LondonLife – Eye view…

PICTURE: Joy Ekere/Unsplash

Looking south from the London Eye down the River Thames over County Hall and Westminster Bridge.

LondonLife – Tooting Bec Common dressed in white…

PICTURE: Colin White/Unsplash

LondonLife – Bright lights, big city…

PICTURE: Kevin Grieve/Unsplash

View of the Docklands from North Greenwich.

10 most popular posts for 2022 – Numbers 10 and 9…

It’s that time of year again – our annual countdown of our 10 most read posts for the year!

First up are numbers nine and ten… 

10. Where’s London’s oldest…pharmacy?

9. LondonLife – Greenwich Park restoration…

LondonLife – Christmas in London…

Ice skating at Somerset House. PICTURE: Owen Harvey
South Bank Winter Market. PICTURE: David Ogle
Part of the Miracle on Leake Street event in Waterloo. PICTURE: Leake Street
Christmas at Kew. PICTURE: Royal Botanic Gardens
Glide at Battersea Power Station. PICTURE: Joshua Atkins

LondonLife – Christmas lights in the West End (part II)…

Christmas windows at Fortnum & Mason on Piccadilly. ALL PICTURES: Jed Leicester/PinP
Carnaby Street lights.
Piccadilly Arcade decorated for Christmas.
Clos Maggiore shopfront in Covent Garden
New Bond Street.

LondonLife – Christmas lights in the West End…

Christmas is looming so here’s our first look at some of London’s Christmas light displays…

Christmas lights in Regent Street. ALL PICTURES: Jed Leicester/PinP
Christmas lights in South Moulton Street, Mayfair…
Christmas tree and lights at Covent Garden.
One of the Selfridges Christmas windows on Oxford Street.
Harrods Brompton Road frontage decorated for Christmas.

LondonLife – Reflected skyline…

PICTURE: Dimitry Anikin/Unsplash.

The Docklands reflected in The Thames.

LondonLife – Marking the King’s birthday; remembering the sacrifice of those who gave their lives in war; and, welcoming a new Lord Mayor…

Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery arrive at Green Park for the 41 gun salute to celebrate King Charles III’s 74th birthday on Monday. In London, The King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery and The Honourable Artillery Company each fired celebratory Royal Salutes at 12 noon and 1pm respectively in what was the first formal birthday salute for King Charles III since he became monarch. PICTURE: Giles Anderson/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Members of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery firing a 41-gun salute to celebrate King Charles III’s 74th birthday. PICTURE: Giles Anderson/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
King Charles III leads the royal party to their position at the Cenotaph on Sunday as armed forces personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force came together for Remembrance Sunday and the National Service of Remembrance. Joining the King and members of the Royal Family, more than 600 members of the Armed Forces honoured the brave servicemen and women killed in all conflicts since the First World War. PICTURE: Simon Walker / No10 Downing Street/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Armed Forces personnel from the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force gathered at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday, for the National Service of Remembrance. PICTURE: Cpl Tim Hammond/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Pikeman march through the streets of the City of London for the Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday. Some 6,500 people, 250 horses, more than 50 decorated floats, and a flying pig, took part in the parade. PICTURE: Corporal Rob Kane/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022.
Nicholas Lyons, elected as the 694th Lord Mayor of the City of London, waves from the golden State Coach, which has been used in every Lord Mayor’s Show since 1757 and is the oldest ceremonial vehicle in regular use in the world. PICTURE: Lt Reilly AGC (ETS)/UK MOD © Crown copyright 2022

LondonLife – The two towers…

The White Tower and The Shard. PICTURE: Nico V/Unsplash

LondonLife – A tumultuous week in national politics and (another) new PM…

The Houses of Parliament (pictured here in 2020). PICTURE: Yaopey Yang/Unsplash

Rishi Sunak was appointed as the nation’s third Prime Minister in less than two months today following Liz Truss announcement she would resign on Friday. Sunak visited King Charles III at Buckingham Palace after Truss visited earlier to officially resign.

LondonLife – Celebrating wildlife at the Natural History Museum…

‘The Big Buzz’ by Karine Aigner, USA, winner of Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

An up-close image of a buzzing ball of cactus bees over the hot sand at a Texas ranch has won American photographer Karine Aigner the honour of Wildlife Photographer of the Year. The image depicts male bees as they compete for the attention of the single female bee at the centre of the ball. Aigner is the fifth woman to win the Grand Title award in the 58 year history of the competition, which is run by the Natural History Museum. Her image is being shown along with that of 16-year-old Thai Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn – who won Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year for an up-close image of a whale’s baleen – as well as those of category winners in this year’s contest in a redesigned exhibition at the museum in South Kensington.  Alongside the photographs, the display features short videos, quotes from jury members and photographers and insights from museum scientists on how human actions continue to shape the natural world. The exhibition can be seen until 2nd July. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.nhm.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/wildlife-photographer-of-the-year . The 59th annual competition is now open for entries. For more on how to enter, see www.nhm.ac.uk/wpy/competition.

‘The Beauty of Baleen’ by Katanyou Wuttichaitanakorn, Thailand, winner of Young Wildlife Photographer of the Year.

LondonLife – ‘Antelope’ debuts on The Fourth Plinth…

Samson Kambalu’s Antelope was unveiled on Trafalgar Square’s Fourth Plinth last week. The sculpture – the 14th commission since the Fourth Plinth programme began – depicts the restaged of a photograph taken of Baptist preacher and educator John Chilembwe and European missionary John Chorley which was taken in 1914 in Nyasayland (now Malawi) at the opening of Chilembwe’s new Baptist church.

