September

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The Euracom Guide to Monopoly – The Pinks!

As an avid reader of our newsletter, you’ll know by now that Monopoly, perhaps the best-known board game of all time, was introduced in the 1930s. It has endured the evolution of computer games and smart phones and is a Christmas Day, post-lunch staple and while you will know many of the streets, stations and roads, there’s quite a few that won’t be at the top of a tourist’s itinerary…

Here’s the story of ‘the pinks’…

Pall Mall (£140); Rent: £10; 1 House: £50; 2 Houses: £150; 3 Houses: £450; 4 Houses: £625; Hotel £750

The first street in London to be illuminated by gaslight on June 4th 1807, Pall Mall was so named for a seventeenth century French precursor to croquet that was played in St. James’s Park called palle-maille by the likes of the Duke of York and King Charles II.

Pall Mall runs parallel to The Mall, from St. James’s Street to Haymarket and is designated the A4. A road was present during Saxon times but the earliest recorded mention was from the 12th century in connection with St. James’s Hospital, a leper colony. Pall Mall as we know it today was opened to the public in September 1661 and was originally called Catherine Street after Queen Catherine of Braganza, the wife of King Charles II.

Pall Mall

Under the auspices of the Streets, London and Westminster Act 1662, Pall Mall was one of a number of important London streets ‘thought fitt (sic) immediately to be repaired, new paved or otherwise amended’ and in the next five years, the area that became known as St. James’s was extensively developed, intended for the moneyed classes, including royalty. A number of prominent buildings were constructed including St. James’s Palace, Marlborough House and Buckingham House (which isn’t to be confused with the Buckingham House that became Buckingham Palace).

Pall Mall also had a strong, albeit very brief, art scene. The Royal Academy, the National Gallery and auction house Christie’s were located on the street but none lasted very long.

Today, Pall Mall, even though it is a major London thoroughfare, remains a relatively quiet bastion of great British conservatism and is home to a number of famous ‘gentlemen’s clubs’ including The Athenaeum, the Army & Navy Club, the Oxford & Cambridge Club, the Royal Automobile Club and the Reform Club. The latter was from where Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg set out on his ‘around the world in 80 days’ journey.

Whitehall (£140); Rent: £10; 1 House: £50; 2 Houses: £150; 3 Houses: £450; 4 Houses: £625; Hotel £750

Named for the Palace of Whitehall before it was gutted by fire in 1698, Whitehall has become synonymous as the location of a number of government ministries and departments including the Admiralty Buildings, the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Health, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Downing Street, the home of the Prime Minister.

It was originally a very wide road leading to the front of the palace and Trafalgar Square was developed at its northern end at the start of the nineteenth century. The Whitehall we see today was developed around the same time and the only surviving section of the palace is Banqueting House which was built by noted architect Inigo Jones in 1622.

horseguards_parade

Scotland Yard was originally located at the north-eastern end of the street before relocating to the Embankment in 1890 and twice a day, the Changing of the Guard takes place at Horse Guards Parade in front of the magnificent, grade I listed Palladian-style building where, interestingly, the reigning monarch is the only person allowed to drive though the central archway.

Because of its long association with government and especially the various branches of the armed forces, Whitehall is lined with memorials to war heroes and politicians including the Cenotaph, Britain’s primary war memorial.

Alongside the pomp and circumstance of government, towards the Trafalgar Square there is the usual proliferation of pubs, eateries and shops aimed squarely at passing tourists fresh from the Changing of the Guard!

Northumberland Avenue (£160); Rent: £12; 1 House: £60; 2 Houses: £180; 3 Houses: £500; 4 Houses: £700; Hotel £900

In the early seventeenth century, the Earl of Northampton built Northumberland House on the site of what was the Chapel and Hospital of St. Mary Rounceval at Charing Cross. It was an extensive property running down to the Thames but in 1768 it was damaged during the Wilkes’ Election Riots. John Wilkes, radical, libertine, sometime pornographic poet and the first elected MP in 1757 was expelled from parliament on the grounds he was an outlaw (he was tried and found guilty in absentia of obscene libel and seditious libel in 1764) and this prompted violent scenes.

Imprisoned soon after his election in the King’s Bench Prison in Southwark, his supporters appeared in court chanting ‘no liberty, no King’ and troops opened fire, killing seven unarmed men in what became known as the St George’s Field Massacre.

