Thursday, October 31, 2013

Day 44 - A tour bus ride, a cruise to Greenwich and a return to Picadilly

The Roundhouse on Garrick St in Covent Garden
It's 11:30 and I'm just starting this blog, so that means I'm basically going to need to do a quick run through and add pictures and information at a later time.  Today is Halloween, and London lets out the ghosts and ghoulies at night.  Most are adults, and I'm not sure if they're going to parties or nightclubs, or just out showing their creativeness.  We took a lot of pictures, including one of a pub that really went "all out" for the holiday (see The Roundhouse above).

Parliament and London Eye from the bus
We went to Leicester Square first and got tickets to "Dirty Dancing," then caught the bus at Trafalgar Square and rode it to Westminster Bridge where we boarded a boat and rode it to Greenwich.

Trafalgar Square fountains
Nelson's Column Trafalgar Square

Charles I statue on Whitehall
Charles I was the second son of King James VI of Scotland (son of Mary Queen of Scots). James VI was the first cousin twice removed of Queen Elizabeth I of England, and when she died childless in March 1603, he became King of England as James I. Unfortnately, Charles was a weak and sickly infant, so while his parents and older siblings left for London, England in April and early June that year, he was not considered strong enough to make the journey due to his fragile health.

By 1604, Charles was three and a half and as he was able to walk the length of the great hall at Dunfermline Palace without assistance, it was decided that he was now strong enough to make the journey to England to be reunited with his family. In mid-July 1604, Charles left Dunfermline for England where he was to spend most of the rest of his life. In England, Charles was placed under the charge of Elizabeth, Lady Carey, the wife of courtier Sir Robert Carey, who put him in boots made of Spanish leather and brass to help strengthen his weak ankles. His speech development was also slow, and he retained a stammer, or hesitant speech, for the rest of his life.

In January 1605, Charles was created Duke of York, as is customary in the case of the English sovereign's second son, and made a Knight of the Bath. In 1611, he was made a Knight of the Garter.

Portrait by Robert Peake of Charles as Duke of York and Albany, c. 1610
Eventually, Charles apparently conquered his physical infirmity, which might have been caused by rickets, and grew to a peak height of 5 feet 4 inches (163 cm). His short stature is one of the reasons he preferred to be seen on horseback.  He became an adept horseman and marksman, and took up fencing. Even so, he was not as valued as his physically stronger and taller elder brother, Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales, whom Charles adored and attempted to emulate. However, in early November 1612, two weeks before Charles's 12th birthday, Henry died at the age of 18 of what is suspected to have been typhoid (or possibly porphyria), and Charles became heir apparent. As the eldest living son of the sovereign, Charles automatically gained several titles (including Duke of Cornwall and Duke of Rothesay). Four years later, in November 1616, he was created Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester.

Portrait of Charles as Prince of Wales after Daniel Mytens, c. 1623
An unsuccessful and unpopular attempt to marry him to a Spanish Habsburg princess culminated in an eight-month visit to Spain in 1623 that demonstrated the futility of the marriage negotiations. Two years later he married the Bourbon princess Henrietta Maria of France instead.

Portrait from the studio of Anthony van Dyck, c. 1636
After his succession in 1625, Charles engaged in a struggle for power with the Parliament of England, attempting to obtain royal revenue whilst Parliament sought to curb his royal prerogative. Charles believed in the divine right of kings and thought he could govern according to his own conscience. Many of his subjects opposed his policies, in particular his interference in the English and Scottish churches and the levying of taxes without parliamentary consent, and perceived his actions as those of a tyrannical absolute monarch.

Charles's religious policies, coupled with his marriage to a Roman Catholic, generated the antipathy and mistrust of reformed groups such as the Puritans and Calvinists, who thought his views too Catholic. He supported controversial ecclesiastics, such as Richard Montagu and William Laud, whom Charles appointed Archbishop of Canterbury, and failed to successfully aid Protestant forces during the Thirty Years' War. His attempts to force religious reforms upon Scotland led to the Bishops' Wars, strengthened the position of the English and Scottish parliaments and helped precipitate his own downfall.

