St Michael’s Mount, Cornwall


Penzance, St Michael’s Mount.
c.1910

Google Street View.

St. Michael’s Mount is an odd mix of house, religious retreat, and fortified castle. It was a pilgrimage centre in the Middle Ages, converted first to a fortress, then to a house after the Civil War by the St. Aubin family.
Britain Express

In the years following the Norman Conquest, St Michael’s Mount was granted to the Benedictine monks of Mont Saint-Michel in Normandy – a natural choice given the similarities between the two sites. They established a small religious community on the island and Abbot Bernard le Bec built the first stone church there in 1135. The community was briefly disrupted in 1193 when Henry de La Pomeray took control of the island as part of the attempted coup of Prince John (later King John) against his brother, Richard I. That rebellion was defeated but it was around this time the castle on the island was built; perhaps by Henry but more likely after his suicide when Richard returned. It was a significant structure with square towers, a large gatehouse and a substantial curtain wall. Having been restored the monks also fortified their Priory by adding the church tower and courtyard walls.
. . .
After the events of the fifteenth century, St Michael’s Mount returned to being a quiet religious order until Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries. Its remote location and lack of wealth made it a low priority for Royal officials with the site not being formally suppressed until 1548. But the English Reformation continued apace with a New Prayer Book that banned the Latin Mass. This was hotly contested by the Cornish populace whose Celtic background meant they had a better grasp of Latin than English and in 1549 the mount was temporarily seized by rebels during a general Cornish uprising. St Michael’s Mount remained in Crown ownership until 1599 when Queen Elizabeth sold it to Sir Robert Cecil. His descendants sold it onto Sir Francis Bassett in 1640 who garrisoned it for the King during the Civil War. Following the defeat of the Royalist field armies, Parliamentary forces advanced into the South West and besieged the Mount. After its capture Colonel John St Aubyn was appointed Captain of the Mount and in 1659 he purchased it outright. He was allowed to keep the property after the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 with the site being modified into his private home. Upgrades were made during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (including romanticising the castle).
Castles Forts Battles

“The Cemetery Gate and Entrance Lodge, St. Michael’s Mount”, Other famous homes of Great Britain and their stories”, A. H. Malan, 1902

It’s thought that during classical times, the island formed a trading centre for the tin industry. More than 2,000 years ago, Phoenician ships may have sailed into the Mount’s harbour and exported Cornish tin to the rest of Europe. The island’s population ebbed and flowed, but by the early 1800s, the Mount was thriving commercially and the village was alive with activity, home to over 300 islanders with 53 houses and four streets. Pubs welcomed sailors and fishermen, a school taught the island’s children, a parish policeman kept the peace, the dairy churned butter and the green saw villagers gather to play bowls. It was said that at times you could walk from one side of the harbour to the other stepping over the boats that were moored there. There were net lofts, stables, a pilchard press and even a Victorian change house, where castle residents could wriggle into their swimsuits for a sea dip.
St Michael’s Mount

Little is known about the village before the beginning of the 18th century, save that there were a few fishermen’s cottages and monastic cottages. After improvements to the harbour in 1727, St Michael’s Mount became a flourishing seaport. In 1755 the Lisbon earthquake caused a tsunami to strike the Cornish coast over 1,000 miles (1,600 km) away. The sea rose six feet (2 m) in 10 minutes at St Michael’s Mount, ebbed at the same rate, and continued to rise and fall for five hours. The 19th-century French writer Arnold Boscowitz claimed that “great loss of life and property occurred upon the coasts of Cornwall.” By 1811, there were 53 houses and four streets. The pier was extended in 1821[21] and the population peaked in the same year, when the island had 221 people. There were three schools, a Wesleyan chapel, and three public houses, mostly used by visiting sailors. Following major improvements to nearby Penzance harbour, and the extension of the railway to Penzance in 1852, the village went into decline, and many of the houses and other buildings were demolished.
Wikipedia.

