London Lantern

Putting the Spotlight on London

This month in the Lantern

Big Ben - London's Favourite Landmark - Part Two

Construction would find designers and builders struggling to overcome a number of problems including lack of space for the clock mechanism and a main bell that was two tons heavier than the design had called for which in turn meant that a heavier ball hammer to strike the bell was used. In 1857 the main bell was cracked beyond repair and a new...

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Big Ben - London's Favourite Landmark

For starters let’s clear up a common misconception, Big Ben is not the name of the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, it refers to one of the bells in the tower which is actually St. Stephen’s tower. But passers by, who each day hear the bells chime out the time, visitors to London and people around the world, when you say Big Ben, the...

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Tea - Different Categories and How to Brew It

Now that we know the three major types of tea there are some other categories to consider. Black teas are graded using the term pekoe which comes from the Chinese word for ‘silver haired’ and pertains to the silvery down on young tea leaves. A well-known variety is ‘Orange Pekoe’ and the name most likely comes from the House of Orange, the royal...

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Tea - A Lovely Cuppa

Mention a hot cup of tea and with most people the thought that will come to mind is one of England; an England of tradition of civility, and taking a few moments to savour the small pleasantries that add so much to life. Things like clotted cream, scones, cucumber sandwiches and a good, properly made cup of tea (or cuppa) enjoyed in the company of...

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A Review of The Pocket Book of Patriotism - Part Three

Most of the people who have contacted him, he says, have been extremely positive about The Pocket Book of Patriotism and his effort at keeping alive the flame of British patriotism. “I’ve had an amazingly and totally undeserved, laterally a cascade of charming telephone calls and letters. It’s been a positive embarrassment.”

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A Review of The Pocket Book of Patriotism - Part Two

I spent part of a morning on the phone with Mr. Courtauld, author of The Pocket Book of Patriotism which to date has sold somewhere around 180,000 copies, 20,000 of them in the United States and he told the story of the train trip that made him decide something needed to be done. “The story behind it is very simple. I was sitting on a train and a...

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A Review of The Pocket Book of Patriotism

Let us be very honest about the situation; among certain groups, particularly among what are called the chattering classes, patriotism is cast in a negative light. There are those who would lead you to believe that being patriotic is just a form of bigotry and racism and that patriots are some relic from some long ago, best forgotten time marked...

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Beer - Part Two

Stout first came about as a "stouter" version of porter. It’s a more full-bodied drink with a darker color and comes in styles such as Irish or dry stout; sweet or London style stout, which is sweetened with sugar and Imperial stout, a stronger version which had almost vanished but made a resurgence in the 80's. London style stout was once known...

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Here’s the scene: you’re in London, you’re having a wonderful time, and you’ve already seen the Houses of Parliament, Piccadilly Circus, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey as well as the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. All of all sudden you realize that in midst of all this activity you’ve worked up a bit of a thirst, spotting...

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The Changing Of The Guard - Continued

When Her Majesty is residing in London what is called a Long Guard is on parade. A Long Guard will consist of one officer, the Corporal-Major (who carries the standard), two additional NCOs, a trumpeter and ten troopers.

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The Changing Of The Guard

When you mention the Changing of the Guard to most people they immediately think of the spectacular ceremony that takes place in front of Buckingham Palace featuring those splendid crimson coated soldiers known world wide for their precision and matchless military bearing. And they would be right, up to a point.

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Eight Questions That Travelers Ask About London - Second Four

More answers from the ever helpful David McIntosh to some of those questions that you have always wanted to ask about London but didn't know where on earth you could come across somebody to solve your conundrums for you; if you have any queries for us or for him, please let us know and maybe we could find out for you. Just E-Mail them to us.

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Eight Questions That Travelers Ask About London - First Four

You’ve just decided to make your next vacation one in London. Congratulations, for my money you have just picked the most exciting city in the world, bar none. But you have some questions; getting around, what’s the food like, what are the locals like? That sort of thing. In hopes of making sure your trip to England is a pleasant and enjoyable...

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The British Museum - Anything And Everything

Use your imagination; try to imagine a museum that seems to have just about anything and everything you could think of a museum having - and a few things you may not have thought of, even in your wildest dreams. Well, that just about sums up on Great Russell Street, home of the British Museum, one of the world’s truly great museums.

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The Victoria And Albert Museum (V&A) - Part 2

Among the other items you can view: the wedding suit of James II, Henry VIII’s writing desk and the Great Bed of Ware. The collections of the Victoria and Albert also include silver, ceramics, glass, jewellery, silks (including the Spitalfields silks) and furniture. Among the manufacturers represented are Wedgwood and Royal Doulton.

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The Victoria And Albert Museum (V&A) - Part 1

It bills itself as the world’s largest museum of decorative and applied art and many of the exhibits can only be described as breathtaking, others, in turn, will keep the kids entertained and delighted while at the same time teaching them about the way people lived in times past. We are speaking, of course, about London's Victoria & Albert Museum...

