From Whitehall to Green Park

Victoria Memorial

At the end of August, I spent a day and a half at the offices of the Air League, which very graciously had allowed me access to their archives. Their address on Tothill Street is not far from Buckingham Palace, which I hadn't yet seen. And I hadn't done Whitehall properly yet. So it was a good opportunity to do the tourist thing, camera in hand.


The Cenotaph.

Downing Street

Possibly the most famous street in a city which has more than its fair share of famous streets.

Downing Street

Don't know who these guys were, but since they were standing in the middle of Downing Street having an earnest discussion about something or other, they are probably Very Important Persons.

Women of World War II Memorial

The Women of World War II Memorial. I like it; makes a nice change from the usual men-with-guns-type monument!


Field Marshal Douglas Haig, or H**g as he sometimes referred to on one mailing list I subscribe to, where the mere mention of his name has been known to start flame wars!

Old War Office

The Old War Office, which was just called the War Office during both of the world wars ...

Horse Guard

The obligatory Horse Guards photo -- a Life Guard, I think. With all the tourists crowding around and taking photos (like me), it must be a test of discipline for both man (or woman -- the first time I walked, the trooper on guard was female) and beast. They always passed while I watched, though the horses did sometimes get a bit skittish.

Guards Memorial

Moving away from Whitehall now, and towards the palace. This is the Guards Memorial, in St James's Park just off Horse Guards Road.

St James's Park

St James's Park, with Buckingham Palace just visible in the distance.

Bali Bombing Memorial

This was very moving, all the more so because I didn't know it existed and happened on it by chance (on Horse Guards Road, near the entrance to the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms). It's a memorial to the victims of the Bali terrorist bombings on 12 October 2002, which have a special significance in Australia. Bali is a popular holiday destinations for Australians (and I've been to Bali too, as it happens) and 88 of us were killed in the bombings, out of 202 deaths total. This memorial quite rightly focuses on the 24 British victims, but also lists the names of those from other nations. So I was touched by this memorial.

Ferret armoured car

A Ferret armoured car, in the grounds of the Guards Museum.

European Commission

The European Commission's UK office. Somehow I was expecting something more grand!

St James's Park station

Maybe something like this, in fact. 55 Broadway, on top of St James's Park tube (and opposite the Air League). Currently it houses the headquarters for London Underground, but surely the nascent European superstate is more deserving of such a brutal edifice. (Though Senate House, by the same architect, would be even better.) It's hard to believe now, but when this opened in 1929 it was the tallest building in London.

St James's Park station

One of the statues adorning 55 Broadway, Night by Jacob Epstein.

Buckingham Palace

Finally, Buckingham Palace itself. (This photo, like the one of the Ferret, was taken a few days later.)

Buckingham Palace

Also there were a goodly number of TV crews -- it just so happened that I was there on the 10th anniversary of the death of Diana, Princess of Wales. But why they were all lined up with the palace in the background is somewhat mystifying. Did they think Her Maj was going to throw herself off the balcony or something?

Victoria Memorial

The Victoria Memorial (as in the queen, not my home state).

Victoria Memorial

Another shot of the palace and the memorial.

Canada Memorial

And going through Green Park on my way back to my digs, I chanced upon yet another memorial -- the Canada Memorial, dedicated to Canadian servicemen and -women of the world wars.

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14 thoughts on “From Whitehall to Green Park

  1. Chris Williams

    Did you go past the memorial to the Machine Gun Regiment?

    'Joshua hath slain in his thousands, but David hath slain in his tens of thousands'

    Walking past that, about 20-25 years ago, I had one of those moments where your understanding shifts quite radically. This thought popped into my head: "_We_ are the barbarians."

  2. Post author

    That one I missed. It must be unusual for a memorial to praise (even indirectly) the deaths caused by a unit. I wonder if it struck anyone as jarring when it was unveiled.

  3. Jakob

    Small nitpick: it's 'Saul hath slain his thousands', but it is a rather disturbing monument - the juxtaposition of a naked youth and two bronze Vickers guns is a little wrong.

  4. Chris Williams

    Actually, they were Calvinists. There's a predestination joke in there somewhere, but I can't quite sort it out.

  5. Post author

    Hand-crafted spam! Well, Bali needs all the help it can get, so I won't begrudge it whatever advantage it can get from the activities of one spammer.

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