Around London…

September 2, 2010

• A 145-year-old replica of an Eleanor’s Cross was unveiled outside Charing Cross railway station last month following a major restoration. The monument, located near Trafalgar Square, was built in 1865 and was a copy of one of the 12 which were constructed by King Edward I to mark the route where the body of his wife Eleanor of Castile rested each night on its way to Westminster Abbey following her death in 1290. Only three of the original crosses remain intact – at Geddington north of Northamptonshire, Hardingstone near Northamptonshire, and Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire. The original monument at Charing Cross, which was demolished in 1647, marked the point from which distances are measured from London (a plaque now marks the site). The restoration involved replacing some 100 damaged and missing features. Due to deterioration, the monument has been hidden behind scaffolding for the past five years.

None of London’s Barclay bikes will be available to tourists until the end of the year, reports the London Evening Standard. The newspaper says plans to widen the scheme to allow tourists to hire the bikes have been put on hold after the emergence of logistical problems. The hire scheme was launched for locals at the end of July.

A new heritage trail has been opened at Kenley Common in the city’s outer south to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The 56 hectare common in Surrey surrounds Kenley Airfield, a former Battle of Britain airfield these days used by the RAF for glider training. The trail, which was an initiative of a range of organisations including the Kenley Airfield Friends Group, RAF Association, Tandridge District Council, English Heritage, the Ministry of Defence and City of London Corporation, kicks off at the RAF Tribute on Kenley Common (off Hayes Lane in Surrey) and features a series of interpretative panels, the first two of which are mounted on scaled down Spitfire wings. These explain the role the area played in defending London from attacks and the significance of the tribute and the World War II blast pens. For more information, follow this link. For information on London’s Battle of Britain memorial, head here www.bbm.org.uk.

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