LONDON
«SEP. 2014»

Photos © Ruud Leeuw


 
A visit of six days to London, England. Main theme was a visit to the Magnificent Seven: seven historic cemeteries spread out over Greater London. But also visiting several photo galleries and trying to find the place where my father stayed when he fled Indonesia after World War II had ended, trying to get home and stayed in 1946 a few months in war-torn London.

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We stayed in a budget hotel, one of many imposing residential houses on Sussex Gardens near Paddington Train & Underground Station converted to hostels. Won't waste any words on it on what we ended up in, but the location was very good. Here is our regular watering hole: Fountains Abbey pub on Praed Street (across St Mary's Hospital).

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Saint Mary's Hospital, where Sir Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin and many royalty were born.

 


 

 

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Portobello Road. Faded glory really, just a few shops one can find in any town, no market in sight; perhaps only
done on specific days. But with the weather as nice as it was, Portobello Road provided for a nice stroll.

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All Saints Spitalfields had a nice gimmick: decorating their store with a huge number of classic sewing machines!

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Would have loved to visit the Portobello Photography Gallery, but found the door pad-locked.

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Beating the drum.. The gentleman in white was beating a drum in front of the church, in a bit of a precarious spot;
but no matter the traffic he wouldn't move. Perhaps something to do with a strict funeral ceremony?
Could this be a West Indies ceremony? EMAIL


 

 

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Kensal Green Cemetery.
This visit to London had a lot to do with my wish to visit the Magnificent Seven, an informal term applied to seven historical cemeteries here in London.They were established in the 19th century to alleviate overcrowding in existing parish burial grounds.
For hundreds of years, almost all London's dead were buried in small parish churchyards, which quickly became dangerously overcrowded. Architects such as Sir Christopher Wren and Sir John Vanbrugh both deplored this practice and wished to see suburban cemeteries established, but it was not until British visitors, including George Frederick Carden, were inspired by Paris's Père Lachaise cemetery that something similar was developed in London: at Kensal Green.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnificent_Seven_cemeteries


 

 

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Our hotel in Westminster was conveniently located: walking across Hyde Park brought us with an easy walk
to museums such as the Victoria and Albert Museum (VAM). This statue in Hyde Park showed the
following text: "To the memory of QUEEN CAROLINE, wife of George II, for whom the Long Water
and Serpentine were created between 1727 - 1731."
The Diana Princess of Wales plaque on the Serpentine is of course of a much recent date.


Plenty of water fowl to be seen at Hyde Park.

 


 

 

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The Victoria and Albert Museum (often abbreviated as the V&A or VAM) in London, is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design; it houses a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects!
It was founded in 1852 and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of course.
The V&A is located in the Brompton district of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and it covers 12.5 acres (51,000 m2) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5.000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa.
My interest here was the exhibition on photography.
wikipedia.org/wiki/Victoria_and_Albert_Museum

 

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Of the countries named, I noticed on this tableau, mention is made of Holland. Which is in fact peculiar, as the official name is the Netherlands. The VAM has its origins in the Great Exhibition of 1851 and 'Holland' perhaps refers to 'Kingdom of Holland' (1806-1815), although by around 1850s it would be more logical to refer to the 'United Kingdom of the Netherlands' (1815-1839).
But even today 'Holland' is used in reference to the Netherlands.
wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_the_Netherlands

 

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Abroad I often notice children being educated with the wealth museums have on offer, something
I find seriously lacking in my home country.

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Earlier this year I visited France (Falaise to be precise), home of William the Conqueror. As we know he
wasn't the first invader of Albion and we see a fine scene depicting defense to the Roman invaders here.

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A worthy exhibition on photography here at the The Victoria and Albert Museum.

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The VAM also provided a very nice addition to my growing collection of libraries: the National Art Library.
When I stumble on a library, however small or obscure, I take a photo to illustrate the wealth of
information available in books. I think, and hope, e-books will take decades to bridge this gap.

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The café here at the VAM offers Victorian-style decorations.
To enjoy coffee and cakes you'll be hard pressed to find more luxurious surroundings!

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The second cemetery of the 'Magnificent Seven' for us to visit : Brompton Cemetery.
It is located near Earl's Court in West London, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.
Established by Act of Parliament, it opened in 1840 (!) and was originally known as
'the West of London and Westminster Cemetery'.

My report on Magnificent Seven

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An ordinary gesture, but one I love to register with my camera while pounding the pavement.
Haché Chelsea on Fulham Road, walking away from Brompton Cemetery.

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The Chelsea Farmers Market.

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Yes, another splendid library! London Chelsea's 'Old Town Hall' accommodates the public library. LINK LIBRARIES

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It pays to keep the camera ready, for moments such as these.


 

 

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Sloane Square; the text reads: "TWO PUPILS c.1814, from the Royal Military Asylum, which occupied
this site from 1803 - 1909, when the Duke of York's Royal Military School relocated to Dover."
Hmmm, from asylum to prime shopping area, quite a change!