This beautiful and romantic spot is situated on the southern coast of Cornwall, immediately opposite the little market town of Marazion, and about three miles and a half from Penzance. The Mount itself 13 about 231 feet above the level of the sea, exclusive of the buildings with which it is crowned. Its magnitude is seen in the most impressive point of view from its base, for when observed from a distance, its form appears trifling, amidst the vast expanse of waters with which it is surrounded. A narrow neck of land, little more than a quarter of a mile in length, connects it with the main land: this natural causeway is passable at low water to foot passengers and carriages, but at high tide is completely covered by the sea.
Abbeys, castles, and ancient halls of England and Wales”, John Timbes, 1872

“The Chapel, from the North Court”, Other famous homes of Great Britain and their stories”, A. H. Malan, 1902

The hill is crowned with an ancient building originally founded by Edward the Confessor as a priory for Benedictine monks, and which in after years was fortified. . . A steep and difficult path leads up to the summit, defended midway by a battery, with another battery at the top. The church crowns the crest of the hill, surrounded by the old monastic buildings. On the centre tower is a turret once used as a beacon for sailors, and on the S.W. angle of this, overhanging the sea, is the famous seat called St. Michael’s Chair. The whole structure has for long been the property of the St. Aubyn family (Lord St. Levan), and has been adapted to form a comfortable modern dwelling. It is a castellated house, retaining much of the monastic masonry, but great alterations were made in it during last century ; the dining-room was the refectory of the convent, and the chapel has been fitted up in the Gothic style.
The castles of England, their story and structure, Vol II”, James Mackenzie, 1896

For seven hundred years the Mount retained its purely ecclesiastical character, but, in 1194, it began a military career un- der the following circumstances :
While Richard 1. was crusading in Palestine, Henry de la Pomeroy, a man of large possessions in Devonshire and Corn- wall, had espoused the cause of the King’s disloyal brother, John, Earl of Cornwall. When Richard came home and heard of Pomeroy’s treason, he sent a serjeant-at-arms to arrest him at his castle of Berry Pomeroy, in Devonshire. Pomeroy, however, stabbed this officer, and then fled with some followers to St. Michael’s Mount, where he had a sister living as a nun. Under pretence of visiting this sister, Pomeroy got admitted with his retinue into the convent, which he promptly seized and fortified.
The King sent a force to reduce the Mount and take Pomeroy, under the command of the Archbishop of Canterbury. In these days we should hardly look upon this as a very fitting selection ; but his Grace justified the King’s confidence in his military talents, and Pomeroy, despairing of a successful resistance, bequeathed some of his lands to the monks to pray for his soul, and bled himself to death. By doing this he assured to his son the inheritance of his property, which would have been forfeited had he been convicted of high treason. The King put a force into ” Pomeroy’s fort,” as it was called, and it continued to be regarded as a fortress and to be occupied by a garrison for nearly five hundred years. It was still, how- ever, a monastery as well as a fort.
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About 1425, one of these chaplains, William Morton, began to build the first harbour of which there is any record, being assisted by Bishop Lacy of Exeter, who granted an indulgence of forty days to all who should contribute to its erection. How- ever, in 1427, the funds for the purpose being still found inade- quate, Morton appealed for help to the King, Henry VI., who granted him certain dues to be levied on ships anchoring near the Mount, and on “foreign boats fishing for hake during the season.”
Other famous homes of Great Britain and their stories”, A. H. Malan, 1902

The buyldinges that are on the topp of this Mount auntient all of freestone verie stronge and permanent wherof muche was erected by Willm Moriton, Nephew to Willm the Conquerour, who had muche lande in this Countrye. It was sometimes a Cell of munckes but since fortefyed for defence. It hath bene muche resorted unto by Pylgrims in deuotion to St Michaell whose chayre is fabled to be in the mount on the south syde of verie Daungerous access. The ascente unto the mounte is steepe curuing narrowe and rockye and that but one waye in the north syde. John Earle of Oxforde surprised this mount by pollicie and kepte it by force againste king Edwarde the 4. but with noe profitable or prayse worthy success for he was violently depryued of it. But some write that he surrendred it upon conditions. It is a place of noe greate importance hauinge small receyte of meanes to keepe and defende it longe At the foote of the mount is a peere of Stones wherin boates are harbored and from Marca-iew there is a causwaye or passage that leadeth to the Mount on foote at a lowe water.
“Speculi Britanniae Pars: A Topographical and Historical Description of Cornwall”, John Norden, 1728 [1626], p.39

