Get Your Kicks In Stepney

Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach. WARNING: This post contains no scientific content of any kind, just a story of our travels. 

So we made it to London, a place that up ’til now I’ve only known through family stories, and books and song lyrics, viz:

Your old man took her diamonds and tiaras by the score
Now she gets her kicks in Stepney, not in Knightsbridge any more.

The Rolling Stones

So it’s great fun to actually see some of the places I’d only heard of. We’re staying in New Cross, south of Stepney. It’s great, kind of a low-budget district, lots of Africans live here so it feels down home. Today, we walked to the London downtown area along the Thames, here’s a 180° panorama I took looking both ways along the river.IMG_1145

(Click any photo to embiggen.)

It was kind of sad to see the river, thought, because what in my mind was still a huge artery of global commerce with wharves on both sides now has very little traffic, and that mostly tour boats. My great-grandfather sailed the world from England, so the Thames was his main highway, filled with adventurers, freebooters, slavers, whalers, scurve-dogs, freighters, pirates, and both high- and low-budget swabbies of all kinds … all gone now, but it’s still a lovely river.

From there, we walked along the river to the Tower Bridge:

IMG_1148Dang … if that kind of crazy skyline doesn’t inspire a man, nothing will. We crossed the river, and walked around the Tower of London, which isn’t a tower at all, false advertising if you ask me. From there, we wandered over to see Big Ben. Now that sucker should be called the Tower of London by my lights, I hadn’t realized it was so … well, in a word, “big” …

IMG_1151

Then on to the Westminster Cathedral, home of the royal nuptials, lovely stone filigree, stained glass, and such.

IMG_1154From there we went and spent an absolutely delightful afternoon at the British Museum, looking at, well, everything that British explorers managed to plunder over the last five centuries or so, which adds up to a big pile of impressive loot. It was one of the most well-organized and pleasant museums I’ve been in.

Now, I like to ask people what surprised them the most about their travels. Some years ago a friend of mine from the Solomon Islands went to London for the first time. When she got back, I asked what had surprised her the most … she said “They have white people sweeping the streets!”

In any case, for me, the surprises so far have been:

1. The juxtaposition of the old and the new. Along the riverside, I saw new concrete poured around exposed stonework that was likely there 400 years ago.

2. Raw antiquity. The publican said “this is a fairly new pub, built in the late 1700’s” … the oldest building in Sonoma County (where I live in California) is from about 1870, and because of that it’s a state historical monument. Here, it would be considered a new building.

3. People of unexpected colors and appearances speaking English, not with the accent of their home countries, but with a broad British accent.

4. The British Museum actually thinks that there were people who were native to the Americas, they call them “Native Americans”. I guess the Brits didn’t get the news … as far as anyone knows, not a one of them is native to the Americas, they were all early Asian immigrants.

5. The Brits do love their bricks. Yellow brick, red brick, brown and black bricks, if the anti-neutron bomb made every brick in London vanish, there wouldn’t be one building left.

6. The occasional need for an “English-to-English” translation app for my iPhone … as GBS remarked, two countries separated by a common language.

7. According to the statuary in the British Museum, most of the Romans had tertiary syphilis that destroyed their noses, as you can see in this photo I took today:

IMG_1157So that’s the new news from the Old Countries including Rome …

Tomorrow I have to good fortune of a lunch meeting with Benny Peiser of the Global Warming Policy Foundation. We’re here in London through Thursday, then off to Stonhenge, then Bath, then ???.

The other good news is that I got a  UK sim card for my phone, so for the duration of our UK travels you can reach me at 074 4838 1774.

My best to all, thanks for everyone’s comments, keep the travel suggestions coming.

w.

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169 Responses to Get Your Kicks In Stepney

  1. MikeB says:

    WARNING: This post contains no scientific content of any kind,

    Well, none of your posts do Willis, or did I miss one?

    [REPLY: MikeB, do you practice at being a jerkwagon trying to spoil peoples' enjoyment, or is that just a gift you were born with?

    Nature magazine and other scientific journals have thought enough of my scientific work to publish it ... and your work? -w.]

  2. pauline says:

    They are building some huge docks in London, so enjoy the river whilst it is quiet. Would be glad to take you for a pint in the backstreets. Visit Borough market if you can, you can visit the Tate and the Globe at the same time if so inclined.

  3. M Courtney says:

    Good call on the British Museum.
    There are lots of the greatest museums in the world gracing London.
    But the British Museum is the best… because we don’t do petty pilfering.

  4. Anteros says:

    Glad you noticed the bricks – attractive don’t you think?

    If you get as far North as Newcastle you’ll need yet more ‘English to English’ translations..

    Just as a riposte to the British Museum’s mis-characterization of ‘Native Americans’, Big Ben is actually just a bell – nothing to do with a building at all :)

  5. Want to visit an unintended solar power project?
    The Walkie-Talkie Building in Central London.
    Who, what, why: How does a skyscraper melt a car?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23944679

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2409710/Walkie-Talkie-building-melting-bicycles-Light-reflected-construction-City-skyscraper-scorches-seat.html
    It is in central London.

  6. rogerknights says:

    7. According to the statuary in the British Museum, most of the Romans had tertiary syphilis that destroyed their noses,

    I thought syphilis was unknown in Europe until after 1492 or so.

  7. Fred Harwood says:

    See Avebury, and do go down into the baths, in Bath, if you’re interested in old. Roman ruins are still being uncovered in the isles, long forgotten.

  8. Linda Reid says:

    I enjoy your posts – thanks for sharing. Visiting London is one of my 5 year goals.

  9. Wyguy says:

    Willis, ignore MikeB, your posts are great I have enjoyed them all, even all the science.

  10. mikemUK says:

    If you’re going to visit Bath, you should “go the extra mile or so” to Bristol to see Brunel’s SS Great Britain in dry dock – right up your nautical street I imagine (although maybe not your wife’s!)

    Stephen, just now – from the photos above it looks like he’s seen it already!

  11. david eisenstadt says:

    willis youre ok by me.
    I look forward to reading your work.
    Im betting MikeB does as well…he managed to get a comment up pretty quickly.

  12. JDN says:

    Touring Hampton court is absolutely necessary. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but, it’s one of the few bits of history that hasn’t been redecorated out of existence. The redecorations are the history there. Another place still in good form is St. Albans, a short hop to the west of London by commuter rail. They have an old Norman cathedral that hasn’t been rococoized, and an old medieval clock tower which is occasionally open for touring, and some nice broad fields for wandering around or biking. You will need a cab unless you like hills. If you make it there, stop by a pub called the Hare and the Hounds. It’s really for the locals, has low ceilings, an authentic old-style tap system, and a couple of fireplaces that are probably not in operation this time of year.

    Since you’re giving out your phone number, I can just call. :)

  13. Gene Selkov says:

    Willis, if you hit the Fenland, I’d be delighted to show you Cambridge and thereabouts. Or if you need any help: gs437{the character we like to omit}cam.ac.uk. I’ll be out to Scotland between the night of Sep 6 and morning of Sep 10; available outside those dates.

    0750
    642
    1257

    You must be dead tired after having seen all the views shown on your pictures in one day.

  14. clipe says:

    rogerknights says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    7. According to the statuary in the British Museum, most of the Romans had tertiary syphilis that destroyed their noses,

    I thought syphilis was unknown in Europe until after 1492 or so.
    ——————————————————————————————-
    I think you missed the ironic humour.

  15. The address of the solar focusing building is 20 Fenchurch Street according to the BBC.
    Google puts 20 Fenchurch in what appears to be the wrong spot. It seems that The building is on Fenchurch between Philpot Ln and Rood Ln.
    The hotspot is on Eastcheap, the boulivard to the south.
    51°30’39″N 0° 5’1″W (Google Earth)

  16. Kev-in-Uk says:

    @Willis – not sure how long you are in the UK for – but try to see some ‘real’ countryside, e.g. get ‘up north’ to the Lakes or the Yorkshire Dales or even Devon and Cornwall, etc; as well as the city type exploring! If you do manage to get up north somewhere – I’d be pleased to meet up and buy you lunch or even a pint of decent beer. Oh, and don’t forget the Natural History museum in London – a must for any scientist type!

  17. Hot under the collar says:

    **** Welcome to England ****

    A few years ago I would have suggested the Science Museum as a do not miss but having visited recently there is so much claptrap in there about “Climate Change” they have even added the “Climate Change” theme to the Henry Ford exhibit ( I kid you not ). Moan over.

    London suggestions, City Cruises to Greenwich Observatory and the Cutty Sark, The Shard / Millenium Wheel for the view, rowing boat on the Serpentine in Hyde Park (also is close to Buckingham Palace and Knightsbridge / Harrods if interested).
    Out of London, Dorset – Corfe Castle and Jurassic Coast, Yorkshire Dales – Ilkley (riverside walk and Cow and Calf rocks, Bolton Abbey (Abbey and riverside walk), Malham Cove and Gordale Scar (geology), the Lake District – Buttermere.

    Have a wonderful holiday
    Richard.

  18. TLM says:

    Pedant alert:
    Your picture is of Westminster Abbey not Westminster Cathedral.
    The former is Anglican (Church of England) as set up by Henry VIII, the latter is the modern Roman Catholic cathedral just down the road.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westminster_Cathedral

    Dang, I live in a beautiful city!

    Have a great holiday…

  19. Max Hugoson says:

    A visit to East Anglia and the CRU in order? It would be interesting to watch them pull the “look what you’ve done, you naughty little GIRL…I’m MELTING!” act, or in your case they might shout, “We are FREEZING.” But the way, it doesn’t seem “toasty” there today. Is it?

    Max

  20. I was born a mile from Tower Bridge. My mum used to play on the cannons there when she was a kid.

    Have not been back down for about 20 years, but keep promising myself.

    Enjoy.

    Paul

  21. steve says:

    Hi Willis

    I’m a researcher at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University – and skeptic. Been reading WUWT and your posts for a long and happy time!

    If you were coming back from Bath via Oxford I would happily show you the sights – I could even buy you a pint where Clinton didn’t inhale!

    Steve

  22. Willis:

    You say you are going to Bath.
    I write to make a suggestion for the benefit of the ladies in your party.

    In the evening take your swimming costumes to the ‘new’ spa and bathe in the natural waters on the roof. You can do this whatever the weather. The combined dinner and spa is a bit pricey but well worth it. You eat dinner in the cafe wearing your spa dressing gowns which you only hire, but you get to keep the slippers as a momento.

    I promise that your ladies will talk about soaking in the hot spa water on the roof for years to come.

    Richard

  23. No scientific content? Why, you could be a …. no, that would not be fair. ;-)

    As for embiggen, is that near Biggen Hill?
    Decades ago I was helping some colleagues in England.
    On a weekend day, we trouped off to an airshow at Biggin Hill Aerodrome. A person working for our supplier in England offered to meet us there with his son, and bring a picnic lunch.

