St. James’s Park….

London’s St James’s Park is the oldest Royal Park in the city and undoubtedly one of its most lovely. The park boasts beautiful flower beds, grassy open space and a lake that’s home to local waterfowl.
The thirty-six-hectare (90 acre) large park is surrounded by stately buildings, including two palaces.

The Park’s History

St. James's Park, London

St. James’s Park
The land on which St James’s Park sits was the site of a lepers hospital for women. The hospital was dedicated to James the Less, hence the name of the park. Henry VIII built St. James’s Palaceon the site of the hospital and turned the adjoining marsh and meadowland into a royal ground for deer hunting and duck shooting.King James I opened a menagerie with exotic animals including crocodiles and an elephant, which was given more than four liters of wine every day. He also had a large aviary which explains the name of the street that runs south of St. James’s Park, Birdcage Walk.

Marlborough Gate, St. James's Park

Marlborough Gate

In the seventeenth century Charles II had the park laid out in a formal French style, mimicking the gardens ofVersailles he had seen during his exile in France. It was then that the long narrow lake was created out of a marsh. Charles II was also the first to open the park to the public.

The park’s current appearance is a result of a redesign in 1828, when architect John Nash carried out a modernization project. He made the park more romantic in style and revitalized the trees, lawns, and gardens.

The Park Today

St. James’s Park is one of the most meticulously maintained parks in London. There are many flower beds, and paved paths meander through the park. In the summertime, during sunny spells, sunbathers relax in deck chairs on the groomed lawns.

Deck chairs in St. James's Park

Deck chairs

Most visitors simply enjoy strolling through the park, watching the wildlife. The park provides habitats for a variety of fauna, in particular birds. The lake is home to fifteen different species of waterfowl, including pelicans, which were introduced to the park in the mid 1600s when the Russian ambassador gave a couple of these long-beaked birds as a present to Charles II.

Buckingham Palace seen from St. James's Park

Buckingham Palace seen
from the bridge

The park welcomes more than five million visitors per year and has become quite popular with the movie industry. The bridge across the lake is particularly popular and has featured in many movies. The bridge was built in the 1950s as a replacement for the less-practical Chinese-style bridge that was built as part of Nash’s redesign. There was also a Chinese pagoda from the same era, but unfortunately it burned down due to fireworks.

Royal Surroundings

From the bridge you have a magnificent view over Buckingham Palace, where monarchs have resided since 1837.

View towards Whitehall from St. James's Park, London

View towards Whitehall

It is not the only palace around St. James’s Park: to the northeast, across the Mall, is the namesake St. James’s Palace.

The park is located in the heart of London’s political center and there are many important sights and landmarks in the vicinity. From the park you can see the many towers from Whitehall and theHorse Guards Parade, and famous sights like Trafalgar Square,Westminster Abbey and the former Palace of Westminster are all nearby. So is the Victoria Memorial, a large monument in front ofBuckingham Palace.

Monuments

There are also a couple of monuments on the grounds of St. James’s Park. On the eastern fringe of the park is the Guards Division Memorial. It commemorates

Guards Division Memorial, St. James's Park, London

Guards Division Memorial

the soldiers of the Guards regiments who lost their lives during the World Wars. The memorial appropriately overlooks theHorse Guards parade ground.

On the northern edge of St. James’s Park, near the Mall, is the Royal Artillery South Africa Memorial, with a large statue of an allegorical figure of Peace controlling a winged horse, representing War. The memorial commemorates the Royal artillery soldiers who died during the Boer Wars.

St. Pancras Station St. Pancras International…..

Thanks in part to its exuberant neo Gothic architecture, St. Pancras is hands down the most famous of the numerous railway stations in London. During the 1980s the future of the railway station was in doubt but it was eventually renovated and transformed into a modern international station.
St Pancras Station, London

Midland Railway Hotel
Situated in central London, St. Pancras Station was initially designed in 1863 by William Barlow for the Midland Railway. Upon its completion two years later, St. Pancras Station’s train shed stood as the largest enclosed space in the world.

