London, Addenda: Updates

A trip to that there London saw the ECWtravelogue revisit a few entries that have already appeared in the numerous London entries.

Hampton Court Palace appears very briefly in the ECWtravelogue, with just a mention of the Toy Inn plaque at the entrance to the Palace. 

A word of warning, Hampton Court is ridiculously expensive. Prices in the ticket office have an added voluntary donation (the small print says that you don't have to pay this if you don't want to, I'm sure that the vast majority of foreign tourists fall for this ruse). I would also recommend taking your own food and drink with you, to eat in the grounds. The cafes are best avoided unless you have just had a big lottery win (£12 for a pie! Just a pie, no sides, just the pie. Yes. really.)

Think of Hampton Court and you immediately think of the great Tudor Palace that it once was. Whilst a good percentage of the Tudor buildings exist, most of the visitor accessible parts are from much later rebuilds. The Tudor areas on show have been sanitised, and Hollywoodised.

There is scant mention of Hampton's role in the Civil Wars. A plaque in the formal gardens informs us that Charles was held prisoner here, and escaped through the Privy Gardens.

Charles II honeymooned here, and had had the canal built to impress his bride Catherine Braganza.

No mention of Cromwell making Hampton Court his home; his only mention is in relation to the Tudor crown being broken up on his orders (I think you'll find that Parliament ordered it broken up in order to pay off the debts of Charles I during the Commonwealth, but don't let a little thing like facts get in the way of painting the Lord Protector as the supreme C17th villain, there are plenty of other reasons to award him that title, this isn't one of them). 

The reconstruction of the crown is on display in the chapel (no photography allowed I'm afraid); a reconstruction that was inspired by a metal detecting find of one of the figurines, believed to have fallen from the crown during Charles' sharp exit from Naseby. Also in the chapel is a small icon of King Charles The Martyr, located to the left of the altar.

A small version of the impressive Charles on horseback that resides at the National Gallery

The Williamite wing of the palace holds much more interest. The gallery has a fine selection of Peter Lely portraits of 'beauties of the day'. There is also a Dutch painting of Charles II landing at Kent upon his return.

Detail of the soldiers

A beautiful bit of Grinling Gibbons' work, and a portrait of Charles I

Whilst from just after the Civil Wars, the King's Guard Chambers holds a fine display of pike and shot weaponry.

Must confess that it took me a wee while to notice the pikes.

Is this the largest collection of surviving chargers on bandoliers?

Whilst I am glad that I revisited the Palace some 30+ years after my last visit, I did come away feeling very underwhelmed. Even if I had arrived via TfL River Services (surely the only really appropriate way to arrive at Hampton) I don't think the experience would have been greatly enhanced. Those of you in cars, avoid the Palace's expensive car park (which has limited number of spaces anyway) and head for Hampton Court Railway Station, tucked away behind it is a 204 space car park which works out much cheaper than the hourly rate at the Palace.

The National Portrait Gallery has recently reopened after a major refurbishment. The whole gallery looks much brighter and cleaner as a result. The curators have had a rejig of the collection, in particular the Civil War related paintings are on display in rooms 4, 5, and 6. Now on display are a number of miniatures from the period. Most notably the portrait of Charles and Sir Edward Walker has been removed from display.

Black Tom

Ireton and Lambert

Greenwich featured briefly in Part Seven, and there is much more to the Queen's House than just the most beautiful staircase in the country.

The oldest part of the Naval College site, commissioned by Charles II

There are a number of interesting portraits on display on display in the Queen's House.

Charles and Henrietta-Maria hang in pride of place

Frederick V of the Palatinate, father of Rupert and Maurice

Edward Montagu, 1st Earl of Sandwich

Henrietta-Maria's coat of arms

Any excuse for a picture of the Tulip Staircase

A reminder that the Queen's House predates the rest of the Greenwich site by quite some way

Not really what you think of for early-mid C17th interior decoration is it?

Southwark Cathedral has two interesting memorials. The first to Bohemian illustrator Wenceslas Hollar, who we are indebted to for his illustrations of all things military.

The second is Charles II's armorial, with a somewhat ingratiating comment attached.

Bishopsgate was the scene of a mutiny by the Army Newly Modelled; Colonel Edward Whalley's Regiment of Foot refused to obey orders and leave London. They quickly took over regimental headquarters at The Bull on Devonshire Row. At the end of the mutiny one soldier, a supporter of the Levellers, Robert Lockier, was executed by firing squad in front of St Paul’s Cathedral on 27 April 1649. Thousands of mourners wearing Leveller sea-green ribbons, and bunches of rosemary for remembrance in their hats attended his funeral.

Grove Hill in Harrow is where King Charles reputedly took a last look at London as a free man before he surrendered to the Scots at Southwell, near Newark.

Postcodes for SatNavs/mapping Apps, and Tube Station/Railway Station
National Portrait Gallery, St Martin's Place WC2H 0HE Charing Cross or Piccadilly Circus
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey KT8 9BN Hampton Court 
Hampton Court Station car park, Hampton Court Way, East Molesey KT8 9AE
Southwark Cathedral, London Bridge SE1 9DA London Bridge
The Bull, 4-6 Devonshire Row, London EC2M 4RH Liverpool Street Station
King Charles plaque, Grove Hill, Harrow HA1 3HJ  Harrow-on-the-Hill

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