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English As She Is Spoken

Of all of the things for which the English are famous, the thing they are best known for is the way they speak. People everywhere have been rumored to go all gooey at the sound of an English accent - one American columnist once wrote that an Englishman reading the directions off a box of detergent could make it sound like the Magna Carta. Now one...

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Foyles - The World's Largest Bookstore

The first thing you need to understand is that books are special, all books, books of any kind, books dealing with a host of subjects - without books to read and pore through and keep one company, the world would be a poorer place indeed. I’ve always felt that way, ever since childhood. Always will. There are few things to compare with the...

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Edith Cavell - A British Heroine

Near Trafalgar Square, not far from the Church of St Martin-in-the-Fields in London, is a statue that commemorates a woman, who while she may not be as familiar to people today, was in her time and the years that followed a legend in the English speaking world as a model of bravery and morality in a world rapidly going mad. On the monument in...

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London - A Biography: A Review by David McIntosh

At first thought one might wonder, why a biography of London instead of a history? On reflection, though, it only makes sense. All cities have personalities, some good, others bad, but no city has such a broad, diverse and continually surprising a personality as the city on the Thames. No other city can match it. Period. Were there to be a contest...

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HMS Belfast - A Proud History (continued)

From the bridge of the battle-cruiser came the order to change course- their mission was to destroy the convoy not to do battle with the Royal Navy’s warships. Another salvo from the cruisers roared through the night sky as the Scharnhorst vanished in hopes of finding another way to get at the convoy. On Belfast Admiral Burnett could...

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HMS Belfast - A Proud History

She rests quietly quay side on the Thames River, the White Ensign fluttering on the jack staff, content to enjoy her well deserved rest, a rest earned over many years of playing a role in the defense of freedom and civilization on the blue waters of the world’s oceans and proud that she, when called, answered. She is a reminder of those dark times...

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The Tower of London - The Ceremony of the Keys

From out of the distance darkness walks, with measured steps, a man carrying, in one hand a candle-lit lantern and in the other a set of keys. Standing beneath a stone gate are four soldiers in black bearskin hats and heavy grey greatcoats - for it is Christmas Eve and London is cold this time of year. The man with the lantern walks at a precise...

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A Review - Once Upon a Time in Great Britain

The success of the Harry Potter books and movies and the rediscovery of J.R.R. Tolkien by another generation serves to underscore that many of the classic children’s and young peoples stories with which we’re so familiar were either penned by an English author or have as a setting somewhere in the "right little, tight little island." Many of the...

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A History of Fortnum and Mason - Part 2

Yet another war, the Crimean, would see soldiers receiving shipments with a return address of Piccadilly Street. The dire conditions experienced by the men on the front and the outcry back home after Florence Nightingale made the story known to the British public resulted in Queen Victoria sending consignments of Fortnum and Mason beef tea...

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A History of Fortnum and Mason - Part 1

Treating the customer with courtesy and respect will reap dividends many times over. That old saw is repeated by those in the retail trade time after time, but maybe a brief story and a look at the history of one of London’s most famous emporiums will help underscore how extending a bit of extra courtesy to a shopper really does pay dividends down...

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Porters English Restaurant

If you’re looking for Liza Doolittle selling flowers in Covent Garden I’m afraid you will be disappointed. It’s been a while since Covent Garden truly was a market in the sense of being a farmers or produce market. These days Liza would more likely be taking in the nightlife and excitement in one of London’s newest trendy sections. That’s because...

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London Newspapers – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

One of the most satisfying things about a visit to London is the opportunity to enjoy and savour what is still a very lively, vibrant and competitive newspaper scene - much like it used to be in many American cities before they become homes to the newspaper monopolies that have been one of the results of the consolidation of the media industry.

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The London Underground Map

It is probably the most influential piece of urban cartography known to mankind. To also call the London Underground route map revolutionary is an understatement because it allowed succeeding generations to view their environs in a radically different manner.

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The Imperial War Museum - An American View

Any history of the 20th century will probably lead one to reach the conclusion that it was one of almost continuous war and conflict on a scale greater than known by any previous generation. And for any student of hostilities in the past hundred years the staring point for any study should be London’s Imperial War Museum, housed in the building...

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London's New Landmark - The London Eye

Imagine for a moment being able to peer down at Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abby, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge as well as viewing the Thames River in both directions as far as the eye can see.

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An American's Thoughts On London

London is a city that seems to grow younger with each visit. By that I don’t mean in demographic terms but in the since that in recent years London has experienced a revitalization and renewal that, in turn, has resulted in a feeling of newness and surprise, even for past visitors who may think they know all there is to know about the capital of...

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Christmas In London - An American Family's Experience

The scene is a picture of civility; as Christmas Eve shoppers scurry about making last minutes purchases, children wait patiently for a few moments with Father Christmas while in the restaurant, which is conveniently located on the same floor as the toy department, waiters in starched white jackets serve high tea and attend tables with quiet...

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