Midland Railway Hotel

But Midland Railway had set out to impress the people of London even more. While Barlow built the train shed, London officials held a competition to choose an architect for the actual design of the station and accompanying hotel. They selected George Gilbert Scott’s brick Gothic revival design but a lack of funds caused them to do a little trimming of his original plans.While the station was completed in 1868, the accompanying Midland Grand Hotel wasn’t finished until 1873. The hotel opened the following year.

Clock Tower of the St Pancras Station in London

The Clock Tower

The impressive building is designed in an extravagant Victorian-Gothic style. It is especially eye-catching thanks to its spired gothic towers and the red colored brick used throughout.

Unfortunately, however, the hotel was forced to close in 1935 and the train shed suffered much damage during World War II. Many bids to close the station were made, basically because it had become underused, but concerned British citizens fought to keep it open and the station soon appeared on the government’s protected Grade 1 list.

For a few decades after the war, the hotel served as offices for British Railways, the station’s new owner. During the 1980s however the building became vacant and started to decay. It wasn’t until the years 2000 when a renovation started that would transform the grand building once again into a modern luxury hotel.

The Train Station

St. Pancras Train Station

St Pancras Station
The railway station proper is a great example of Victorian architecture and magnificently combines the iron and stone framework with the brick walls.The train shed – known as as the Barlow Shed – was created by Barlow with the help of engineer Rowland Mason Ordish, and is considered as one of the great engineering achievements of Victorian architecture. The shed has a length of 210 meters (689 ft). Its 74 meter (243 foot) wide arch measures 30 meters (100 feet) high at its peak.

St Pancras International

Eurostar in St. Pancras

Eurostar
In November 2007, after a long renovation, St. Pancras Station became “international” with the arrival of the Eurostar on its tracks. The platforms had to be lengthened to accommodate the modern trains, which previously arrived at Waterloo Station.Today high speed Eurostar trains connect London from St. Pancras Station with Paris, Lille, Brussels and some smaller destinations.

Also part of the renovation was the opening of the platforms to the lower level, where a modern shopping arcade was created.

 

Royal Mews….

Visitors to Buckingham Palace can make a side trip to the Royal Mews, one of the finest examples in the world of a working stable. Here you find sumptuous vehicles including a magnificent gold state coach.
Doric Arch, Royal Mews, London

Doric Arch
The Royal Mews, located beside Buckingham Palace, is the headquarters for the department of the Royal Household, which provides transport by road via both motorcars and horse-drawn carriages for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

History

Established shortly after King George III purchased Buckingham Palace in 1760, the Royal Mews has always been an important part of the royal home in London, even in modern times when automobile travel is the norm and horses and carriages are only used for special occasions.It seems that England’s royal families have always had an affinity for horses. When John Nash remodeled Buckingham Palace in 1820, he took the small stables and turned them into a grand structure, recognizing their importance to the then royal family.

State Coach, Royal Mews, London

State Coach

Stables at the Royal Mews in London

The stables

When Queen Victoria assumed the throne less than two decades later in 1837, she moved into Buckingham Palace and had the Royal Mews enhanced yet again.

Throughout the decades, other additions have been made, including a riding school, a forge, and more stables. The mews also now houses the royal family’s fleet of automobiles as well as thirty horses, plus living quarters for the horses’ handlers and their families. Currently most of the horses in the stables are Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays.

State Coaches

A visit to the Royal Mews allows guests a look at a permanent display of impressive State vehicles, a selection of ceremonial horse-drawn carriages and coaches. The most famous of the collection owned by the Royal Family is the magnificent Gold State Coach, which is only used for coronations or very special occasions, like the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Gold State Coach, Royal Mews, London

Gold State Coach

The fairy-tale coach was built in 1762 for king George III. It is gilded with 22 carat gold leaf and sumptuously decorated with sculptures of cherubs, tritons and dolphins. The panels on the carriage were painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Cipriani. The coach, seven meters long, weighs four tonnes and is drawn by a span of eight horses.

