St. Pauls

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul
The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London's most prominent building, is situated at the top of Ludgate Hill, a sharp incline from the end of Fleet Street, where once stood the Lud Gate in the Old Roman Wall around the City. The present edifice, commenced in 1675 and not completed until thirty-five years later, is universally regarded as the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, who was paid only 200 per annum for his services during the construction. The Church, in the form of a Latin cross, somewhat resembles St. Peter's at Rome, but is smaller. The top of the cross which surmounts the Dome is 365 feet above the ground, and the total length of the building is nearly 500 feet. The Organ Case and Choir Stalls were carved by Grinling Gibbons. Within the walls of the Cathedral are the nation's memorials to her most famous naval and military heroes, including Nelson and Wellington. "The Light of the World," the celebrated picture by W. Holman Hunt, hangs in the South Aisle.

All along the river banks, from London Bridge to far beyond Tilbury on both sides, are to be seen the warehouses and wharves similar to those in the illustration - which through their great industry and enterprise, both in the past and to-day, have helped to build up the commercial greatness of Britain and the prosperity of her Capital.

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The Cathedral Church of St. Paul, London
Westminster Bridge

St. Stephen's Tower (the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament) houses the great 13-1/2 ton bell known the world over as "Big Ben" and so called from the fact that the First Commissioner of Works at the time of its erection was a Sir Benjamin Hall. A light shining from the top of the tower after sundown is indicative that our legislators are still toiling, sometimes far into the night. The clock has four dials, each 23 feet in diameter, and the striking parts take five hours to wind up. Westminster Bridge, a portion of which is seen, is 1160 feet long and 85 feet broad. It was erected in 1856-62, by Page, on the site of an earlier stone bridge and cost a quarter of a million sterling. The seven iron arches which comprise the bridge are borne by huge buttresses of granite. It is considered a great feat to be able to traverse completely the entire length of the bridge whilst Big Ben is striking twelve o'clock.

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Westminster Abbey

Officially termed the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, Westminster Abbey the "Minster West of St. Paul's" is said to have been founded by King Sebert about A.D. 616. Edward the Confessor built a church on this same spot, almost as large as the present edifice, in 1049-65, but the Abbey was entirely rebuilt and nearly as we see it to day by Henry III and Edward I. It probably contains more tombs and memorials to famous people than any other building in the world. At the west end of the Nave repose the nameless remains of the "Unknown Warrior." The large column of red granite in the foreground is Westminster School Memorial to their men who fell in the Crimean and Indian Mutiny campaigns. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and erected in 1854-59, occupying practically the site of the old house of William Caxton, the first English printer.

Courts of Justice

The Royal Courts of Justice known more commonly as the Law Courts were opened in 1882, after having taken over eight years to build at a price of one million pounds, the site having cost already half as much again of this vast sum. The architect of this truly magnificent Gothic building was G. E. Street, who unfortunately died just before the completion of the great work. The Temple Bar Memorial, erected in 1880, marks the site of the original Temple Bar Gateway, built by Sir Christopher Wren in 1670, which formed the western boundary of the City at the junction of Fleet Street and the Strand. This old arch now stands in Theobald's Park, near Waltham Cross. By ancient tradition (still prevailing) the reigning Sovereign must obtain the permission of the Lord Mayor before passing Temple Bar, and all soldiers, except the Brigade of Guards and the Honourable Artillery Company, must unfix bayonets before entering the City.

Law Courts
Tower of London

Historically the most interesting spot in the whole of England, the Tower of London was originated by William the Conqueror in 1078 to overawe the citizens of London, and it is situated just without the eastern boundary of the ancient City walls. The White Tower in the centre, with its four square turrets, besides being the most conspicuous, is also the oldest part of the structure, the architect being Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester. The warders, popularly called "Beefeaters," still retain their picturesque uniform, designed in Tudor times. The Crown Jewels and State Regalia are housed in the Wakefield Tower, and adjoining is the Bloody Tower, so called because the two little sons of Edward IV were murdered therein. The Tower is now a Royal Arsenal and is still kept in repair as an up-to-date fortress manned by one of the regiments of the Brigade of (Foot) Guards, who still carry out the "ceremony of the King's Keys," which has been performed uninterruptedly for over six centuries.

