Another brilliant day visiting the splendid buildings of London. Some of the most amazing buildings are open to the public for one weekend a year. This year I went on a tour of 6 buildings all within walking distance of Blackfriars with some friends.
Open House London 2015
Our first stop was at the Unilever house which is the head quarters of the British-Dutch company.The view is looking up through the central columns of the building. A piece of artwork called the space trumpet hangs in the atrium by the British artist Conrad Shawcross. They move twice daily and complete a full rotation in 60 days.
The building was built in 1933 by the architect James Lomez-Simpson. A neoclassical art deco design.
Only the atrium was opened to the public the roof top gardens weren’t open this year, maybe next time.
HMS President (1918)
Our next stop was at the Dazzle ship which is moored on the banks of the Thames near Blackfriars bridge.
This very old war ship is one of 3 1st world war Royal Navy battle ships that currently survive.
Tours of the steam ship were given and you could wander through most of the ship. The dazzle camouflage was used during the first world war to make it difficult for the enemy to spot the ship.
The next stop was across the road from the Dazzle ship through the Temple gardens to the area known as the Temple. It consists of the Inner and Middle temple with many gardens and the Temple Church. We only went in the Inner Temple next year will go in the Middle.
Above is the splendid halls of the temple, ornate and grand. The building was built after the 2nd world war it is the 4th hall to stand on the site. Sir Hubert Worthington designed the building in a neo Georgian style. The room is used for lunches for people working at the courts.
There are many rooms to go through here and you can get a guided tour but there are queues.
Our next stop is the beautiful Temple church here the Knights of the Temple worshipped and were buried. The picture above is of the priest you can wander through the building and you can queue to go up the steps to see the dome from above.
Looking up in the dome of the temple church the original was built by the Knights Templar it was consecrated in 1185.
Up in the dome of the temple church, this place was used to punish disobedient members of the order. One of the most famous persons to die there was the Grand Preceptor of Ireland. He starved to death for disobeying the Master of the Temple.
Royal Courts of Justice
This is definitely a must see on the Open house. The splendid grandeur of these buildings are amazing. The photograph is of the central hall that you first see when you enter. The courts are off to the sides. This building was the highlight of the day. You can visit everywhere but you cant take photos inside the courts. There is a short delay in going through the security to enter the building.
The building was built in 1868 by the architect George Edmund Street. The exit of the building which is shown on the photograph at the top of the blog is beautiful with the Gothic architecture and the symmetry of the hall way.
Inside the Bear/beer garden in the Royal courts of Justice. Bit of a weird name as there is no garden or bears or even beer. Which is what I thought it first said.
The room got its name from Queen Victoria when she visited the courts. She heard the noisy commotion of lawyers discussing cases and said that it sounded like a garden full of bears.
You can visit the cells in the courts and then wander outside to where the security vehicles are and see how the prisoners are held in the vans.
The last stop on Saturday was at the Maughan library our 6th building.
The library is part of Kings college. It used to hold all the national archives but they have recently been moved to the new building at Kew gardens.
The above photograph is looking up in the main round room in the library. It has its original fixtures and fixing.
There are actually students studying in there so you have to be quiet taking pictures. The rest of the building you can visit and see the slate shelves which helped keep the documents and books safe.
The round room is painted with zinc which was quite rare. It may be the only example of this craftsmanship that still exists in the UK.
An excellent day was had with fellow instagrammer friends.
More photographs can be found on my flicker and on instagram. Many thanks to Teresa for mapping out the initial buildings to visit. Check out her blog on the links below.
Thanks for reading.
Instagram – httpss://instagram.com/alalchan/
Featured on Londonist – https://londonist.com/2015/09/in-pictures-open-house
Teresa blog – https://www.monoshades.co.uk/