Visiting the Royal Mews

There is a small admission charge to tour the Royal Mews, but the majority of the funds are used for the upkeep of the building and the care of animals that live inside. Guided tours depart at regular intervals throughout the day, from March through October. Special family activities are held at the Royal Mews on Saturday and Sunday, with fun and educational events geared for children up to age eleven.

Greenwich….

Greenwich is a charming and historic area of London that is best known for lending its name to the time by which the British set their clocks – Greenwich Mean Time. It is also home to a number of touristic attractions such as the Cutty Sark and the Maritime Museum.
Greenwich, London

Greenwich
Located in the southeast portion of London on the south bank of the River Thames, Greenwich is named for a Saxon word meaning “green village”. The birthplace of many royal members of the House of Tudor, the district was a popular resort area in the seventeenth century, particularly known for its grand houses.

A Royal History

A royal palace, originally known as Bella Court, had been located in Greenwich since around 1427. The palace, rebuilt by king Henry VII as the Palace of Palentia became a popular royal residence. King Henry VIII spent much of his time here, and his three legitimate children were born at the palace. Unfortunately the Tudor style building was later razed.

Greenwich Park, London

Greenwich Park

In 1616, king James I commissioned Inigo Jones with the construction of theQueen’s House, which is considered the oldest Renaissance building in England. Charles II wanted to turn the estate into an English version of Versailles and even employed André le Nôtre, the landscape architect of Versailles. He also started with the construction of a new wing along the river Thames.

His successor William III preferred Hampton Court as their residence and decided to convert the wing into a Royal Naval Hospital. The hospital closed in 1869 but the building still stands as part of the Old Royal Naval College historic site.

National Maritime Museum

National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, London

National Maritime Museum
Greenwich is also renowned for its rich maritime history, a history that is celebrated today in the attractions that are found throughout the area. Greenwich’s maritime area was awarded World Heritage Site status in 1997.The National Maritime Museum is dedicated to the illustrious maritime history of this sea-faring nation. The magnificent museum covers the era from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries and displays hundreds of ship models, paintings, uniforms, navigation instruments and other maritime related artifacts. Museum highlights include the uniform Nelson was wearing when he was fatally shot at the Battle of Trafalgar and Prince Frederick’s gilded barge.

Cutty Sark

Cutty Sark, Greenwich

Cutty Sark
The Riverfront area of Greenwich is one of the most interesting areas to explore. Here you can find the Cutty Sark, a historic clipper ship built in 1869, now the only remaining nineteenth-century tea clipper. In 1871 the clipper broke the world sailing record by traveling from China to London in just 107 days.

Queen’s House

Queen's House, Greenwich

Queen’s House
King James I commissioned architect Inigo Jones with the construction of theQueen’s House, which was built as the summer residence for his wife, Anne of Denmark.Inigo Jones had just completed a year long trip through Italy to study Roman and Renaissance architecture. He used this knowledge to design Queen’s House in an elegant Italian Renaissance style. It is considered the first English Palladian house.

Construction of the house started in 1616 and it was completed in 1638 by Inigo Jones’s student John Webb. The house was used as a royal residence by king Charles I and king Charles II. Its royal history ended in 1806 when George III donated the house to the Royal Naval Asylum.

Old Royal Navy College

Old Royal Navy College, Greenwich

Old Royal Navy College
The oldest building of the Old Royal Navy College dates back to the reign of Charles II, who wanted to build a palace by the Thames river.Charles II’s successors however decided to move to Hampton Court. They commissioned renowned architect Christopher Wren with the conversion of the existing building into a residence for wounded and retired seamen, the Royal Naval Hospital. The result was a complex of four separate, majestic buildings. They were positioned in such a way that the Queen’s House would have an uninterrupted view of the Thames.

The buildings would keep their original function until 1869 when they were used as a training center for naval officers, the Royal Naval College. In 1998 the training center moved to Dartmouth and the complex is currently used by the University of Greenwich.