During the ensuing riots, part of Northumberland House was damaged and to funnel rioters away from the house, the Duke quickly built the Ship Ale House!

Northumberland Avenue is a wide carriageway which is made to look even wider by a clever architectural trompe l’oeil whereby planning permissions forbade buildings from being taller than the road is wide.

The famous Playhouse Theatre opened in 1882 and it was here where Sir Alec Guinness (Colonel Nicholson in Bridge on the River Kwai if you’re old enough, Obi-Wan Kenobi in Star Wars if you’re young enough) first trod the boards. The Beatles recorded a number of sessions at the Playhouse in the early 60s.

PLayhouse Theatre: La Cage Aux Folles, London

By the 1930s, Northumberland Avenue was playing second-fiddle to Park Lane and Piccadilly as the tourists’ hotel destination of choice and the buildings were sold on to other businesses. Today, it’s a street full of faceless corporate buildings, retail HQs and events locations.

By Rob at 15 Sep 2015

The Queen Reigns Supreme – 63 Years, 217 Days and Counting…!

Today, The Queen, or to give her her official title, Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and of Her other Realms and Territories, Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith, becomes the longest-reigning monarch in the 1,000+ year history of the British monarchy but she says it will be ‘business as usual’. Should we be celebrating?

Queen Elizabeth is about to overtake her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria as Britain’s longest reigning monarch.  Victoria reigned for 23,226 days, 16 hours and 23 minutes and Elizabeth breaks the 114 year-old record today. She is also the oldest reigning monarch in the world at 89 years-old after 90 year-old King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died in January.

Surely today is a day for celebrating such an impressive achievement? Apparently not according to the official word from the Palace.  There will be no gold coaches, no commemorative stamps, no street parties, no Red Arrows fly-bys and no Union Jack-adorned cardboard periscopes poking out from behind railings on The Mall. She will spend the day at Balmoral Castle with her family.

HM the Queen with Soldiers of the Coldstream Guards

The Royal Mint is releasing five versions of a limited edition £20 coin depicting The Queen as she has aged on our coinage but as far as we can tell, there’s not much else happening.

In the UK, there are people who love the Royal Family and what they stand for and those who consider them to be an antiquated establishment who have no place in modern society but as the longest reigning monarch of the 40 monarchs since the Norman Conquest, let’s take a moment to reflect what the royals, and the Queen in particular, have done for this country.

Buckingham Palace attracts over 15 million visitors a year; it’s estimated that the eight royal parks attracted close to 80 million visitors in 2013-14 and millions more come to Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle and St. James’s Palace. We have an incredibly rich royal heritage and their very presence is vital to draw visitors to the UK.

MORE THAN A THOUSAND SOLDIERS ON PARADE THE BIRTHDAY OF HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN TO CELEBRATE

The Queen has given her life to public service. Barely a day goes by without an official engagement, state dinner or royal occasion and if she doesn’t want a fuss made of the fact that she’s the longest serving monarch in British history then it’s something we as a nation should respect. She is, according to royal author Matthew Dennison, ‘the most popular figure in British public life, acclaimed by world leaders and admired across the globe’ and few can argue.

If you went to or saw even a few minutes of The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012, you’ll know how much she is adored by the British public. More than a million people with aforementioned cardboard periscopes filled The Mall with an audience of billions on TV. Whatever you’re doing today, take a minute to think about The Queen, recently described by Tobias Ellwood MP as ‘a reassuring and enduring source of stability, security and inspiration; a permanent anchor in a fast-moving world’.

If you’re one of the millions coming to London this year, don’t forget that Euracom has a fantastic choice of apartments in London to suit all budgets and when you’re here, don’t forget to pay The Queen a visit, she’ll be delighted to see you!

Just for fun, here are some surprising facts about The Queen!

  • She speaks fluent French and doesn’t use interpreters for audiences or state occasions
  • She’s the only person in Britain who can drive without a licence or number plates
  • She has sent over 175,000 telegrams and letters to people turning 100
  • The first football match she attended was the 1953 FA Cup Final
  • During her reign there’s been seven Archbishops of Canterbury, seven Popes and 12 Prime Ministers
  • She is 5’4”, or 1m 60cm
  • Her first Corgi, a gift for her 18th birthday, was called Susan
  • As a child, her nickname was Lilibet – she couldn’t pronounce Elizabeth properly
  • She is the only British monarch in history trained to change a spark plug
By Rob at 9 Sep 2015

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