Got married. 😀
Hello all, the dark days are here again, and we’ve not even put the clocks back!
So, after a couple of sad posts it is time to brighten up my home page again. I bring you, after a long delay, photos from Open House 2013!
Trinity Hospital, Highbridge, SE10 9PS
This is a very beautiful 17th century building on the riverside in Greenwich, it has self contained apartments for retired men and women, and is built round a square courtyard with water fountain. You can access the front entrance using the Thames Path.
The Master Shipwright’s House, Watergate Street, SE8 3JF
Hiding from the world in Deptford is the only building left from Henry VIII’s Royal Dockyard. This private dwelling dates from 1708 and is well worth a nosy about, the river views are excellent as well.
Lloyds’s Register Group, 71 Fenchurch Street, EC3M 4BS
Enter on the modern side of the building, exit on the old side! This building is an excellent joining of old and new, a very dramatic modern entrance greets you, and an elegant and sumptuous interior takes you out of the building.
Unilever House, 100 Victoria Embankment, EC4Y ODY
Access to this grand riverside building was sadly limited to the entrance lobby, but the height and space in the atrium made the short visit worthwhile. An interesting art installation is hung in the space as well.
City Of London School, Queen Victoria Street, EC4V 3AL
This fantastic 1987 concrete and glass school sits on the river in The City and has glorious views of the surrounding area. Visitors are given access to much of the school and it is well worth a visit to see some excellent modern architecture.
Tower Bridge Exhibition, Tower Bridge Road, SE1 2UP
An outstanding feat of Victorian engineering and an excellent attraction – we were able to cross the gantries for superb views and visit the museum showcasing the engines that used to open and close the bridge. Good timing was also had as the bridge opened and closed as we were leaving.
Tower Bridge House, St Katherine’s Way, E1W 1AA
From outside, this glass covered building looks fairly generic, but inside, the open lobby space has a ‘window’ towards The Tower of London and this creates a light and airy space. Once up high on the top floor you can see the effect even better – and you can spot the wildlife!
Apothecaries’ Hall, Black Friars Lane, EC4V 6EJ
Another of London’s livery companies, steeped in history etc etcetera. Nice panes of stained glass, full of dark wooden panelled rooms.
Banqueting House, Whitehall, SW1A 2ER
This is a visually brilliant space with bean bags dotted about for comfortable views of the painted ceiling and extravagant chandeliers. Here, Charles I walked his last steps before his execution, visit his throne and be overwhelmed.
Admiralty House, Ripley Courtyard, 26 Whitehall, SW1A 2DY
Sadly for me, photos aren’t allowed at this excellent building. The inside is beautifully restored with a beautiful double curved staircase and lovely flagstoned floors. Worth a visit but watch the queues, don’t get there too late.
Back in January us Londoners had a bit of proper snow and it was lovely. Also that month, stories appeared on the Interwebs declaring that the Thames Path by the Lovell’s development was to be opened after being shut for years (that is how it felt at least).
These two exciting events coincided with a visit from my aunt and uncle the weekend after the snow, so what better thing to do in freezing January than go for a walk to the O2! 🙂
It was also another opportunity to crack out the new shiny camera so here are some photos…
My favourite local, The Pelton Arms
An amazing sight! One can walk beside the river!
I spotted these wooly bollard hats two days earlier and found out they were the work of the Guerilla Knitters, Greenwich branch. Part of this walk turned into ‘spot the knitting’ which was quite enjoyable.
After the first knitting spots we came to Enderby’s Wharf which is supposed to be turning into a cruise liner terminal
Yes, I do cruelly force family members to pose for embarrassing photos
The east side of the Isle of Dogs is in the background
Morden Wharf with its awesome lettering
Spotted this great bit of work, I would imagine the Greenwich Industrial History Society were involved
After walking the long way round we finally reached the O2 and went to Starbucks for a much needed hot drink!
We then went on the cable car but it was raining by that time and my photos are completely awful. It was fun though! Hooray for Boris’s dangleway!
Whilst in the City last Saturday I came upon One New Change and went in to see what all the fuss was about. Not much to see, bog standard new shopping centre with a mediocre range of shops and restaurants.
However, the architect did some wonderful things to lift this shopping centre out of its mediocrity. For example, if you go to the lift in the centre of the building, the aspect from the lift is of St Paul’s Cathedral and the shopping centre has been split in the middle so you get a stunning view of the cathedral as you rise and fall. Nice!
Also stunning is the free panorama from the 6th floor, take the lift up to this superb view…
Until 1989 my family and I lived in Catford and the nearest big parks were Greenwich Park and Crystal Palace Park. As we would go to both parks, both have been documented in the home video my Dad shot over two weekends in 1986 (the Greenwich video and blog can be found here).
This slice of video features the park zoo, the cafe and various shots of my brother and his cousin Patrick running about. 🙂
What direction are we coming from? Somewhere near the railway viaduct that runs into Crystal Park station?