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park

Greenwich Park
The history of Greenwich Park goes back to 1733, when king Henry V fenced off an area of eighty hectares near Bella Court. The seventeenth-century design of the French landscape gardener André le Nôtre is still visible. From the top of the sloping terrain, near the Royal Observatory, you have a magnificent view over East End and the Docklands.The Ranger’s House, situated at the south-east corner of the park, was built at the end of the seventeenth century. It currently houses a museum.

Royal Observatory

Greenwich Meridian

Greenwich Meridian
In the park is the former Royal Observatory, through which the Prime Meridian passes. Charles II commissioned Christopher Wren with the construction of the observatory. The goal of the observatory was to help navigation of the ships by studying the stars, creating maps, and determine the longitude when at sea. The first astronomer hired by the king was John Flamsteeds, after whom the main building is now named.Greenwich Mean Time, the timezone used in the United Kingdom, was at one time based on the time observations made at this observatory, which is no longer in operation. However, each day a ball drops at precisely 13:00 to mark the exact time. Also, astronomical and navigational tools are still on display here for guests to view.

Greenwich Town Center

In the center of Greenwich amidst an abundance of Georgian and Victorian architecture, guests can also visit the Greenwich Market, specializing in antiques, artwork, and crafts. Also in the town center is the quirky Fan Museum as well as two theaters, the Greenwich Theatre and the Greenwich Playhouse.

 

Royal Mews….

Visitors to Buckingham Palace can make a side trip to the Royal Mews, one of the finest examples in the world of a working stable. Here you find sumptuous vehicles including a magnificent gold state coach.
Doric Arch, Royal Mews, London

Doric Arch
The Royal Mews, located beside Buckingham Palace, is the headquarters for the department of the Royal Household, which provides transport by road via both motorcars and horse-drawn carriages for The Queen and other members of the Royal Family.

History

Established shortly after King George III purchased Buckingham Palace in 1760, the Royal Mews has always been an important part of the royal home in London, even in modern times when automobile travel is the norm and horses and carriages are only used for special occasions.It seems that England’s royal families have always had an affinity for horses. When John Nash remodeled Buckingham Palace in 1820, he took the small stables and turned them into a grand structure, recognizing their importance to the then royal family.

State Coach, Royal Mews, London

State Coach

Stables at the Royal Mews in London

The stables

When Queen Victoria assumed the throne less than two decades later in 1837, she moved into Buckingham Palace and had the Royal Mews enhanced yet again.

Throughout the decades, other additions have been made, including a riding school, a forge, and more stables. The mews also now houses the royal family’s fleet of automobiles as well as thirty horses, plus living quarters for the horses’ handlers and their families. Currently most of the horses in the stables are Windsor Greys and Cleveland Bays.

State Coaches

A visit to the Royal Mews allows guests a look at a permanent display of impressive State vehicles, a selection of ceremonial horse-drawn carriages and coaches. The most famous of the collection owned by the Royal Family is the magnificent Gold State Coach, which is only used for coronations or very special occasions, like the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002.

Gold State Coach, Royal Mews, London

Gold State Coach

The fairy-tale coach was built in 1762 for king George III. It is gilded with 22 carat gold leaf and sumptuously decorated with sculptures of cherubs, tritons and dolphins. The panels on the carriage were painted by the Italian artist Giovanni Cipriani. The coach, seven meters long, weighs four tonnes and is drawn by a span of eight horses.

Visiting the Royal Mews

There is a small admission charge to tour the Royal Mews, but the majority of the funds are used for the upkeep of the building and the care of animals that live inside. Guided tours depart at regular intervals throughout the day, from March through October. Special family activities are held at the Royal Mews on Saturday and Sunday, with fun and educational events geared for children up to age eleven.

Canary Wharf…

Canary Wharf is a modern high-rise business district located at the former West India Docks on the Isle of Dogs, east of London. Some of the city’s tallest and most modern skyscrapers can be found here.

Docklands

Canary Wharf

Canary Wharf
The Docklands, a large area along the Thames riverfront on the eastern edge of London, was once home to the world’s busiest port.In the 1960s, after the construction of the Thames Barrier – a storm surge barrier – and a modern container port in Tilbury, activity in the area came to a halt. The many wharves and warehouses fell into decay.

