Why Windsor?

Since the wedding last year between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Windsor has enjoyed increased popularity as a visitor destination.
I advised one of my Irish cousins who was meeting friends from Canada in London to take the train and spend the day in Windsor. They all loved it.

You may not get to see the Queen, but you can have your photograph taken with Harry and Meghan.

Harry and Meghan

Eton College, where Princes William and Harry received their secondary education, is a short pleasant walk away across the Thames.

Eton College

The domestic architecture of both Windsor and Eton is easy on the eye.

Red door
Continue reading “Why Windsor?”

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Watts What

Just down the road from the GF Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey is the Grade I listed Arts & Crafts funerary chapel designed by GF’s wife Mary.

Funerary Chapel Mary Watts

A skilled artist, she wanted to encourage local people to join in her project, so held classes. The response was enthusiastic and she had to double the number classes held each week from one to two.

The end result is an extraordinary piece of architecture, perched on a small rise, surrounded by graves old and new. One of those few places that truly deserves to be called unique.

Funerary Chapel Interior

Mary Watts founded the Compton Pottery in 1900. The chapel exemplifies her Arts & Crafts leanings and has been described as part of the Celtic Revival. Continue reading “Watts What”

A Welcome in Eltham

Yesterday I enjoyed a visit to Eltham Palace with a lovely couple from Sydney, Australia. Although the weather was grey, the palace still shone.

Eltham Palace

We walked and talked. All of us being animal lovers, May-Jongg (Jonggy) the Courtaulds’ pet lemur featured quite strongly. Bought by the couple from Harrod’s pet department in 1923, he lived with them for fifteen years. Much loved and indulged by his doting owners, he was regarded by their visitors with a certain nervousness.
Mah-Jongg

Prone to stealing olives from martinis, nipping guests’ ankles during dinner, his most outrageous action was to bite the hand of Percy Lemon at a lunch the Courtaulds gave on their yacht Virginia on the morning scheduled for the departure of the 1930-1 British Arctic Air Route Expedition. Lemon was the expedition’s wireless operator. He turned out to be allergic to the iodine used to disinfect the wound and the expedition had to be postponed for three months while he recovered. Continue reading “A Welcome in Eltham”

Watts Gallery

On a grey damp day my BBG colleague Chris and I went to Watts Gallery in Compton, Surrey. The last time we visited together was around twenty years ago, when we took my much loved Aunt Kath who lived locally there for lunch. Even then the Welsh Rarebit served in the café was renowned.

Neither of us has visited fOr several years, and Aunt Kath died in 2015. So this visit was somewhat overdue. Especially since we were both well aware that an important restoration project had taken place, and the gallery, once the preserve of locals, and very much below the radar, had become much better known.

The spur for the visit was, oddly enough, another my relatives. My cousin Russell is the current artist in residence and we wanted to see what he was up to.

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Artist in Residence

Continue reading “Watts Gallery”

William Molesworth

I needed a break from paperwork as well as a visit to the local studies library and so took myself out on a walk in the cold air.
I was delighted to see the scaffolding had been removed from Borough Road Library and the building open. it’s not been used as a library for many years. LSBU either owns it or leases it from Southwark Council. It’s a building I talk about on my Elephant and Castle walk, so I took the opportunity to look inside. Most of the building is for the sole use of the LSBU, for their apprenticeships, but there’s a light, bright café and friendly staff.
They weren’t terribly busy and kindly took the time to talk to me.
Inside the entrance I had seen this:

William Molesworth

Who was he? I wanted to know, and why had John Passmore Edwards presented his likeness to the library over forty years after his death? Continue reading “William Molesworth”

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