The round table would be none other than King Arthur’s of course, which–who knows?–probably never existed, but this sign is based on a reproduction of the legendary original designed by Edward I around 1290 in honor of the betrothal of one of his daughters. It’s known as the Winchester Round Table, and you can read more about it here.
It was a nice, mostly sunny day today, so we set out for the wild west of London, to the borough of Richmond, famous for, among other things, having been for awhile the home of Virginia Woolf. Between repairs on the tube and necessary detours, it was lunchtime when we got there, which became fish and chips in the Britannia pub:
By the time that was enjoyed, that milky sky above had turned idyllic, captured here in the background of another British pub sign, this one for The White Swan, which we passed on our way to the Richmond section of the Thames River path:
These were the skies for a lovely walk along the river to Ham House and Gardens, a seventeenth-century palace now tended to by the National Trust; read more about it and see pictures here. The House’s opulence has faded over the centuries but was still fascinating; the formal gardens, on the other hand, could have been just as they were back in the seventeenth century, trees trimmed in the shapes of cones and all! My favorite part was this long hallway of green (a green shade!):
Back to town via the “Overground” (thus avoiding the morning detours) and then a transfer to the “Underground” at West Hampstead, where I saw this specimen of architectural symmetry in brick (quite a bit different from Ham House, which is also a symmetrical brick structure!):
Dinner was enjoyed back at the flat accompanied by a 2011 Bandol, which The Boomerang recommends, along with an excursion to Richmond (it doesn’t quite look like it, but there is a little left for tomorrow!)!
This pub (which, though its sign is still up, is actually closed, alas!) is right next door to the Rosslyn Hill Unitarian Chapel, pictured below. Both feature roosters (click on the photo below to enlarge it and find the rooster on the top of its turret)! Some folks say Rosslyn is the feminine form of the name Ross, but it seems, from the evidence of these establishments, that the name is also associated with French rossignol, which means . . . nightingale . . . aha! On closer inspection, I’d say that perhaps the bird on the pub sign maybe isn’t a rooster after all?
As this site here explains, there’s been a chapel on this site since 1682; the current chapel was built between 1862 and 1865 and seems, moreover, to have been built AS a Unitarian Chapel. It also has some windows that were designed by Burne-Jones and William Morris! I am going to have to go back and go inside!
“The Queens,” on the very lovely Regents Park Road, right before the entrance to Primrose Hill Park. Read more about it here. Just one sight from a long walk today, thanks to the one-day strike going on at the British Library!
This photo is actually a “two-fer” since it’s both a contribution to the “British pub signs” series AND a photo of a bona-fide sight to be seen in London: “The Monument,” which commemorates the Great Fire of London in 1666. The gold bit on the very top of The Monument barely visible in this photo is meant to represent a flame! As the Monument pub’s website explains, The Monument was designed by Christopher Wren and is 61 meters (202 feet and 311 steps) tall, making it the tallest un-attached column in the world! As the pub website also explains, the height is significant because . . .
Sixty-one meters represents the exact distance between The Monument and the Bakers House in neighbouring Pudding Lane. This is where the Great Fire began on Sunday 2nd September 1666. The fire destroyed much of the city. Finally being extinguished on Wednesday 5th September 1666.
The Monument was completed between 1671-77 and was meant both to commemorate the fire and to celebrate the city’s rebuilding. A photo of The Monument is also good for showing off a blue, blue sky!!
This pub royale, The Crown, is just down the street from a London home-away-from-home, a Whole Foods grocery store, and is famous for, among other things, an illustrious past; quoting from its website,
The Crown’s historical distinction comes from the fact it stands on the site of the Hickford Rooms, once the main concert halls of London. Mozart gave a recital here in 1765, aged just nine. Our Brewer Street address commemorates the 18th century breweries that sat on our doorstep, both now demolished sadly. We are also known as a popular haunt of American airmen in the Second World War.
Note how its sign stands out from the milk-white (i.e. overcast!) sky!
On the path between the British Library and the NYU Center in London: Mabel’s Tavern! The tavern’s website has this to say about its namesake:
Mabel’s Tavern apparently takes its name from a local woman, Mabel Macinelly who was born in Dublin, Ireland. She married into the family who owned Hamilton House in Mabledon Place and became Mabel Hamilton.
Not much information is known about Mabel except that she owned a cat called Felix and she died in the 1970s. Since her death she has been known to revisit the pub and on one occasion she called the landlady’s name repeatedly in the early hours of the morning. She has also been known to operate the dumb waiter that used to stand in the pub – this is a little eerie as the dumb waiter was ripped out of the pub several years ago. The occupants have heard it in operation in the early hours of the morning but when they investigated there was nothing to be seen.
It has also been said that Mabel had a grandaughter who has recently visited the Tavern when researching her family. If you know anything about Mabel and her life in Dublin or London we would be fascinated to hear from you.
Though this photo makes the day look on the still very early spring side, it’s getting noticeably warmer here — or at least it was today!