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And here I stumbled on the Taschen flagship store, at 12 Duke of York Square.
They have a mouth-watering selection of books available, but most of a size that for this occasion it was too inconvenient for me to purchase something. I was tempted to buy the'National Geographic -Around the World
in 125 Years', a marvellous 3 volumes in slipcase (28x39cm, 1.404 pages) at a wopping 399 euro.
For now it was too big and too costly, but I will keep this adress in mind though!
The photo above shows the basement, with more fantastic photography on display.

London 2014 - Cadogan

'Cadogan' (pronounced 'kuh-DUG-gen') was mentioned in some notes my father had made during his travels from Indonesia to Holland 1945-1946 after World War II had ended. He managed to embark on a ship in Batavia (Jakarta), as a steward, changing ships somewhere en route, ending in England; stranded really, no doubt in need of aid to continue home in the Netherlands.
For his brief stay in England in early 1946, he only wrote down 'Cadogan'. He was issued some money and clothing, and he sailed for the last leg, as a passenger, to Holland after a stay of three months.
The notes surfaced after he died and he'd never mentioned a stay in England; it probably passed while trying fervently each day to continue his journey home and had no pleasantries to reember of his stay. Rather a period to forget, the entire war and prison camp I mean.

On this visit I walked this area, looking at names 'Cadogan Place', 'Cadogan Hall' (a former church), 'Cadogan Place', but found no link to accommodation my father may have found shelter in. Perhaps they put up tents in that park, between Cadogan Place and Sloane Street?
Did the Holy Trinity Church play a role in relief help in those days? Perhaps the building I was looking for has been torn down to make way for new buildings?
The Earl of Cadogan owns this district (Chelsea), descending from William Cadogan, 1st Earl Cadogan (1672–1726). I was assured in a local bookshop by someone with a keen interest in the area, that the Cadogan name was almost certainly connected to any relief help provided in 1946, for funding and/or use of buildings to accommodate WW2 straggler's arriving from overseas.
Hope to pursue this trail at some future date. Any info apprectaited: EMAIL
wikipedia.org - Earl_Cadogan



 

 

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Quiet hours in 'The Tube'.

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Well, well, we passed a famous house on our way to the Imperial War Museum: the house of William Bligh!

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Imperial War Museum, with an excellent exhibition of World War I ('the Great War') .


 

 

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West Norwood Cemetery, a good exemple of the neglect in some of these historical cemeteries.
And exactly what I was looking for!
LINK

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A nice lunch at a local cafe, before we would take up the challenge to travel by bus to the next Nunhead cemetery.

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Travelling on the bus to Nunhead cemetery, I noticed this street art. This was in Dulwich and is made by 'ROA': for
’Baroque The Streets: Dulwich Street Art Festival’ (May 10-19, 2013). So not illegally made, I think.

ROA (born c. 1976)is the pseudonym of a graffiti artist from Ghent, Belgium. He has created works on the streets of cities across Europe, the United States and New Zealand and he generally paints wild/urban animals & birds that are native to the area. This is a dog. ROA usually uses a minimal color pallet like black, white and red, but also creates works using vibrant colors, depicting flesh and/or internal systems within the animals and birds.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ROA_(artist)

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More street art, here seen on a corner of Queen's Road and King's Grove, near the railway bridge. Google Maps 2012 (going to street level) did not feature this mural yet. The responsible artist, I found while googling, is Loretto.
I found someone on Flickr collecting more of Loretto's work:
www.flickr.com/photos/85150036@N06

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Queens Road. The vintage photo had the caption: 'A tram on route 72 under Queens Road railway bridge
during its last week of operations; photograph taken in July 1952'.


 

 

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Nunhead Cemetery, the one I liked best of these historical cemeteries because it was overgrown to a complete
forest in parts. At times I felt completely like I had lost my bearings in that dark forest. I even found
myself facing a fox, at 17:00 on a clear day, but after eyeing me for a moment it disappeared in the bushes.
The distance had been too great for use of my wide angle lens, so this chance meeting went unrecorded.

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A dog followed me around when I went off the path and played a form of hide-and-seek.
LINK

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The fun thing of seeking out these cemeteries is that one finds himself in parts away from the tourist crowds,
in e.g. Tower Hamlets, Peckham, Southwark, etc. Abney Park cemetery brought us to Stamford Hill,
with Hasidic Jews dominant in the streets and poor housing prevalent (the only place I saw a big rat disappearing under a house). This was in sharp contrast to Hampstead, with very nice housing and even gated communities.

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The London Underground is the obvious way to travel. We would use the 'Tube' as much as possible for
getting to the cemeteries, walk the remaining distance, but for the return trip to the City we'd try
the bus so we could see where we were going.

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These combined British Rail and Underground stations are impressive for the crowds they manage to process.
This is Liverpool Street Station, efficient and clean I found.