Running up that hill
It appears the zoo was closed at some point as it reopened in 2008 as Crystal Palace Farm
Rita, Lara, Llama
Sisters and cousins
Visiting the cafe with my cousin Jayne
Cousin Patrick with the best glasses!
Aping around with Guy the Gorilla
Video time. 🙂
I’ve been attending various dance classes at Little Pilates Studio on Trafalgar Road for the past two months.
My favourite classes are Barre Fit and Zumba and I am really enjoying popping round the corner for a class after getting home from work. I used to do a lot of disco and contemporary dance at school but it has been a long time since I went to an exercise class!
Barre Fit incorporates elements of Ballet and Pilates and is more about stretching and toning than weight loss. Zumba on the other hand is fast, intense and you sweat a lot! However, both classes are great fun and I am enjoying improving my fitness little by little.
The two instructors I have been exercising with are really friendly and lead the classes really well. One of them is a bit of an exercise nutter and works you flat out but that is the point!
The studio offers a large variety of classes at different levels and classes are available all week at different times. Classes operate on a credits system so you only need to purchase credits to book and attend any class with 24 hours notice. Cool!
Discounted packages are also available and I signed up like a proper healthy person a few weeks back! :D.
So, if you don’t fancy the gym at The Arches or can’t be arsed with swimming either, go and dance and stretch and bend at Little Pilates!
Back in the dark days of the 1980s home videos were a bit of a rarity. Thankfully for us Ruffles we have some footage from 1986 showing my Mum and Dad, my brother and I and some of the extended family.
I asked my Dad to tell me how he came to film us and this is what he said:
“Do you remember Keith and Dawn Morley? They lived in Sandhurst Road, which is parallel to Glenfarg Road where we lived. In 1986 they fostered a young lad called Mark (aged about 16 or 17) whose mother had died unexpectedly.
Well, Mark rashly bought a video camera from Dixons on credit, which he could not really afford. So I took the opportunity to ‘rent’ it from him for a few weeks, which resulted in me recording various family activities as can be seen on the video.
Unfortunately, I did not keep the mini-VHS master tape, but just copied it to a Phillips V2000 tape.
This was the type of video recorder we had at the time, but there was VHS, Betamax and V2000 systems for domestic video recorders, although subsequently VHS won the market against Betamax and V2000, even though it was technically an inferior technology.”
Domestic video recorders aside, one of the best things about the two hour video is that some of it features a trip to Greenwich Park. I live in spitting distance of the park now and it is pretty amazing to see what has and hasn’t changed in the last 24 years.
Park Vista in the background
The toilets are still there!
The gap in the buildings is the Maze Hill and Park Vista junction
My brother splashing in the empty boating lake puddles
Pretty sure that exit hasn’t changed a bit either!
We then walked down to the Cutty Sark, and you can see the tea clipper in its dry dock. You can also see the horrible concrete surrounds of Cutty Sark Gardens. Some cynical grumpy folks might say it doesn’t look very different now…
Looking towards Deptford, I think that industrial building in the left background isn’t there anymore. I wonder if Greenwich Industrial History might know more?
The foot tunnel entrance is obscured by a lovely band of concrete.
And here is the video, I am the one with the pigtails, my mum is wearing the cream coat, my Dad is unseen as in all our family photos, and I have no idea who the other people are! 🙂
I love this slice of 1986 and feel quite lucky to have footage of my brother and I as children. Also, bearing in mind my parent’s eventual separation and my Mum’s death five years later, I feel really blessed to have this wonderful footage of us together as a family.
So thanks Mark! :).
I took the day off work today to see The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh officially open the Cutty Sark. The other half and I aren’t Royalists in any kind of nutty sense, but we do have a soft spot for the Royal family and this was too good an opportunity to miss.
Approaching the Cutty Sark through the Old Royal Naval College, the barriers were there for the procession a few hours later.
Reports on Twitter that grass spoilt by the Les Miserables filming was to be spray painted green was true…
Spots were designated for the local Primary schools to come and cheer the procession.
I still don’t know why these poor people were attached to the rigging for the whole morning.
I bet these were The Queen’s bodyguards. The one in uniform was on stage with The Queen.
A good turn out for a horrible day. The stage was there for the inaugural performance of Diamond Greenwich.
The closest I got to the stage where the speeches and presentations were done!
But then they came down the path towards us and I took this! Yay!!! It was well worth the wait! :).
View from the junction of King William Walk and Romney Road.
We were feeling cold and miserable after all the rain so headed to the Trafalgar Cafe for breakfast before going home. We went back via the Naval College and saw the King’s Troop passing through College Way as part of the royal visit.
I think the first three photos might not be of the King’s Troop as they walked instead of riding. Can anyone enlighten me?
I love that our lovely power station gets in all the shots!