Tower of London
Curiosity Shop

Just a few doors both from busy Kingsway and from the quiet of Lincoln's Inn Fields, one comes across a quaint tumbledown little shop in Portsmouth Street, which tradition for many years has identified with the popular novel by Charles Dickens, bearing the name so prominently displayed upon the building.
Who has not read, and perhaps wept over, the story of dear little Nell and her old grandfather, remembering Dick Swiveller, the Marchioness, and Quilp, the hideous dwarf? The story first appeared in the weekly publication called "Master Humphrey's Clock," and was afterwards published independently. Dickens, the Master, is still read, and we venture to think will remain a "best seller" for generations.
There is actually no authentic proof that this building is the one Dickens had in mind when he wrote the story, but it all helps to keep alive the memory of the Greatest Novelist of the Victorian Era.

Old Curiosity Shop
St. Mary-le-Bow

More correctly known as St. Mary-le-Bow, this beautiful example of Sir Christopher Wren's work was erected on the site of an old Norman Church which was built upon arches, or "bows" hence the name. It is interesting to note that "Court of Arches" (the disciplinary Court of the Church of England) first met in the vestry of this church. The tower, surmounted by a dragon nine feet long, has been justly described as "one of the most beautiful of modern steeples." A true Londoner, or "Cockney," is one who can claim to have been born within the sound of "Bow Bells."

St. Mary-le-Bow
Houses at Holborn

Built at the western extremity of the City, Staple Inn popularly known to Londoners as the "Old Houses at Holborn Bars" is, in respect of its frontage, the oldest example of domestic architecture now remaining within the jurisdiction of the Corporation. The Hall in the Courtyard was erected in 1581, about twenty years later the front elevation. The original purpose of the Hall was to house goods that had been "stapled" the staple being the old name applied to the King's dues levied upon exported wool, hides, etc. The lily pool adorning the ancient stone-flagged square is one of the quaintest and most picturesque of London's sights.

Staple Inn Holborn
St. James's

Situated at the western end of Pall Mall, and facing St. James's Street, the Royal Palace of St. James was built about 1535 from designs said to have been made by Hans Holbein for King Henry VIII. Queen Mary Tudor died here in 1558, and King Charles I slept at the Palace the night before his execution in 1649. The ceremony of Changing the Guard takes place in the Friary Courtyard of the Palace every day about 10.30 a.m., except when the Sovereign is in residence at Buckingham Palace. Official Levees are still held here, although it has not been a Royal residence since the accession of Queen Victoria. The Conference of the Allies in 1921 and the Five Power Conference on the Limitation of Armaments in 1930 were held at the Palace. H.R.H. The Prince of Wales lives at York House, a portion of St. James's Palace, pending the completion of Marlborough House (next door on the other side of Marlborough Yard) as his official residence.

St. James's Palace
St. Martin's

The present building of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, with its noble Grecian portico, was erected in 1721-6 by James Gibbs, in place of an earlier church on the same site. Particularly fortunate in having a succession of able and well-beloved Vicars (including Canon "Dick" Sheppard, and the Rev. "Pat" McCormick), it is one of the most popular of all London's places of worship, and its spacious crypt has remained open day and night ever since the Great War, to give shelter and warmth to London's myriad "down and outs" who care to enter. As Buckingham Palace is situated in the Parish of St. Martin's, the Royal Arms may be seen above the centre of the portico.

St. Martin's
National Gallery

The National Gallery, standing on the site of the old King's Mews, was completed in 1838 from designs by Wilkins, and has a facade in the Grecian style with a frontage to the north side of Trafalgar Square of 460 feet. The nucleus of the collection now one of the finest in the world was formed by the purchase in 1824 of thirty-eight pictures belonging to Mr. Angerstein. The recent additional rooms for the housing of the Mond and Duveen Bequests embody the very latest ideas in lighting, both natural and artificial.

