Expert City gin makers The City of London Gin Distillery is stocking an exclusive selection of Isolation Packs that will take care of all your mixology endeavours throughout the Lockdown. The Premium Pack includes 70cL City of London Authentic Dry gin, 2 x Lamb & Watt Original tonic waters, 2 x Lamb & Watt Naturally Light tonic waters and a selection of essential dried fruit garnishes. Each order also comes with a £5.00 off voucher for your next purchase, available through their online shop at the link below.MORE INFO
Spend the Lockdown weekend watching intimate jazz performances by talented artists like Jelly Cleaver and Jay Phelps, as they stream live with Ninety One Living Room’s Lockdown Sessions. Streaming from the music venues’ YouTube channel, the project aims to not only bring entertainment to those of us in isolation, but also to support freelance artists who have been left with no income from cancelled live shows during the Coronavirus outbreak. Find the full schedule of upcoming performances below.MORE INFO
You can stay home, stay safe and drink some excellent wine with Bar Douro’s much appreciated wine delivery service. Find a selection of award-winning Portuguese reds, whites, roses and more ready for convenient home-delivery (free if you purchase by the case) dispatched across the UK. Cheers to that!MORE INFO
If you’re finding it difficult to get your hands on essential veg, milk and bread at your local grocer, an unlikely initiative by Crosstown Doughnuts might just be the answer to your frustrations. The doughnut purveyors are partnering with The Estate Dairy, Millers Bakery and local fruit & veg suppliers to create two curated boxes of essential foods with a vegan option to boot. Deliveries are being dispatched across London seven days a week, find the details below.MORE INFO
From Sherlock to Harry Potter, the City of London has found its way on to the silver and small screen many times. The architecture and famous landmarks are perfect settings for blossoming romances, dramatic showdowns or revelatory twist endings. Here are our five favourite choices for series and films set in London’s Square Mile.
- St. Bart’s Hospital in Sherlock (2010–)
Our favourite London detective is no stranger to the City. Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman as Sherlock Holmes and Dr. John Watson have investigated cases that have taken them all across London, and the City has made a number of memorable appearances. In The Blind Banker they make their way up Tower 42, the third tallest skyscraper in London. The Old Bailey makes an appearance in The Reichenbach Fall. But no Sherlock list of London locations could be complete without St. Bart’s Hospital. It appears in the very first episode, A Study in Pink, as the research lab where Watson and Sherlock first meet. It then plays a starring role in The Reichenbach Fall when Sherlock seemingly jumps to his death. The wall starring in that very scene now has a series of tributes scrawled over it, all for that beloved and misanthropic detective.
- Postman’s Park in Closer (2004)
The gated park makes a brief but significant appearance in Closer, the film based on the Patrick Marber play featuring Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts. After their dramatic meeting, Jude Law and Natalie Portman stroll through the park and look at the Memorial of Heroic Sacrifice. What is seemingly a brief scene at the beginning of a relationship turns into a major plot point in the film’s final moments.
- Millennium Bridge in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009)
The boy who lived has made many appearances in the City. St Paul’s Cathedral was used for shots of the staircase leading to Divination class, the Leaky Cauldron is actually on Charing Cross Road and Leadenhall Market played the role of Diagon Alley. Most memorable, however, is the by Death Eaters’ total destruction of the iconic Millenium Bridge in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It’s enough to make you feel a little uneasy every time you’re crossing over to the Tate.
- Temple Church in The Da Vinci Code (2006)
The late 12th-century church makes an appearance in the movie adaptation of Dan Brown’s bestseller when Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou search for clues in the English headquarters of the Knights Templar.
Tucked away near St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, Postman’s Park is one of the most interesting parks in the City of London, not least because of its strange and fascinating history …
The park began its life with death. It was a churchyard and burial site, for St. Botolph’s Aldersgate church. Cholera outbreaks in the 1830s and 1840s meant that the burial site became overcrowded, so much so that bodies were left on the ground and covered in soil instead of buried in the ground. Indeed, this explains the park’s elevation – but try not to think of that next time you climb the small steps into the park.
Thankfully the Burials Act was passed in 1851, preventing the emergence of new burials in built-up areas of London. In 1858 (a disconcertingly short period of time afterwards) Postman’s Park was opened to the public.
In 1818, the surrounding site was cleared for the General Post Office’s new Headquarters and Sorting Office. The park turned out to be an ideal lunchtime spot for the workers, giving it the name we’re still familiar with today.
In 1887, the painter and philanthropist George Frederic Watts wanted to mark Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee by commemorating the “heroic men and women” who died trying to save the lives of others. This idea would become the Doulton tablets, the Memorial to Heroic Self Sacrifice.
”The character of a nation as a people of great deeds is one, it appears to me, that should not be lost sight of,” Watts wrote in Another Jubilee Suggestion. “It must surely be a matter of regret when names worthy to be remembered and stories stimulating and instructive are allowed to be forgotten.”
He specifically drew attention to the case of Alice Ayres, a servant who instead of jumping to safety from a burning house, threw a mattress out the window and went back three times to save her employer’s children by throwing them out of the window onto the mattress. Overwhelmed by the fumes she fell out the window and died.
It is in wandering through this quiet park and reading the memorials that the park finds its unique and poetic quality. The park’s large flower beds and wide grass areas with thin curving paths make it an intimate yet open place. The addition of the memorials makes the experience humbling and contemplative. The memorials are mostly about death in fire, drowning and train accidents. The victims are young and are often killed saving children. It is strange to think of Elizabeth Boxall who died at the age of 17 while saving a child from a runaway horse in 1888. Or John Cambridge, a clerk in the London City Council, who died at 23 years old “saving the life of a stranger and a foreigner” from drowning in 1901.
