Archive for January 16th, 2019

January 16, 2019

Tower of London, yes of course ,London!

So lets shift gear and head over the neighbor to the other side, hopefull will stay close. I have been here several times, more on business than pleasure and we all love it. I guess we do not mind big cities… This is London, and one of the best for us has been the Tower of London.

I have written bits on it before in my blog, will just tell you a bit more here on the Tower of London. First, my business trips are done by airplane but the personal trips were done by car and it is super , love to drive in big cities too even on the wrong side of the road lol!

We came and ask around and was told to go the corner of Lillie rd and Seagraves rd where there was an Avis rental car park but for a fee they let you park, well it was word of mouth and it works, we parked there twice more and at half prices ,recall 16£ per day cash.  This is close to West Brompton tube Southern line You might want to check it out.  Althought, we stayed in apartment closer to Earls Court easy walking distance to get back home. The London inner ring road (beltway of London) with the local routes A406 and A205 (mine) and the motorways M25 getting around the city best to the city center of Inner London Oh yes to find your way driving, this is a tool I use rather nicely, good driving skills are needed London TrafficLondon Traffic helps your way around London

london

london

london

Let me tell you about our favorite sightseeing in London. Tower of London; wonderful places of history old and new. Visit the White Tower, and the Crown jewels section for sure.

The Tower of London is a historic fortress located on the north bank of the River Thames in London next to the tower bridge. The tower is located in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets east of the City of London in a space called Tower Hill. Its construction began towards the end of the year 1066 as part of the Norman conquest of England. The White Tower, which gave its name to the entire castle, was built on the order of William the Conqueror in 1078. It also served as Grand Palace and Royal residence. As a whole, the tower is a complex composed of several buildings surrounded by two concentric defensive walls and a moat.

A brief description if I may try it…

The tower consists of three ramparts. The inner rampart protects the white tower and represents the first phase of the castle’s construction. The intermediate rampart which encircled it to the north, east and West was built during the reign of King Richard I to ensure the security of the Kingdom during the reign of king Henry III, the castle was strengthened and extended, with among other things the construction of the Wakefield tower, the Lantern tower and a curtain wall surmounted by nine towers and surrounded by moats. Finally, a third rampart was built under king Edward I. The king only rarely stayed at the castle. A prison is installed there as well as a division of the Hotel Royal of the Treasury. The fortress is also used to store important goods and documents.

london

The White Tower is a dungeon, which was often the strongest structure of a medieval castle and the one that housed the dwellings of the Lord, in this case the king and his representatives. The White tower was also, by its strength, its majesty and its grandiose dwellings, the dungeon by excellence. As one of the largest dungeons in Christendom the White Tower has been described as the most complete 11C palace in Europe. The White Tower, without taking into account its corner towers, measures 36 × 32 meters at its base and rises to a height of 27 meters at the level of the south rampart. The building initially consisted of three floors: a basement, an entry level and a higher level. The entrance, as was the norm in the Norman dungeons, was above ground level. It was located on the south side and was equipped with a wooden staircase that could be removed in the event of an attack. The tower is mainly built with stone from Kent even though local mudstone was also used. From the stone of Caen was imported from the north of France to form details on the coating of the tower but much of it was replaced by Portland Stone in the 17-18C. Since most of the windows in the tower were enlarged in the 18C, there are only two originals, albeit restored on the south side.

london

london

The crypt of the Saint John Chapel occupied the southeast corner and was accessible only from the Oriental room. The upper level housed a large hall in the west and a residential room in the east, both initially open on the roof and surrounded by a gallery built in the wall, as well as the St John’s Chapel in the southeast. A fourth level was added in the 15C as is the current roof.