The National Gallery
Trafalgar Square

As its name implies, Trafalgar Square, which measures incidentally some 168,850 square feet in area, was planned in 1843, by voluntary contributions, as a national memorial to Nelson, the great sailor, whose i8-feet statue by E. M. Baily adorns the column, the base of which is guarded by the four massive bronze lions designed by Sir Edwin Landseer in 1867. The handsome bas-reliefs in bronze at the plinth were modelled from cannon captured in battle. Other statues in the Square are Generals Napier, Havelock, and Gordon. The base of Nelson's Column is decorated with memorial wreaths from all parts of the Empire every year upon the anniversary of his death on October 2ist, 1805. The eastern side of the Square now houses the Union of South Africa offices and the Royal Humane Society. In the facade of the north wall are embedded the official metal standard measures.

Trafalgar Square

The Bank of England, nicknamed the "Old Lady of Threadneedle Street," although actually a private Joint Stock Bank, has always been closely allied with the Government, and this accounts for the fact that a special armed Bank Guard is furnished every night by the foot guards on duty at the Tower. The Bank was founded in 1694, but the present buildings were set up between 1734 and 1788 from designs by G. Sampson and Sir John Soane. There are no windows visible from the outside. The Royal Exchange, the third building of this name to adorn the site, was built in 1842-44 by Tite. It was originally founded by Sir Thomas Gresham in 1566, and opened five years later by Queen Elizabeth. The first building perished in the Great Fire in 1666, and the second was also burned down in 1838. On the interior walls of the present Exchange are twenty-two fine frescoe paintings by Leighton, Abbey, Brangwyn, Wyllie, and other famous contemporary artists.

Bank of England and Royal Exchange
Old Palace of Whitehall

The Archway and Offices were erected about 1750 on the site of one of the Guard Houses of the Old Palace of Whitehall, and formed the headquarters of the Commander-in-Chief of the British Army until 1904, when that office was abolished and the Army Council came into being. The ceremony of mounting the guard, either by the Life Guards or the Royal Horse Guards (Blues), takes place about 10.45 a.m. each weekday and an hour earlier on Sundays, and is one of the most popular sights of the metropolis. Only persons specially privileged by the Lord Chamberlain are allowed to drive through the gateway and arch. Beyond is the Horse Guards Parade, a vast clear space of 300,000 square feet, where annually, on the Monarch's Birthday, is performed the "Trooping of the Colour," a most magnificent military spectacle.

Royal Horse Guards
Tower Bridge

Spanning the River Thames immediately east of the Tower of London is the enormous Tower Bridge built by the Corporation of the City in 1886-94, from designs by Sir Horace Jones and Mr. Wolfe Barry. The permanent, or upper, footway is 142 feet above high water mark, and is reached by stairs within the two supporting towers at either side of the river, whilst the roadway for pedestrians and vehicular traffic is about 30 feet above high water level and crosses over a 200 feet central span. This span is divided centrally into twin drawbridges which can be raised in 1 1/2 minutes to allow the passage of large vessels. The massive framework of the bridge is of cast steel cased in stonework, and the total cost was considerably more than a million and a half pounds. The bridge is half a mile long.

Tower Bridge
Houses of Parliament

The "New Palace of Westminster" was rebuilt in 1840-50 (after the former edifice had been destroyed by fire in 1834) from designs by Sir Charles Barry, which had been selected from nearly 100 sent in for competition. It is a noble and impressive pile when seen from across the river, and is built in what is known as the Tudor or Perpendicular style. It covers an area of eight acres, and some slight idea of the size can be realized when one learns that there are eleven courts, one hundred staircases, and no fewer than eleven hundred apartments. The largest Tower the Victoria Tower is 340 feet high, and it is through its great archway that the King and Queen enter and leave in full state on the opening or prorogation of Parliament. During the daytime, the Union Jack flying from the flagstaff of the Victoria Tower indicates that the House is in session. Tea on the Terrace facing the River is a great and much-sought-for privilege extended to M.P.'s and their friends.

Houses of Parliament