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TRAVEL TRIPS UK4

TRAVEL TRIPS

GREG BARNES' U.K. trip (Part 4 OF 4)– September 2019
posted Dec 22

From Greenwich to Harrods, my final album reflects some of the diversity and challenges of London today.” 

                                                                      Album #4 London, UK

“My fourth and likely last visit to London. This trip was to see some of the places missed in previous visits. Places like Bletchley Park, the Churchill War Rooms, Greenwich, and York were priorities. With the three other picture albums created here, you can see I accomplished many of my goals. London has changed! Britain is changing, and not necessarily in a good way. Brexit has added tensions for citizens that are palatable, and the political process is a dysfunctional mess. On a positive note, historical infrastructure is being refurbished. Scaffolding is everywhere. Building cranes are plentiful, particularity in the high density area of Canary Wharf.”

1. First purchase after landing at Heathrow Terminal 2. After the long hike to the Underground station, I bought an Oyster Card and topped it up with £25 to get me rolling in London. I love using the Underground, and the Oyster card is a good value for the nine days I was there. I topped it up mid-stay with another £20.

2. The convenience of being close to international, domestic and underground trains is a big reason I stay in the Kings Cross area. However, a bigger reason is the wonderful architecture of the St. Pancras station. The Gothic Revival architecture leaves a mental picture that stays with you. It opened in 1868. The interior is spectacular. In 2007 the refurbishment of the inside facilities was completed,. The Eurostar trains moved from Waterloo Station and now operate out of St. Pancras.

3. The Old Navel College, Greenwich UK. The four major campus buildings were designed by Christopher Wren in the 1690s on instructions by Queen Mary II, wife of King William III, to build what was originally called the Royal Hospital for Seamen at Greenwich. Wren first decided to build one large building with a huge dome, but Queen Mary nixed his design because it would block the view of the Thames from her Queen’s House across Romney Road. So Wren went back to his drawing board and his second try featured twin domed buildings separated by a street as wide as the Queen’s house.

4. The Old Royal Naval College is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site called Maritime Greenwich. It is recognized as one of the world’s finest examples of English Baroque architecture. This particular domed building is the home of the St. Peter & St. Paul Chapel which at one time also contained the hospital for navy pensioners.

5. King William Fountain. This ornate fountain stands in the middle of the central promenade between the Dreadnought Building and King William Court at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich. The fountain is decorated with fish faucets and 4 carved ships with dragon figureheads.

6. My fascination with lamps and scroll type stuff is unabated as you will see throughout my UK albums.

7. If you visit the Chapel go down into the tunnels & structures underneath. The labyrinth housed the hospital and its' long term residents. A two lane "bowling alley" will amaze you.

8. St. Peter and St. Paul Chapel, a part of Queen Mary Court, was also designed by Christopher Wren, but it was completed 19 years after his death in 1742. The Chapel's present interior dates from 1779–1789, when it was rebuilt to a design by James Stuart after a devastating fire. Note the Corinthian Columns at the Altar. The floor is black & white marble. In the centre is a ships anchor.

9. The ceilings are a Neo-classical design of squares & octagons. They are carved, not moulded.

10.The Chapel re-opened in 1789, 10 years after the fire. The Choir Stalls were added in 1882 and the Pulpit has been moved and reduced in size, but otherwise the Chapel looks much as it did when services resumed. I sat on a pew beside the Pulpit. The ornate carvings on it are amazing.

11. There is a mixture of ancient Greek and navel imagining covering almost every surface. The navel motifs were included to honour the Chapels congregation of pensioners who may have been missing their lives at sea.

12. Samuel Green (1740–1796) was an English organ builder. Mr. Green built a large number of organs for cathedrals and churches in London and the country. The instruments are praised for their beauty of tone. Green died in near poverty at Isleworth, Middlesex, September 14, 1796, leaving his business to his widow. Note two more Corinthian Columns on each side of the pipes.

13. The line in Greenwich represents the historic Prime Meridian of the World - Longitude 0º. Every place on Earth was measured in terms of its distance east or west from this line. The line itself divided the eastern and western hemispheres of the Earth - just as the Equator divides the northern and southern hemispheres.

14. The sign spares me from making a fool of myself, a meridian chimp.

15. Helpful right?

16. View from Greenwich Observatory across to the former Royal Naval College & Museum. It also affords a view of Canary Wharf development. Note the number of building cranes. When taking the train through it, the density of development is staggering. Even thought it was showery, it was nice to get out of central London to the fresh air and green spaces.

17. The avenues of sweet (Spanish) chestnut trees in Greenwich Park are believed to have been planted 1660-1, so they may be 358 years old. There are large trees that border the many paths of the park. Many of those paths converge on the walk up to the Observatory. Greenwich Park was designated in the fifteenth century and is the oldest of London’s Royal Parks.

