STROLLING THROUGH LONDONCategory: Land + People
Trafalgar Square was at one time known as the Bermudas, the slum haunt of rogues and vagabonds. Adjoining were the Royal Mews in which were kept, not horses as one might suppose, but hawks.
The Square was so named to commemorate Nelson’s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar, and the monument in the centre, known as Nelson’s Column, is surmounted with a statue of Nelson 16 feet high. The height of the monument is 184 feet 10 inches. Its pedestal is decorated with bas-reliefs of famous naval battles. The metal for these bas-reliefs was cast from cannon captured from the French.
At the base “of Nelson’s column are four great lions.
Commencing from Trafalgar Square, go down Whitehall. At the end of Whitehall you come to Parliament Square with the Houses of Parliament on the left. A special permit is required to see over certain quarters of the Houses of Parliament.
The Clock Tower, which towers over the Houses of Parliament, is 313 ft. high and 41 ft. square. The Clock, which has four dials each 22 ft. in diameter, is considered to be one of the finest time-keepers in the world. The hours are struck on the largest bell, well known as “Big Ben”. This bell weighs 131/2 tons.
St. James’ Park, situated almost in the middle of London, is one of its most beautiful spots. The lake, which runs nearly its entire length, is the home of many varieties of wild fowl.
On the south side of park is Birdcage WTalk, the name of which originated from an aviary of Charles II.
Strolling through the winding paths of St. James’ Park you reach Buckingham Palace, in front of which stands the Queen Victoria Memorial.
Fleet Street is known all over the world as the home of British journalism. The River Fleet, from which the street takes its name, still runs under Ludgate Circus, but is now used as a sewer. Probably the most unusual modern building in Fleet Street is that of the Daily Express, which has the front of the building, except for windows, entirely covered in black glass. To the ultra-modernist this may appear pleasing, to others, however, the result is rather morbid. The Daily Telegraph and Reuter buildings are also noteworthy.
St. Paul’s Cathedral (a drawing by Paul Hogarth)
St. Paul’s Cathedral is open daily although visitors are requested not to walk about during service time.
The Cathedral, built of portland stone, was first begun in 1675 and was not completed until 1710. It was designed by Christopher Wren.
The West Front overlooks Ludgate Hill, and in the North Tower is a peal of twelve bells, while in the South or Clock Tower is the largest bell in England, “The Great Paul”. The bell is normally rung for five minutes at one o’clock every day and for services on Sundays. Owing to the possible damage to St. Paul’s by the blitz pn London, the bell has not .been rung, as the vibration might cause further damage to the Cathedral.
“The Whispering Gallery” will fascinate all visitors. In this Gallery the slightest whisper is audible 100 feet away.
» (From Beveny’s Guide to London)