We didn’t stay about for The Queen’s procession through College Way or for her visit to the National Maritime Museum but more photos and details about the royal visit can be found here:
Long to Rain Over Us – Crowds Brave Weather for Queen’s Visit, Greenwich.co.uk
The Queen’s Rain, The Greenwich Phantom
The museum also has some wonderful photos from 1937 when The Queen visited aged eleven!
Opening of the National Maritime Museum, 1937
A lovely day was had by all and the reward of a Trafalgar Cafe Full English Breakfast made the day even better!
Yesterday was a pretty awesome day to be a Greenwich tax payer as the council and the folks behind the Cutty Sark had decided we would get a free trip on the refurbished tea clipper. It isn’t even open yet, and we even beat Her Majesty The Queen!
I booked tickets for 4pm, and with some time to kill before then we decided to go to the church of St Alfege as they are celebrating the murder of Ælfheah of Canterbury who was captured and martyred by marauding Vikings in 1012.
Being agnostic I wasn’t so bothered about how wonderful it was that St Alfege died because he wouldn’t let his mates pay a ransom to the Vikings to secure his release, but we did get an awesome church built on the spot where he died instead.
Thanks to the church and Regia Anglorum we also got an 11th century Anglo Saxon village for the week and I took some photos of this fantastic re-enactment .
Also, if you are in Greenwich on Christmas Eve, the church choir perform on their own shortly before the midnight mass. They are amazing. Stunning singers.
Men being manly with axes.
Women chatting. Nothing ever changes.
Thread making? Or the earliest form of a friendship bracelet?
Oh no! The Vikings are back! Quick! Hide the babies!
Beautiful ship #1.
Making flour? Looks a lot like the process still used in Morocco to make Argan oil
Harp playing too! 🙂
After that wonderful experience, I walked round the corner of my local area to see stunning ship #2!
So, the Cutty Sark. A major landmark in Greenwich, engulfed by fire in 2007, fastest tea clipper in the west, cost £50 million to refurbish yadda yadda yadda. But what did it feel like to go into the new building?
AMAZING. FRIGGING AMAZING*.
It is beautiful, absolutely beautiful. I felt quite emotional as I slowly walked along the gangway that takes you into the ship itself. I stared up at the gorgeous plating on the hull and was in awe. Amazing.
Stern and rudder
“Composite construction, a wooden hull on an iron frame”
Replica tea chests hung from the ceiling and tea chest patterns were marked on the floor of the lower hold.
Video screens depicting the tea trade were lined up on both sides of the lower hold.
A large wall covered in material and rows of seating made up the Michael Edwards Studio Theatre. A video showing the Cutty Sark’s routes round the world was projected onto the wall.
The inside of the hull bathed in green.
Upstairs is the ‘tween deck which focused on the crew of the Cutty Sark, and the wool and whisky trades. There was also a interactive video display where people could steer the Cutty Sark home from Australia. I sadly ran the ship aground in Antarctica!
Video projected onto the side of a bale, I thought this was a really great way of displaying content.
Above the ‘tween deck is the main deck where you get to see the top half of the ship in its full glory. There aren’t any exhibitions to see here but exploring the deck, seeing the views, the masts and the 11 miles of rigging is more than enough to keep you enthralled.
Best weather ever.
I doubt this beautiful view would have been possible without the 3 metre raising of the ship.
View towards St Alfege showing the blue sea the ship floats on.
After the main deck you take the stairs or lift down to the Sammy Ofer Gallery where you can see the rest of the hull. Unlike the SS Great Britain in Bristol, the sealed off hull area isn’t humid or uncomfortable and is instead light, spacious and airy.
Stern and rudder from below
The gleaming belly.
Wonderfully, the concrete sides from the previous dry dock haven’t been covered up and you can see the differences between the 1950s refurbishment and now.
This practice has been maintained throughout as the new metalwork added to the ship, to make it structurally sound, has been painted grey and the original metalwork has been painted white.
At the stern of the ship is a wonderful 19th Century figurehead collection, children will love it. The white figurehead is Nannie Dee, an figurehead that used to be on the front of the ship… I think.
I do like the sea of glass, the reflections are lovely.
Lots of space and the cafe feels quite unobtrusive from this end of the gallery.
We had to have a cup of ship’s tea, or Twinings tea to be accurate. 🙂
I didn’t get the shot quite right but I tried!
I absolutely love history and having a slice of shipping history fifteen minutes walk from my home is just wonderful. I haven’t been to the ship before and I can only imagine how awful it was for locals when it was burning back in 2007.
I have been to a number of modern museums and comparing it to the Museum of London at Docklands I can only say it is just as good. Both make me want to go back again and again. And once all the exhibits and activities are finished the museum will be even better.
It is a shame entry is £12 when The Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum are free but the Observatory is not free, so hey ho, some things are worth paying for.
A day later I still feel really happy and excited to have gone and a second trip is a must. Greenwich is such a lovely place to live.
More photos from the day can be found here.
*These happened to be the words I used to describe how I felt when I briefly chatted to Richard Doughty. Poor man. I made a bee line for him as soon as I recognised him off the telly!