    So we parked outselves beside a runway or such and waited to see him, realizing that with a huge quantity of people about that might be difficult.

    Meanwhile one of our group went off to find a book seller stall to meet someone who had a history book for him.
    After a while, a person walks out of the crowd steaming by and says “Are you ……?”. On establishing we were with him, the person gave us a book, declined payment, and walked off. OK, I was tall and dark-haired like my colleague.

    After a long while, during which we contemplated sausage rolls to sustain us (and hopefully liquid other than warm beer), we spotted the lunch bringer and his son.
    They did not look like most of the crowd, who were locals, probably below average income – the show was no charge except for car parking, people streamed in on foot, bicycle, and bus.

    Then we realized how much we stood out – Canadians and Americans, not dressed like most of the crowd.

  24. Roy Jones says:

    Willis,

    As you’re in London until Thursday and given your love of the sea, I suggest a visit to HMS Belfast, just opposite the Tower. Then if you have time, a few hundred yards upstream on the south bank there is a replica of the Golden Hind.

  25. vukcevic says:

    Hi Willis
    You may be disappointed to be greeted in London with the Californian weather, but don’t despair by Friday forecast is the good old English summer will be with us again.

  26. M Courtney says:

    Vuk… Bother, I’m on holiday in Bognor Regis next week (I’m on a budget).

    I notice that no-one has recommended Bognor to Willis. Wonder why?

  27. HorshamBren says:

    Hi Willis,

    You might want to check out this new Urban Heat Island in the City

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/art/architecture/10283702/Whats-frying-at-Walkie-Scorchie.html

    I’m betting the Met Office will establish a weather station here before long

    Oh, like JDN, Hampton Court is my recommendation – see if you can approach it via a river cruise from Westminster, info at http://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/river_services.htm

    Have a great time in London!

  28. Jeff says:

    If you want an empirical demonstration that Climate Change is a myth, visit Wales. It always has, does and will rain at a standard 45F,

    Go over the Severn Bridge (not too far from Bath). It’s almost eerie seeing the curtain of rain at the West (Welsh) end of the Bridge while a glance in the rear view mirror still shows the balmy early Autumn of England.

  29. Paul Linsay says:

    If you’re a history buff Greenwich is fabulous. All of Harrison’s chronometers including the final one that won the longitude prize, something every blue water sailor should see. The difference between the second last version and the winner is jaw dropping. How’d they do that?

    The Science Museum in Kensington has a nearly complete set of original steam engines from the time of Newcomen and Watt.

    Don’t miss the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum at the Horse Guards. Completely untouched and exactly as it was the day WWII ended.

  30. Bloke down the pub says:

    Stephen Rasey says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm
    Want to visit an unintended solar power project?
    The Walkie-Talkie Building in Central London.
    Who, what, why: How does a skyscraper melt a car?
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-23944679

    It’s the building behind Tower Bridge in your second photo.

    I was born not far from New Cross so I know the sort of area. Now I live in Stroud, not far off your route when you go to Bath. I’m glad you got to see some of the sights in good weather as it looks like it’ll change by the weekend. Enjoy your stay.

  31. SadButMadLad says:

    1. The juxtaposition of the old and the new.
    But us Brits are still fixated on the old. We “list” old buildings which requires the owners to spend lots of money meeting government regulations without any help from the government.

    2. Raw antiquity.
    Us Brits are always looking back, never forward.

    3. People of unexpected colors and appearances speaking English…with a broad British accent.
    Don’t tell anyone who reads the Guardian that. They have the impression that the UK has multiple cultures and not one single one but multiple races.

    4. The British Museum actually thinks that there were people who were native to the Americas
    The very right on liberal people in charge attempting to be politically correct.

    5. The Brits do love their bricks.
    Wait till you go to the north where we like our stones. Edinburgh with its granite, Yorkshire has its own stone.

    6. The occasional need for an “English-to-English” translation app for my iPhone
    As well as a conversion app to convert your gallons to our gallons to the EU’s litres.

  32. MattN says:

    “it’s still a lovely river”

    Was is lovely when your great-grandfather was on it? i get the impression you are my parents generation, which would have put your great-grandfather alive sometime in the mid-late 1800s. My impression is the Thames was essentially an open sewer until the 1860s at the absolute earliest. I’m sure it was still horrible for several years after that.

  33. Otteryd says:

    M Courtney says:
    September 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm
    Vuk… Bother, I’m on holiday in Bognor Regis next week (I’m on a budget).

    I notice that no-one has recommended Bognor to Willis. Wonder why?

    One of our kings (a little bit like a president, but you are either born to it or you import one from Germany) reputedly commented “Bugger Bognor” on his death bed.

  34. vukcevic says:

    Willis
    Charlie Chaplin was born just a mile south of the Tower Bridge, but I would hate to suggest to any American to visit London’s ‘street’, delightfully named Charlie Chaplin Walk, to be found just few yards from the National Theatre at the London’s South Bank
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CCWalk-London.jpg

  35. stan stendera says:

    Be careful!! We don’t want Willis” eagle to run into a birdchopper.

  36. vukcevic says:

    Otteryd says:
    September 3, 2013 at 3:14 pm
    One of our kings reputedly commented “Bugger Bognor” on his death bed.

    Burghers of Bognor were not amused.

  37. ikh says:

    Hi Willis,

    I am glad you are enjoying London.

    When you visit Stonehenge you are only about 3 miles From Salisbury. The Cathedral there is from the 13th Centuary ( approx 750 year old ) It has the tallest church spire in the U.K. There is also the oldest working clock in the world. Also there is one of 4 original copies of the Magna Carta. The Local brewery in Salisbury is Gibbs Muir and the Bishops Tipple is a beautiful beer but beware if you are driving, because it it 12% alcohol!.

    Given the length of your stay, you are very unlikely to make it to Scotland. However the Lake District in Cumbria is very worthwhile visiting. From there, I would head east to York. To see York Minster Cathedral. Second only to Cantebury in the Church Of England Heirarchy. There are many sights to see in York but I can recommend York Castle Museum and its reconstructed Victorian streets. The Jorvik Centre might also be worth a visit. It is a Viking archialogical site that has had the village reconstructed. Walking around in york is also fun, much of the city centre is pedestrian only and many of the shops, pubs and resteraunts are in medival buildings.

    I can also recommend a visit to the City of Oxford, home to the oldest University in the English speaking world, and of course, the Bodlian Library.

    Finally, a plug for my home town of Windsor, home to Windsor Castle, The largest and longest lived in Castle/Palace in Europe. A motte and bailey dating back to the 11th Century Normans. And across the river Thames is the village of Eton and Eton Collage. The school that has educated close to half og British Prime Ministers, Founded in 1440 by King Henery VI.

    Where ever you go, I realy hope you enjoy your stay here.

    Best regards and thanks for many enjoyable posts here at WUWT

    Regards
    /ikh

    Well worth a visit before you head off for bath.

  38. ikh says:

    Whoops, sorry but that last line should have been at the end of the para on Salisbury.

    /ikh

  39. clipe says:

    “Charlie Chaplin was born just a mile south of the Tower Bridge”

    http://imgur.com/a0XLRB2

  40. It’s the building behind Tower Bridge in your second photo.
    Google Earth Ground view mimic of second photo
    http://i44.tinypic.com/nnws5h.jpg
    from 51°30’20.77″ N 0°04’30.21″ W Looking NW.
    I guessed right about the Walkie Talkie at 51°30’39″N 0° 5’1″W

  41. Annie says:

    Welcome to England Willis. Have fun!

  42. son of mulder says:

    As you are in New Cross you are not far from Greenwich (or SOM), get down there, see the observatory, the Cutty Sark and fantastic view across London, and then get the boat to Tower Bridge, or travel in the other direction to see the Thames barrier, which was built to stop London flooding and now “needs to be expanded” to meet the challenge of sea level rise.

    When you head north don’t miss the beautiful Peak District in Derbyshire including Dovedale, Manifold Valley and Ladybower Reservoir where the bouncing bomb was tested.

  43. son of mulder says:

    And by the way Big Ben is the bell, the tower is called St Stephen’s Tower or Elizabeth Tower more recently.

  44. Duster says:

    According to the ghost of my grandmother, who was British and still rises and clips me upside the head for various solecisms, Big Ben is really the bell in the clock tower. She used various wordings to be sure the distinction was made, and I still tend to duck when I see the tower and bell conjoined. I definitely envy the visit to the British Museum.

  45. “4. The British Museum actually thinks that there were people who were native to the Americas, they call them “Native Americans”. I guess the Brits didn’t get the news … as far as anyone knows, not a one of them is native to the Americas, they were all early Asian immigrants.”

    There are then no Native Peoples anywhere as everyone, even those in Africa came from somewhere else. People in Asia came from Africa. Australian Aborigines arrived in Australia about 60,000 years ago but even they came from Africa via Asia.

  46. RichieP says:

    The Tower of London is indeed a tower. It’s the Norman keep, the White Tower, that was the first fortification there and the basis of all later additions.
    http://www.london-attractions.info/images/attractions/tower-of-london.jpg

  47. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Anteros says:
    September 3, 2013 at 1:48 pm

    … Just as a riposte to the British Museum’s mis-characterization of ‘Native Americans’, Big Ben is actually just a bell – nothing to do with a building at all :)

    and

    son of mulder says:
    September 3, 2013 at 3:50 pm

    And by the way Big Ben is the bell, the tower is called St Stephen’s Tower or Elizabeth Tower more recently.

    But to the contrary, the official UK Parliament site says:

    The name Big Ben is often used to describe the tower, the clock and the bell but the name was first given to the Great Bell.

    and

    The Elizabeth Tower is the name of the famous tower of Parliament – more popularly known as Big Ben.

    I dislike pedants on an average day, but especially when they are wrong. If the UK Parliament says that today it’s common usage to refer to the tower as “Big Ben”, that’s good enough for me. So guys, save your pedantry to peddle to someone else. Acting on the advise of Parliament, I’m not buying any today.

    Heck, from the sound of the son of mulders’ comment, even the Brits can’t decide what to call the dang tower … guys, the meaning of words changes over time, as do the names we use for things. These days, tower is popularly known as Big Ben, and all your carping and caviling won’t change that one bit.

    w.

  48. HarveyS says:

    Hope you enjoying your holiday. I am not sure how long you are staying, because there is so much for visitor to see here. And if you really want to see how varied it is , I would get out of London
    Here’s maybe what I would recommend in some sort of order, thou I am sure other UK readers would add something else or disagree with my order. Yes I know Yorkshire and the lakes have been mentioned already lol
    1) Bath for History ie Roman
    2) Bristol maritime and history
    3) Since if you do the above, you could perhaps catch the seven bore
    4) Yorkshire so much up here start with York History ie Roman and Viking
    5) Then onto Yorkshire dales and moors, you could take in Whitby( still has some fishing) etc on the moors side, east coast.
    6) Hull(the docks) and over to spurn point and the Humber estuary
    7) Then across to Cumbria and the lake district ( by the way there is only 1 lake in Lake District)
    8) Oh you if you want to know anything etc. about up here in Yorkshire give us shout, I am in Leeds
    9) Also for scenic beauty, Derbyshire is also good see where they practiced for the Dambuster raids.
    10) Liverpool for maritime ie docks
    11) Newcastle and the North to Hadrian’s Wall
    12) Norfolk Broads and hire boat for a few days, then visit CRU :)
    13) On subject of boat hire cruise the Thames , get away from London.
    14) Devon and Cornwall also beautiful parts of the UK.
    15) Also you have North Wales and Scotland.

