Today’s journey in to the city of London started off at noon. I made my way to Oxford street to the Mark’s and Spencer’s next to the Selfridge’s and Co store. I do need to go in there one of these days. After having watched the bio-pic on Henry Selfridge my interest is piqued on the store. I digress, I stopped at M&S to buy an avocado sandwich, one of my favourites that I look forward to when I find out I am coming to London, and a bottle of still water. I headed towards the area of Mayfair by foot.
I had heard about Mayfair by another flight attendant who has spent most of his career travelling back and forth from Canada to London. He had mentioned a few places to check out in the area. I walked past Grovesnor square, a beautiful garden park area in Mayfair. The park is bordered by embassies and consulates. The Canadian consulate is on one side and the massive American embassy imposes itself along one side of the square. The reason of my wander through the area wasn’t to view the embassies, as impressive as they are, but instead to see an unassuming structure called Audley House. The building houses a gun and rifle manufacturer, Purdey, which has a long standing history but the building itself has a notable history. Inside this building American defence planners, including Eisenhower it is told, met to plan the D-Day invasions of WWII. The area of Mayfair was extensively bombed during the London Blitzes by the German Luftwaffe. One of the things I came to see was the scars the building bears of this time. To remember the terrible nights that Londoners lived through the chipped bricks of Audley House were not replaced but left as a reminder of what they endured.
I wandered up and down the streets of Mayfair for a while admiring the very expensive cars and architecture of the area. From there I traversed the streets to Green Park. The Ritz Carlton hotel sits off the entrance of the park and the hotel’s sign is a lovely sight all lit up. Green Park has one of my favourite tree lined walkways. I love to take pictures of it in various seasons. One thing that I love about London is how well the parks are used and enjoyed. The green spaces and pathways were teeming with families, couples and tourists. There are always a lot of tourists in this park as it borders Buckingham Palace, the Mall and the Queen Victoria Memorial Fountain. The gates separating the traffic circle in front of the palace and the routes leading up to it all bear country names from the British Commonwealth, India, Australia, South Africa, New Zeland, and Canada. After a few more quick photos of the palace, I think that make aout a thousand over the years. I don’t know why I keep taking them, I guess I hope I will be getting somesort of perfect shot. I crossed the Mall to St. James Park where I sat on a park bench watching the swans and people while I ate my M&S sandwich. The wind was biting by this point so I did not linger long. I got up and continued my meandering down past Parliament, Westminister Abbey, and Big Ben to the tube station. I used the mass transport to get me closer to St. Paul’s Cathedral, not my destination but very close to wher I wanted to be, the Museum of London. One of the girls I worked with a few weeks ago had told me about this museum and recommended I see it as she knows my passion for both history and the city of London.
This particular Museum tells the story of the area of the present city of London through history beginning at neandertal times and ending it’s marrative with the 2012 Summer Olympics. It is a free, donations are encouraged, place to learn the story behind one of the greatest cities of the world. I got there with about three and a half hours until closing and left as I was being ushered out due to nightfall. I skimmed most of the early history, prehistoric and roman times do not hold much interest for me. There are only so many reassembled pots and pottery shards I can tolerate before I fall asleep. What held my attention started with the dark ages and went up through the black death, Plague, renaissance, Victorian, early 20th century. The museum closed before I could view most of the modern history portion. The Victorian portion had a recreation of a market area and stores, middle ages had typical home representations and there was an amazing park simulation with 18th century costumes. I caught one of the free daily talks on certain displays, today’s was the Department store Selfridge’s and Co lifts (elevators). It was well timed as I was recording the miniseries on the man who founded the store and had my interest piqued. The docent was very knowledgable about the lifts and was very good at her delivery. After wearing out my welcome at the museum as it was closing I walked back to the Tube station and took it to Oxford Street so I could walk to my favourite fish and chips restaurant, the golden hind, 73 Marlybone Lane.
I jstopped in for a piece of cod, and chips. I feel the fish is great here and have brought many people here over the years who always left happy. It is best to go during the week as it is very busy on weekends and the tables are shoulder to shoulder. The opening hours are short for dinner, and I believe they are closed Sundays. The fish was so big I was able to save half for my next meal.