Maumbury Rings, Dorchester, Dorset


Roman Amphitheatre, Dorchester
Dated 17 Janaury 1912, postmarked 18 Janaury 1913

Google Street View.

Stone Circles.org.uk: photos & panorama

Maumbury Rings is a Neolithic henge in the south of Dorchester town in Dorset, England (grid reference SY690899). It is a large circular earthwork, 85 metres in diameter, with a single bank and an entrance to the north east. It was modified during the Roman period when it was adapted for use as an amphitheatre, and the site was remodelled again during the English Civil War when it was used as an artillery fort guarding the southern approach to Dorchester. The monument is now a public open space, and used for open-air concerts, festivals and re-enactments.
Wikipedia.

The Neolithic Henge’s original function, like so many other structures from the same time, remains enigmatic though scholars have proposed it could have been a place of ritual or astronomical observation, as excavations in the early 20th century revealed the shafts used in its foundation contained fragments of tools made from deer bone, flint, and even fragments of human skull! The reason Maumbury Rings still stands while so many henges have disappeared over time is that it has been adapted to suit various purposes since its creation. The Roman Town of Durnovaria (Dorchester) modified the rings in roughly 100 AD to make it a place of entertainment – an amphitheatre. Throughout this period the rings would be host to gladiatorial fights and executions. There’s no record of the rings use in Saxon times though it likely stayed as a place of meeting and by the middle ages it was again host to violent spectator sports, this time jousting tournaments. In 1642 the earthwork was again remodelled and saw yet another function, this time one of war. The Parliamentarians turned it into an artillery fort guarding the southern flank along Weymouth Road where the Royalists were thought to be advancing. After the civil war Maumbury rings gained a macabre status as its role as a place of public execution was revived, most notably by the infamous Judge Jeffreys who condemned eighty rebels to death in Maumbury Rings.
Dorchester Dorset

The monument includes a henge, a Romano-British amphitheatre and Civil War fieldworks situated in the centre of Dorchester. The henge, amphitheatre and fieldworks are superimposed on one another with visible remains of all three elements. They survive as a roughly circular enclosure bank with an internal diameter of up to 64m, the bank measuring approximately 4m wide, broken and terraced in places with a maximum height of 4m externally and 5.6m internally. There is an entirely buried internal henge ditch, and a bulge in the earthworks to the south west marks the site of the gun emplacement. From the centre of the enclosure the ground slopes gradually upwards. The single entrance is to the north east. The gun emplacement has levelled part of the bank and is composed of a steep ramp of material with a level platform thus created on the summit. . . . During the Romano-British period the henge earthworks were modified by the internal excavation of an oval, level arena floor and the cutting of seating into the scarp and bank which was subsequently revetted with either chalk or timber. Chambers were cut into the bank to the south west and one on each side of the centre. Objects recovered on the arena floor and elsewhere suggested a 4th century date for the final usage of the amphitheatre although there was a 2nd century inhumation. The Civil War fieldworks were begun in 1642 and are visible as terraces and a gun emplacement platform to the south west. . . .Subsequently the interior of the enclosure was under cultivation.
Historic England

Doune Castle, Doune, Stirling


Doune Castle, Baron’s Hall
Publisher: “F W H”

Google Street View.