london

The inner rampart delineates an area just south of the White Tower and extends to what was the shore of the Thames river. The construction of the Wakefield and Lanthorn Towers, located at the corners of the inner rampart along the Thams river began around 1220 a door located near the Wakefield Tower allowed private access to the King’s apartments. The intermediate rampart was created during the reign of king Richard the Lion Heart when a clod was dug to the west of the inner rampart which allowed to double the size of the castle. The main entrance to the intermediate rampart would have been a body of guards probably in the west wall in what is presently the Beauchamp tower; The Beauchamp tower built in the 13C marked the first use on a large scale of the brick in Britain since the departure of the Romans in the 5C. The Beauchamp Tower is one of the thirteen towers located on the rampart.

london

The Salt Tower initially gave on the Thames river. Archers settled there to protect the tower and castle. The Broken Arrow Tower takes its name from the spear-iron symbol stamped on the property belonging to the King. From 1669 to 1841, the tower houses the Crown jewels. It was then known as the Jewel Tower. A third rampart was built under king Edward I. A bastion called Legge’s Mount was built at the north-west corner of the castle and a second bastion, Brass Mount, was later added to the northeast corner.   As a result of the addition of this new enclosure, the former main entrance to the Tower of London was blocked and a new entrance was created at the southwest corner of the outer rampart. In this rampart, it was built the St Thomas Tower between 1275 and 1279; subsequently called Traitors’s Gate, it replaced the bloody Tower as access door from the Thames river. From 1560, the Royal Mint was installed in a building backed by the exterior wall near the Salt Tower. Between 1348 and 1355, a second access gate on the river, the Cradle Tower, was added to the east of the St Thomas ‘ Tower for the exclusive use of the King.

A bit of history I like

After his victory at the Battle of Hastings on 14 October 1066, William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy, and vassal to the king of France spent the remainder of the year fortifying key positions to secure his power. Between 1066 and 1087 , William establishes 36 castles   as well as his subordinates. William sent an avant-garde to prepare his entry into the city, to celebrate his victory and to found a castle; The fortification which eventually became the Tower of London was built on the southeast corner of the ancient Roman walls of the city and were used to serve as prefabricated bases; In addition the Thames river provided an additional defense to the south. Almost all the first Norman castles were built of wood but at the end of the 11C some of them, including the Tower of London, were renovated with stone. The work on the White Tower, which gave it its name, would have started in 1078 but the exact date is uncertain. The Norman conquest of London was manifested not only in the form of a new ruling class but also in the way the city was structured. The land was confiscated and redistributed between the Normans. The castle probably retained its form established from 1100 until the reign of king Richard I ,the Lion Heart. It was enlarged under the impulse of William Longchamp, Lord Chancellor of Richard I and the man who was in charge of England when the king was on a crusade. In the 13C , the Kings Henry III and Edward I   enlarge the castle, the present form of which has hardly evolved since. From 1238, the castle was enlarged to the east, north and north-west.

The majority of the end of the 15C was marked by the war of the two Roses, which pitted the houses of Lancaster and Yorkshire; two contenders to the throne of England. The beginning of the Tudor period marked the decline of the Tower of London as a royal residence.   From 1547, the Tower of London was only used as a royal residence when its historical and political symbolism was deemed useful; For example, Edward VI, Marie I, and Élisabeth I stayed briefly before their coronation

Although much of the prison’s reputation was exaggerated, the 16-17C marked the culmination of the tower as a center of internment, and many religious and political opponents were detained there. Among the people executed at the tower are Anne Boleyn. So when Walter Raleigh was held in the tower, his cell was modified to accommodate his family whose son was born there in 1605. The executions were usually carried out at tower Hill rather than in the Tower of London itself and 112 people were there executed in over 400 years. Before the 20C, there were seven executions carried out within the castle in the Green Tower. This was reserved for prisoners whose public execution was deemed to be dangerous.