From 1642, Charles fought the forces of the English and Scottish parliaments in the English Civil War. After his defeat in 1645, he surrendered to a Scottish force that eventually handed him over to the English Parliament. Charles refused to accept his captors' demands for a constitutional monarchy, and temporarily escaped captivity in November 1647. Re-imprisoned on the Isle of Wight, Charles forged an alliance with Scotland, but by the end of 1648 Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army had consolidated its control over England. Charles was tried, convicted, and executed outside the Banqueting Hall on Whitehall at age 48 for crimes of high treason in January 30 1649. The monarchy was abolished and a republic called the Commonwealth of England was declared with Oliver Cromwell invited to rule as the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth.. In 1660, the English Protectorate ended and the monarchy was restored to Charles's son, Charles II.

Continuing our bus trip, we next came across the Horse Guards Building.

Horse Guards Building as seen from Whitehall
Horse Guard close-up

Horse Guards is a large grade I listed building in the Palladian style between Whitehall and Horse Guards Parade. The first Horse Guards building was built on the site of the former tiltyard of Westminster Palace in 1664. It was demolished in 1749 and was replaced by the current building which was built between 1751 and 1753 by John Vardy to a design by William Kent.

Horse Guards is guarded by the Blues and Royals, one of two regiments of the Household Division that can trace its lineage back to the New Model Army, the other being the Coldstream Guards.The regiment was formed in 1969 from the merger of The Royal Horse Guards, which was known as "The Blues" or "The Oxford Blues", and The Royal Dragoons, which was known as "The Royals".

The Blues and Royals formed a union for operational purposes with the Life Guards as the Household Cavalry Regiment. However, they each maintain their regimental identity, with distinct uniforms and traditions, and their own colonel. The Blues and Royals currently has two reconnaissance squadrons in Windsor, which are part of the Household Cavalry Regiment, and a mounted squadron in London as part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment.

The Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment caries out regular ceremonial duties throughout the year. As the Sovereign's bodyguard and part of the Household Division, the HCMR mounts a daily guard (called Queen's Life Guard) at Horse Guards, which is the historical and ceremonial entrance to Buckingham Palace. This ceremony can be viewed daily by members of the public. The HCMR is responsible for the provision of the Sovereign's Escort, most commonly seen at the monarch's annual Birthday Parade (Trooping the Color) in June each year. The escort is also seen at other occasions, including during state visits by visiting Heads of State, or whenever required by the British monarch. The regiment provides a staircase party inside Buckingham Palace at state Investitures, and inside the Palace of Westminster at the annual State Opening of Parliament. They are also present at the annual Garter Ceremony at Windsor Castle.

When we reached Westminster Bridge, we got off the bus and walked back across the bridge to join up with City Cruises.

City Cruises, the boat tour company that operates with the bus tour company we took, don't have professional guides on the boats, so it's basically the crew members who do their best to point out landmarks as we pass them.  Greenwich is east of the tower, but what is amazing is that you can see the Shard almost more clearly there then you can in London proper.  You also get views of certain landmarks that are only visible from the river.

Houses of Parliament from the River
Waterloo Bridge (Ladies' Bridge) Portland Stone

Waterloo Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge crossing the River Thames in London, between Blackfriars Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The name of the bridge is in memory of the Anglo-Dutch and Prussian victory at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Thanks to its location at a strategic bend in the river, the views of London (Westminster, the South Bank and London Eye to the west, the City of London and Canary Wharf to the east) from the bridge are widely held to be the finest from any spot at ground level.

The forgotten heroines of London's 'Ladies Bridge': Historian reveals how women were drafted to construct Waterloo Bridge during WWII but never got the credit they deserved
Records of women who helped build the bridge have never been found
Could have been thrown out when construction company folded
Female workforce ignored when the bridge was opened in 1945 but male workers were thanked
By 1944, two years after the bridge was partially opened, 25,000 women were in the construction industry working as brick layers, laborers and joiners.

Workers building Waterloo Bridge
Waterloo Bridge was built during a time when London was being pummeled by the Luftwaffe, causing mass destruction to buildings that had stood for centuries. Undeterred by the nightly raids during the Blitz, however, a group of women, who until now have largely gone ignored, never lost their resolve to build what is now one of the city's most important bridges.  Their work on Waterloo Bridge left it with the moniker of Ladies Bridge, but this fact has been ignored by all but a few.