Chilembwe, who is shown wearing a hat in defiance of rules forbidding Africans from wearing hats in front of white people and is depicted as almost twice the size of Chorley, led an uprising in 1915 against British colonial rule, triggered by the mistreatment of refugees from Mozambique and the conscription to fight German troops during World War I. He was killed and his church destroyed by the colonial police.

Though his rebellion was ultimately unsuccessful, Malawi, which gained independence in 1964, celebrates John Chilembwe Day on January 15th and the uprising is viewed as the beginning of the Malawi independence struggle.  

The artist Samson Kambalu was born in 1975 in Malawi, and is now associate professor of fine art and a lifelong fellow at Magdalen College, Oxford University.

“I am thrilled to have been invited to create a work for London’s most iconic public space, and to see John Chilembwe’s story elevated,” he said in a statement. “Antelope on the Fourth Plinth was ever going to be a litmus test for how much I belong to British society as an African and a cosmopolitan. Chilembwe selected himself for the Fourth Plinth, as though he waited for this moment. He died in an uprising but ends up victorious.”

LondonLife – Afternoon tea at The Savoy…

PICTURE: Christian Lendl/Unsplash

Afternoon tea is served under the glass-dome of The Savoy Hotel‘s Thames Foyer. Once an outdoor terrace, the covered-in foyer was opened in 1889. The custom of afternoon tea, which dates back to 1840, had become a tradition at the hotel by the 1920s and, as well as sandwiches and patisserie, included everything from English muffins to fruit salad, chocolates to sweet waffles known as gaufres. Entertainment included music played by a house band while professional dancers demonstrated the latest moves for guests. Guests at the famous London hotel have included everyone from Sir Winston Churchill to Marilyn Monroe. For more, see www.thesavoylondon.com/experience/afternoon-tea-london/.

LondonLife – Tributes to a Queen…

Flowers left outside Buckingham Palace. PICTURE: Samuel Regan-Asante
Left – Flowers and tributes left outside Buckingham Palace and, right, a bus shelter in Shoreditch. PICTURE: Samuel Regan-Asante
A electronic billboard at Piccadilly Circus. PICTURE: Samuel Regan-Asante
Prime Minister Liz Truss writes in a book of condolence at Number 10 Downing Street to mark the passing of Queen Elizabeth II. PICTURE: Andrew Parsons/No 10 Downing Street (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
The flags at Number 10 Downing Street have been lowered to half mast after the death of Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. PICTURE: Rory Arnold/No 10 Downing Street (licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

LondonLife – Greenwich Park restoration…

Looking up to the Royal Observatory in Greenwich Park. PICTURE: mkos83/iStockphoto.

The Royal Parks announced recently Greenwich Park, here pictured showing the view up to the Royal Observatory, was to undergo a three year project to restore its 17th century landscape. The formal landscape of the park was commissioned by King Charles II and, designed by French landscape architect André Le Nôtre (who also designed the world-famous Versailles gardens), features tree-lined avenues which frame the view up the hill from the Queen’s House as well as “The Grand Ascent”, a series of giant, grass steps leading up the hill, and a terraced layout – known as a parterre. Massive numbers of visitors – some five million annually – have, however, seen the landscape features erode and slump while the trees – Turkey oaks planted in the 1970s to replace the elms wiped out by Dutch elm disease – are now in decline. The restoration work, which begins next month, will see the terraces restored and the declining tree avenues recreated with 92 new, more resilient trees. The work is scheduled to be completed by March, 2025. For more on Greenwich Park, see www.royalparks.org.uk/parks/greenwich-park.

LondonLife – The annual weigh-in at London Zoo…

Squirrel monkey Winnie with keeper Rowan Swainson PICTURE: © ZSL London Zoo
Sumatran tigress Gaysha climbs on giant ruler during annual weigh-in PICTURE: © ZSL London Zoo

Squirrel monkeys, Sumatran tigers and Humboldt penguins were among the animals that had their statistics recorded at ZSL London Zoo’s 2022 annual weigh-in last week. With more than 14,000 animals in their care, ZSL London Zoo’s keepers spend hours throughout the year recording the up-to-date heights and weights of all the animals – information which helps them to monitor their health and wellbeing. The data is added to the Zoological Information Management System, a database shared with zoos all over the world that helps zookeepers to compare important information on thousands of endangered species.  “We record the vital statistics of every animal at the Zoo, from the tallest giraffe to the tiniest snail,” says Daniel Simmonds, deputy animal manager. “This helps to ensure that every animal we care for is healthy, eating well, and growing at the rate they should, as weight is a key indicator of health and wellbeing – a growing waistline can also help us to detect and monitor pregnancies, which is important as many of the species at ZSL London Zoo are endangered and part of international conservation breeding programmes, including today’s Sumatran tigers and Vietnamese giant snails.” Three Sumatran tiger cubs which were born at the zoo in June will be weighed next month at their first health check – which takes place at the age of three months.  For more, see www.zsl.org/zsl-london-zoo.

Humboldt penguin Bobby is weighed by keeper Jessica Jones PICTURE: © ZSL London Zoo

LondonLife – Lonely vigil…

PICTURE: Laura Chouette/Unsplash

Nelson’s Column, Trafalgar Square.

LondonLife – Wellington Arch…

LondonLife – City skyline from Hackney…

PICTURE: Samuel Regan-Asante/Unsplash