Friday, 5 September 2014

Tall Ships Regatta

Since about a month ago the Royal Borough of Greenwich has been gearing up for the visit (and conclusion) of the Falmouth Tall Ships Regatta.

Greenwich has a rich maritime history, Henry VIII famously building ships in dockyards in both Deptford and Woolwich. The observatory on the hill has a ball that drops every day at noon GMT by which ships used to set their clocks (assisting in finding their longitude).

Now it is perhaps better known as the home of the Cutty Sark (famous tea clipper) seen on TV every year by those watching the televised coverage of the London Marathon - the runners round it on their journey out of Greenwich.

The events in Greenwich (which also extends up and down the river) are commencing tonight and details of the many events can be found here. Apparently it has been visiting Greenwich since 2012 and I have somehow never noticed before.

Lamp-post banner seen in August

Charlton railway station this morning

Novotel Elements Bar decked out

Poster at Cutty Sark DLR

Crowds at Cutty Sark gardens

Cutty Sark and the Greenwich foot-tunnel

The Cutty Sark expecting weekend queues

Not so tall ship giving tours

Boats moored up at a floating dock

Moored down at the Peninsula

Another tour boat

Captain Nat

Cutty Sark decked out with flags

Tea stand by the tea clipper

Cutty Sark peeking through 

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Grosvenor Square

Like a lot of squares in and around Mayfair, Grosvenor Square has beautiful gardens in the centre. Like many gardens these were once for the exclusive use of residents of the surrounding properties ,but are now maintained by the Royal Parks department for the enjoyment of the public.

One of the squares most famous residents (for the last thirty years, anyway) is the American Embassy on the west side of the square (number 1) and the monuments in the square are strongly influenced by this.

Amused by the back of this street sign!

9/11 Memorial Garden (man with a leaf blower out of shot)

Eagle Squadron monument

President Roosevelt

Top of the American Embassy

Autumn sunshine in Grosvenor Square

9/11 Memorial up close (railing painter out of shot)

Grosvenor Square is named after the Grosvenor family who originally developed it (as are many of the squares and streets in St James's, Mayfair and other parts of the City of Westminster. It is now populated with the ubiquitous London Plane tree; although probably was once more elegant. The railings that enclose it (which once kept the populace out!) were replaced after the Ssquiecond World War - the originals having been melted down for the war effort.

The Second World War theme continues with Eagle Squadron Memorial commemorating over 200 American pilots who served with RAF fighter pilots in the Eagle Squadrons before the US joined the Second World War.

The origin of the statue of Roosevelt seems less straight forward, having been erected by public donation and inception to "a committee of the pilgrims of Great Britain".

The 9/11 memorial garden was officially opened in 2003. Each column of the wooden pergola is carved from a single trunk of an oak tree. The planting is inspired by flowers presented to the Queen during a memorial service at Westminster Abbey. The garden also contains the remains of a piece of steel structure from the buildings encased in resin.

There is of course, also plenty of local wildlife knocking around including squirrels, pigeons (they get everywhere) and even some office workers!!