Where will you go in Open House London this weekend?

Open House London is on 16-17 September; surely you know about this wonderful scheme. I feel confident you do. Here’s a reminder of what it’s about,

Visit London’s best buildings: This year we have over 800 buildings, walks, talks and tours in the Open House programme. View the full building listings, find out important information about the event or plan your weekend by using our top picks and themes.

But, have you planned your visits yet? While it’s likely to be too late to book into the popular venues, there’s still much to experience.

We’ve enjoyed visiting some fantastic places, which I’ve reported on HERE. A few of my favourites are the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Crossness Beam Engine House, and the Custom House. Last year, we managed to visit four places, sadly this year we’ve commitments over the weekend so might only manage one visit.

Visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

A couple of weeks ago we visited the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew.

Within its over 320 acres there’s plenty to see and experience. We managed just a part. It’s one of 31 world heritage sites in the UK. The variety of trees and plants is amazing.

Memorable things in our visit were the Palm House, Treetops Walkway, Rock Gardens, and Kew Palace. Opening the door into the Palm House one is assailed by heat and humidity, and when climbing the steps to the elevated walkway the heat and humidity rises. From the elevated walkway lets you appreciate the structure of the building, and its age, having been built in the 1840’s.

The Treetop Walkway is a fun way to study trees from above. There’s a lift for those not wanting to climb the 108 steps. Kew Palace, also known as the Dutch House, provides an unexpected insight in building techniques and practices of the 1600 and 1700 hundreds. A visit of varied attractions, as my photo montage shows,

Heritage Open Days in Surrey Heath on Saturday 9th & Sunday 10th September

Excellent work by Surrey Heath Museum for the pleasing improvement in the number, and quality, of Surrey Heath’s Heritage Open Days places and events on 9th and 10th September. Additionally on Thursday 7th and Friday 8th September there’s an opportunity to see behind the scenes of the Museum and be part of the consultation as to how the museum should develop.

To expand the brochure view, click on the upward facing arrow in the right hand corner.

Not Cool Hand Luke, more steady hand Tim

Cool Hand Luke, if you’re confused, is a gritty prison drama film starring Paul Newman. That’s it. Just thought it would make a nice headline.

Now to the steady hand Tim. It’s about milestones, a subject I’ve become a bit boring on over the last few few. Myself and my chum, Reg Davis, have cleaned nine milestones in the borough. We’re now painting them white, with masonry paint. The lettering needs painting in black masonry paint. This has been my job, hence the steady hand Tim.

We’ve completed the refurbishment of 4 milestones. Perhaps you’ve seen us on the A30. We’ve had some lovely conversations, involving me wittering about their history. Here are the four we’ve completed. [Click on images to expand]

Completing our painting of a milestone

Myself and chum Reg Davis have begun the second stage of our milestone cleaning and painting project.

Yesterday, before the rain halted our progress, we placed stones around the base of the milestone opposite the Hiller Garden Centre on the A30, and painted it with white masonry paint. Today we’ll visit the milestone to pick out the lettering in black masonry paint, and then move on to the next milestone on the A30.

In the photo below you can see Reg using a small paint brush to apply paint to the crevices on the milestone. We didn’t, in case you were thinking it, use a brush this small to paint the milestone. Hoping for no rain today.

Visits update No.4: The National Trust’s Anglesea Abbey and Gardens

On our return home from the Norfolk Broads we stopped off at Anglesea Abbey. It’s a National Trust property, with extensive gardens and a working mill, of which later.

The house and gardens seemed popular with with families, perhaps, it being a sunny Sunday that, and being not far from Cambridge, was not unreasonable. Crowds are easily lost in the extensive gardens, with a number of optional  pre-planned walks. I should mention there’s an excellent spacious modern restaurant, another likely reason for its popularity.

The country  house, while not as large as some, is more accessible as a result; filled with fine furniture, paintings, statuary, and a remarkable collection of clocks.

Our conclusion, house, gardens, restaurant, all well worth a visit. Here are a few photos of the inside of the house and the gardens.

Visits update No.2: Nelson artifacts and one huge ensign

Norwich Museum and Art Gallery is hosting the Nelson and Norfolk exhibition, on until 1st October 2107. Norfolk was Admiral Lord Nelson’s native county. It’s fitting then that the Norwich Museum hosts the exhibition. On view is the bullet that killed Nelson, his bicorn hat, and numerous other potent objects of Nelson.

The one object that amazes is the Tricolour Ensign of Le Généreux. It’s simply huge, and was required to be so, for ease of recognition by other warships.

Not seen in public for over 100 years, the Ensign is truly the centrepiece of the exhibition. The history of the Ensign and its conservation are told in the display. Funny, how a flag can be so evocative of a sea battle and all that goes with that. Here’s its description by East Anglia Art Fund,

At the heart of the exhibition is the Tricolour Ensign of Le Généreux, captured in February 1800 by the Foudroyant, Nelson’s flagship captained by Sir Edward Berry, also  an adopted son of Norfolk. When a ship is defeated the signal of surrender is the striking of the colours, removing the Ensign from the ship. The Ensign from Le Généreux was immediately packed up and sent to the Lord Mayor  of Norwich, Sir William Harvey and hung in St Andrew’s Hall until 1897. The Ensign was displayed in the Castle Keep in 1905 for the Centenary celebrations of the  Battle of Trafalgar, it has not been seen in public since.

Here are my, somewhat puny, photos or the bullet and the ensign. The Eastern Daily Press have better photos of the Ensign and a video of its conservation, see HERE.