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
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.
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.
• A pearl-drop earring worn by King Charles I at his execution in 1649, pearl tiaras worn by European nobles and a pearl necklace given to Marilyn Monroe by Joe DiMaggio in 1954 are among the items on display as part of a new exhibition which opened at the V&A last Saturday. The V&A and Qatar Museums Authority exhibition traces the history of pearls from the early Roman Empire to now and features more than 200 pieces of jewellery and works of art. Other items on display include ‘Queen Mary II’ pearls dating from 1662-1664, a miniature portrait of Queen Charlotte wearing pearl jewellery and a set of buttons, finely enamelled and framed with pearls, worn by George III in 1780. There’s also the Dagmar necklace given to Princess Alexandra when she married the future King Edward VII in 1863. The exhibition is part of the Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture. Admission charge applies. Runs until 19th January. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk. PICTURE: Lady Rosebery’s pearl and diamond tiara (1878) © Christie’s Images.
• The Big Brother house – located in Elstree Studios in north London – opens to the public tomorrow and on Saturday as part of a partnership between Initial – an Endemol Company, Channel 5 and the National Trust. Some two million people tuned in to watch the final night of the show this summer leading one TV critic to describe the property as “the most important house in Britain”. The opening is being preceded by an Opening Gala featuring housemates past and present as well as celebrities – but that’s an invitation only event. Sadly, tickets for the opening are already sold out – for returns and your last chance of getting in, follow this link.
• The UK’s first aircraft manufacturers – Horace, Eustace and Oswald Short – have been commemorated with an English Heritage blue plaque placed on their former workshop in Battersea. Unveiled this week by Jenny Body – the first female president of the Royal Aeronautical Society, the plaque can be found at the railway arches near Queen’s Circus where the brothers, who lived nearby in the Prince of Wales Mansions, worked on ballooning and first made the transition to aircraft construction. Among their firsts was the construction of the first British powered aircraft to complete a circular mile of flight and the creation of Britain’s first ever purpose-built aircraft factory (it was located on the Isle of Sheppey in Kent). For more, see www.english-heritage.org.uk/discover/blue-plaques/.
• On Now: Jonathan Yeo Portraits. New and previously unseen works including a six foot high portrait of controversial artist Damien Hirst and a portrait of Kevin Spacey as King Richard III feature in this exhibition running at the National Portrait Gallery. Other subjects featured in the painted works include media mogul Rupert Murdoch, model Erin O’Connor, artist Grayson Perry and actor Sierra Miller. Runs until 5th January. Admission is free. For more, see www.npg.org.uk.
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.