London tales and stories

Want to know more about quirky London stuff, see inside museums, discover less well-known parts of the capital? Why not follow my blog at You can see excerpts from the most recent half a dozen posts below, but there are well over 100 more on the website.

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  • A map! (Another map). I’ve tried to put the locations on the map referred to in the blog posts. Click on a location pin and there’ll be a link (or more than one link) to the relevant text. Further updates and classifications to come. The post Locations from the Blog first appeared on Stuff About […]
  • Apparently the expression “higgledy-piggledy” is not much known in the US; my use of the phrase to an American tour group as we passed a ramshackle old house was greeted with incomprehension. But higgledy-piggledy is the perfect description of the house at 44 Queen Anne’s Gate in Westminster, a stone’s throw from St James’s Park […]
  • WHAT: Statue of James Wolfe WHERE: The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (map) BY WHOM: Robert Tait McKenzie WHEN: 1930 From the statue of James Wolfe, next to Wren’s Royal Observatory up the hill in Greenwich Park, the whole of London seems to stretch before you. Down in front of you is Inigo Jones’s Queens’ House (‘the […]
  • Oh, a wondrous bird is the pelican!His bill holds more than his belican.He takes in his beakFood enough for a week.But I’ll be darned if I know how the helican. Dixon Lanier Merritt (1913) The lake in St James’s Park is home to a large selection of wildfowl: there are moorhens and coots, geese and […]
  • For the past several months I’ve been taking groups of cruise passengers on a Winston Churchill tour – five days encompassing Chartwell, Bletchley, Blenheim, the Cabinet War Rooms and various spots in London.  They stay at the Marriott County Hall (the former home of the London County and Greater London Councils) and, each morning, climb […]
  • Americans are genuinely surprised by how little the Brits know or, indeed, care about what they call the Revolutionary War and what we call the American War of Independence. Of course we’ve heard of George Washington, but I bet not one Brit in a thousand reading this could name any other general of the Continental […]