Doune Castle was rebuilt in the late 14th century by Robert Stewart, Earl of Fife and son of King Robert II. . . . His new palace consisted of a large square tower-keep with a projecting round tower to one side; through the basement of this building ran the entrance passageway to the courtyard, and above this was the Duke’s inner hall. Adjacent to this four storey building was the block containing the Great Hall, above three vaulted cellars. These two buildings took up the whole of the north front of the castle. Surviving on the western side is the kitchen tower; other buildings took up the rest of the courtyard walls.
The Castle Guy

The magnificent castle of Doune, which is one of the best examples of the quadrangular architecture of the fifteenth century, was built by Murdoch, Duke of Albany, and was, like Falkland, forfeited to the crown in 1424. It had superseded an earlier structure, the seat of the Earls of Menteith, which came into the possession of Robert, the great Duke of Albany, on his marriage to Margaret, Countess of Menteith. In 1431 it was the dwelling-place of James, Duke of Rothesay, the heir to the throne, then six months old, for whose use forty-eight pounds of almonds were sent to it.
“Royal palaces of Scotland”, Helen Douglas-Irvine & Robert S. Rait, 1911

Doune Castle “The baronial and ecclesiastical antiquities of Scotland, Vol 2”, Robert William Billings, 1845

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Castell Dinas Brân, Wales


The Castle, Llangollen
On the back:
“We have to gain the Victory.
That is our task.”
The Prime Minister
1940s

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Crowning a craggy hilltop high above Llangollen, Castell Dinas Brân – the Crow’s Fortress – is one of the most dramatically-sited and legend-haunted strongholds in the whole of Britain. Set within the corner of an Iron Age hillfort, it is one of the few surviving Welsh-built stone castles, constructed in the 13th Century by Gruffudd ap Madoc, ruler of northern Powys. . . . Surrounded by a rock-cut ditch and steep drops, [the ruins] include the remains of a gatehouse, keep, and characteristic D-shaped ‘Welsh tower’. A closer look reveals traces of features like wall-plaster, fireplaces and even en-suite toilets, demonstrating that this was once a splendid and well-appointed, as well as well-defended, fortress. Dinas Brân’s active life, however, lasted scarcely 20 years. Begun in the 1260s and abandoned and burnt by its Welsh defenders in 1277, it was then only briefly garrisoned by the English – whose commander remarked “there is no stronger castle in all Wales, nor has England a greater.” But it’s inaccessibility ensured that it was soon abandoned again to the crows which gave it its name.
The Clwydian Range and Dee Valley AONB

The remains to be seen are actually the most recent evidence of fortification. The castle stands on what was once a hillfort, one of a series common to the area. Remains of the original earthen rampart are still visible to the south east. Dinas Bran stands in what was once the Kingdom of Powys. There is some fragmentary evidence that Madog ap Gruffudd, the founder of Valle Crucis Abbey ruled from Dinas Bran. If indeed he did so, there is no archaeological evidence of this. Any fortification he had built would probably have been wooden, and the same fragmentary records claim it burnt to the ground.

The castle of the present ruins was probably founded by Gruffydd II ap Madog in the 1260s, in response to his alliance with Llywelyn ap Gruffud Prince of Wales.  .  .  . On Gruffydd’s death in 1269/70, Dinas Bran probably passed to his eldest son, Madoc. The rise to power in England in 1272 of Edward I, the scourge of both the Welsh and Scots led to war between the Welsh and English in 1276. Henry de Lacy, Earl of Lincoln moved into Wales through Oswestry in May 1277 with an army set on capturing Dinas Bran, only to be informed that the castle had been set on fire by the Welsh and abandoned.
Curious Clwyd: The beauty, the history, the folklore of North East Wales

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Common, Tunbridge Wells, Kent


Tunbridge Wells from the Common

Google Street View (approximate).

