Around London – HMS Belfast restored, Buckingham Palace record, plumber’s new statue

• The HMS Belfast’s newly restored masts were unveiled to the public this week following an 18 month restoration project. Moored on the Thames between Tower and London Bridges, the ship is one of only a few surviving Royal Navy ships that served in Arctic convoys supplying Russia during World War II. The restoration was carried out for free by a team of more than 20 men and women from the JSC Shipbuilding plant, Severnaya Verf, in St Petersburg, Russia as a tribute to the British and Allied sailors who risked their lives on the convoys. The work involved removed and replacing all of the masts. For more information, see

A record 413,000 people visited Buckingham Palace over the summer – the highest number in 16 years. The record numbers were partly ascribed to the new Garden Cafe which served 46,000 cups of tea. Meanwhile, the palace has announced the exhibition, Victoria & Albert: Art & Love, at the Queen’s Gallery has been extended until 5th December. For more information, see

• The Worshipful Company of Plumbers has reportedly announced it will be installing a bronze statue of a plumbers’ apprentice outside Cannon Street station next year. The statue’s installation will  mark 400 years since the company first received its Royal Charter from King James I. The station was the site of the company’s livery hall until 1863 when the site was compulsorily acquired to make way for the new railway.

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