Wandsworth Bridge over the River Thames in west London. It was opened in 1940, replacing an earlier bridge which was demolished a couple of years before. PICTURE: Frederick Tubiermont/Unsplash
It’s 53 years ago this month that the World Cup trophy – offiicially known as the Jules Rimet Trophy – was stolen from Methodist Central Hall in Westminster (OK, it’s not a very round figure, but it’s a fascinating story).
The trophy had arrived in the UK in January for the tournament to be held later that year and was mostly kept at FA headquarters at Wembley. But in March, it went on show at a stamp exhibition being held at the hall (pictured).
Despite being kept under (relatively) constant guard in a glass cabinet, the trophy was discovered missing just after 12pm on 20th March (the crime had apparently occurred while the guards were on a break). Scotland Yard immediately set about investigating the theft but to no avail (the FA, meanwhile, secretly commissioned a replica to be made, just in case the trophy couldn’t be recovered).
A couple of days later Joe Mears, chairman of the FA, received an anonymous package. It contained the removable top lining of the trophy and a demand for £15,000 in return for the trophy. An exchange was to be set up involving codes placed in newspaper personal ads.
The FA chairman then worked with Scotland Yard to set up a false exchange. On 24th March, Flying Squad Detective Inspector Leonard Buggy, posing as Mears, met a former soldier who turned out to be Edward Betchley in Battersea Park, showing him a briefcase filled with newspapers covered with a layer of £5 notes. Betchley then accompanied Buggy in a car, ostensibly driving to pick up the trophy, but he got spooked along the way and jumped out.
Betchley was arrested minutes later but refused to reveal the trophy’s whereabouts, claiming he was just the middleman come to collect the ransom (he was later convicted of demanding money with menaces with the intent to steal).
The trophy was actually discovered a week after it was stolen by a collie-cross named Pickles who found it lying near a neighbour’s car outside the Norwood home of his owner, Thames lighterman David Corbett. Pickles – who went on to become something of a celebrity in his own right appearing in TV shows and even a film, The Spy with a Cold Nose – has, of course, since died (his collar is on display in the National Football Museum in Manchester).
The crime has never been officially solved although there were claims last year that late London gangster Sidney Cugullere and his brother Reg were behind it.
England, meanwhile, did go on to beat West Germany 4-2 in the World Cup final that year. Life, meanwhile, didn’t turn out so well for the trophy. It was stolen again in 1983 in Brazil and this time was not recovered.
PICTURE: David Adams
This Battersea pub’s name comes from its location on land which formerly belonged to the manor of Battersea.
Located at 2 St John’s Hill (on the corner with Falcon Road, close to Clapham Junction train station), the manor was, from the 17th century, in the possession of the St John family (hence the name of the street in which it’s located).
The family crest of the St Johns features a falcon, and so we have The Falcon pub (and, of course, Falcon Road).
A pub has been located at the site for centuries (at least since 1733) but the current Grade II-listed red brick building dates from the 1896 when it was constructed as a purpose-built hotel (with a billiard room added to the rear a few years later).
Interestingly, the pub, which has a 360 degree bar apparently partly designed by renowned Dutch artist MC Escher, once held the Guinness World Record for having the longest pub counter in England.
Other interior features include a stained glass window featuring a falcon from the St John family crest.
It’s not the only pub named The Falcon in the area – there’s another (this one’s bright yellow) pub at Clapham North with the same name.
PICTURE: Google Maps/Streetview
Work continues on repurposing the former Battersea Power Station as part of the £15 billion Nine Elms project that will create a whole new precinct located on the south bank of the Thames. Photographer Ian Wylie recently captured the work in progress. He writes: “I’ve been keeping an eye on the huge redevelopment of the entire Nine Elms area, including the new American Embassy quarter and the Battersea Power Station development. Also noticing the work going on to remove, rebuild and replace the four iconic power station chimneys as seen from other London viewpoints, including this one: flic.kr/p/rpGocV. So (these) photos were simply a result of another walk around the area where so much is changing so fast and yet reminders of London’s past still remain, such as this very old street sign: flic.kr/p/tQVY9W. It’s not an area that attracts a large number of visitors but it was interesting to see a few people walking around, just as I was, obviously also intrigued by the past, present and future of this site.” For more on the project, see www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk and www.nineelmslondon.com.
A 21 metre long wooden hippopotamus, HippopoThames, has been spotted in the River Thames off the new quarter of Nine Elms near Battersea in the city’s west. The semi-immersed sculpture, by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman (famed for his huge yellow Rubber Duck), is part of the month long celebration of London’s river known as Totally Thames and can be seen at the site until 28th September. The sculpture was inspired by the history of the Thames – in particular, the hippos which once inhabited it (in fact, there’s a talk on the subject of the hippos at the Doodle Bar in Battersea tonight – admission charge applies, see www.totallythames.org/events/info/thames-natural-history). Hippopo is moored off Riverside Gardens, Nine Elms Lane, SW8 2DU. For foreshore access times, see www.totallythames.org/events/info/florentijn-hofman. PICTURES: Steve Stills.