The two commons at Tunbridge Wells and Rusthall, linked by Langton Road, are managed by the Tunbridge Wells Commons Conservators, and funded by the Borough Council, ensuring free public access over 256 acres of hilly, often heavily wooded terrain with a large number of open spaces. These much-loved commons are famous for their large sandstone outcrops such as Toad Rock and Wellington Rocks, and also feature cricket grounds, lakes, ponds, woods, heathland and the remains of the old racecourse. They are hugely important in adding to the high quality of life that Tunbridge Wells is famous for. Having always played an important part in the history and development of Tunbridge Wells, a number of churches and Victorian buildings and pubs surround the commons, adding to its charm as the perfect place for a long walks, ball games and picnics. The commons was originally lowland heath with very little tree cover until the end of the 19th century, when grazing died out, and tree cover increased, obscuring some views over the commons.
Explore Kent

The town of Tunbridge Wells began with a chalybeate spring. Chalybeate means it contains iron. Rainwater fell on ground containing iron deposits, soaked through them then rose in a spring. The iron deposits in the spring water stained the ground around the spring a rusty colour. The spring stood by a common where local people grazed their livestock. In the early 17th century people believed that they would be healed from diseases if they bathed in or drank from certain spas. In the year 1606 a nobleman, Lord North, who was staying at Edridge was out for a ride. He came across the spring with rust-colored edges and wondered if it had health-giving properties. (At the time he was suffering from tuberculosis or some similar disease). He drank some of the spring water and was, he said, healed from his illness. When he returned to London he told all his rich friends about the spring and soon many people flocked to drink from it. After 1608 wells were dug and a pavement was laid but there were no actual buildings at Tunbridge until 1636. In that year 2 houses were built, one for ladies and one for gentlemen. In the late 17th century these developed into coffee houses. A coffee house was a place where you could drink coffee (a new drink at the time) or chocolate and read a newspaper.
Local Histories


Tunbridge Wells from the Common
Postmarked 1906.
Publisher: Valentine

Bank of England, London


London. The Bank of England.
1900s
Publisher: F. Frankel & Co, London

Google Street view

27 July 1694: The Bank of England began as a private bank that would act as a banker to the Government. It was primarily founded to fund the war effort against France. The King and Queen of the time, William and Mary, were two of the original stockholders. The original Royal Charter of 1694, granted by King William and Queen Mary, explained that the Bank was founded to “promote the public Good and Benefit of our People”. In essence, this is still used today in our current mission statement: “Promoting the good of the people of the United Kingdom by maintaining monetary and financial stability”. The Bank of England opened for business on 1 August 1694 in temporary accommodation in the Mercers’ Hall in Cheapside. It had a staff of just 17 clerks and two gatekeepers.
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In 1734, the Bank of England moved to the site on Threadneedle Street where it still stands today. Slowly, over the next 100 years or so, the Bank bought adjacent properties until it owned the entire 3.5-acre site in the heart of the City of London. Our first architect George Sampson created the first purpose-built bank in the UK on the site. It was said to be Palladian in style, identified by its symmetry and classic design. Payment by the Bank to contractors for the balance of the new building in 1734 was £268, 17 shillings, and two pence.
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Between 1925 and 1939, Bank of England architect Sir Herbert Baker demolished what had become known as ‘the old Bank’ or ‘Soane’s Bank’. The old Bank, designed by architect Sir John Soane, was regarded as one of London’s architectural gems. Sir Herbert built a new headquarters for the Bank of England on the same 3.5-acre Threadneedle Street site. The old Bank of England had mostly been no more than three storeys high. The new building stood seven storeys above ground, and dropped three below to fit in the extra staff needed to tackle the Bank’s rapidly increasing amount of work and responsibility.
Bank of England

Following images are from “Monumental classic architecture in Great Britain and Ireland during the eighteenth & nineteenth centuries”, Albert Edward Richardson, 1914, between pages 38 & 39, and 42 & 43.

Ground Floor Plan
Entrance from Lothbury courtyard

View in Governor’s Courtyard
Entry Vestible, from Princes Street

Public Drawing Office
Public Drawing Office

Private Drawing Office
Consol’s Office

Treasury Corridor
The Court Room

Guildhall, London


Guildhall, London
c.1910
Publisher: Philco Publishing Co.