    Like I said if you do make up here or want to know anything give us a shout, yes Anthony or who ever can give you my email.
    ++++++++++

  49. Willis Eschenbach says:

    nicholas tesdorf says (emphasis mine):
    September 3, 2013 at 3:54 pm

    “4. The British Museum actually thinks that there were people who were native to the Americas, they call them “Native Americans”. I guess the Brits didn’t get the news … as far as anyone knows, not a one of them is native to the Americas, they were all early Asian immigrants.”

    There are then no Native Peoples anywhere as everyone, even those in Africa came from somewhere else. People in Asia came from Africa. Australian Aborigines arrived in Australia about 60,000 years ago but even they came from Africa via Asia.

    The people in Africa came from someplace other than Africa? Who knew?

    Humans, as far as anyone can determine, are in fact native to Africa. From there they spread around the planet.

    In any case, I’m sorry to break the news to you, but Aborigines are not native to Australia. For example, when the Aborigines arrived in Australia they brought their dogs with them … does that mean that dogs are native to Australia as well?

    In fact, like almost all introduced species, both humans and dogs were very hard on the local Australian ecology, with many species driven extinct by a combination of the two newcomers … and the same is believed to have occurred when humans were introduced to North America as well.

    All of which goes to show that no, humans and dogs are not native to either Australia or North America. They are introduced species, as is proven beyond doubt by, inter alia, the numbers of extinctions that they caused.

    w.

  50. Lawrence13 says:

    Hey Willis I live about three miles away in Sydenham not far from where Shackleton lived, down there in Newcross Samuel Pepys land you have the home of Barnes Wallis the ‘bouncing bomb man of the ‘Dambusters’ fame. Just up the road here in one of the two Crystal Palace in one of the old Brunel water tower is where John Logie Baird broadcast the first ever TV picture and half a mile from there is where Admiral Fitzroy captain of Darwin’s ride, the Beagle lived. As you are probably aware Fitzroy formed the meteorological office for the ministry of defence and he lived and died in Church Road Crystal Palace or upper Norwood . Fitzroy committed suicide at the age of sixty and lies in a well kept Grave at the junction of Church Road and South Norwood road Beulah Hill.

    Also not far from Newcross is Eltham wear Bob Hope was born and down in Dulwich of Mr Pickwick fame is Dulwich Village and not forgetting where Boris Karloff (William Pratt) was born in Honor Oak Road

    Now Willis you don’t know me but obviously I know you from WUWT and if you should so wish and you are still in the area I would be willing to show you these places. There’s so much places like Whately Road in Dulwich where Lord Haw Haw’s parents had a sweet shop where as a small girl my mother was serve by William Joyce himself”
    I know it sounds odd but I’m willing to drive you round say on Saturday if you so wished .

    Just a thought but there’s s much in SE London.

    I’m sure Anthony has my email just if you wanted that.

  51. Lawrence13 says:

    By the way its late here and I was so excited, I think it can be seen I somewhat rushed that post.

  52. Lawrence13 says:

    Son of Maulder.

    I’ve mentioned to Willis that in New Cross is the house where Barnes Wallis lived, you mention Lady Bowater dam and that’s where they filmed part of the dam busters, I believe.

  53. Lawrence13 says:

    Oh I forgot David Bowies arts lab in Beckenham. Where Bill Wyman lived in Penge over the Opticians, Pocahontas burial place in Gravesend , Greenwich Observatory . And so on and on the list is endless.

  54. I too love the brickwork in London. Where I grew up in Glasgow the tenements were made of sandstone blocks, so when I paid my first visit I couldn’t believe all the bricks! I’m glad you’re enjoying your stay.

  55. John Kenny says:

    Hi Willis
    Should you find yourself on the South coast below London I would recommend a visit to the Historic Dockyard at Portsmouth.

    You can visit HMS Victory Nelson’s flagship at the Battle of Trafalgar. You can go right around the ship and marvel at how these men lived and worked, see the gun decks and the kit of an 18th C English man’o’war. See the remains of the Mary Rose – Henry VIII’s flagship that sunk in mysterious circumstances in the 1530ss (ish).

    I would second the suggestion of Brunel’s great ship in dry dock in Bristol – if you are definitely going to Bath then this is only a small distance further west. While in Bristol you can see the mansion’s built by the wealthy slave traders pre abolition.

    Stonehenge and Avebury are a must if you are west of London for more than your trip to Bath.

    When back in London a trip to Greenwich is almost compulsory.

    ( I hope any companions like history; it’s virtually compulsory here in England!)

    I hope you have a great time.

  56. rogerknights says:

    I think you missed the ironic humour.

    You’re right.

  57. James at 48 says:

    What would a visit to London by without an outpouring of bombast at Hyde Park Corner!? :)

  58. Davidg says:

    Unfortunately your idea of using this Stones’ song was based upon erroneous reading of the lyrics. The place her mother went for kicks was Stedley, not Stepney, nor Knightsbridge
    either! I’ve been listening to that song since it came out in 1965 and knew instantly you had it wrong! Sorry! :)

  59. Dodgy Geezer says:

    Stepney? Well, you’re about 10 miles away from me, then…

    …and walked around the Tower of London, which isn’t a tower at all, false advertising if you ask me. …

    Ah. When they BUILT it and named it, it was probably the highest thing in the neighbourhood by a long way. Reminds me of the apocryphal question from a tourist: “Why did they build Windsor Castle so near to the airport?”

    Remember, of course, that you aren’t seeing England when you visit London. London is a world centre, with huge numbers of people from all lands in it. You will only get to see the country when you leave the metropolis…

  60. Chuck Forward says:

    When you tour Stonehenge (don’t be disappointed at the size), look down the plain when you reach the far side of the walk around and try to count the burial mounds. When you realize each mound represents a prehistoric king lost to history will give you a sense of just how old the place is. It did to me.

  61. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Davidg says:
    September 3, 2013 at 5:34 pm

    Unfortunately your idea of using this Stones’ song was based upon erroneous reading of the lyrics. The place her mother went for kicks was Stedley, not Stepney, nor Knightsbridge
    either! I’ve been listening to that song since it came out in 1965 and knew instantly you had it wrong! Sorry! :)

    A google search for “her kicks in Stepney” returns 220,000 hits.

    A google search for “her kicks in Stedley” returns … 5 hits.

    In “The Phrase Finder“, a UK based forum, they comment:

    You are right that Knightsbridge and Stepney are ‘neighbourhoods’ in London. The significance in the song is that they are almost polar opposites. Knightsbridge is the most affuent part of London while Stepney is one of the poorest and most run down. Knightbridge is almost entirely upperclass while Stepney was, is and probably always will be exclusively working class.

    Presumably she’s having to get her kicks in Stepney because she can no longer afford Knightsbridge after the loss of her tiaras.

    So, while you may indeed be right … the bad news is that there are only five people on the planet who agree with you.

    Just sayin …

    w.

  62. On your way back to London down the east side of England, visit Greensted Church near Chipping Ongar, about 20 miles NE of London, near the intersection of the M11 and M25. The oldest wooden building in Europe. Remarkable for the fact it has survived the best part of 1200 years. And 900 year old Norman churches are two a penny in the surrounding villages.

    IMO the best way to see rural England is on foot along the many footpaths. Here is one in Essex that won’t take much more than an hour.

    http://www.essexwalks.com/walks/good_easter.html#page=page-1

    If you have the time, visit Latton Wood near Harlow. This wood covers the furthest south terminal morraine from the last glaciation. Access from the Old London road (formerly the A11) rather than across the common as this link says.

    http://visitwoods.org.uk/en/visit-woods/Pages/wood-details.aspx?wood=24781&site=Latton-Woods#.UiaJPtLTfHY

  63. Willis E. says at September 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm:

    … So, while you may indeed be right … the bad news is that there are only five people on the planet who agree with you.

    So … you’re arguing for the consensus on this matter? (Friendly grin)

  64. Gilbert K. Arnold says:

    Willis: Any trip to the British Museum is not complete without viewing William Smith’s original geological map of Great Britain. Make an effort to see it. Us geology types would never forgive you if you didn’t. Enjoy your vacation with the ladies.

  65. TimC says:

    Willis said “everything that British explorers managed to plunder …. which adds up to a big pile of impressive loot”.

    We’ve also got the record as to the total number of countries invaded world-wide – impressive, huh! And all this for a country whose total area is less than that of the state of Oregon!

    Hope you enjoy the trip and our (English) capital city. What do you think of our “coppers”?

  66. OssQss says:

    Thanks Willis, the distraction was a nice thing. Enjoyed the read.

    Two things,

    No science, and you give a cell number?

  67. Pete says:

    I click on and read EVERY one of your posts. Some I learn from. Some I am entertained by. I’m pretty certain there is an non-vocal majority here that read your stories and live vicariously via where you have traveled to. And where you have traveled from. Ignore the trolls because they need to go back to where they are from.

    Yes. I intentionally butchered the English language totally on purpose, in honor of your trip. : )

  68. Cal Smith says:

    I agree with James at 48. A visit to London is not complete without a visit to Hyde Park Corner on a Sunday afternoon. If its not out of your way on your way home stop by here in Austin TX and we can compare notes about England (or the South Pacific or California or…)

  69. Tom McCord says:

    Hello! I hope you and yours have a jolly good time!

    I noticed in the photo of the Tower Bridge what looked like two Mississippi river type paddle wheelers. Is that where they have all gone too?

    Did you know that the Delta Queen and her twin the Delta King were built over there and shipped here in pieces way back when?

    Cheers

  70. bernie1815 says:

    Willis:
    I agree with those recommending a trip to Greenwich.
    Also since you are in the area, the Imperial War Museum is excellent.
    If you are in the City, try to find the Shepherd’s Market near Green Park. It is a bit like Diagon Alley.

  71. TomE says:

    Willis: Your trip to London and Great Britain is certainly generating a lot of leads and good ideas for the next visit I make. You introduce a good topic and the commentators fill it out. Thanks to you and thanks to the Brits who have responded.

  72. TerryMN says:

    Thanks for the update and glad you’re finally getting a chance to see and enjoy London, Willis! The Tower of London and Westminster Cathedral (in no order) are my two favorite visits in London – the Tower is a relatively expensive admission ticket, but Westminster is free (or was, last time I was there) and both are most definitely worthy of a tour — soooooo much amazing history that you get to walk through and witness.

