Monday, 25 June 2012

'Celebrate the City' - My Weekend - Saturday

Saturday 23rd June
Well did I or didn't I complete my set list ?  Most of it I am delighted to say and had a wonderful time.
Fishmongers' Hall, London Bridge, EC4R 9EL
A difficult livery hall to access so it was a coup. The curator took us around the major rooms and gave us a brisk overview of the contents. Lots of paintings of fish, as you would expect, but the paintings also contained pictures of beaver and duck, which believe it or not were also classed as 'fish' in Medieval times. Due to all that fasting during the Catholic dominance of the religious calendar some of the those in power deemed these 'classifications' necessary!
An excellent sculpture of Wat Tyler in Yew and dates from 1684 adorns the large staircase, in the Baroque style apparently, but in Tudor garb. 

A sterling silver chandelier, rare and unusual, nothing like it in London. Cleaned twice a year and takes two days to do so.
The Fishmongers also own a rather lovely picture of Her Majesty the Queen by Pietro Annigoni (1955). The painting we saw was a copy, the original is currently in the Portrait Gallery at a special exhibition for the Golden Jubilee.
I will write more about this livery company in another section shortly.

Cutlers' Hall, Warwick Lane, London EC4M 7BR

Now for something completely different. The Cutlers' were a jolly bunch (120 members in total) all happy to talk about the building, its contents and history. The Beadle showed us around, apparently one of his ancestors was Dick Turpin! They have been a bit unlucky with their Halls, they had just completed a new hall in Cheapside in 1664, then lost it in the Great Fire 1666. They have been on the current site since 1888. The site had been previously occupied by the Royal College of physicians. The Cutlers' did not make the blades of the swords, daggers and sabres etc, their job was to gather all the components together and produce a finished article. Cutlery came much later; the symbol of the elephant is a dominant motif in the Hall and comes from the use of ivory in the making of handles.  A wonderful surprise was the presence of the GB Fencing Team creating lots of excitement with displays in the Great Hall.

Plaisterers' Hall, One London Wall, London EC4R 9EL
The Norman Foster building was built over this hall, as was the previous 1960's office block. Strange to think they were never without a building above or around them bar the part facing the old London Wall.
There is completely 'over-the-top' mouldings everywhere, as you would expect and it does look wonderful and incredibly detailed. Hugh chandeliers in the Great Hall, the lighting changes colour during functions and highlights the detailed plasterwork above and around. Splendid indeed!

Bank of England(rooms usually closed to the public) - Passed on this one. The queues went round the block; informed that they would be open again on Saturday 30th June - get there early!

Bishopsgate Institute - Talk: Lost Photographs of London by Philip Davies (free) 
'Work, Wealth, Poverty and Change
Excellent talk and very moving. I bought the large book at a discount and then signed by Mr Davies.
A heavy book, but a 'must have', thank goodness it was the final stop of the day, and although most of the bus stops were 'not in use' from the  Institute to Tower 42, I had a great ride on the top of the bus at the front to Waterloo and then home.
The Londonist has an excellent article on this subject see
Also gave my first impromptu 'bus guide' about Bucklersbury and what was happening to the site as the chap (Duncan) sitting next to me was quite shocked at the huge hole. Gave him a card!

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