Google Street View

Guildhall is a municipal building in the Moorgate area of the City of London, England. It is off Gresham and Basinghall streets, in the wards of Bassishaw and Cheap. The building has been used as a town hall for several hundred years, and is still the ceremonial and administrative centre of the City of London and its Corporation. It should not be confused with London’s City Hall, the administrative centre for Greater London. The term “Guildhall” refers both to the whole building and to its main room, which is a medieval great hall.
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The current building began construction in 1411 and completed in 1440. The Great Hall did not completely escape damage in the Great Fire of London in 1666; it was partially restored (with a flat roof) in 1670. The present grand entrance (the east wing of the south front), in “Hindoostani Gothic”, was added in 1788 by George Dance. A more extensive restoration than that in 1670 was completed in 1866 by the City of London architect Sir Horace Jones, who added a new timber roof in close keeping with the original hammerbeam ceiling. This replacement was destroyed during the Second Great Fire of London on the night of 29/30 December 1940, the result of a Luftwaffe fire-raid. It was replaced in 1954 during works designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, though the original hammerbeam design was not retained.
Wikipedia.

Located in the north-central area of the old medieval city next to the parishes of St. Michael Bassishaw and St. Lawrence Jewry, Guildhall was mainly used as London’s city hall. There are references to the pre-1411 Guildhall that mention the meetings of the city’s officials that occurred in its chambers, as well as sessions of the Mayor’s and Sheriff’s Courts that took place there. The Common Council routinely gathered in the upper chamber while the Aldermen met in its inner chamber so that they could privately conduct their business. . . . Changes naturally came with the fifteenth century rebuilding of Guildhall. In the Great Hall, the Hustings Court took place on the eastern dais and the Sheriff’s court on the western dais, both under a large stained-glass window. The Mayor’s Court was held in its own building that was attached to the great hall. In this same building, the Court of Aldermen also met to deliberate on cases pertaining to the Law Merchant. The Guildhall Library was built between 1423 and 1425 and, though it was considered to be a public library, the priests of the Guildhall College and Chapel mainly used it. The College and Chapel were rebuilt in 1427 and 1440, respectively, and became part of the medieval Guildhall complex. . . . As the city hall of medieval London, Guildhall not only served as an administrative and civic center for the city, but also as a stage for political, religious, and social drama. Guildhall was where the English kings conferred with the Mayor and where extravagant banquets were held for the nobility. . . .Today, the modern Guildhall complex is still used as the center of government for the City of London, and remains one of the oldest surviving structures from the medieval era.
Medieval London

Though the Guildhall was heavily damaged in the Great Fire of 1666, the walls survived, and the interior was rebuilt. How did the Guildhall survive, when so much of London was destroyed in the blaze? One theory is that the hall was framed in solid oak, which was able to resist the worst effects of the fire. An eyewitness to the Great Fire described the Guildhall as standing amid the flames ‘like a bright shining coal, as if it had been a palace of gold, or a great building of burnished brass’. The medieval ceiling had been lost to the fire, and in its place was a flat panelled ceiling thought to have been the work of Sir Christopher Wren.
Britain Express


The Royal Banquet in Guildhall, 1761, from “Old and New London”, George Walter Thornbury, 1879-85, p. 325

After half an hour’s stay in the council chamber, the royal party returned into the hall, and were conducted to the upper end of it, called the hustings, where a table was provided for them, at which they sat by themselves. There had been, it seems, a knotty little question of etiquette. The ladies. in-waiting on the Queen had claimed the right of custom to dine at the same table with her Majesty, but this was disallowed ; so they dined at the table of the Lady Mayoress in the Court of King’s Bench. The royal table “was set off with a variety of emblematic ornaments, beyond description elegant,” and a superb canopy was placed over their Majesties’ heads at the upper end. For the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and their ladies, there was a table on the lower hustings. The privy councillors, ministers of state, and great nobles dined at a table on the right of this ; the foreign ministers at one on the left. For the mazarines and the general company there were eight tables laid out in the body of the hall, while the judges, serjeants, and other legal celebrities, dined in the old council chamber, and the attendants of the distinguished visitors were regaled in the Court of Common Pleas.
. . .
FIRST SERVICE. Venison, turtle soups, fish of every sort, viz dorys, mullets, turbots, tench, soles, &c., nine dishes.
SECOND SERVICE. A fine roast, ortolans, teals, quails, ruffs, knotts, pea-chicks, snipes, partridges, pheasants, &c., nine dishes.
THIRD SERVICE. Vegetables and made dishes, green peas, green morelles, green truffles, cardoons, artichokes, ducks’ tongues, fat &c., eleven dishes.
FOURTH SERVICE. Curious ornaments in pastry and makes, jellies, blomonges, in variety of shapes, figures, and colours, nine dishes.

