London as you've never seen it before!

Let’s look today at a tour guide of the 1920 approximately with illustrations and descriptions of several famous places of London. The book is called London Landmarks and was by Majorie C Bates, needless to say it is in the public domain after so many years.

These are some of the illustrations and descriptions that I have chosen today. As you can see all these things are still in London and generally haven’t changed at all.

The Cathedral Church of St. Paul is London’s most
prominent building, is situated at the top of Ludgate
Hill, a sharp incline from the end of Fleet Street, where once stood the Lud Gate in the Old Roman
Wall around the City. The present edifice, commenced in 1675 and not completed until thirty-five years later, is universally regarded as the masterpiece of Sir Christopher Wren, who was paid only 200 per annum for his services during the construction. The Church, in the form of a Latin cross, somewhat resembles St. Peter’s at Rome3 but is smaller. The top of the cross which surmounts the Dome is 365 feet above the ground, and the total length of the building is nearly 500 feet. The
Organ Case and Choir Stalls were carved by Grinling Gibbons. Within the walls of the Cathedral are the
nation’s memorials to her most famous naval and
military heroes, including Nelson and Wellington. ” The Light of the World,” the celebrated picture by W. Holman Hunt, hangs in the South

Stephen’s Tower (the Clock Tower of the Houses of Parliament) houses the great 1 3-ton bell known the world over as ” Big Ben” and so called from the fact that the First Commissioner of Works
at the time of its erection was a Sir Benjamin Hall. A light shining from the top of the tower after sundown is indicative that our legislators are still toiling, sometimes far into the night. The clock has four dials, each 23 feet in diameter, and the
striking parts take five hours to wind up. Westminster
Bridge, a portion of which is seen, is 1160 feet long and 85 feet broad. It was erected in 1856-62, by
Page, on the site of an earlier stone bridge and cost a quarter of a million sterling. The seven iron arches which comprise the bridge are borne by huge
buttresses of granite. It is considered a great feat to be able to traverse completely the entire length of the bridge

Historically the most interesting spot in the whole of England, the Tower of London was origi- nated by William the Conqueror in 1078 to overawe
the citizens of London, and it is situated just without
the eastern boundary of the ancient City walls. The White Tower in the centre, with its four square
turrets, besides being the most conspicuous, is also the oldest part of the structure, the architect being Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester. The warders, popularly called
‘* Beefeaters,” still retain their picturesque uniform, designed in Tudor times. The Crown Jewels and State Regalia are housed in the Wakefield Tower, and adjoining is the Bloody Tower, so called because the two little sons of Edward IV were murdered therein. The Tower
is now a Royal Arsenal and is still kept in repair as an up-to-date fortress manned by one of the regiments of the Brigade of (Foot) Guards, who
still carry out the ” ceremony of the King’s Keys,” which has been for over six centuries.
Built at the western extremity of the City, Staple Inn popularly known to Londoners as the ” Old
Houses at Holborn Bars “
is, in respect of its frontage, the oldest example of domestic architecture now remaining within the jurisdiction of the Corporation. The Hall in the Courtyard was
erected in 1581, about twenty years later than the
front elevation seen in the illustration. The original purpose of the Hall was to house goods that had been stapled “
the staple being the old name
applied to the King’s dues levied upon exported
wool, hides, etc. The lily pool adorning the ancient
stone-flagged square is one of the quaintest and most
picturesque of London’s sights.

Situated at the western end of Pall Mall, and
facing St. James’s Street, the Royal Palace of St. James was built about 1535 from designs said to have been made by Hans Holbein for King Henry
VIII. Queen Mary Tudor died here in 1558, and King Charles I slept at the Palace the night before
his execution in 1649. The ceremony of Changing
the Guard takes place in the Friary Courtyard of
the Palace every day about 10.30 a.m., except when
the Sovereign is in residence at Buckingham Palace.
Official Levees are still held here, although it has not been a Royal residence since the accession of Queen Victoria. The Conference of the Allies in 1921 and the Five Power Conference on the Limitation of Armaments in 1930 were held at the Palace. H.R.H. The Prince of Wales lives at York House, a portion of St. James’s Palace, pending
the completion of Marlborough House (next door on the other side of Marlborough Yard) as his
official residence

The present building of St. Martin’s-in-the- Fields, with its noble Grecian portico, was erected
in 1721-6 by James Gibbs, in place of an earlier church on the same site. Particularly fortunate in having a succession of able and well-beloved Vicars
(including Canon ” Dick ” Sheppard, and the Rev.

Pat ” McCormick), it is one of the most popular of all London’s places of worship, and its spacious crypt has remained open day and night ever since the Great War, to give shelter and warmth to London’s myriad
” down and outs ” who care to
enter. As Buckingham Palace is situated in the
Parish of St. .Martin’s, the Royal Arms may be seen above the centre of the portico. The National Gallery, standing on the site of the old King’s Mews, was completed in 1838 from
designs by Wilkins, and has a facade in the Grecian
style with a frontage to the north side of Trafalgar Square.

The nucleus of the collection now one of the finest in the world was formed by
the purchase in 1824 of thirty-eight pictures belonging to Mr. Angerstein. The recent additional rooms for the housing of the Mond and Duveen
Bequests embody the very latest ideas in lighting, both natural and artificial.


Officially termed the Collegiate Church of St. Peter, Westminster Abbey the ” Minster West of
St. Paul’s “
is said to have been founded by King
Sebert about A.p. 616. Edward the Confessor built a church on this same spot, almost as large as the present edifice, in 1049-65, but the Abbey was
entirely rebuilt and nearly as we see it to day
by Henry III and Edward I. It probably contains more tombs and memorials to famous people than any other building in the world. At the west end
of the Nave repose the nameless remains of the ” Unknown Warrior.” The large column of red
granite in the foreground is Westminster School Memorial to their men who fell in the Crimean and
Indian Mutiny campaigns. It was designed by Sir Gilbert Scott and erected in 1854-59, occupying
practically the site of the old house of William
Caxton, the first English printer.

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