The tradition of harboring the crown jewels in the tower probably dates back to the reign of king Henry III. In 1649, during the first English revolution, the contents of the Jewel House were emptied of the royal properties. The metal objects were sent to the mint to be melted and reused, and the crowns were completely broken and disfigured. When the monarchy was restored in 1660, the only elements of the Coronation regalia were a 12C spoon and three ceremonial swords. The other objects had to be recreated. In 1669, the Jewel House was demolished and the crown jewels were moved to the Martin tower where they were exposed to the public.   Crown jewels are currently preserved in the Waterloo Barracks of the tower.

During WWI, eleven men were tried behind the walls and executed by a firing squad for espionage. During WWII, the tower was again used to detain prisoners of war. One of them was Rudolf Hess, Adolf Hitler’s representative, but only for four days in 1941. He was the last prisoner of state to be imprisoned , and the last execution in the tower was that of the German spy Josef Jakobs shot on 14 August 1941. The executions during the two world wars took place in a small field of shooting practice located near the exterior rampart which was demolished in 1969

The Tower of London had become one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country in 1984, the London subway station Tower Hill (Mark Lane before 1967) was opened north of the tower, bringing tourists and locals more closer to the Tower of London . The Tower is managed by a Recognized Association of Public Utility, the Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no assistance from the Government or the Crown and is funded by donations and admissions.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip here are

Official management organisation of the Tower of London

Tourist office of London on the Tower of London

There you go a wonderful spot to start your London sightseeing  ,why not go for the main ones first and this is tops. Tower of London for all of London thereafter! Hope you enjoy the tour.

And remember, happy travels , good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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January 16, 2019

The Nord: Le Quesnoy and Mauberge!

And continuing my saga of the Nord or north of my belle France I take you closer to family and times expent there for years since 1990. As usually the case with places so familiar and personal , photos are minimum. Need to come back for them lol!!!

On this particular Sunday, I like to take you to visit two nice cities along the Franco-Belgian border, that is Le Quesnoy and Mauberge in the department 59 of the Nord, in the region of Hauts de France.

I have written on them a bit before such as from this writing:  We stay in the way Nord to see two small towns ,Mauberge with its wall fortifications going back to 1676, the museum les Corps de Garde, and the nice places to eat with good beers of the north. We have Le Quesnoy,it has fortified ramparts, they are 12 km of walls in line around a fortified wall intact of 3,5 km in circle with an ingenious systems of wells.  A belltower or Beffroi of 48 carillons,and a Hotel de Ville city govt building from 1700, and a most vivid a memorial to New Zealanders who fought here in WWI ,and now Le Quesnoy is forever linked to the city of Cambridge in New Zealand. A vivid nice memorial for all to see and not forget.

And I go on with some update wonderful information to help you visit these wonderful frontier towns.

Maubeuge is a town in the Nord department 59 in Hauts-de-France region. The Franco-Belgian border is only 7 km north of the city. The province passes to the House of Austria from 1478 to 1513, and to the House of Spain from 1513 to 1678. Maubeuge was definitively attached to France by the Treaty of Nijmegen of 1678, ratified by King Louis XIV a few days later, and by the King of Spain Carlos II , a few days further on.

A bit of history I like

During the French revolution in 1793, the siege was placed before the city by the Austrians of the Prince of Saxe-Coburg. A few months later it was the Battle of the Sambre, in 1794, which took over Maubeuge, and ended with the victory of the revolutionaries, thus securing the conquest of Belgium.

Following the defeat of the Napoleonic armies in Leipzig in October 1813, the coalition forces invaded France. The stronghold of Maubeuge resisted victoriously in 1814 to the attacks of the Duke of Saxe-Weimar troops. During the Hundred Days, Napoleon’s troops prepared here for the nearby Battle of Waterloo. Three days after this defeat, on June 21, 1815, Maubeuge was besieged by 12 000 Prussians and had to surrender. Following three years of occupation by the Prussian and then Russian troops.