Thanks to Christine Wall, a construction historian who worked with filmmaker Karen Livesey to look into the reason why the women have been ignored, the ladies' efforts are finally being recognized."The Ladies Bridge" reveals that their absence from historic records is primarily due to the liquidation of Peter Lind, the construction firm behind the bridge. Peter Mandell, manager of the company, explained: "The difficulty with the Peter Lind records were that when the company went into liquidation in the late 1980s, a lot of their information was kept or pillaged by people who wanted a keepsake of their time with Peter Lind. But it was generally well known that, anecdotally if you like, that there were women working (for Lind), and in fact names of a particular lady was given to me at the time."

Because of the dearth of pictorial and written evidence, it is not known what specific work the women carried out on the bridge, but because many men were fighting 'The War,' their efforts are believed to be significant.  The women worked with the understanding that they would be paid less than their male counterparts and would give up their new jobs when the men returned once the war was over.

Underside of the Waterloo Bridge
The bridge the women built replaced one that had nine arches and was demolished around 1936 because of problems that had occurred with its decaying foundations. The new bridge's construction suffered several delays when it was repeatedly damaged by enemy action during the Blitz - the only Thames crossing to be attacked in this way. Clad in Portland stone, the Waterloo Bridge is London's only self-cleaning bridge. Spanning the Thames in 1,200 feet and 80 feet wide, making it the longest bridge in London, the Waterloo has five spans of reinforced concrete that cross the river between the modernist concrete structures of the South Bank Centre and the classical stone structure of Somerset House on the north bank.

Externally, the spans appear as elegantly flat arches, but the underlying structure consists of steel box-girders.The bridge was opened with a proper ceremony in December 1945 once the war was over, but the Labour politician Herbert Morrisso said: 'The men who built Waterloo Bridge are fortunate men. They know that, although their names may be forgotten, their work will be a pride and use to London for many generations to come.'  Not recognizing the women's efforts at all.

On the "other" side of the Waterloo Bridge is the Thames River Police Station.

Police Station on the Thames
In the late 1700's ship merchants were losing thousands per year in stolen cargo from the River Thames in London.

Mr John Harriot, Justice of the Peace and Master Mariner, devised a plan to protect Thames shipping from river pirates with a preventative policing unit.  Financed by the West India Merchants, who invested £4,200, and with Government approval the unit began on July 2nd 1798. It was based in Wapping High Street and the original site is still the current headquarters of, what is now called, the Marine Support Unit, MSU, of the Metropolitan Police - over two hundred years later.

Originally set up as a one-year trial it was remarkably successful. A small force of 50 river officers were charged with controlling over 30,000 workers connected with the river trades of which nearly a third were known criminals.

On July 28th, 1800 Parliament passed the Marine Police Bill, moving the original small privately funded river police force into a public service. The Thames River Police was a pioneering operation that brought law and order to the river and became a model for many police forces around the world. In 1839 the Thames Police Office was eventually merged into the London Metropolitan Police as the 'Thames Division' which was responsible for saving lives and protecting property on the Thames for over two hundred years.

Police presence on the Thames
Fast track to today and London's river and all of London's waterways are policed by the Marine Support Unit of the Metropolitan Police with tasks ranging from Counter Terrorism patrols to policing the waters of the Thames on a 24 hour basis.

You can visit The Thames River Police Museum which is located at Wapping Police Station. However, since the museum is housed in a working police station, visits must be arranged by prior appointment.

Across the river from the police station on the Thames is the National Theatre (where we saw Edward II). See Day 34 for more information regarding this set of buildings.

Next we came across the HQS Wellington.

HQS Wellington
HMS Wellington (launched Devonport, 1934) is a Grimsby-class sloop, formerly of the Royal Navy. During the Second World War, she served as a convoy escort ship in the North Atlantic. She is now moored alongside the Victoria Embankment, at Temple Pier, on the River Thames in London as the headquarters ship of the Honourable Company of Master Mariners where she is known as HQS Wellington. It was always the ambition of the founding members of the Company to have a Livery Hall. Up to the outbreak of war in 1939, various proposals were examined, including the purchase of the sailing ship, the Archibald Russell.

After the war, it became apparent that the possibility of building a Hall in the City of London had been rendered very remote. In 1947, the Grimsby-class sloop Wellington was made available by the Admiralty. The Company decided to buy her with money subscribed by the members and convert her to a floating Livery Hall - an appropriate home for a Company of seafarers.