    My old stomping grounds were in Fulham on the opposite side of the city, so no need for any restaurant or pub recommendations from me — Safe travels and have a great time during the entire journey!

  73. Nigel S says:

    Comments on the decline of ‘The London River’ bring to mind the start of ‘Heart of Darkness’ waiting for the tide off Gravesend aboard the ‘Nellie’ and all the people who have come and gone on that great waterway.

  74. William McClenney says:

    Great stuff Willis. You and your lady have a great time.

    All the best.

    William

  75. Martin Mason says:

    Welcome to our country and the wonderful City that is London

  76. In your drive to the West/wet coast, take a minute or ten to appreciate the work of Isambard Kingdom Brunel at the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol. You can drive to Wales using the nearby Second Severn Crossing; which is a fun drive in the wind and rain over its 5 km … ooops 3 mile length. (I snuck across it in 1997 without paying a toll).

    I don’t know if you’re planning to drive into the far West of Wales (to e.g. Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch) or if you’d be happy to short-cut across Wales through the Brecon Beacons between Methyr Tydfil and Brecon. Those mountains are small but mighty impressive. Make sure you take provisions for a day so that you can stop and enjoy the view at your pleasure. Allow time to perhaps, if the weather isn’t too unkind, simply follow your nose for a few hours.

    You’re supposed to be having fun, not following a schedule.

  77. Alan Clark, paid shill for Big Oil says:

    Willis, London is the ultimate “walker’s” city. I personally have walked hundreds of miles. From my Gran’s flat (before she died in 2005) in New Cross to Tower Bridge and across to the Tower of London, past Big Ben, Westminster and “Buck” Palace. I’ve walk past and around each of them many times and have never been inside any of them. Perhaps next trip.
    As for the ass-hat, Mike B, my dear old Gran had some words of wisdom for him: “It’s always best to remain quiet and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”.

    Cheerio! Enjoy London. Call you later! ;)

  78. Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, Willis, for the great report. Sounds like a fantastic time.

    Wouldn’t get too caught up in the native/immigrant thing, though. It is all a question of the timeframe under discussion. Thus, being native or an immigrant is not so much a scientific fact in any particular case as a convention of description. As far as those European colonists were concerned — as far as their timeframe was in reference — the folks in the Americas at the time were the natives (in contrast to the newcomers). Anyway, no biggie.

  79. vukcevic says:

    Americans come and spend, spend, ….. London welcomes your money wholeheartedly.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=Oox5aYHLr7E

  80. Louis says:

    Thanks for sharing your observations of London and its surrounds with us. My interest in England has increased since I learned that ancestors from both sides of my family came from there. I recently discovered that I’m related to King Edward I, who was called “Longshanks” in the movie Braveheart. I don’t know why, but there’s something oddly satisfying about having an ancestor who tortured Mel Gibson.

  81. Louis says:

    “WARNING: This post contains no scientific content of any kind”

    That’s because your post has observations but no models. You can’t do science anymore without models. So had you just added a photo of Twiggy to your story, it would then qualify. :)

  82. Lilith says:

    River taxi is a great way to get to Greenwich…

  83. byz says:

    As someone who born, bred and always working in London, plus having studied (and walked) it’s history I was going to tell you some great places to visit, I was even thinking of giving you a tour like many of my American friends

    However after your lectures to us “Brits” about our country and my city I’ve changed my mind :o

    We don’t give a damn what parliament says (parliament says the speed limit on british motorways is 70mph but it is widely ignored) so what they say about “Big Ben” is also ignored it is the Bell and the Tower from last year is officially the Queen Elizabeth Tower.

    The Tower of London contains the “White Tower” which was a wonder of Normal engineering.

    There is nothing more annoying and impolite than a guest that is a “Know it all” in another persons house.

    I’m surprised given your commentary that you didn’t call “Tower Bridge” London bridge like most American tourists.

    This can be summed up by a story my Uncle told me while he was in the navy after the second world war. An American ship came next to theirs and an American sailor shouted “Hey what’s it like to be in the second biggest Navy in the world” to which an British sailor replied “What’s it like to be in the second best Navy in the world”.

    :P

  84. Mike Jonas says:

    w – you’ve had lots of good (and maybe not so good) suggestions for specific places to visit in the UK, and I won’t add to that list – but some general suggestions: (1) The UK has maybe 6(?) times the population density of the USA. On your travels around the UK, get off the main roads from time to time and drive some minor roads and country lanes, and marvel at the amount of unspoilt countryside while it still hasn’t all been polluted by windfarms. Warning – if you have a large car – country lanes can be – um – rather narrow. (2) For low(er)-cost eating places try the pubs. (3) Visit at least one stately home or castle. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ is one place you can find them.

  85. Grumpy Old Man says:

    Willis, you are a tad harsh on Davidg – only five people on the planet agree with him! You know consensus ain’t science. Meanwhile, welcome to this scepter’d isle and if you follow all the suggestions above you will not have seen one tenth of of the must see sites. Have a good trip!

  86. Stacey says:

    @byz
    You wrote:
    “As someone who born, bred and always working in London, plus having studied (and walked) it’s history I was going to tell you some great places to visit, I was even thinking of giving you a tour like many of my American friends

    However after your lectures to us “Brits” about our country and my city I’ve changed my mind :o
    I say:
    You have not learned any manners .
    Willis
    I would suggest Richmond Park to set your soul

  87. Frosty says:

    Sir, I still have a vivid mental picture of you stacking sand bags trying to re-float that old barge, great story. I presume your London itinerary is filling up rapidly, if you have a spare hour or three you might be interested in the London Canal Museum http://www.canalmuseum.org.uk/

    During your travels around our green (sic) and pleasant land, you will see and pass over a lot of the canal network, flights of locks, aqueducts, boat lifts, and associated engineering works, not to mention many splendid historic boats still traveling the system. If you miss the museum, the http://canalrivertrust.org.uk/history website could give you some ideas for interesting sights and places to visit around the system more in line with your travel plans.

    Have a great stay, looking forward to your next installment :)

  88. Chuckles says:

    Willis, if you’re in North-East Wales, don’t miss Llangollen and Telfords Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

  89. The Ghost Of Big Jim Cooley says:

    Willis, London has many attractions, but I would very much urge you to get out to our country towns to get a REAL feeling of England…and soon!

  90. steveta_uk says:

    Willis, oddly enough, your comment on the love of bricks relates to the current fracking controversy in Southern England.

    Our love of bricks comes from the oil rich clays found in many parts of Britain quite close to the surface. Using this clay, bricks could be made that in effect “self-fired” – i.e. very little fuel was required to start the firing process – they could then be left to burn and set on there own. This also meant that bricks were not made with the traditional straw content that allows them to burn, resulting in extremely dense and long lasting bricks. I guess if such clays are left alone for a few million years they become oil-rich shales and hence the fracking link.

    On an unrelated point, the building that can be seen under construction between the towers of Tower Bridge in your second photo was in the news yesterday. It appears that the clever curved glass walls act as an effective lens, resulting in the literal melting of parked cars over the street from the building. See here for details

  91. Robin Hewitt says:

    I lived in London for 5 years until one day I was waiting for a bus in Plaistow, one of those place names you cannot hope to pronounce until you have lived there. Gazing hopefully up the road waiting for my ride I started thinking that the gently slope was once all grass and trees. Recognising the early symptoms of concrete jungle syndrome I up and moved somewhere that wasn’t covered in asphalt and houses. My new rule was that any town big enough to have a cinema was too big for me.

  92. Mike Ozanne says:

    “No science”

    True, you’d normally look to a climatologist for that….

    “, and you give a cell number?”

    It’s an in country pay as you go SIM, it’s getting round-filed in a fortnight. If the wanker fraternity try to mess him about, it’ll go in the bin now and he’ll get another one.

  93. vukcevic says:

    Stacey says:
    September 4, 2013 at 12:42 am
    I would suggest Richmond Park to set your soul
    Richmond Park and Henry VIII’s mound
    Wimbledon Common and Caesar’s camp

  94. James Bull says:

    Now for my two penny worth of a place to see,
    Kew Bridge Steam Museum http://kbsm.org has a wonderful collection of water pumping engines and a history of water treatment.
    I work on a water treatment works and the older buildings have wonderful decorative brickwork using not just colour but shape and size of the bricks and the bonds (pattern) used, it shows that the builders were proud of what they were making and what it would be used for. Now we get concrete. tin and GRP sheds.
    As you are going to Stone henge don’t forget that some of the stones have been moved/removed and some reconstruction has also taken place.
    The last time I was there was in the days when you could touch the stones, I think my parents have photos of me and my siblings sitting/climbing on some of the stones which may explain why the barriers have gone up!
    Many have recommended places to see or go and true this is still a beautiful land with much history to see, even if the PC brigade are trying to cover it in windmills and solar panels.

    James Bull

  95. Ryan Stephenson says:

    Before you leave London you might want to consider the Harry Potter studio tour. I’m told it’s excellent and it won’t be open forever. Tickets are avaiable on-line and it will make a change from all the architecture. Another thing I love to do in London is take a jazz cruise on the river. Plenty of shows worth visiting of course – tickets available from Ticketmaster, also onl-line

    If you are going to Bath you might want to consider a short trip to Lacock – a village of 1000 people preserved in its entirety by the National Trust with buildings going back 1000 years and regularly used as a film set for films based on works from Jane Austen to JK Rowling. Bristol is also worth a visit if you want to take a look at the engineering achievements of IK Brunel. You might even get to take in a top-notch touring production of one of the big London shows on the cheap at the Bristol Hippodrome which is Britain’s largest theater outside London.

    Stonehenge will be a bit of a dissapointment – costly to get in and really only deserves a 10 minute perusal and you can’t get up close to the stones (when I was a kid I could climb all over the stones because nobody cared a damn about them back in the 70s). There is a better stone circle at nearby Avebury which entirely surrounds the village of the same name. You can walk around and touch the stones in the huge stone circle and the village is one of the most haunted in Britain (you will see why if you go there – the whole area is very spooky). There are other wierd prehistoric monuments in the area of note, including Silbury Hill and West Kennet Long Barrow.

  96. steveta_uk says:

    Willis says:

    If the UK Parliament says that today it’s common usage to refer to the tower as “Big Ben”, that’s good enough for me.

    Carefull there, Willis. When I foolishly quoted the UK Parliament last week and its statement that Lord Monckton is not a member of the House of Lords, I got flamed by the Lord himself and accused of being a troll.

  97. steveta_uk:

    Willis talked about the variety of house bricks he has seen.
    You comment on this in your post at September 4, 2013 at 1:04 am.
    And Willis has commented on the juxtaposition of old and new.

    Your post about bricks reminded me of a lesson I learned the hard way about how requirements change with time.

    You wrote

    Our love of bricks comes from the oil rich clays found in many parts of Britain quite close to the surface. Using this clay, bricks could be made that in effect “self-fired” – i.e. very little fuel was required to start the firing process – they could then be left to burn and set on there own. This also meant that bricks were not made with the traditional straw content that allows them to burn, resulting in extremely dense and long lasting bricks.

    When working at the Coal Research Establishment decades ago I was devising uses for coal ashes from power stations.

    I invented a very, very strong brick by addition of an ash to the clay prior to firing (the ash has pozzolanic properties which affects bonded structure prior to – and so after – firing). The brick was both stronger and less dense than conventional bricks at very little extra cost to ordinary bricks.

    In times past this would have been a valuable invention. A stronger brick can support the weight of more bricks (so stronger and taller structures) and a lighter brick enables taller structures, too.

    Today, nobody wants it.
    Bricks have a defined specification which engineers apply when designing structures. A brick sufficiently strong to meet the specification is adequate, and increasing its strength has no benefit. Also, bricks no longer need to provide much structural strength: modern large buildings have steel frames, and if they do include bricks then the bricks are only used to infill walls or as decoration.

    So, in today’s world, the requirement to add the ash provides a small addition to the brickmaker’s costs but provides no benefit.

    I was pleased with my invention but it was worthless. Thus, I learned two lessons.

    Not all technological improvements are useful. The needs of the existing market define what is useful, technology does not.
    But
    What is useful depends on the total matrix of technology, and this matrix changes with time.

    Malthusians (e.g. peak oil-ers) have not learned these lessons.

    Richard

  98. steveta_uk:

    The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is a Member of the House of Lords.
    Don’t be a troll.

    Richard

  99. Willis Eschenbach says:

    psion (@psion) says:
    September 3, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    Willis E. says at September 3, 2013 at 6:02 pm:
    … So, while you may indeed be right … the bad news is that there are only five people on the planet who agree with you.
    So … you’re arguing for the consensus on this matter? (Friendly grin)

    Sure. In some things it makes perfect sense. But as Michael Crichton said, if it’s consensus, it’s not science, and if it’s science, it’s not consensus.

    But this isn’t science … it’s song lyrics.

    w.

  100. Willis Eschenbach says:

    byz says:
    September 3, 2013 at 11:58 pm

    As someone who born, bred and always working in London, plus having studied (and walked) it’s history I was going to tell you some great places to visit, I was even thinking of giving you a tour like many of my American friends

    However after your lectures to us “Brits” about our country and my city I’ve changed my mind :o

    “Lectures”? Jeez, miss the point much?

    In any case, if you don’t like my writing, then just go find something you do like. Sticking around just so you can winge and wimper about my writing just makes you look childish.

    w.

  101. D$ says:

    Very few tourists go, but for industrial heritage and shear scale of engineering its worth a visit and check out the specific times when it runs….

    http://www.simt.co.uk/kelham-island-museum/river-don-engine

    It is now the most powerful working steam engine remaining in Europe, and you can see it “in steam” at the Museum:

    Plus in the Fat Cat pub next the beer is brewed next door to the pub and its one of the finest in england….

  102. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Grumpy Old Man says:
    September 4, 2013 at 12:20 am

    Willis, you are a tad harsh on Davidg – only five people on the planet agree with him! You know consensus ain’t science.

    Thanks, Grumpy … but then we weren’t talking science, we were talking song lyrics.

    w/.

  103. Chuck Nolan says:

    “Sorry” Davidg, but according to lyrics.com what Willis was “just sayin” is correct. (as usual)
    http://www.lyrics.com/play-with-fire-lyrics-the-rolling-stones.html
    They say it’s Stepney and Knightsbridge.

  104. Willis:

    Please stop spending your time on us.
    Your ladies need their holiday, so please take them somewhere.

    Richard

  105. RichieP says:

    Although something of a pedant myself – see my comment re Willis’ view of the Tower of London not being a tower – and perhaps therefore an irritant to Willis’ combative temperament, I have to agree completely with him that there is probably no-one in Britain who calls Big Ben ‘the Elizabeth Tower’ (or maybe at least 97% of people don’t anyway) .

  106. Steve Taylor says:

    25 minutes after you took your picture, I was in Parliament square too. I should have waved. Have a great trip to England Willis.

    Steve

  107. Willis, JUST IN CASE you have leftover time/inclination, I’m your fan and a yank who has lived in London for 25 years. Also a science documentary filmmaker (BBC, History, Discovery, Smithsonian…) fascinated/furious about the whole AGW phenom. I and a friend are just about the only science documentarians in town who are ‘on side’ as they say here; we’d love to buy you a drink and get brainstorming about a film to support the righteous cause. I’m at +44 7968 694 348 and will attempt to text this note to you if I can locate that number you posted somewhere up there… Meanwhile I’m yours, admiringly, John Dunton-Downer

  108. johnmarshall says:

    embiggen??? do you mean enlarge?
    Missed the Natural History Museum in South Kensington then, pitty because it is very good and about natural science.
    Bath next so not that far from God’s own county.

  109. ThinkingScientist says:

    Like several others above, I would simply pause briefly at Stonehenge for a quick picture and take the time to stop at Avebury, which I also agree is more impressive. At Stonehenge you are very close to Salisbury, which is a beautiful modern city – ie it was laid out and built in the Medieval Period. Salisbury Cathedral is magnificent, as was noted by others above, and construction started in 1220 AD. About 8 miles to the south of Salisbury at the village of Breamore (pronounced locally as “bremmer”) there is a pre-NormalnChurch dated as 980 AD.

    If you want beautiful buildings in London, my vote would be for the Natural History Museum. And the content is fantastic too.

    Bath is a fantastic city, as is Bristol, with its sailing history and its connections to the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

  110. David Baker says:

    I’m a Londoner born and bred, and passionate about the city. There are so many places to see, but I would recommend two slightly offbeat ones that might appeal to you:
    1. The Horniman Museum, in south London (postcode SE23 3PQ), which shows the eclectic collecting habits of us Brits. There’s anthropology, musical instruments, an aquarium etc, etc – but don’t forget the stuffed walrus!
    2. Postman’s Park, a tiny park in the City of London, a short walk north of St Paul’s Cathedral, contains the most poignant memorial built by the artist, GF Watts, commemorating acts of selfless heroism by people killed while in the act of saving others.
    As a Liveryman of one of the City guilds, the Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers (the oldest optical body in the world, incorporated 1629), I’d love to show you more nooks and crannies of my town but sadly I’m out of town right now.

    Here’s a poser: there’s one road in London where vehicles drive on the right. Anyone know it?

  111. Nial says:

    Good to see you’re adopting a British grumpy argumentative stance while you’re here to more easily fit in!

    If you get as far north as Hadrian’s Wall (Carlisle to Newcastle) then Vindolanda is worth a visit. It’s one of the largest Roman camps on the wall which they’re still actively excavating. There is loads of interesting recovered stuff in the visitor’s centre.

  112. vukcevic says:

    Hi David
    Far too costly to go there for a dinner, entry to the Savoy hotel on the Strand, passed it virtually 1000s of times in more than 30 years

  113. David Baker says:

    As they say in Stepney, ‘Well done, me old china’

  114. Anthony Watts says:

    Hmmm, Willis used the descriptor “jerkwagon” for MikeB’s comment.

    I had to look it up: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=jerkwagon

  115. Gareth Phillips says:

    Willis, you sound like you are having a great time and hope you have an opportunity to visit other countries of the UK. I can’t think of any remotely critical comment, so any chance of a free insult? I love them and wear them with pride! Hope you are enjoying the taste of real beer.

  116. meltemian says:

    Hi Willis. I agree that Avebury is better than Stonehenge but it’s one of those sights you have to see ….it won’t take long and it’s close to the road.
    Just a thought, have you thought about Buckingham Palace? I believe the residents are away on their summer holidays at present so visitors are welcome.
    http://www.royalcollection.org.uk/visit/buckinghampalace/plan-your-visit

  117. Mike Ozanne says:

    “6. The occasional need for an “English-to-English” translation app for my iPhone … as GBS remarked, two countries separated by a common language.”

    There’s the odd disconnect……Particular ones to remember.

    Word UK US
    Fag Cigarette A gentleman of a more sensitive disposition
    Faggot A kind of offal laced meatball See above
    Braces Additional support for Trousers Something to straighten the teeth
    Suspenders Support for a ladies stockings Additional support for Trousers
    Garters Support for a chap’s socks Support for a ladies stockings
    Fanny Female Genitalia The Gluteus Maximus
    Bum The Gluteus Maximus An Itenerant gentleman free of property
    Tramp An itinerant gent etc A woman of doubtful (or is that certain?)
    Virtue
    Spunk Ejaculate Feistiness of character
    Hood A head covering The engine cover for an automobile
    Bonnet The engine cover for a car A head covering
    Trunk An Elephant’s nose The cargo space in an automobile
    Boot The cargo space in a car Footwear
    Lorry A cargo vehicle Truck
    Artic A Tractor Trailer Vehicle Semi
    Pants Underwear Trousers
    Shorts Short Trousers Underwear
    Knickers Female Underwear Panties
    Beer A flavoursome ale best served No US equivalent…:-)
    not chilled
    Lager Top brewed Pilsner Beer Beer
    Best served chilled
    Pint 20 fluid oz as is right and proper A short measure
    Chips Deep fried chunks of potato Thin slices of fried potato
    Crisps Thin slices of fried potato ????????
    Fries Bad chips deep fried potato chunks

  118. michaelozanne says:

    It was nicely formatted when posted , honest

  119. Guam says:

    Willis make sure you take in Avebury when on your way to Stonehenge, much more impressive in many ways than Stonehenge.

    Cheers

  120. James at 48 says:

    RE: “Warning – if you have a large car – country lanes can be – um – rather narrow.”

    Even the A roads can be interesting at times. On a 60 or 70MPH A road I’ve often wondered about the skill of the lorry driver in the opposing lane (and my own skill) as we passed at combined 140 MPH speed. I’m surprised I never witnessed a side mirror being sheered off (or worse). :)

  121. Willis:

    You say there is only one more day before you leave London for Bath.
    I write to suggest an agenda for your day in Bath,
    but first I mention something that may interest you before you leave London.

    The basement of the Royal Institution is well worth a visit. It was a nominal entrance fee of £1 but it has been ‘done up’ in recent years so probably costs much more now. At one end is the present lab. with the researchers working behind a glass wall. At the other end is the lab. of Michael Faraday with his original lab. bench and much of his original equipment. You can see the first electric motor, the first electric transformer and much more. It is a ‘must’ for any student of the history of science.

    Anyway, my suggestions for Bath.

    Take your bathing costumes to Bath.

    Upon arrival you cannot miss the major religion of the locals: the rugby ground is in the middle of town (rugby is a superior form of what Americans mistakenly call football but rugby is played by men so they don’t wear helmets, etc.).

    Everything in Bath is within ten minutes walking distance, so if you ask “How far to … ?” you always obtain the answer, “About ten minutes”.

    Despite that, first, take the open-top bus tour of the town.
    (n.b. There are two open-top buses, one in town and one around town, so if you only have one day ensure you take the in-town bus).
    The headphones will give you the basics of all the points of interest.

    Next, go to the Roman Baths and see the sign on the railings about guided walking tours which leave from there. The guides are unpaid amateur local historians whom the Local Council has approved and appointed as knowledgeable guides.

    Having decided when you need to meet for the walking tour, visit the Roman Baths and tour the underground museum.

    Spend time until lunch watching street entertainers and/or fudge making in one of the two fudge shops.

    Enjoy the walking tour before or after lunch (depending on the time).

    Take lunch in a local café.

    Walk up to the Royal Crescent.
    There is much Georgian architecture in Bath. Cheltenham has more and better and much of Bath’s was destroyed by the Luftwaffe in WW2, but what remains is good. The Georgian buildings in Bath are Listed and Bath is a World Heritage Site because of them. They were ‘thrown up’ using a novel building method which made use of the Admiralty Standard Log. And they were built as the then version of ‘time share accommodation’. Their frontage is glorious but only their fronts (i.e. Queen Anne at the front and Sally Ann at the back). Note the covers on the pavements which are coal-holes to the coal stores – but are now used as cellars – of the houses. The building method was much copied in other cities, and is to be seen in many American cities but – of course – not in the Georgian style.

    You have probably seen the Crescent as a back-drop in Hollywood films. A house at one end has been restored to be as it was in Georgian times. This is a ‘must see’ and – in my opinion – is better than the Roman Baths. Wander around inside and question the guides who are in each room. Don’t miss the kitchen with its dog-operated spit.

    Return to the Roman Baths and take afternoon tea in the Pump Room adjacent to the Baths. There are paintings of Beau Brummel on the walls. He was a professional gambler who invented English manners as part of his turning Bath into the greatest Spa in Georgian England.

    And you can sample Bath Spa water in the tea room.

    After tea you can wander about, watch street entertainers, visit one of the museums, or take a boat trip. If the weather is good I commend a boat trip from the weir. If the weather is inclement then I commend Herschel’s house which is now a museum. You can still see the hole in the floor where he dropped a telescope mirror he was polishing. However, that museum opens at odd times so you may not be able to get in.

    Then I suggest attending Evensong in the Abbey Church adjacent to the Roman Baths.
    Yes, I know you are an atheist, but if you want to sample English culture then traditional Anglican Evensong is the REAL THING and Bath Abbey will give you that in a Service lasting about 30 minutes. I think you will enjoy it (n.b. I am a Methodist, not an Anglican, and I attended Hindu worship when in Indonesia recently).

    From there wander to the ‘new’ Spa and take the bathe and dinner deal.
    Book the time for your dinner, then change in the changing rooms before exploring every floor. The ladies will love bathing in the hot spa water on the roof as night falls. Enjoy your dinner in the café while still in your bathing costumes and wrapped in your gowns.

    There is more, but I don’t think you can pack in more during one day.

    Enjoy.

    Richard

  122. Gene Selkov says:

    In support of James at 48’s concern, I’d recommend you to spend an hour or two with a driving instructor before you hit the road on your own. First, because it can be a lot of fun, and then there are some potentially fatal problems that an American driver can work out during the first hour with an instructor. Driver education is a sprawling business in the UK, so it should be easy to find an instructor, and they are all good. I can arrange that for you, if you like.

    At the very least, it will help you to have somebody local in the passenger seat to point out your errors to you. There are some differences that are not easy to grasp at the first glance.

    I still miss the yellow line, even after a 100k miles driven without it.

  123. UK Marcus says:

    When you leave London going West try to do so as early as possible, then the Sun will be behind you. Thursday is due to be another spectacular summer day. What a time for your first visit.

    Crop Circles are another feature of southern England about which you may have heard. Most of the current formations have now been harvested. However, If you do make it to Avebury take a look in the Henge Bookshop, which is inside the actual stone circle, where you will find several well illustrated books and postcards showing these remarkable creations.

    No matter whether you consider crop circles are made by people, pixies or plankers many are undeniably beautiful.

  124. James at 48 says:

    @Gene Selkov – your comments bring to mind the following amusing tangent. Namely, the camp classic “Confessions of a Driving instructor” or something to that effect vis a vis the title. One particularly humorous scene had the protagonist instructing a rather elderly lady. Somehow she managed to drive down the off ramp and thence began lane splitting against the flow on a motorway. Chaos ensued. LOL!

  125. mwhite says:

    “All day Thursday 5th September 5 live will explore and debate the future of energy in the UK”

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p01g4d88

    “A day of output dedicated to the energy debate with a studio powered by renewable energy.”

  126. Davidg says:

    Maybe 200,000 people hear it wrong but the town name is Stedley, not Stepney!!! Use your ears! Listen carefully and you will see You were wrong!!!

  127. TimC says:

    richardscourtney said (at 2:07) to steveta_uk: “Viscount Monckton … is a Member of the House of Lords”.

    Not this again – sigh. Please cite your authority, else you in fact are the troll. The House of Lords Act 1999 Section 1 provides “No-one shall be a member of the House of Lords by virtue of a hereditary peerage” (unless Section 1 is itself excluded by a Section 2 Order for a particular individual), and by Section 2(6) “Any question whether a person is excepted from section 1 shall be decided by the Clerk of the Parliaments, whose certificate shall be conclusive”. This is the law of the United Kingdom, enacted by our Monarch, Lords and Commons in Parliament some years before Lord Moncton succeeded to his title. In the UK there is no right of appeal or dissent from this law on any grounds – it can only be altered by new legislation, formally enacted.

    Instead of producing either (a) a Section 2 exclusion order or (b) a certificate of the Clerk to the Parliaments (as the law requires), Lord Monckton just produces a lawyer’s opinion (given in October 2010 by someone he describes as “constitutional expert” – actually called to the UK bar in 2004 so of about 6 years’ seniority at the time of the opinion) that the “statement that he is a member of the House of Lords, albeit without the right to sit or vote, is unobjectionable”.

    But in May 2011 (after this legal opinion was given) the case Baron Mereworth v Ministry of Justice (as to whether another hereditary peer was entitled to be summoned and sworn in, to lead to him being entitled to sit in the House) it was decided by the High Court that “reference to a member of the House of Lords” was “a reference to the right to sit and vote in that House”. This decision does not appear to have been appealed so amounts to persuasive judicial precedent.

    Lord Monckton is a hereditary peer, but under the 1999 Act (the actual law of the UK) and the decision in Mereworth he is not a member of the House of Lords. In July 2011 the Clerk of the Parliaments (the same official authorised by the 1999 Act to give binding certificates as to exemptions from the Act) wrote “Dear Lord Monckton, my predecessor, Sir Michael Pownall, wrote to you on 21 July 2010, and again on 30 July 2010, asking that you cease claiming to be a Member of the House of Lords, either directly or by implication. It has been drawn to my attention that you continue to make such claims. I must repeat my predecessor’s statement that you are not and have never been a Member of the House of Lords. Your assertion that you are a Member, but without the right to sit or vote, is a contradiction in terms. No-one denies that you are, by virtue of your letters Patent, a Peer. That is an entirely separate issue to membership of the House. This is borne out by the recent judgment in Baron Mereworth v Ministry of Justice..”.

    And why all the brouhaha – if Lord Monckton really doesn’t like using “Lord” or “Viscount” before his name why not just state his occupation as “hereditary peer” rather than (incorrectly) as “member of the House of Lords”?

    With apologies to Willis – but this type of thing is something else you will probably only ever find to happen inside the UK!

  128. Snotrocket says:

    Willis: Another great post. And as a native – of England – I have a lot of empathy with the ‘English-to-English’ translation. But with me, having lived in the US, the fact is, I intuitively understand what a ‘cell-phone’ is, but get really t’d off when an American visitor to the UK has to ask what a ‘mobile phone’ is. ymmv. :)
    Enjoy your stay – and you must have Stratford-Upon-Avon on your itinerary (The Dirty Duck serves a wicked pint!)….

  129. RichieP says:

    ‘ Davidg says:
    September 4, 2013 at 11:01 am

    Maybe 200,000 people hear it wrong but the town name is Stedley, not Stepney!!! Use your ears! Listen carefully and you will see You were wrong!!!’

    There’s only one problem with your repeated assertion about this place and its presence in the song. There is no Stedley listed in various British gazetteers or Google maps. It does not exist.

  130. Lawrence13 says:

    David Baker

    I would agree SE London with the Hornimans Museum and almost opposite don the road is the entrance to Dulwich woods wich is part of the ‘great North Wood’ that covered I believe what is most of Surrey, west Kent, Sussex all the way to the south side of the Thames. Just opposite the entrance to Dulwich woods which also follows the old railway line that lead to Crystal Palace circa 1850 and closed when the Palace burnt down 1936. The entrance to the woods known as Coxes walk had a pub opposite called the ‘Grove Tavern’ , which apparently was Liz Taylors favourite pub. Anyhow I’ll stop there.

  131. TimC:

    re your troll post at September 4, 2013 at 11:24 am.

    This thread is NOT about Lord Monckton, or the House of Lords, or the court case which has shown he is a Member of the House of Lords.

    Troll somewhere else.

    Richard

  132. M Courtney says:

    Even atheists can appreciate the beauty and skill involved in the creation of the abbeys and cathedrals of England.
    It’s well worth having a look. If only to ponder how they were designed before a vector theory of force.

    They are more impressive than the Savoy Hotel and cheaper too.

  133. M Courtney says:

    Oh and Mr Eschenbach, you are on holiday so forget about the trolls.
    Have fun.

  134. M Courtney:

    At September 4, 2013 at 1:13 pm you say

    Even atheists can appreciate the beauty and skill involved in the creation of the abbeys and cathedrals of England.
    It’s well worth having a look. If only to ponder how they were designed before a vector theory of force.

    Indeed, if anybody can tell me how the ancient masons invented the flying buttress then I would really, really like to know.

    Richard

  135. M Courtney says:

    richardscourtney says September 4, 2013 at 1:26 pm
    Clay models.

    Architects learn from Lego.
    Engineers learn from Mecanno.

    In the Dark Ages there was no mass production so Masters would have had to teach their apprentices with bespoke clay toys. And the Journeymen would have made their own. Trial and error gave the confidence to build these structures (although many such towers collapsed in earthquakes).

    But the question that confronts me is the theory of beauty that led to the forms that were chosen… and via symmetry (arches, buttresses, windows) led to structural strength.
    This is the link between Ancient Greek philosophy and Enlightenment Newtonianism written in stone.

  136. M Courtney:

    Thankyou for your suggestion at September 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm, but “clay models” don’t explain the invention of flying buttresses.

    It is the weight on top the buttress (usually in the form of a statue or other large decorative stone) which provides a vertical force which combines with the horizontal force to create the vector force which travels down – and inside – the vertical pillar of the buttress. They must have had a rule for doing this and, as you said, they did not know about vectored forces.

    Anyway, Willis will see an excellent example of how the technology of the flying buttress was applied when he sees Bath Abbey.

    Richard

  137. Old England says:

    Dear Willis,
    Enjoy your stay – but you could do with a few months ….. people are right you should go on the 20 miles or so from Bath to Bristol. If you are heading towards Stonehenge before Bath you’ll probably be going down the M3 out of London. On your way back into London if you use the M4 then Windsor Castle is just 5 minutes off of it at junction 6 – that goes back to William the Conqueror…

    One of the West country moors (Exmoor, Dartmoor or Bodmin Moor in Cornwall) is seriously worth visiting – and in Devon and particularly Cornwall there are wonderful little old fishing harbours that I suspect you would enjoy. The tin mines of Cornwall, big surf and high granite cliffs of the North coast, stone-age field systems still in use today with hedges (stone walls) dating back 2 or 3,000 years, Tintagel castle set out over the cliffs and rumoured to be King Arthur’s castle – the Minack Theatre where stone seats set into a bowl of the cliff face the stage whose backdrop is the ocean. Try Fowey and Falmouth, check out Lands End or the Eden project, artifical domes set in old china clay quarries with plants from all around the world…. and that’s just Cornwall.
    Anyway just have a great time and take plenty of happy memories of dear old Engalnd back home with you.
    All the best

  138. jeremyp99 says:

    Willis – Whitby Museum, great for whaling (Cook’s home town of course). And Avebury is fantastic and not fenced off. We are half an hour form that and Stonehenge, in the Domesday Book recorded village of Mells, south of Bath.

    07749 231 063 should you be in the area. We could put you up I am sure. Treat you to some proper English cider :-)

  139. JohnH says:

    Before you leave London, nip downriver a bit and have a look at the Thames Barrier. Call at the Gatehouse and ask to speak to the Duty Operations Officer on the phone. Tell him who you are, and he might even invite you in to tell you their predictions of sea level rise …

  140. Boblo says:

    Try to catch a bit of Hadrian’s wall. Neat way to control the bad guys and pick up some excise at the same time!

  141. TimC says:

    richardscourtney: I agree entirely that this thread is NOT about Lord Monckton or the House of Lords (or the court case which actually shows he is *not* a Member of the House of Lords).

    So why did you start this [false] hare running, at 2.07am?

  142. DavidP says:

    If you like medieval-y things and have a chance on the way to Stonehenge stop by the ancient city of Winchester. The cathedral is a marvel. Also, Winchester College, the boys’ public school there is worth a visit. It is the oldest continuously running school in the country, founded in the fourteenth century and still using the same (beautiful) buildings. Freeman Dyson went to school there.

  143. StephenP says:

    Willis, welcome to England.
    Please ignore the trolls and concentrate on having a good time.
    Keep posting your impressions of England, as I find them fascinating, even though at times embarrassing.
    My pennyworth for your route:
    Bath, including the new Spa for the ladies
    Bristol, for Brunel and things mechanical
    Wells, for the Cathedral and Bishop’s Palace
    Work your way down through Devon and Cornwall
    If you want to visit and talk to fishermen, try Brixham in South Devon or Padstow in North Cornwall. Rick Stein’s seafood restaurant, though a bit pricey, would keep thge girls happy.

    Enjoy your visit, and please keep those articles coming.

  144. Troll posting as TimC:

    At September 4, 2013 at 8:04 pm you again attempt to disrupt the thread by presenting a falsehood when you ask me

    So why did you start this [false] hare running, at 2.07am?

    I DID NOT!
    steveta_uk did at September 4, 2013 at 1:57 am
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/get-your-kicks-in-stepney/#comment-1407406

    I shot that hare in a post addressed to steveta_uk at September 4, 2013 at 2:07 am
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/09/03/get-your-kicks-in-stepney/#comment-1407412

    YOU RESPONDED BY RELEASING A SHOAL OF RED HERRINGS.

    B*gg*r off, troll.

    Richard

  145. Brian H says:

    Edit: “the river, thought” though

    Did you get a chance to visit The Monument, Hook’s pride?

  146. Ceri Morgan says:

    richardscourtney – please be more considered in your use of language. I have no strong opinion on what Christopher Monckton calls himself. You clearly believe he is entitled to call himself a Member of the House of Lords, and you appear to believe that this is important. TimC believes that he is not entitled to call himself a Member of the House of Lords, and also seems to believe that this is important. TimC has disagreed with you, and provided considerable evidence to back up his position. This is not ‘trolling': it is disagreement, and the basis for a discussion. You are both very welcome to criticise each other for being off-topic, and it would probably be a good idea if you took this discussion elsewhere, but neither of you is trolling..

  147. TimC says:

    richardscourtney: to be precise, in reply to steveta_uk saying “Careful there, Willis. When I foolishly quoted the UK Parliament last week and its statement that Lord Monckton is not a member of the House of Lords, I got flamed by the Lord himself and accused of being a troll”, at 2:07 am you asserted (flatly, unconditionally, without legal backing at all) that “The Third Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is a Member of the House of Lords”.

    I rebutted your assertion, citing in full the legislation and judicial finding on which the issue actually turns (and ignoring the bluster and hype now seeming to surround this issue).

    Again: please cite your authority (in support of your 2:07 assertion); absent that, you must be the actual troll here.

  148. Julian in WAles says:

    I Love Richard Courtney suggestion for Bath. By chance I am there on Saturday for a friends celebration of his golden wedding anniversary, I will put Richard’s ideas in my back pocket too. I have been to Bath many times, but these suggestions include many new ideas and would constitute the perfect day. There is the Jane Austin museum too, which I expect Wilis’ ladies would want to see.

    Willis should not miss Salisbury cathedral – it is the highest spire in Britain and the small shops are fun.

    I would not recommend Bristol city centre, but the docks and SS Great Britain are there (Have not seen it myself) – and if Willis is going to the West country via Bristol area he should take a look at the Clifton Suspension bridge.

    I find it entirely appropriate that threads like these exist on a science blog. The best minds are broad minds with wide horizons and interests. The cathedrals are wonders of spirit, science and Art all at once. To pretend that these entities can be separated is artificial and superficial, an obvious truth that was always well understood in the renaissance; Leonardo Da Vinci’s artistic interests fed into his science, and vice versa. Gothic arches and flying buttresses were made in the Dark ages by masters craftsmen without degrees in engineering and mathematics, in the renaissance they thought sculptors made the best architects.

    II always understood that concepts of perfection and beauty are the inspiration for science

  149. Julian in WAles says:

    Sorry for not giving Science a capital S – if Art has one Science and Spirit should too – typo!

  150. TimC:

    re your post addressed to me at September 5, 2013 at 2:25 am.

    I repeat, B*gg*r Off!

    Lord knows, I despise trolls!

    Richard

  151. TimC says:

    richardscourtney: when the shouting and swearing starts and reason leaves the building, I know it is time to ask for my hat – so I will indeed now leave this thread to your usual interventions. But if you dogmatically, incorrectly, assert elsewhere that Lord Monckton is a member of the House of Lords you may find me back – or of course (assuming you actually come from the UK) the Clerk of the Parliaments, repeating the terms of his letter published on the UK Parliament’s website.

    My apologies to Willis for interrupting this thread – again: how do you feel our coppers over here compare with those in the US?

  152. geronimo says:

    Hi Willis, glad you’re enjoying London, from the number of responses from Brits all over the country I’d suggest that before you come next time see if any of us can put you up and show you round our local sights.

    More pedantry I’m afraid, I don’t know how old your great granddad was when he died but it is unlikely he saw any slavers on the Thames because the Britain abolished the Slave Trade in 1807. in any event, and this is the reason for my pedantry, as it was effectively an Atlantic trade, the two ports most associated with the slave trade were Bristol and Liverpool. You should visit Liverpool it’s the only city I’ve ever been to where the council puts pianos in the streets for passers by to play, and it is second only to London in the number of listed buildings. And the music up there is as good as it ever was.

  153. jeremyp99 says:

    And whilst down Stonehenge way, should you get a chance to go to Wells, the cathedral there is superb, with an extraordinary clock, and an extraordinary “inverted” arch.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wells_Cathedral_clock

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ggT6Eon6OV0 (The clock in action)

    http://needleprint.blogspot.co.uk/2011/12/scissor-arches-at-wells-cathedral.html

    In fact – you need to extend your stay!

  154. Willis Eschenbach says:

    Well, I finally got internet service again. I see that London is no different than anywhere else … technology is fallible. It’s been out here at the flat for the last day and a half so I haven’t posted anything … I’ll likely put up something later. Five PM here, we’re out of London tomorrow, which is far too soon for me, but the whole trip is too short in my opinion …

    w.

  155. Willis Eschenbach says:

    geronimo says:
    September 5, 2013 at 3:54 am

    Hi Willis, glad you’re enjoying London, from the number of responses from Brits all over the country I’d suggest that before you come next time see if any of us can put you up and show you round our local sights.

    The hospitality from all has been overwhelming.

    More pedantry I’m afraid, I don’t know how old your great granddad was when he died but it is unlikely he saw any slavers on the Thames because the Britain abolished the Slave Trade in 1807. in any event, and this is the reason for my pedantry, as it was effectively an Atlantic trade, the two ports most associated with the slave trade were Bristol and Liverpool.

    Thanks, geronimo. Although the slave trade was abolished in 1807, that didn’t end the slave trade. Between 1807 and 1860, the British West Africa squadron seized about 1,600 ships that were engaged in the slave trade … and that was only a fraction of the ships involved. According at least to oral family history, one of the slave ships that were not captured was run by my great-great grandfather’s uncle. After his brother’s death in a shipwreck, the uncle took my great-great grandfather (and his tutor) to live with him on his ship, and he lived there until he became an adult.

    However, as you point out, most of the trade (legal and otherwise) was conducted out of Liverpool and Bristol … which are most certainly stops on our route.

    w.

  156. Pip says:

    Crikey !! You are a popular guy Willis ! Much read I am sure.
    I guess you will see why we Brits may be envied across the globe – H I S T O R Y !! and lots of it recorded.
    I lived in Lansdown Crescent Bath UK for nigh on 9 years, enjoyed every minute, you tingle a little at the facade…
    Would have suggested Bristol docks / Harbourside 11 miles from Bath as a ‘must see’ given the minimal distance involved.
    SS GB, the Matthew, Cabot tower (John Cabot), Floating (as in 24hr water depth) harbour, Clifton Suspension bridge mired in Isambard Brunel and others all ‘shipshape and Bristol fashion’ !
    At the mouth of the river Avon joining the river Severn (Avonmouth / Portbury Docks) about 7 miles down river from Harbourside the tide range is around 40 ft, 2nd only, I gather, to the Bay of Funday – hence how Bristol docks evolved – sailing ships could float in on the rising tide and out in a similar manner on the ebb.
    The Bristol channel looks a ‘no brainer’ for a tidal barrage – BUT silt is/would be a major problem, notso much to the equipment but to the small seaside / one time coastal ports along the shoreline and wildlife.

    Oh, also lived 1st 18 yrs overlooking the Bristol Channel from 14 miles distance – lucky buoy !

    You see? We, in the West Country could go on and on and on…. Glastonbury, Wells, Cheddar gorge – Not just ‘places’ but places where our ancestors laid their trails…

    Blimey, I have looked out on Solsbury hill for 20 yrs !! Peter Gabriel mentioned it (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fF8wU4Nl9Y)
    You just cannot move for it all !!

    Have a good ‘un – How could you fail.

    Some little green islands which punched far above their weight across the globe, did some bad, did some good, but really ‘did some’ !

    Pip

  157. Willis Eschenbach says:

    TimC says:
    September 5, 2013 at 3:46 am

    My apologies to Willis for interrupting this thread – again: how do you feel our coppers over here compare with those in the US?

    I haven’t interacted with a single policeman or policewoman (policeperson?) since coming to this lovely country … and I would be quite happy if it stayed just like that.

    Regards,

    w.

  158. Willis Eschenbach says:

    TimC, whether Christopher Monckton is a member of the House of Lords is no big issue with me.

    However, the case you cited was as follows:

    But in May 2011 (after this legal opinion was given) the case Baron Mereworth v Ministry of Justice (as to whether another hereditary peer was entitled to be summoned and sworn in, to lead to him being entitled to sit in the House) it was decided by the High Court that “reference to a member of the House of Lords” was “a reference to the right to sit and vote in that House”. This decision does not appear to have been appealed so amounts to persuasive judicial precedent.

    However, I’m not sure that your interpretation of the outcome is correct. See the opinion of the Baron’s Counsel here, whose conclusion is totally opposite to yours (emphasis mine):

    FOR THE RECORD: YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
    by Baron Mereworth’s Counsel, Harriet Gore

    Was Baron Mereworth successful on 23rd May 2011 at the trial before Mr Justice Lewison? Yes he was.

    What did the court find? The court found that section 1 of the House of Lords Act 1999 did not repeal the Letters patent appointing and granting Baron Mereworth a successive Baron Mereworth to have, hold and possess a seat, place and voice in Parliament. The court also found that Baron Mereworth is entitled to the degree, title, dignity of Baron Mereworth as set out in his Letters patent. Most importantly, the Ministry of Justice (Crown Office) admitted in open court that section 1 did not repeal the Letters patent. Before this admission, the Ministry of Justice contended that section 1 repealed the Letters patent.

    Why is this most important? It is most important because the Ministry of Justice (Crown Office) will not appeal a decision based on its own admission which it made in open court.

    How important is Baron Mereworth’s success? It is very important because the rights set out in the Letters patent remain and can be enforced because the Letters patent was not repealed.

    My point is simple. Despite your claims, the dispute is far from settled. It will be settled eventually, but in the courts, not on the blogs. Lord Moncton obviously believes what he says, and you know what?

    At the end of the day Christopher may be right … or he may be wrong. And since this is not the end of the day yet, debating it here seems like an exercise in pointlessness.

    All the best,

    w.

  159. Gene Selkov says:

    @James at 48: The Confessions of a Driving Instructor came and went before my family even had a TV, but I have seen the stunt you describe performed in real live on I-285 near Atlanta. In fact, I even participated in it, as I happened to be in the middle of a crowd that decided it had had enough of idle standing and rushed to make its way out up the nearby entrance ramp, pushing everybody still intending to enter back into the street-level traffic.

    I reckon, that kind of stuff can only be seen in a TV farce in this country. If you get stuck on M5 among Londoners returning home from Cornwall on a Sunday afternoon, you simply stay put, however long it takes. There is no point in looking for a alternatives, for if there are any, they are only worse.

    Lest I forget, let’s add a couple useful words to the Anglo-American dictionary kindly offered above. Your use of the word “ramp” was the first in a long time that wasn’t counter-intuitive; I noticed, the Highway Authority does not use it in this sense.

    So, Willis, when you see a road sign referring to a “slip road”, look for a ramp. When you see “ramp”, look for a bump.

  160. Willis Eschenbach says:

    jeremyp99 says:
    September 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

    Willis – Whitby Museum, great for whaling (Cook’s home town of course). And Avebury is fantastic and not fenced off. We are half an hour form that and Stonehenge, in the Domesday Book recorded village of Mells, south of Bath.

    07749 231 063 should you be in the area. We could put you up I am sure. Treat you to some proper English cider :-)

    Jeremy, many thanks for the invitation. I fear we’re rolling north from Bath, and I hate to retrace my steps, an old rule of mine. But it is much appreciated, and other than that we would have gladly accepted.

    w.

  161. James at 48 says:

    Correct, a motorway has slip roads. Good catch.

  162. TimC says:

    Willis – thanks for this.

    I recognise that this is a very sensitive issue to the parties (Lords Monckton and Mereworth): it’s all about whether they can properly say that they are (still) members of the UK legislature (the UK equivalent to the US Senate of course). However, in overall terms the House of Commons (democratically elected and with primacy under our system – it can overrule the Lords on most questions after some delay) has spoken clearly and with cross-party consensus: the day of hereditary peers having a veto over UK legislation in the 21st century, is now over. Only a limited number of hereditary peers (90 at present, for life – not a majority) can sit and vote in the Lords; the overwhelming majority of the upper House are now life peers (mostly politically appointed) plus a number of clerical bods (Bishops mostly).

    Whatever the transitional situation may be today, the democratic consensus will ultimately prevail: a limited, fixed number of hereditary peers (probably again, politically appointed) will sit in the House for life with the rest (the majority) being life peers or bishops. I’m afraid the UK is unlikely to accept again that a group of worthies in the legislative upper house can block legislation just because their respective ancestors long ago caught the eye of the then monarch – rightly so in my view. My point is that their Lordships M & M are IMHO fighting a losing battle here, whatever the transitional position may be today. If they wish to sit in the upper House they must now catch the eye of the Prime Minister of the day who has the ability (through patronage) to select them – but not their descendants unless selected afresh – for life to sit and vote in the upper House.

    On Harriet Gore’s contentions the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies come to mind – “well [she] would say that, wouldn’t [she]”. She is an advocate still fighting her case…

    The actual judgment is at:
    http://cases.iclr.co.uk/Subscr/search.aspx?path=WLR%20Dailies/WLRD%202011/wlrd2011-217

    As you will see, the judicial findings were (a) “The Court did not have jurisdiction to decide whether a hereditary peer was entitled to a writ of summons thereby entitling him to sit and vote in the House of Lords. That question fell within the exclusive cognisance of Parliament and was a matter for the Committee for Privileges” and (b) “reference to “a member of the House of Lords” was … a reference to the right to sit and vote in that House”. This has not been appealed (so far as I am aware) so is a (persuasive) judicial precedent in the UK – and it’s mainly about separation of powers of course (legislature and judiciary).

    And it was in fact common ground in open court that “In 1926 the Barony of Mereworth was created by Letters Patent conferring upon the first Lord Mereworth and the heirs male of his body, lawfully begotten a seat, place and voice in Parliament’s public assembly and councils of the Crown in the United Kingdom. The claimant succeeded to the title in 2002” – with no suggestion that the Letters Patent had ceased to confer the hereditary peerage on Lord Mereworth “and the heirs male of his body, lawfully begotten”. So yes, Lord Mereworth can hope to live to fight on another day – but (following the 1999 Act and this decision, and as above) I think he will find it hard to persuade Parliament (having sole governance, under the judgement) that the noble Lord’s “heirs male of his body, lawfully begotten” (of all degrees) should generally have the right to “a seat, place and voice in Parliament’s public assembly”, in the 21st century. And we know what the Clerk to the Parliament’s position is of course.

    I entirely agree that their Lordships M & M “may be right … or may be wrong. And since this is not the end of the day yet, debating it here seems like an exercise in pointlessness.” However, if either of their lordships (or anyone else) flatly asserts in these pages that their views are correct I am afraid they might have to put up with an alternative view from me, until the sun indeed sets at the end of the day.

    And now: what about your holiday?? Your good ladies will soon deservedly call in the UK coppers if you don’t get away from blogging for a while …!

  163. HarveyS says:

    Thank you so much TimC for spoiling this thread with a topic that is far removed from the content.
    Normally i make very few comments on this blog, I read it daily because its ‘good”. But to you and anyone else that wishes to discuss the Lords status in this thread , can please ask you STFU and take elsewhere.

  164. M Courtney says:

    TimC – Hereditary rights of power are worth fighting against.

    Even my father (guess from the name) would probably agree with that.
    But this is about the right to be called “A Member of the House of Lords” or words to that effect.

    That is semantics. Who cares?

    Answer – Only those who are looking too closely or those who are playing silly games for political reasons.

    Now, I think you are looking too close. Because if you were spinning you wouldn’t bother this far down the thread and would have also slurred Lord Monckton in other ways as well – which you have not.

    So, please consider ceasing to disturb the Eschenbach holiday with this issue.
    And look at where best to fire your powder (join me at the Guardian).

  165. jeremyp99 says:

    Whether or not the noble Lord is a member of the H of L – and I believe he is – the fact is that he is a noble man – which our resident trolls certainly are not. Get a life guys and do something useful eh, rather than boring the tits off us all.

  166. Pip says:

    A little about the British ‘Tweakers’.
    From 2/3 down the first page.
    ‘…One of the great puzzles of the industrial revolution is why it began in England. Why not France, or Germany?…’
    ‘…A long time ago when we was fab…’
    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/11/14/111114fa_fact_gladwell?currentPage=1

    Pip

  167. jeremyp99 says:

    Willis Eschenbach says:
    September 5, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Jeremy, many thanks for the invitation. I fear we’re rolling north from Bath, and I hate to retrace my steps, an old rule of mine. But it is much appreciated, and other than that we would have gladly accepted.
    ==============================================================
    No worries – I’m glad you are having an engrossing time on our engrossing island, and hope you come back soon. I always tell my American friends that if they come over here, sooner or later they really really need to do

    Cornwall (especially West Penwith, the bit at the end, which is not only gorgeous but littered with barrows, mounds, standing stones, you name it

    and the Western Isles
    and Ireland – which is utterly gorgeous, and (ignoring the tedious and everlasting hoo hahs in Northern Ireland), is perhaps the last civilised country in Europe. And you have not drunk Guiness until you have drunk it there – tho’ do try to find a pub where they don’t espouse the chilling of Guinness, to my mind an act of sacrilege. West Cork, the South West (Ring of Kerry) and the West Coast are spectacular. As is the hospitality.

  168. More on the Walkie-Talkie Building in Central London.
    The one that has a concaved dish-like surface that faces south.
    It focuses the suns rays from a big building into small spot on the next block. It has melted and burned cars parked in the street.

    I heard it call today a — fryscraper

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