In 1678, the signing of the Treaty of Nijmegen ended the war in the United Provinces. This treaty allows France to fill a fortified border in the north of its territory. This line of fortifications is almost identical to our current border with Belgium (from Dunkirk to Givet). The ensemble imagined for Maubeuge is composed of a line of ramparts of a height of ten meters flanked by seven bastions in Roll-ons. To close the space between two bastions, a half-moon belt is added (completely surrounded by ditches). The construction of this ensemble lasted from 1679 to 1685 in the north, on the place Vauban, leaning against the wall the Porte de Mons, a stone work surmounted by attics as of the Mansart style. Built in 1682 with materials of local origin two buildings from the military heritage have survived; the powder shop located near the rue de la Croix exhibits a vaulted room covered with a thick earth mount. The Arsenal built between 1678 and 1689 develops a long silhouette on three levels (103 meters long by 12 meters wide). This building is part of the barracks planned at the time to house the troops of the garrison.

In WWI will re-test the city until finally liberated by the British on 9 November 1918. WWII, on the other hand, had a disastrous effect on the city destroying the heart of Maubeuge at more than 90%. On September 2, 1944, the city was liberated from the Nazis occupier by the American’ 3rd Armoured Division known as SpearHead , led by Gen Maurice Rose.

The town other than fortications has a nice Zoo , to visit is worth the detour.

Some webpages to help you plan your trip to nice Mauberge are

City of Mauberge on heritage

Tourist office of Mauberge on heritage

Offical Zoo of Mauberge

Info, contact on the tourist office are Tél  +33 (0) 3 27 62 11 93, and email tourisme.maubeuge@gmail.com

Tourist office of the region Avesnois on things to see

Moving right along to Le Quesnoy,  also a town in the Nord department 59 in the Hauts-de-France region. It has kept intact its characteristic ramparts which show the evolution of the art of Defence of the 17C (the so-called Spanish era) at the beginning of the 20C passing by the famous Vauban who changed its appearance. Belgium is 10 km away!

The border town undergoes a siege by the Austrian army of Cobourg and falls in 1793 it was retaken in 1794 by the troops of Schérer after a severe siege under a downpour rain.The news of the capture of the city is transmitted in a few hours by the telegraph Chappe, a world premiere, to the Committee of Parisian Public Salvation which welcomes it.

le quesnoy

le quesnoy

The city taken in 1914 by the German troops suffered a severe occupation during four years, that after a difficult approach by the Valley of the Ecaillon, the city was liberated in 1918 by a New Zealand Division. In 1923, the New Zealand monument was inaugurated. The Mayor Daniel Vincent welcomes Marshal Joffre, Lord Milner (one of the English signatories to the Treaty of Versailles) and Sir Allen, representative of New Zealand. The communal cemetery of the Quesnoy and its extension host 189 war graves of the Commonwealth War Graves Soldier’s Commission who died in November 1918, of which 49 are New Zealanders.

le quesnoy

A bit of history I like

The city was under Hainaut, Burgundian, and Spanish occupation and or control .Before the end of the Fronde in 1654, the city is taken by the Royal French Army of Turenne. The city that had never been French became it for the great pleasure of the court. The young king Louis XIV receives the city as a gift of his coronation.

In WWII, once defeated the Algerian Tirailleurs Battalion, which defended Jolimetz with a few tanks in support after the Nazis’ breakthrough through the defences of the Sambre, the 5th Panzer stood in front of the ramparts of the Quesnoy on 18 May 1940 towards the end of In the afternoon. The Nazis of the 5th Panzer, who are preparing a new attack with tanks and heavy artillery, propose to the defenders to give their surrender, which they accept in the afternoon.

Some webpages here to help you plan your trip are

City of Le Quesnoy on heritage

Tourist office of Le Quesnoy on heritage

Tourist office of the Avesnois on Le Quesnoy

Hope it helps come over to this wonderful northern region of France, unique and different but still the my belle France. Mauberge and Le Quesnoy are those town that are full of history and architecture but seldom gets recognition by the visitors. Hope it helps you discovered them

And remember, happy travel, good health, and many cheers to all!!!

 

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