There is now an app, The Everyday Heroes of Postman’s Park, which has more information on each of the people commemorated in the memorial. Next time you need a pause from the rush of the City or you’re taking your lunch break outside, walk through the park and consider its uniqueness and bizarre history.MORE INFO
St. Paul’s Cathedral: landmark of London, highest point of the City, and a Grade-I visual wonder that never gets old when taking a stroll across Millennium bridge. Pretty much everyone knows the world-famous English Baroque-style cathedral opened in 1708 and was designed by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666 (fourth time lucky for the site). But St. Paul’s is a marvel of other, lesser known facts as well, that will make you want to plan an especial visit.
- The crypt is the largest in Western Europe. Extending the entire length of the cathedral above, St. Paul’s designer, i.e. Sir Wren, was also its first occupant. In 1723, he was buried in his creation, his gravestone reading, “If you seek his memorial, look about you.” Very apt, very succinct; we like it.
- As stunning as it is, it’s no wonder that St. Paul’s has caught the eye of many an artist (think Canaletto, think Shepherd, even Turner). So too the location scout’s notice, having become the setting for scenes from Mary Poppins, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, and Thor: The Dark World, among others. St. Paul’s has star quality.
- The cathedral prides itself on being a gallery of sorts for various artworks as well. In 2010, the Anthony Gormley sculptureFlare II was installed in the Geometric Staircase, while in 2014 Gerry Judah was commissioned for an installation (to commemorate the centenary of WWI) in the nave. Even Yoko Ono has had an installation in the cathedral. And, of course, Henry Moore’s 1943 limestone carving of the Mother and Child rests in the north choir aisle (while Moore himself rests in the crypt below).
- As any cathedral worth its name does, St. Paul’s has bells, glorious bells. And its two largest bells have names: Great Tom and Great Paul. While the latter hasn’t rung for many years (and needs fixing), Great Tom is sounded for a royal death (the last was the Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, in 2002), or that of the Bishop or Lord Mayor of London. However, a rare exception was made for the US President James Garfield, who was assassinated in 1881.
- Obviously, we can’t discuss St. Paul’s without mentioning the Dome. Reached internally by around 560 steps, it’s still the second largest in Europe (to Rome’s St. Peter’s). Supported by eight arches, it weighs 66,000 tonnes, reaches up to 111 metres, and its internal façade is decorated in the frescoes of Sir James Thornhill. It has three galleries(the well-known Whispering Gallery, the external Stone Gallery, and the narrow Golden Gallery). From this top platform, the views of the City are simply divine.
Those working in the City will know all too well that commuting to and from Bank Station is an epic experience. So many exits, no main entrance, and somehow you always find yourself ending up at its interlinked station Monument. Let’s discover 12 fun facts about the historic underground stop, to help navigate your way around London’s largest concrete maze.
1. Are you taking the wrong exit every single time you visit this enormous station? We’re not surprised: with no less than 12, Bank counts more exits than any other London station.
2. Another reason to get lost at Bank is the station’s DLR concourse, which, with a whopping 41.4 meters underground, is the city’s deepest station below street level.
3. And what about all the steps? 128 to be precise. And that’s without counting the silly amount of escalators: 15.
4. Just to illustrate its gigantic size: Bank owns not one, but two moving walkways (you know, those things you only really see on airports?). The only other station owning these is Waterloo.
5. Another way to envision its immensity: together with interlinked station Monument, Bank forms a public transport complex that takes up the entire length of King William Street.
6. Just like Regent’s Park, Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park Corner, Bank Station doesn’t have any entrance buildings above the ground, making it incredibly hard to find its main entrance (there isn’t one).
7. While only 45% of the overall tube network is actually tunnel based, the City runs few overground trains: the longest continuous tunnel is the Northern line running from East Finchley to Morden (17.3 miles in total!).
8. Although last estimated in 2010, on average, Bank is used by 298,335 people every single day. In case you’re having trouble visualizing this shocking number: that is three times the capacity of Wembley Stadium.
9. The main reason for it being voted the worst tube station in London is overcrowding, which also explains why the spacious Canary Wharf is often named as a favourite.
10. During the Blitz in 1941, a bomb hit Bank station, killing an estimate of 51 people. It also left a huge crater outside the Bank of England.
11. Ever noticed Sarah Whitehead on your morning commute? This sinister spirit dressed in black also called ‘the Black Nun’ is said to have haunted Bank for many years. Since 1811, to be exact, which is when her brother Paul was charged with and executed for forgery.
12. Bank junction is a very popular starting and/or ending place for walking tours in the City. Both the Haunted Tour and London Postal History tour start here, while the Harry Potter tour ends here (and starts at Westminster tube station). Want more inspiration for walking tours in the City? Check out our article here.MORE INFO
Worried being stuck inside means you won’t have the chance to get fit? Not to worry – there are plenty of home workouts from the best City studios and gyms being streamed live into your living room via IGTV and YouTube. Below, find this week’s schedule, updated as more information comes in. Yoga mats at the ready!MORE INFO
The Barbican Centre is one of the largest cultural institutions of Europe. Home to the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Shakespeare Company among others, it boasts an enormous programme of theatre, classic and contemporary music, dance, cinema, art & design, and more; in 2018-19 it hosted over 4000 arts and commercial events. It’s not surprising Her Majesty considered it a ‘wonder of the world’ when it opened in 1982. Read more about the iconic City institution at our Five Facts About the Barbican Estate article via our blog below.MORE INFO