Monday, 19 October 2009

London Open House 2009

In September I had my annual overdose of architectural history in London thanks to the annual Open House weekend. Even though I prefer to get up at the crack of noon, I made an effort to arrive early on Saturday at the medieval Lambeth Palace, home to the archbishops of Canterbury. I had been twice before but each time I learn something new. This time (spoiler alert for those watching the Tudors) I realised that the huge ancient fig tree shown above had been planted as a cutting by Archbishop Cardinal Pole. So it’s no use Jonathan Rhys Meyers sending two of henchmen out every episode to kill him because if they had succeeded I could not have taken a photo of said tree.
Lambeth Palace

Then on to Portcullis House, the ultra modern parliamentary annex in Westminster. I set off the alarms when I arrived. A tip to the wise, ladies: don’t wear steel boned corsets through security.
Portcullis House Westminster

Later I went to the Freemasons 1920s main London lodge. I always wanted to have a look inside although I find the whole premise of freemasonry objectionable. Finally, I went to the Middle Temple. This Elizabethan school of law saw the first production of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night in 1602. One of the Middle Temple students was a certain John Blair, who was nominated by George Washington to become an original member of the US Supreme Court, which only goes to show that the Blairs have been political stooges of American presidents called George for centuries.
 Middle Temple Hall

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