• The August Bank Holiday is upon us which means it’s carnival time! The Notting Hill Carnival kicks off this Sunday with an extravaganza of costumes, dancing, music and food. The carnival’s origins go back to the late Fifties and early Sixties (the exact date is somewhat controversial!) when it started as a way of Afro-Caribbean communities celebrating their cultures and traditions, drawing on the tradition of carnivals in the Caribbean. The carnival is now Europe’s largest street festival and this year’s parade signifies the start of a three year celebration in the lead-up to the Golden Jubilee year of 2016. The carnival kicks off at 9am on Sunday – children’s day – and the same time on Monday – adult’s day – and organisers say the procession should be completed by 7pm. For more, see www.thelondonnottinghillcarnival.com. PICTURE: Wayne G Callender/Notting Hill Carnival.
• A pop-up display of some of St Paul’s Cathedral’s treasures will appear today and tomorrow (Thursday, 21st August, and Friday 22nd August) in the cathedral’s crypt. Put together by Museum Studies students from Leicester University, the display will feature items relating to a royal event from each of the first three centuries of Wren’s church. They include images and objects from the Thanksgiving Service for the recovery of King George III in 1789 as well as items from Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana in 1981. The display will be shown from 1pm to 2pm each day – entry is free via the cathedral’s north west crypt door. Meanwhile, the cathedral is offering a private, behind the scenes evening photography tour of the building for the winner of a photography competition looking for “the most surprising image” of the cathedral. The winner – and five friends – will also be treated to a meal at the Grange Hotel’s Benihama restaurant. The Surprise St Paul’s competition runs until 26th September and entrants just need to tweet or post their images to the church’s Twitter or Facebook pages with the hashtag #SurpriseStPauls. For more, see www.stpauls.co.uk.
• The National Gallery has made free wi-fi available throughout the building. The Trafalgar Square-based gallery says it’s now also welcoming visitor photography and is encouraging visitors to check in on Facebook and comment on Twitter using the hashtag #MyNGPainting. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.
• Fancy yourself a detective? The Museum of London and the BFI are asking for the public’s help in tracking down a copy of the first ever feature film starring the fictional character Sherlock Holmes. A Study in Scarlet was released 100 years ago this autumn and was directed by George Pearson with then unknown James Bragington playing the part of Holmes. An adaption of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story of the same name, it is based around Brigham Young’s trek across America with his Mormon followers and sees Holmes solve a series of murders. The film was made at Worton Hall studios and on location in Cheddar Gorge and Southport Sands in 1914. The organisations are seeking the film in the lead-up to the Museum of London’s landmark exhibition on Holmes which opens in October. If you do happen to find the film, you can write to Sherlockholmes@bfi.org.uk or make contact via social media using the hashtag #FindSherlock.
• A public ballot has opened for tickets to attend the art installation Fire Garden by renowned French troupe Carabosse at Battersea Power Station this September. The event – which will be held on the nights of Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September – is one of the highlights of Totally Thames, a month-long celebration of London’s great river, and is presented as a tribute to the power station before it’s closed to the public for redevelopment. A free event, it’s expected to be so popular that organisers are holding a ballot for tickets. The ballot closes midday on 27th August. To enter via the Totally Thames website, head here.
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First up, we’ve changed the name of the Thursday update of what’s happening in London to This Week in London which we think better describes what the column’s about. So, to some events we think you might be interested in…
• An exhibition that transports visitors to the heart of the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) opened at the Science Museum yesterday. In the first exhibition of its kind, Collider offers visitors the closest thing to actually being at the CERN particle physics laboratory, blending theatre, video and sound to enable visitors to explore the control room, meet virtual scientists and engineers and see inside a huge underground ‘detector’ cavern. There’s also the chance to follow the journey of particle beams as they race around the 27 kilometre long LHC tunnel (incidentally about the same length as the Circle Line) and the exhibition’s highlight is a wrap around projection which takes watchers from an enormous experiment cavern to the heart of a particle collision. On show will be artefacts from the actual LHC including a 15 metre magnet used to steer the particle beam and objects from the museum’s collection including the accelerator used by Cockcroft and Walton to split the atom in 1932. Admission charge applies. Runs until 6th March. For more, see www.sciencemuseum.org.uk.