Stay connected
Children of 'Kindertransport'.

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We went to the Old Spittalfields Market, found a very modern marketplace. Not really my thing, but I am grateful for the opportunity which allowed me to take this photo of a girl looking at some trinkets.


 

 

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A 'stolen' photo travelling in the Tube, but the photographer was noted!

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Never thought it was organized to such an extent: the positions for busking marked!
Maybe you even have to book the spot and apply for a 'busking permit'?!

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Not all of the London Underground is shiny and polished...


 

 

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Admiralty Arch on The Mall. On my way to two locations for photography exhibitions.
On a glorious day I might add.

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First visit was to the Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). There was a photo exhib by Edson Chagas who had depicted 'lost & found' items, 'Found Not Taken'.
LINK to my page of photo exhibitions during this trip.

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Next was the Royal College of Art (RCA), for an exhibition of Dennis Hopper photographs. Except the wardens told me not to take photos. These people tell people off who are keen onphotography, they just don't understand do they?! So on my page [LINK my exhibs] I have a few photos to share.
I will be thinking twice to visit the RCA again, esspecially because there are excellent alternatives.


 

 

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And now for something completely different: Liberty London, a warehouse I would call decadent.
Not really my budget, but watched a documentary on tv recently so it was fun to have a look 'round.

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A very nice mural on Broadwick Street, making our way to Carnaby Street.

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A shop sharing history with the Small Faces! A morsel of history but too funny to pass unnoticed.

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It was not Carnaby Street we were looking really, for but rather this nice pub in Soho: the Coffee House.
I greatly enjoyed a pint of bitter, brewed by the micro brewery they present products from, but twice
(I made him repeat himself) I couldn't understand the bartender so I don't know what I had to drink.
Another adress to remember though.

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Oxford Circus.

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We used the Oyster Card for travelling Undergound, Overground and on the busses. Really handy. Found
I reckon we spent about UKL 5 - 7 daily. It really is a great way to travel here in London.

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I just have to include this photo: in front of the door of our hotel, Seymour House, a mark was made so
one wouldn't trip over it. Instead of removing it by applying a heavy hammer to it or something!


 

 

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Abney Park. And indeed as a park it provided for a nice stroll.

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LINK to my report on Magnificent Seven


 

 

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Some of these neighbourhoods.. Seen from a doubledecker bus, seeing the sights but not all pleasing ones.

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But this is nice, spotted some grafitti from the bus. Banksy was here? This was on Balls Pond Road, I think.
Name of street artist welcomed: EMAIL

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We disembarked from the bus at King's Cross St Pancras and walked the short distance to the British Library.
Found Mr Isaac Newton in a pensive attitude. The sculpture is by artist and sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi.

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Now this is art I like, with some humor in it! Inside the British Library.

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A brief visit to the British Library, to add it to my collection. It is indeed of humongous proportions.
Mr William Shakespeare is watching the entrance and lobby.

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A very nice bench in Gordon Square Gardens!

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And another one!


 

 

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The visit to The Photographers Gallery on 16–18 Ramillies Street was inspirational, esspecially
the Primrose exhibition, on the development of colour photography in the Soviet Union / Russia.
But that bookstore was really an eye opener, the finest selection I have ever come across!
I will definitely be back for more!
thephotographersgallery.org.uk

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The Primrose exhibition showcases the appearance and development of colour in Russian photography,
from the 1860s to the 1970s. It presents both the history of Russian photography and the history of Russia in photography, depicting life over the course of a century, as the country endured unprecedented upheaval.


 

 

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The last one of the Magnificent Seven for us to visit: Highgate Cemetery. Also the least note worthy in my opinion.
And the only one where we had to pay an entrance fee: four pounds per person; with limited access.

 

 

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A very nice lunch brought the strength back for facing Parliament Hill Fields, a.k.a. Hampstead Heath.

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Was this the bench actress Judi Dench sat, in contemplation of her sins, in the film 'Notes on a Scandal' ?
A nice view on the skyline on London, though what is so fascinating about a city's skyline, I wonder.

London 2014Maiking our way to Hampstead tube station, we walked past this sign in remembrance of William Johnson Cory.
Besides being remembered as a teacher, scholar and poet (at Eton probably), there obviously was a boating connection.

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Hampstead Underground Station. A very nice neighbourhood with some fine shops and restaurants.

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A 'streetphotography' image I am rather pleased with.


 

 

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The British Museum one has to visit more than once, for it is too big to take it all in, instead use small doses.

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LINK to British Museum report


 

 

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Help is around if you need directions (and haven't brought your smartphone).

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Another morsel of streetphotography to end this report.

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Be sure to check out the individual pages on:
THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN (LONDON CEMETERIES)
PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBITIONS
IMPERIAL WAR MUSEUM
BRITISH MUSEUM
LIBRARIES