Around London: Heritage Open Days; Afghanistan supply lines; and Leslie Howard’s Blue Plaque…

September 12, 2013

It’s a good weekend for a day trip with heritage sites all around the fringes of greater London throwing their doors open this weekend as part of the annual Heritage Open Days event. Among places taking part in this year’s event – which will be followed by Open House London next weekend – are Cleaves Almshouses – established in 1669 and located in Kingston upon Thames, Watford’s oldest building – St Mary’s Church, Lopping Hall in Loughton (so named for the fact it was given to the townspeople in exchange for lopping rights in Epping Forest), and St George’s RAF Chapel of Remembrance at Biggin Hill Airfield in Kent. There are more than 4,500 properties taking part over the weekend, which kicks off today and runs until Sunday, across England. For more information – including full listings of all premises taking part, check out www.heritageopendays.org.uk.

A new display taking at in-depth look at the complexities of supplying soldiers in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province opened at the Imperial War Museum this week. War Story: Supplying Frontline Afghanistan follows the journey from RAF Brize Norton in the UK to Camp Bastion in Afghanistan and then to forward operating bases and patrol bases on the frontline and features photographs, interviews and time lapse footage collected by IWM staff on trips to Afghanistan undertaken last year and this year – the first time IWM teams have visited an active theatre of conflict since World War I. Runs until 27th April. For more, see www.iwm.org.uk.

A blue plaque honouring actor and film director Leslie Howard was unveiled by English Heritage at his former childhood home in Upper Norwood in south London last week. Born in the London suburb of Forest Hill, his family moved to Vienna when was only three-years-old but returned to London five years later and lived at 45 Farquhar Road in Upper Norwood for the next four years before moving to another address nearby. Howard made his West End debut in 1917 – adopting the stage name Leslie Howard in favor of his birth name Leslie Howard Steiner – subsequently appeared on stage and in films including Pygmalion (1938) and Gone with the Wind (1939). He died in 1943 when the plane he was in was shot down by enemy fire over the English Channel. For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/discover/blue-plaques/.

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