In all, not including the dessert, there were placed on the tables four hundred and fourteen dishes, hot and cold. Wine was varied and copious. In the language of the chronicler, ” champagne, burgundy, and other valuable wines were to be had everywhere, and nothing was so scarce as water.” When the second course was being laid on, the toasts began. The common crier, standing before the royal table, demanded silence, then proclaimed aloud that their Majesties drank to the health and prosperity of the Lord Mayor, aldermen, and common council of the City of London. Then the common crier, in the name of the civic dignitaries, gave the toast of health, long life, and prosperity to their most gracious Majesties. . After dinner there was no tarrying over the wine-cup. The royal party retired at once to the council chamber, ” where they had their tea.” What became of the rest of the company is not men-tioned, but clearly the Guildhall could have been no place for them. That was summarily occupied by an army of carpenters. The tables were struck and carried out. The hustings, where the great folks had dined, and the floor of which had been covered with rich carpeting, was covered afresh, and the whole hall rapidly got ready for the ball, with which the festivities were to conclude.
“Old and New London”, George Walter Thornbury, 1879-85, pp. 326-7


The Court of Aldermen, Guildhall, from “Old and New London”, George Walter Thornbury, 1879-85, p. 390

The Court of Aldermen is a richly-gilded room with a stucco ceiling, painted with allegorical figures of the hereditary virtues of the City of London—Justice, Prudence, Temperance, and Fortitude—by that over-rated painter, Hogarth’s father-in-law, Sir James Thornhill, who was presented by the Corporation with a gold cup, value £225 7s. In the cornices are emblazoned the arms of all the mayors since 1780 (the year of the Gordon riots). Each alderman’s chair bears his name and arms. The apartment, says a writer in Knight’s “London,” as its name tells us, is used for the sittings of the Court of Aldermen, who, in judicial matters, form the bench of magistrates for the City, and in their more directly corporate capacity try the validity of ward elections, and claims to freedom who admit and swear brokers, superintend prisons, order prosecutions, and perform a variety of other analogous duties ; a descent, certainly, from the high position of the ancient “ealdormen,” or superior Saxon nobility, from whom they derive their name and partly their functions.
“Old and New London”, George Walter Thornbury, 1879-85, p. 388

General Post Office, London


General Post Office
Postmarked 1908

Google Street View (approximate)

Originally known as the General Letter Office, the headquarters for the General Post Office (GPO) was built on the eastern side of St. Martin’s Le Grand in the City of London between 1825 and 1829, to designs by Robert Smirke. . . . It was built in the Grecian style with Ionic porticoes, and was 400 feet (120 m) long and 80 feet (24 m) deep. The building’s main facade had a central hexastyle Greek Ionic portico with pediment, and two tetrastyle porticoes without pediments at each end. The main interior was the large letter-carriers’ room, with its elegant iron gallery and spiral staircase.