London Docklands Development Corporation

In 1981 the British government founded the London Docklands Development Corporation. Its purpose was the revitalisation of some 2100 hectares of docks (8 sq. mi).

One Canada Square Tower, Canary Wharf

One Canada Square

1 West India Quay Tower, Canary Wharf

1 West India Quay

South Quay Footbridge, Canary Wharf

South Quay Footbridge

The first large-scale private development plan, the Canary Wharf Project, was launched in the mid-1980s. The Canadian developer Olympia & York bought the project and started construction in 1988 of what would become the heart of the Docklands redevelopment.

Canary Wharf Tower

The first office tower, Canary Wharf Tower (now One Canada Square), was built in 1990. At 800ft (243m) the pyramid-topped steel tower was the tallest building in Europe until the completion of the Messeturm in Frankfurt, Germany that same year.Many more office towers were planned but British corporations were reluctant to relocate to the remote site. Despite a promise by the prime minister, Margaret Thatcher, there was no underground connection and the site lacked shopping areas and restaurants.

To make matters worse, in 1992 a recession caused the property market to collapse. The developer went into bankruptcy and the whole project seemed to be an enormous failure.

 

A Booming District

The tide turned during the second half of the 1990s. The property market revived and the development project was bought by an international consortium backed by the former owners of Olympia & York.And finally in 1999 the underground Jubilee line was extended to the Millennium Dome, with a stop at Canary Wharf. Now only thirty minutes from the heart of London, Canary Wharf started to attract more and more tenants, mostly financial institutions.

Construction frenzy in the Docklands

Construction frenzy
in the Docklands

The working population in the area rose from 13,400 in 1996 to about 90,000 in 2006. Canary Wharf now boasts a cluster of skyscrapers and is already dubbed Manhattan on Thames. More importantly the area also started to attract residents, a shopping mall, bars and restaurants.

 

Sights

There’s more to see in Canary Wharf than just modern high-rise buildings. The area is home to a couple of unique monuments and there’s even a museum.

Traffic Light Tree

Traffic Light Tree

One of the monuments is known as the Traffic Light Tree, a structure with seventy-five traffic lights created by the French artist Pierre Vivant. It was installed in 1998 to replace a dying tree and is said to represent the relentlessness of Canary Wharf. The eight meter tall monument is located at the edge of Canary Wharf, on a roundabout at Trafalgar Way.

Another interesting monument is the Centaur, a modern sculpture created by the Polish sculptor Igor Mitoraj. The surreal work, which shows the mythical figure of a horse with a male torso, was installed in 1992 at Montgomery Square.

Canary Wharf is also home to the Museum of the London Docklands, a museum that tells the history of the Docklands and the Thames River from the Roman times to today. The museum, which is housed in a large nineteenth-century warehouse on West India Quay, is a branch of the Museum of London. A statue in front of the museum commemorates Robert Milligan, a merchant and shipowner who built the West India Docks and controlled the trade on the import of goods from the West Indies.

 

Nelson’s Column…

In the center of Trafalgar Square stands London’s most famous monument: Nelson’s Column. The monument was built in 1843 as a tribute to Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson, who defeated the French fleet at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.
Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square

Nelson’s Column
Nelson was fatally wounded during that famous battle off the Spanish coast. His body was transported back to London and buried in the St. Paul’s Cathedral.

Background

In the 1830s plans for Trafalgar Square, an expansive public square in the heart of the city, started to take shape. In 1838 a committee organized a competition for the design of the crowning piece of the square, a large monument dedicated to Admiral Nelson. A total of 124 entries were submitted, with designs ranging from temples and ship’s prows to monumental statues.The winning entry was submitted by William Railton, an English architect who up till then was best known for his churches and residential houses. Railton’s proposal called for a 52 meter (170 ft) tall monument consisting of a soaring Corinthian column topped with a large statue of Horatio Nelson and guarded by four massive lions. The monument’s design was very popular despite concerns about the visibility of a statue at such a height.