18. Picture the scene. You are looking down from the Observatory to the Thames bustling with tall ships. It’s the Victorian era and naval power and the British Empire are at their peak. On the decks, officers stand ready, watch in hand waiting for the signal on the hill. Setting the time will be a life and death matter for these mariners.  The bright red Time Ball on top of Flamsteed House is one of the world's earliest public time signals. It was first used in 1833 and still operates today. Each day, at 12.55, the time ball rises half way up its mast. At 12.58 it rises all the way to the top. At 13.00 exactly, the ball falls, and so provides a signal to anyone who happens to be looking. Of course, if you are looking the wrong way you have to wait until the next day before it happens again. Twenty-four hours to absorb a lashing for missing the signal.

19. Whenever in London I have a few must do's. One is to sit on a bench in St. James Park. Another is to wander through the park until the Victoria Memorial comes into view. This bronze & marble monument to Queen Victoria was unveiled in 1911. It stands as a prominent tribute to the British Monarchy and a guardian to Buckingham Palace. The third necessity is to walk the length of The Mall to Trafalgar Square. It must be in this Anglo-Saxon's DNA.

20. A gate at Buckingham Palace with the Crest of King George.

21. After the walk up The Mall you come to Admiralty Arch. Not the best shot as the security walls limited access. Take the small pedestrian portal on the left and Trafalgar Square fills your vision. The Arch was commissioned by King Edward VII in memory of his mother Queen Victoria. It was completed in 1912. Until 2011 it housed government offices. In 2012 it was leased for redevelopment into a Waldorf Astoria luxury hotel. What???

22. Tower Bridge and the Thames. Doesn't get more London than that. In great working shape despite being 125 years old. Well worth going in to the structure for the museum and to see the operational side of lifting the centre sections for marine traffic. No, it is not where London Bridge is/was.

23. The last time I was at Harrods was 1991. At that time, it was more for the novelty rather than actually buying anything. It has been modernized considerably.  I did buy a couple of gifts for the Granddaughters. I had prepaid my flight home.

24. Harrods has a lot of incredible stuff.  Most of it out of reach of a CBC pensioner. This attractive pachyderm can be yours for £1,650. (C$ 2,730)

25. The ‘Kitty” would be a great gift for a child into stuffed animals. I did not get an asking price.

26. I did buy the little one on the right. What a sight to welcome shoppers to the toy section(s).

27. Admittedly, if it hadn't been for the 2013 TV series Mr. Selfridge, I likely wouldn't know Selfridges exists. But I watched, and had to see it.  Selfridges & Co. is a chain of high-end department stores in the UK. The chain was founded by Harry Gordon Selfridge in 1908. The flagship store on Oxford Street is the second largest shop in the UK (after Harrods) and opened March 15, 1909. An ultra-modern design now with metal and glass and bright colors. Sales Associates still wear business attire.

28. Yes, high-end! The Rolex on the left is priced at £30,850. The one on the right is £49,850. Any takers?

29. A Canadian guy with a Bear tattoo does not go look for price tags on the purses. Use your imagination, or The Google.

30. A first visit to Covent Garden Market. We now know who is hoarding Grandma's silver collection. Many stalls in this part of the market exhibit private collections as opposed to retailers pushing new products. I did buy a tasty sausage roll for lunch from the butcher. If you want a Second World War helmet this is the place for you.

31. BMW's comprise a large part of police fleets in London and other large cities. The traffic interceptors are tricked out with supercharged 270 HP engines. Very posh!. Expensive write-offs for collision damage.

32. The biggest change since my 2011 visit?  Security!  London is behind "walls" and cameras. These railings have been installed on Westminster Bridge. Ugly, but effective to keep vehicles away from pedestrians on the sidewalks.

33. Again, ugly but effective. The yobs with the spray cans don't help.

34. Not every Bollard is ugly. In fact, most along streets are very attractive like these outside Kings Cross St. Pancras.

35. My favourite spot because of the river, the bridge and an iconic view of the Houses of Parliament. Scaffolding is evident on part of the House of Parliament as well as Elizabeth Tower. Unfortunate that it was a dull day.

36. Another picture from my favourite place along the Thames beside Westminster Bridge. The scaffolding of Elizabeth Tower (Big Ben) to the left.

37. A better view of Elizabeth Tower clad in scaffolding.  Big Ben is silenced until 2021 except for the odd special occasion.  In front of the Tower is the location of the most recent terror attack on pedestrians.  I talked to one of the workers building new bollards to limit vehicle access to that area.

38. A wee Piper playing his one tune.  I like the kilt and accessories though.

39. More lamps fixed to Westminster Bridge. The London Eye in the background distracts from the beauty of the lamp standard.  This speaks more to the ability of the photographer than to the attractiveness of The Eye.

40. The London Eye opened December 31, 1999 to ring in the new Millennium.  At 443 feet, it does provide a great view of the central London area. Nearly four million visitors a year makes it the #1 attraction in the UK. Admission is £27- £30. I rode it in 2011 and was the only rider in my pod. It wasn't peak tourist season then.

41. Westminster Abbey, the western facade! The Abbey is the traditional place for Coronations and burial site for English Monarchs. Originally a Monastery, it was founded in 960, 1059 years ago. In the 13th century it was rebuilt in the Gothic style.