While externally attractive, however, the building suffered from internal shortcomings. Poor layout meant that work requiring bright light was conducted in poorly illuminated areas; odours spread from the lavatories to the kitchens, while the combination of gas lighting and poor ventilation meant that workers often felt nauseous. The expansion of the work of the Post Office also meant that by the later 19th century it was occupied well beyond its intended capacity; The Times reported in 1860 that “rooms have been overcrowded, closets turned into offices, extra rooms hung by tie rods to the girders of the ceiling”. . . The original Smirke building was closed in 1910 and demolished in 1912.
Wikipedia

The story goes back to the era before Rowland Hill’s Penny Post and had its opening chapter during the glory days of the mail coach. The Post Office had been established in the City since the mid-17th century but it was in 1829 that the Post Office moved from cramped premises in Lombard St to a new home in an imposing neoclassical building nearer St Paul’s. Situated on the east side of St Martin’s-Le-Grand it was Grand by address, grand in design and become known fondly as ‘The Grand’ by its occupants. The new building housed the Postmaster General, The Secretary and his administrative staff together with the main sorting offices for mail for London, the provinces and overseas. The building, designed by Robert Smirke, was the best known public face of the Post Office in London throughout the Victorian period. After much internal alteration to cope with the enormous growth in business, it was eventually – and controversially – demolished in 1912-13.
The Postal Museum

Watch Tower, Eston Nab, North Yorkshire


Watch Tower, Eston Nab.
Postmarked 1906
Publisher: Brittain & Wright, Stockton-on-Tees

Google Street View (approximate).

In the south-eastern section of the hillfort, where a modern monument marks its position there are the remains of a square, stone beacon. This is situated within a small quadrangular enclosure and is believed to have been erected in the early 19th century when it served as a beacon or lookout post during the Napoleonic wars.
Historic England

With the advent of ironstone mining in Eston Hills, the beacon was used as a house and survived until 1956. It was then demolished and later rebuilt into its present form. A plaque on the side of the monument reads:

This monument is placed here to mark the
site of the beacon tower which was erected
by Thomas Jackson of Lackenby about 1800 as
a look-out post against invasion during the
Napoleonic wars and which again served the same
purpose in the second world war of 1939–1945.
It stands within a Bronze Age fortified
camp whose outer defences can be seen.
Erected in 1956.
Wikipedia.

St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Launceston Cornwall


Launceston, St Mary’s Church
c.1911
Publisher: Francis Frith & Co

Google Street View.

St Mary Magdalene in Launceston is the most impressive and beautiful late medieval church in Cornwall, featuring superb carved detail on the exterior and a wealth of historic memorials and woodwork inside. In 1353 Edward, the Black Prince, was named Duke of Cornwall. Around 1370 Edward built a chapel a short distance from Launceston Castle. All that remains of that 14th-century chapel is the imposing west tower of St Mary Magdalene church, built of Polyphant stone, 20 feet square at the base and rising 70 feet to an embattled top. The tower was originally used as a watchtower, with a single bell to warn of attack, not to call worshippers to service.
Britain Express

The intricately worked granite blocks, which give the church its unique carved exterior, were originally intended for a mansion at Trecarell, Trebullett for Sir Henry Trecarell. The reason for this is said to be due to his infant son drowning in his bath and the grief-stricken Sir Henry switched the stone to ecclesiastical use as he decided to build the church instead. How true this story is, is open to conjecture, but what is most certain is that the present church owes its existence to Sir Henry. (Although widely called Sir Henry, there is no record of him actually being knighted). This was in 1511 and was to be the third church dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene on this site which at that time contained the Parochial Chapel of the Blessed Mary Magdalene of the 14th century along with tenements which were attached to the said chapel. These were purchased and removed so that the site was free for the new construction. As previously mentioned the present tower survives from one of the earlier churches, being built by Edward the Black Prince, who became the first Duke of Cornwall in 1337 and whose capital was Launceston. This explains the fact that the body of the church is not directly connected with its tower, which indeed is on a different line. Between them lies what is now the choir vestry, but at one time, there were two cottages between the church and the tower.
Launceston Then

The church of St Mary Magdalene was built in the early 1500s, but inside the Victorians have left almost nothing from the original period. The pulpit is one of the few survivals. It was covered with pitch during the civil war and only restored as to its current condition in 1970. The chancel screen is designed by Edmund H Sedding and carved by Violet Pinwill. It dates from 1911 and depicts eleven saints with Mary Magdalene at the centre.
Reed Design.includes panorama)