II, the current British monarch.

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Bet You Didn’t Know…

Names, terms, dates 2

Names, terms and dates from Chapter 7.

Liste to the audio recording of Chapter 7.

Chapter 7 – MORE MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES

British Museum, the the oldest museum in the world, visitors will see the works of man from prehistoric to modern times from around the world;
Most famous objects include: the Rosetta Stone, Parthenon sculptures, Egyptian mummies and the Portland Vase
Museum of London, the you can learn about London and its people from earliest times
Natural History Museum, the you can learn about our planet, our world, the people, animals and plants in it
Charles Dickens one of the most famous writers of England who wrote his novels in Victorian times; most famous Dickens characters are: Oliver Twist, David Copperfield and Nicholas Nickleby
Arthur Conan Doyle, Sir English writer whose popular characters were Sherlock Holmes, the clever detective and his friend, Watson
10 Baker Street the house where Sherlock Holmes lived in Doyle’s novels; nowadays it hosts The Sherlock Holmes Museum
Covent Garden once it was the place for the largest English market; nowadays there are shops, market stalls and street artists there; Covent Garden is home for The London Transport Museum and The Royal Opera House
Tate Britain the home of British art from 1500 to present
dungeon, a a dark cellar room in a castle used as a prison in the past
chamber, a a large room in a building used for meetings; old word for a private room (or bedroom)