• John Richard Arthur, a former Mayor of Battersea and the first black man to hold senior public office in London, was honoured with an English Heritage Blue Plaque this week. The plaque was unveiled by Cr Angela Graham, the Mayor of Wandsworth, at his former home at 55 Brynmaer Road in Battersea – his residence during the major milestones of his political career. Elected on 10th November 1913, Archer lived at the home from about 1898 to about 1918. He has been described as a “key figure in the story of the Black contribution in Britain in the early part of the Twentieth century”. For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/discover/blue-plaques/.
• Christmas comes to the West End this afternoon with the Carnaby Christmas Shopping Party taking place in 13 streets around the iconic fashion strip. More than 100 shops, restaurants and bars are delivering 20 per cent discounts and there’s also complimentary drinks, music, talks on fashion trends and the chance for the “best dressed” to win goodie bags. The party runs from 5pm to 9pm with the Christmas lights turned on at 6pm. Head to www.carnaby.co.uk for more.
• On Now: Beyond El Dorado: power and gold in ancient Colombia. This exhibition in Room 35 of the British Museum features items including ceramics and stone necklaces taken from Lake Guatavita near modern Bogota (The phrase El Dorado, “the golden one”, actually refers to a ritual which took place at the lake in which a newly elected leader of the Muisca people was covered in powdered gold before diving into the lake and washing it off to emerge as the new leader). They are just some of the more than 300 items in the display which come from the Museo del Oro Bogata – one of the best collections of pre-Hispanic gold in the world – as well as the British Museum’s own collection. Other objects include large scale gold masks, a painted Muisca textile, avian pectorals and necklaces with feline claws and one of the few San Agustin stone sculptures held outside Colombia. The exhibition, sponsored by Julius Baer, runs until 23rd March. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org. PICTURE: Anthropomorphic bat pectoral, Tairona, gold alloy, AD900-1600. Copyright Museo del Oro, Banco de la Republica, Colombia.
The weekend of 21st and 22nd September represents the final chance to go inside and explore the Grade II*-listed Battersea Power Station before it is transformed as the centrepiece of a new £8 billion riverside development featuring a blend of residences, offices, shops, leisure and hospitality facilities. The former power station, built on the south bank of the River Thames in the 1930s, is one of the highlights of this year’s Open House London and will take visitors on a walking route which starts at the 2.5 acre ‘pop up park’ which appeared on the riverside earlier this year and then leads through to the remains of vast central boiler house and the 1950’s turbine hall B. It’s the first time the building has taken part in Open House London and the last chance to see inside before works begin in October. The power station will be open from 11am to 4pm on both days with last entries at 3pm. Entry is free. For more, see www.batterseapowerstation.co.uk or check out www.londonopenhouse.org.
The return for 2013 of our series in which we ask you to identify where in London this picture was taken. If you think you can identify this picture, leave a comment below. We’ll reveal the answer early next week. Good luck!
Thanks for the comments Parktown but this ship is not in Rotherhithe nor does it have anything to do with Lloyds! This is part of the decorative scheme of Chelsea Bridge which crosses the Thames between Chelsea and Battersea Park in London’s west. Initially known as Victoria Bridge, the first bridge here opened in 1857 (Albert Bridge, which opened later, is located further west). But increased traffic eventually led to its demolition in the 1930s (it had been renamed some years earlier to avoid the association of a royal name with a bridge which had become structurally unsound) and the current bridge, the first self-anchored suspension bridge (that is, the suspension cables attach to the deck and don’t extend to the ground) in Britain, was opened on the site in 1937. This gilt galleon sits atop a decorative lamp post at the bridge’s entrance (there are several) and below it is the coat-of-arms of the now defunct London County Council.
Found in the River Thames near Battersea, the Battersea Shield dates from the Iron Age and is believed to have been created for ceremonial or display purposes (which could be read as showing off), rather than for use in warfare.
Made of a thin layer of highly polished bronze featuring 27 studs into which were placed pieces of red enamel (opaque red glass), the bronze sheets would have originally been placed over a wooden shield. It was clearly designed with spectacle in mind and would have been quickly destroyed in any serious battle. The circular patterns housing the red enamel are designed in what is called the ‘La Tène style’, named for an Iron Age site in Switzerland.
The Celtic shield, which the British Museum dates between 350 to 50 BC, is believed to have been deliberately thrown or placed in the Thames, perhaps as a votive offering, and lay there undisturbed until 1857 when it was dredged up off the river bed near Battersea Bridge during bridge construction.
For a more detailed look at the Battersea Shield, see I.M. Stead’s The Battersea Shield. Unfortunately we were unable to secure permission to run an image of the shield so to see an image of the shield, click here.
WHERE: Room 50, British Museum, Great Russell Street (nearest Tube Stations are Russell Square, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn and Goodge Street). WHEN: 10am to 5.30pm daily (Fridays until 8.30pm); COST: Free; WEBSITE: www.britishmuseum.org.