A blog on gigs, music, art and London.

Sunday, 21 September 2008

Open House London 2008

Open House held their annual London event this weekend, where buildings that are normally closed to the general public are opened up for all to explore.

I had pre-booked tickets to visit Centrepoint on Saturday, mainly for the views from the top. We were allowed to go to the 25th floor, which provides great views overlooking east and west London.

It has an interesting history, which you can read more about on its Wikipedia page. Personally I find the building quite ugly which kind of makes it fit in rather well in the Tottenham Court Road area sadly. Thankfully there are long overdue plans to completely overhaul this area. Read about them here.

On the way back east we stopped for a brief visit to the beautifully imposing Christ Church Spitalfields.

I began Sunday with an ambitious list of buildings to visit. I started by going to Wellington Arch by Hyde Park Corner. Again, I was able to go to the top and enjoy the views across Hyde Park (see below).

Next, I caught a rare silver Routemaster number 9 bus along to Trafalgar Square and then walked down a traffic-free Whitehall to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office on King Charles Street. Arguably the highlight of my day, it is a beautiful, ornately decorated building. I loved the architecture of it's centrepiece, Durbar Court in particular (see below).

Next, I headed back up Whitehall and towards the Strand, via Embankment. Once on the Strand I headed east hoping to go to see St Mary-le-Strand but found it closed. I continued and came to the second 'island church', St. Clement Danes. After a brief stop I jumped back on a number 15 bus towards Bank. Christopher Wren's St Stephen Walbrook was the next church on my journey, with it's controversial stone altar sitting unusually in the centre of the small church. I continued back along Cheapside to see St Mary-le-Bow before going to see the beautifully restored St Lawrence Jewry, completing a trio of Wren churches. All these churches seemed to share sad histories, being rebuilt after first suffering damage in the Great Fire Of London and then being destroyed in the Blitz. I picked up some literature on The Friends Of The City Churches along the way which I will definitely be investigating further.

I finished off with a visit to the Guildhall, one of London's most historic and architecturally impressive buildings (see below) before heading back home.

See more photographs at my flickr page.


The Week That Was 'The Week That Was'
The Shortwave Set 'Replica Sun Machine'

No comments: