England became a unified state in AD 927 and, since the 15th century, has had a significant impact on the wider world, developing the English language, the Anglican Church, and English law – the basis for the common law legal systems of many other countries around the world. Its beautiful and varied countryside is interspersed with quaint villages and cosmopolitan cities including the capital, London.
The name "England" is derived from the Old English name Engla land, which means "land of the Angles". The Angles were one of the Germanic tribes that settled in Great Britain during the Early Middle Ages.
Take home your own ‘Old Master’ painting
If you want to bring the style of the Old Master painters into your home but can’t quite spare a few millionpounds at the moment, don’t miss the selling exhibition from 1 to 5 December at The Air Gallery in Dover Street, London W1.
|The Magpie, after Monet|
If you want to bring the style of the Old Master painters into your home but can’t quite spare a few million pounds at the moment, don’t miss the selling exhibition from 1 to 5 December at The Air Gallery in Dover Street, London W1. Entitled “Run Out of Monet?”, the show is organised by Richardson Paintings, with some 35 versions of oil paintings by the likes of Sargent, Monet, Emms, Wardle, De Laszlo, Stubbs, Raeburn, Oudry, Van Dyck, Nattier and Pissarro on show. Prices start at £535 for a 20×24 inch canvas, and you can choose your style of frame, from modern to traditional, so the painting will complement any interior design style.
During the exhibition, London-based Michael Alford, will be in residence at the gallery, painting Berthe Morisot with a Bouquet of Violets, after Edouard Manet (1872) for visitors to view and discuss. This painting will be sold with the proceeds being donated to the charity Crisis.
|`Seascape,after Henry Redmore|
“This is the first time we have exhibited in a West End gallery,” explains Oliver Richardson of Richardson Paintings. “It is marvellous opportunity to show people the differing styles of paintings we undertake. We are very careful to ensure that our paintings cannot be mistaken for fakes or forgeries; they are very fine versions celebrating the originals, which can therefore be enjoyed by more people. After all, most of the world’s greatest artists throughout time have learnt by copying their previous master painters’ works.”
|View of Windsor Castle, after George Vicat Cole|
If you have a favourite painting, you can commission a version for yourself, or perhaps why not commission a painting a marvellous present for a loved one? No painting is replicated more than twice and all must be out of copyright (70 years or more old).
Air Gallery, 32 Dover Street, London W1S; tel: (01491) 629549. Open: Tues-Fri 10am-6pm. Further information on The Air Gallery and its exhibitions, www.airgallery.co.uk.
Bike Tours in London
“Fun, informative and environmentally friendly” – just some of the words used to describe a Fat Tire Bike Tour. Book now and see the city’s sights in style and comfort on a California ‘beach cruiser’ bike
|Photo courtesy of Fat Tire Bike Tours|
Visitors to the capital and Londoners alike are raving about bike tour company Fat Tire Bike Tours which runs English-speaking guided tours here as well as in Paris, Barcelona and Berlin.
|Photo courtesy of Fat Tire Bike Tours|
Happy Birthday Phantom!
Andrew Lloyd Webber’s award-winning musical, The Phantom of the Opera, celebrates its 23rd anniversary today. If you haven’t already, go see it now before the sequel, Love Never Dies opens next March…
It’s hard to believe that 23 years ago today (9 October 1986) Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman took to the stage for the first time in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera. Fast forward to 2009 and this musical masterpiece, based on the French novel by Gaston Leroux, is one of the most successful and long-running shows in the West End. Its title song and numbers such as Music of the Night and All I Ask of You are forever etched in the public memory; it has been seen by more than 100 million people; translated into 15 languages; performed in more than 25 different countries and has won 50 awards worldwide.
The show will star Ramin Karimloo as The Phantom (a role he is currently playing at Her Majesty’s) and Sierra Boggess will make her West End debut as Christine. Boggess was spotted by Lloyd Webber while playing Christine in Phantom – The Las Vegas Spectacular.
The Phantom of the Opera, Haymarket, London SW1Y 4QL. To book tickets visit: www.thephantomoftheopera.com. Love Never Dies (from 9 March 2010) to book tickets visit: www.loveneverdies.com.
Metropolitan Police: 180 years of policing the capital
THIS YEAR is the 180th birthday of the Metropolitan Police Service. Founded in 1829 by Robert Peel, Home Secretary, the Met has now opened a new museum looking back at police history in London
UNTIL 1829, there was no central organisation of law enforcement in London. As the population of the capital grew during the 18th and 19th centuries, the public became more and more concerned about the whole question of law and order and various parliamentary committees were appointed to investigate the subject. In 1828, Sir Robert Peel, who, as Home Secretary in the Tory government, introduced several important reforms of British criminal law, set up a committee and its findings paved the way for his police Bill, leading to the setting up of an organised police service in Greater London.
Before the passing of the Metropolitan Police Act, law enforcement among the general population was carried out by volunteer constables and ‘watchmen’. In cases of serious public disorder, the British Armed Forces would take over. Because the system was fairly unorganised and wasn’t set up to carry out criminal investigation, the novelist Henry Fielding (who had been appointed a Magistrate in 1748) introduced the first detective force, known as the Bow Street Runners. The creation of the Metropolitan Police Service in 1829 meant that Greater London finally had a single police force, except for in the City of London (the financial centre), which has kept its own force.
The Met is the largest police force in the UK and it is sometimes referred to as Scotland Yard, after the location of its original headquarters, which moved to New Scotland Yard in Westminster in the late 1960s. In 1934 the force opened its own training centre at Hendon in north London. The Met has been involved in many famous criminal cases, including The Brides in the Bath, Dr Crippen, Jack the Ripper and The Krays, and you can learn more about the force and its fascinating history on its website.
A new ‘mini-museum’, the Met Collection, has opened this summer at the recruitment centre at the Empress State Building opposite West Brompton underground station. On display are ancient truncheons, handcuffs and the uniform worn by the first TV cop, Dixon of Dock Green, artefacts dating back to the year the Met was founded, as well as archive photographs of the early days at Scotland Yard. For information, tel: (020) 7161 1234.
Tudor warship to get new home in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard
This year, at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, the Mary Rose, the only Tudor warship on display in the world, is celebrating her 500th birthday.
As a birthday present, she is going to be getting a new home there. Work to create a £35-million museum around the ship started on 20 September. The new museum, expected to be completed during 2012, will be boat-shaped and house the thousands of artefacts found with the ship. Plus, for the first time, you’ll be able to see a recreation of the missing side of the wreck’s missing side.
The existing Mary Rose Museum, with its fascinating insights into the ship and over a thousand Tudor items, will remain open in the meantime, with new displays and the British Library’s exhibition, Henry VIII: Man and Monarch arriving later in the year. Mary Rosewas built in Portsmouth around 1510 and thought to be named after King Henry VIII’s sister, Mary and the Tudor rose emblem. After over 30 years in the Royal Navy, she sank in the Solent in 1545 during an engagement with the French fleet.
The ship hall and museum at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is at present included in a joint ticket for which gives you entry to Nelson’s flagship, HMS Victory, the Victorian HMS Warrior 1860 and the Royal Naval Museum.