Category Archives: London

Welwyn Garden City

I didn’t plan to write today about Welwyn Garden City. But, as I was busy, I didn’t have time to write the post I’ve intended to write. So, instead, I’ve decided to share pictures from a lovely city I’ve seen a couple of days ago. All the pictures are taken with my phone, as I didn’t plan to blog about it, so the quality in dim light is not as great as with the DSLR.

Door with beautiful shrubs in front

Welwyn Garden City, field of grass with houses in the background

A few words about Welwyn Garden City. It is a town in Hertfordshire, only 20 mile from central London. It’s an hours drive to Kings Cross (if there isn’t heavy traffic). Also it’s close to where we are staying in London this week. I heard about it in a TV show, when it was said that Welwyn is the second garden city in England, founded in 1920.

Welwyn Garden City

Welwyn Garden City, house

The whole concept of a garden city is to reunite the countryside with the town. Big open spaces with grass give one the impression you are up north in a small village. The big houses in Georgian style makes you think you are in a city centre. I enjoyed walking around the Welwyn, it’s a wonderful place to see. There are shops, but I didn’t want to take pictures of those, as the open spaces and the beauty of houses sets apart Welwyn from other cities.

Welwyn Garden City, row of houses

Sir Ebenezer Howard was the visionary behind this project. He was the son of a baker, after school he became a cleric. He went to America, but it didn’t work out. He came back to England, where he got a job with Hansard, which made the official record of the Parliament. His time in work exposed him to ideas about social reform. He married twice. As many late Victorians, he considered the social problems of the time, trying to find alternatives.

He wrote a book, To-Morrow: A Peaceful Path to Real Reform, revised in 1902 as Garden Cities of To-morrow. His vision meant the new cities didn’t have any slums, they were not dirty and polluted.
The fist city he created was Letchworth Garden City, and the second one Welwyn Garden City. His ideas influenced future developments made by the government.

Door

House

Welwyn Garden City, road and houses

I think Welwyn Garden City is still an amazing place to live in. So green and beautiful, and very close to London (by London standards).

Church

Tree on the street

Have you been to Welwyn Garden City?

Why I love London

I had this post in mind for a while, as part of the Why series on my blog. After what happened a couple of days ago, I made a slight change in my posting schedule for this post: Why I love London.

Why I love London

I heard about London for the first time when I was in year 2 at school and I’ve stared learning my first foreign language. We had lovely books filled with pictures with Big Ben, Westminster, Tower Bridge and Greenwich. I had a lovely teacher and it was fun. I went to London as a tourist and with work for the first time 4 years ago. I loved it. It was amazing to see Westminster, Big Ben, Thames, Somerset House, Mayfair, Greenwich. Since then I’ve been to London dozens of times and I can’t wait to go back.
I already blogged about most of the things I will mention in this post; they are in my travel section – London.

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The Design Museum

This week my husband and I went to London for the day, mainly with work. After finishing what we had planned, we went to see The Design Museum. As we arrived at the museum late, at 4.30 pm, it wasn’t enough time to see the two special exhibitions, so we saw only half of the museum.

01 Design Museum London

02 Design Museum London

At the first floor there are pictures taken during the building of the new Design Museum in Kensington last year. It is a really interesting display.

03 Design Museum London

Designer Maker User hosts an array of almost 1000 items from the 20th and 21st centuries. I saw some fascinating objects and I’ll talk about some of them today.

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Tate Modern

I saw that Tate Modern is opened till late on Fridays & Saturdays, so we’ve decided to visit it at night. Not only that it makes it a little bit special to see, but it can be included in a busy day and it also means that going to Tate by car is easier, with cheaper parking and without the congestion charge. Tate is free, but there are fees for special exhibitions. We had only 2-3 hours to visit the museum, so there wasn’t enough time to see any of the special exhibitions this time. As usual, I’m going to show a few of my favourite exhibits.

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This one was my favourite. It’s made of couscous and it’s the ancient city of Ghardaia, Algeria. The model was made by Kader Attia, a French artist with Algerian parents, in 1970. I think the idea is intriguing.

02-tate-modern
I like spiders, but that wasn’t the only thing that drawn me to this sculpture. I thought it looked soothing. Louise Bourgeois is a French artist that worked in the USA. This spider was made in 1995 and it’s one of a few spider sculptures she made. The spider is an associations with her mother, who was spending her days stitching and weaving for her family business, repairing antique tapestries. She said “The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and she repairs it.”

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The 1920s

At the Fashion and Textile Museum in London there is a special exhibition about the 1920s fashion. I wanted to visit the museum. The concept of the museum is quite different as there isn’t a permanent exhibition, but only temporary ones. From 23 September until 15 January next year is the 1920s JAZZ AGE Fashion & Photographs. It was very interesting to see the exhibition. I’ve read Coco Chanel’s biography a few months ago and I was excited to see the dresses on display.

01-the-1920s

Men from different backgrounds were made friends during the WWI and that changed the social status completely. More women worked for the first time. In Europe there were 38 million casualties in WWI, every family was affected by this. The end of WWI in 1918 marked the beginning of a new era. US, UK and France had a period of economic prosperity. The way women dressed changed as a result of their involvement in everyday life and tasks, while the men were at war. That asked for a freedom of movement that lead to a freedom in clothing. In US more people were living in the cities than in the countryside for the first time. Women were starting to get involved in sports and that had an impact on fashion too.

Something that I didn’t know before seeing the exhibition was how much the dresses changed during those years. The waistline was changing, the dress length was dropping from calf to ankles to go back up just below the knee in 1925.

02-the-1920s

Small changes happened even before the WWI. For example, by 1915 showing the ankle wasn’t considered scandalous like 50 years before that. The exaggerated corset from the 19th century were replaced with a more natural shape. Surprisingly, in the 1920s, some women would still use corsets, but not to emphasize their waist like before, but to make them look more boyish without curves.

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Kew Gardens in Autumn

The post about Kew Gardens is the last one from our trip to London this month. We have another trip to London planned for next month, so plenty of London related posts will follow. Maybe even faster if I’ll have a couple of hours more to spear on Monday, when I’m going to London with work.

Kew Gardens
Kew Palace looks lovely, although it’s a little smaller than I though. The palace is not open to the public in Winter.

Kew Gardens

One of the loveliest attraction in Kew Gardens is Palm House. It’s very hot and humid in the greenhouse and there are so many wonderful plants to see, like mango, papaya, starfruit, different types of banana palms. There is a high walkway and seeing the plants from above is beautiful, it offers a different perspective.

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Kensington Palace

I mentioned I’ve been to Kensington Palace in my post about the Household Cavalry Museum. Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace and in front of the palace is a beautiful statue of her, designed by one of her daughters, Princess Louise. I saw this in a documentary about Victoria and I find it fascinating.

Currently, Kensington palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In the 17th century, King William and Queen Mary asked Christopher Wren, the architect of St Paul’s Cathedral, to turn Nottingham House into a palace.

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The Palace looks magnificent. It was quite busy, so it was hard for my husband to take pictures while trying to avoid photographing people as well.

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