The Monument

Construction of the monument started in 1841 and was completed in 1843 when the sandstone statue of Nelson was placed on top of the column.

The Column

Nelson's Statue atop Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square

Nelson’s statue
The column itself, constructed of granite from Dartmoor, is about 46 meters in height. The statue of Nelson measures 5.5 meters tall, about three times life-size. The statue rests on an elaborate Corinthian capital which, the story goes, was made from the bronze guns of the Royal George, a large warship that sunk in 1782 while anchored off Portsmouth.

The Statue

The statue is carved from sandstone by Edward Hodges Baily, an English sculptor who had taken part in the competition for the monument. His proposal, a large statue of the admiral, ended up in second place. His design was then chosen for the statue that was to be placed on top of Railton’s column.

The Reliefs

Relief of Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar, Nelson's Column, London

The death of Nelson
The four bronze bas-relief panels on the sides of the base were added in 1849-1852. They were cast from melted-down guns captured from the French. They glorify Nelson’s naval victories.The panel facing south shows a dying Nelson aboard his ship the HMS Victory during the Battle of Trafalgar. The other reliefs show scenes from the Battle of the Nile, the Battle of Cape St. Vincent and the Battle of Copenhagen. Each relief was created by a different artist.

The Lions

A Landseer Lion at Nelson's Column in London

Landseer lion
The four colossal lions at the foot of the monument were added even later. They were created by Edwin Landseer, an English artist who was specialized in the painting of animals.Landseer started working on the sculptures in 1862 and they were unveiled five years later, in 1867. It is said that he used a lion corpse provided by the London Zoo as a model for his sculptures.

 

Victoria & Albert Museum V&A Museum….

With a permanent collection that tops four million pieces, the Victoria and Albert Museum is the largest decorative arts museum in the world. It’s also one of London’s most interesting and diverse museums.

About the Museum and its Collection

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

V&A Museum

Entrance Hall of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Entrance Hall
Founded in 1852 and opened at its current location in 1857, this amazing museum boasts three thousand years worth of artifacts from the world’s richest cultures. The collection includes everything from paintings and photographs to jewelry, ceramics, and textiles.The museum’s British Galleries are especially impressive and house the most comprehensive collection of British design and art anywhere, spanning four centuries, from 1500 to 1900. Visitors can also explore the four-thousand-year history of glass, browse through myriad examples of post-classical European sculpture, view a photography collection that began back in 1852, and wander through rooms full of childhood treasures, including dolls, toy cars, games, and costumes.

Italian Cast Court, V&A Museum, London

The Cast Court

Neptune and Triton (Bernini), V&A Museum, London

Neptune and Triton,
Bernini

And that’s only the tip of the iceberg. The V&A also has an impressive collection of East Asian decorative arts, a fashion and jewelry exhibit that ranges from the seventeenth century until today, an impressive metalwork display, and more than fourteen thousand pieces of furniture from Britain, Continental Europe and America that date from the Middle Ages to the present day.

Some Highlights

The museum’s collection is so diverse it is difficult to pinpoint the highlights. One of the visitor’s favorites are the cast courts, a collection of casts of famous European monuments and sculptures.At the end of the nineteenth century, when most people weren’t fortunate enough to travel around the continent, casts were a popular way of showing famous foreign monuments to the people. Among others, there are casts of Trajan’s column in Rome, the Portico de la Gloria from the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain as well as a plaster replica of Michelangelo’s David sculpture.

Another favorite is the ‘Tiger of Tipu’, an eighteenth-century wooden mechanical construction depicting a British soldier attacked by a tiger. The construction, which was built for the Indian Sultan Tipu, even produces growling and screaming sounds.

Sultan Tipu's Tiger in the Victoria & Albert Museum in London

Sultan Tipu’s Tiger

To truly see the museum, you’ll need much more than just one day and no matter how many times you return, you’ll never pay a dime. Admission to the Victoria and Albert Museum is free and has been since 2001, but donations are welcomed.

