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Category: City of London

  1. Swan Upping – Counting the Swans on the River Thames

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     Swan Upping on the River Thames - Queen’s Swan Marker, David Barber

     David Barber, The Queen’s Swan Marker

    Swan Upping is an ancient ceremony which counts the number of mute swans on the River Thames.  This still relatively unknown tradition is an annual event, which takes place during the third week in July. Earlier this week Julie and I went to Oakley Court hotel to watch this spectacle and to partake of afternoon tea (seperate blog to follow). 

  2. Meet Raving and Melancholy Madness

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    Bethlem Museum of the Mind

    Melancholy (right) and Raving (left)

    On arrival at the recently re-opened Bethlem Museum of the Mind I was met by Raving and Melancholy Madness. These two iconic, 7 foot tall, reclining figures depict two different forms of mental ill health. They were made by Caius Gabriel Cibber, who also made the bas relief at the base of The Monument, and the sculptures were originally on display at the hospital’s entrance in Moorgate, from 1676 to 1815. When the hospital moved, into the building which is now the Imperial War Museum London, the statutes were moved to the entrance hall but kept behind curtains. Today once again they welcome visitors to Bethlem Royal Hospital as they grace either side of the beautiful, art deco staircase. 

  3. The Distribution of Hot Cross Buns in a Churchyard

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    Butterworth Charity

    On Good Friday hot cross buns are distributed in the churchyard of St Bartholomew the Great. The ceremony known as the Butterworth Charity, was named after Joshua Whitehead Butterworth who created the trust in 1887. It was set up to provide the sum of six pence to twenty one needy widows in the parish and buns were to be handed out to children who attended the distribution. With the understanding that nowadays anyone who attends can have a hot cross bun I went to investigate further.  

  4. The Re-opening of the Guildhall Art Gallery - A Hidden Gem in the City of London

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    Guildhall Art Gallery

    The Guildhall Art Gallery has just re-opened following its first rehang since the present building opened in 1999. The gallery is one of London’s hidden gems, it's a relatively small, intimate space compared to some of the more well known art galleries, but it offers is a remarkable collection of Victorian and Pre Raphaelite paintings. I was delighted to be invited to the press launch prior to the gallery opening to the public.

  5. The New Heritage Gallery at the Guildhall Art Gallery

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    Guildhall Art Gallery - 1297 Magna Carta

    Today sees the long anticipated re-opening of the Guildhall Art Gallery which included a new Heritage Gallery. Last night I attended the special reception of the launch which inclued Dame Helen Ghosh, the Director General of the National Trust and the Lord Chief Justice, Baron Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and I was lucky to see the new fabulous display before it opens to the general public today. The centrepiece of the new display is a copy of the 1297 Magana Carta.*

  6. Shepherds Markets

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    Shepherds Market

    The other week I was shown round Shepherds Markets in Victoria. London is a city known for its traditional markets, the most famous being Covent Garden flower market and Smithfield meat market. In the last few years Shepherds Markets has joined the list, a small family run business, established in 2005, it offers good quality food stalls in several pop up locations throughout central London. 

  7. Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - A Walk Along the Thames Pathway Part 2

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    Rotherhithe to Tower Bridge - City Skyline

    In Part Two of this blog I continue my journey via the Thames Path to Tower Bridge and on the way saw the remains of Edward III's Manor House and explored the fascinating area known as Horselydown as well as taking in some fabulous views of the London skyline. 

  8. Sacred Tarts at Barts Pathology Museum

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    Sacred Tarts

     Our Lady Of Sorrows by Cake Follies

    Sacred Tarts - a divine cake sale

    When you attends an event at Barts Pathology Museum you can always expect a fun and entertaining time. On Easter Saturday 2013, Sacred Tarts saw the museum hosting a religious themed cake sale which provided an array of tempting goodies as an alternative to the traditional Easter egg. On offer were edible crucifixes, pope cakes and St Lucy's Eyeball Truffles just to name a few. In addition there were cocktails, live music and the opportunity to view the museum's collection. The cakes are a work of art in themselves and almost too nice to eat.