42. Westminster Abbey, the main entrance.  Popped in for an hour with a few thousand other visitors. No photos allowed! Admission was £20. So much history, so many bodies buried.  There are way too many gargoyles for my taste.

43. Westminster Abbey, the Statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus in front of the main doors.

44. Westminster Abbey entrance door.  This door is not a barn find. The millions of visitors, Monarchs and who's-who of English culture that have passed through this entrance is mind boggling.

45. Spent hours waiting at the TARDIS for Doctor Who to emerge to no avail.  On that down note, I bid a fond farewell to London and the many favourite places in the UK that will be long remembered.  Be well!  May good fortune be with you always.

Greg Barnes was with CBC Radio for over 29 years. His career in Edmonton and Vancouver encompassed a variety of technical, current affairs production and management roles. When he left CBC in 1995 he was Manager Of BC Region Radio Production. In the last couple of years prior to his leaving, Greg was Regional Radio representative on the small committee that the English services created to restructure the workforce. "Opportunity For Change" was a major initiative that resulted in new ways employees did their work by getting rid of many silos and broadening job descriptions. Within a year after him leaving, the CBC and the Unions negotiated many of the changes proposed in that document. In 1996 Greg went to work for International Forest Products running a major training project for millworkers. He was also hired to be Human Resources Manager of five cedar mills. He later joined the District of West Vancouver as Deputy Director of HR and Labour Relations. He achieved his goal to retire early in 2006. In addition to motorcycling, skiing and travel, he just concluded a 28 year high school football officiating career. He also combined that with 15 years working for the CFL at BC Lions games. He and Colette live in Coquitlam and are the parents of 3 adult children and blessed with 3 grandchildren.

1. Oytster Card

1. Oytster Card

2. St. Pancras Station

2. St. Pancras Station

3. The Old Navel College, Greenwich

3. The Old Navel College, Greenwich


4. The Old Royal Naval College, Maritime Greenwich

4. The Old Royal Naval College, Maritime Greenwich

5. King William Fountain, Greenwich

5. King William Fountain, Greenwich

6. Beautiful lamp

6. Beautiful lamp


7. Chapel, Greenwich

7. Chapel, Greenwich

8. St Pewter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

8. St Pewter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

9. Ceiling St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

9. Ceiling St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich


10. St Peter and St Paul Chapel interior, Greenwich

10. St Peter and St Paul Chapel interior, Greenwich

11.  Ancient Greed and Navy images, St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

11. Ancient Greed and Navy images, St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

12. The organ, St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich

12. The organ, St Peter and St Paul Chapel, Greenwich


13. Prime Meridian of the World, Greenwich

13. Prime Meridian of the World, Greenwich

14. Airy's Meridian, Greenwich signage

14. Airy's Meridian, Greenwich signage

15. Earth and Prime Meridian

15. Earth and Prime Meridian


16. View from Greenwich Observatory

16. View from Greenwich Observatory

17. Sweet Spanish Chestnut Trees in Greenwich Park

17. Sweet Spanish Chestnut Trees in Greenwich Park

18. Time Ball on Flamsteed House, Greenwich

18. Time Ball on Flamsteed House, Greenwich


19. Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, London

19. Victoria Memorial in front of Buckingham Palace, London

20. Gate, Buckingham Palace

20. Gate, Buckingham Palace

21. Admiralty Arch

21. Admiralty Arch


22. Tower Bridge and the Thames

22. Tower Bridge and the Thames

23. Harrods Signage

23. Harrods Signage

24. Stuffed elephant at Harrods

24. Stuffed elephant at Harrods


25. Stuffed tiger at Harrods

25. Stuffed tiger at Harrods

26. Teddy Bears at Harrods

26. Teddy Bears at Harrods

27. Selfridge signage

27. Selfridge signage


28. High end watches at Selfridges

28. High end watches at Selfridges

29. Handbags fr the wealthy at Selfridges

29. Handbags fr the wealthy at Selfridges

30. Covent Garden Market

30. Covent Garden Market


31. BMW Police Car

31. BMW Police Car

32. Security railings on Westminster Bridge

32. Security railings on Westminster Bridge

33. Security

33. Security


34. Security bollards at Kings Cross St Pancras Station

34. Security bollards at Kings Cross St Pancras Station

35. Houses of Parliament and the Thames

35. Houses of Parliament and the Thames

36. Westminster Bridge

36. Westminster Bridge


37. Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben under scaffolding

37. Elizabeth Tower and Big Ben under scaffolding

38. Piper on Westminster Bridge

38. Piper on Westminster Bridge

39. Lamps on Westminster Bridge

39. Lamps on Westminster Bridge


40. The London Eye

40. The London Eye

41. Westminster Abbey

41. Westminster Abbey

42. Westminster Abbey main entrance

42. Westminster Abbey main entrance


43. Statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, Westminster Abbey exterior

43. Statue of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, Westminster Abbey exterior

44. A door in Westminster Abbey

44. A door in Westminster Abbey

45. Red phone box

45. Red phone box