Museum Architecture

The landmark front facade of the Victoria and Albert Museum stretches 220 meters (720 feet) along Cromwell Gardens. Fashioned from red brick and Portland cement,

Henry Cole Wing, Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Henry Cole Wing

this portion of the museum was designed by Aston Webb in 1891 and served as an addition to the original museum. Construction took place from 1899 to 1909.

Webb’s design is rather eclectic. Most of the detail is Renaissance though the building does have some medieval elements. The shallow arches supported by slender columns are Romanesque in form and the detail there is decidedly classical. The tower above the main entrance is reminiscent of those built in the late Gothic period, particularly in Scotland. The extensive use of marble is evident in the interior.

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

The museum survived World War II pretty much intact and it wasn’t until the 1950s and 1960s that additions and renovations began to be made, including the addition of the Henry Cole wing.

Renovation and Expansion

A few galleries were redesigned in the 1990s, and in 2001, the museum released the details of what they dubbed “Future Plan”. To date, many galleries have already been redesigned and work continues with the help of many well-known architects and designers. The museum also opened two new galleries in 2009: one displays ceramics and another houses an extensive collection of Medieval and Renaissance artifacts.The second phase of the expansion plan was launched in July 2010 when V&A announced it would hold a design competition in the autumn of 2010 for a major expansion of the museum. An earlier plan for the expansion in 2004 was met with fierce opposition due to its bold design, which showed a glass, seven stories tall spiraling structure designed by Daniel Liebeskind. The museum has now decided to expand underground with a gallery designed by Amanda Levete Architects.

Tate Modern….

Tate Modern has an excellent collection of modern art, from 1900 until now. It is housed in a former power station. Since its opening in 2000 it has become one of Londen’s most popular museums.

The Building

Tate Modern, London
The galleries of Tate Modern are housed in an enormous brick building that was once the home of the Bankside Power Station. Designed by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, it was built between 1947 and 1963. Its striking tower is ninety-nine meters tall; regulations stipulated that it was not allowed to be taller than the dome of the St. Paul’s Cathedral just across the river Thames.

A New Museum

At the end of the 1990s the Tate Gallery – now known as Tate Britain – was struggling with a lack of space due to its quickly expanding collection of modern art. So it was decided to split up the collection and search for a new location to house the modern works of art. The power station, which was located at the riverbank of the

Tate Modern, London

Tate Modern

Thames was chosen as it had been abandoned in 1981 and offered plenty of space. A competition was held to find an architect for the reconversion of the building. A plan by the Swiss architects Herzog and de Meuron was selected out of 148 entries.

The museum opened at this location in May 2000 and has become quite a popular tourist attraction thanks to its eclectic collection of modern art. Also, entrance to many of the collections and exhibits at Tate Modern is free, which adds to its popularity.

Expansion

Tate Modern Expansion, © Hayes Davidson and Herzog & de Meuron

Rendering of the
expansion
© Hayes Davidson and
Herzog & de Meuron
Tate Modern is set to expand with the addition of two large oil tanks and a new, very modern glass pyramid extension which will house photography, video, and community exhibits. The architects for the extension, which is added to the south side of the existing building, are Herzog and de Meuron. The expansion is planned to be completed in December 2016.

The Galleries

Visitors heading to Tate Modern are treated to a real plethora of modern art. On the first floor, Turbine Hall, guests will find specially commissioned works that change from year to year. On the next level, a small exhibition space profiles changing works of contemporary artists, both regional and international.

Summertime, Tate Modern, London

Summertime, Jackson Pollock

On level 3, galleries include Abstraction, Expressionism, and Abstract Expressionism, and guests will view masterpieces by such artists as Matisse, Monet, and Kapoor, just to name a few.

Level 4 houses temporary exhibits while level 5 zeroes in on such movements as Cubism, Futurism, Pop Art, Minimalism, Constructivism, and Conceptual Art. Artists displayed here might include Andy Warhol, Pablo Picasso, and Roy Lichtenstein.

Outside, you can hop aboard the Tate Boat and make the twenty minute trip to Tate Modern’s sister museum, Tate Britain, which has the world’s largest collection of British art.