Just to the right of the Wellington, is the King's Reach Marker with the face of Neptune, which is reportedly the dividing line between Westminster and the City or central square mile city of London, which has its own police force.

King's Reach Marker
HMS President is next along the Victoria Embankment right before you reach the Blackfriars Bridge.

HMS President
HMS President (1918)’s former Royal Navy Flower Class sloop, HMS PRESIDENT moored on the River Thames, London by the Victoria Embankment. Friday 15th July 2011.

On the south side, opposite the HMS PRESIDENT is the OXO Tower and Restaurant.

OXO Tower Wharf
The Oxo Tower Wharf is located towards the eastern end of London's South Bank cultural area, and is within the London Borough of Southwark. A continuous riverside walkway passes in front of the building, and links it with other riverside attractions such as the Festival Hall, the National Theatre, the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre.

The building is flanked on the upstream, western side by Bernie Spain Gardens and Gabriel's Wharf, and to the east by Sea Containers House.  We were also told that the word "wharf" is an acronym for Ware House At River Front.

Back on the north side of the river, just prior to reaching Blackfriars Bridge, you'll see the original City of London School (now the J.P. Morgan building) and the Unilever House.

The Original City of London Boys School and Unilever House viewed from across the River Thames.             © Copyright Philip Halling and licensed for reuse under Creative Commons Licence
The Victoria Embankment building of the City of London School (1883-1987) is a grand building  in a high Victorian style with a steep pitched roof (resembling that of a French chateau), designed by Davis and Emanuel Pevsner and constructed by John Mowlem & Co at a cost exceeding £100,000. The designers designed the school as "amazingly unscholastic, rather like a permanent Exhibition Palace."

On the front of the building are statues of Shakespeare, Milton, Bacon, Newton and Sir Thomas More, "the first four emphasizing the schools literary and scientific traditions, the last being a religious martyr, a famous lawyer, and the author of Utopia."

Old London City School building lit up at night
The building remained the home of the City of London School for over one hundred years, although the site expanded to include not only the original building on the Victoria Embankment itself, but a range of buildings at right angles along the whole of John Carpenter Street (which was named after the founder of the school) and further buildings constructed at the back along Tudor Street, with the school playground, Fives courts and cloisters enclosed within the site. These other buildings were demolished when the school moved again in 1986. Here the school was adjacent to the City of London School for Girls (which was founded by the City of London Corporation as a sister school in 1894 and moved in 1969 to its present site in the Barbican) and the Guildhall School of Music (which has also since moved to the Barbican). It was also next to the traditional home of the British newspaper industry in Fleet Street.

This building is now protected by a preservation order; it is presently occupied by the investment bank JPMorgan and appeared on the left of the famous Thames Television ident for 30 years. The building still
features the school's name above the door.

Blackfriars Bridge
Blackfriars Bridge is a road and foot traffic bridge that spans the Thames between Waterloo Bridge and Blackfriars Railway Bridge, carrying the A201 road. The north end is near the Inns of Court and Temple Church, along with Blackfriars station. The south end is near the Tate Modern art gallery and the Oxo Tower.

Although the original bridge was built of Portland stone the workmanship was very faulty. Between 1833 and 1840 extensive repairs were necessary, and a good deal of patching-up was done, until at last it was decided to build a new bridge on the same site and this coincided with the creation of the Thames Embankment's junction with the new Queen Victoria Street required a major reconfiguration. The present bridge, which was opened by Queen Victoria  in 1869, 923 feet (281 m) long, consisting of five wrought iron arches built to a design by Joseph Cubitt.

Pillars from the 1864 Railway Bridge next to the new one.
Cubitt also designed the adjacent rail bridge (opened in 1864, now demolished) for the London, Chatham and Dover Railway with the condition that the spans and piers of the two bridges be aligned. It was built by P.A. Thom & Co. Like its predecessor it is owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, a charitable trust overseen by the City of London Corporation. Like London Bridge the full length and its southern end is within the City's borders and not in the adjoining borough of Southwark. Due to the volume of traffic over the bridge, it was widened between 1907–10, from 70 feet (21 m) to its present 105 feet (32 m).  It eventually became too weak to support modern trains, and was therefore removed in 1985 – all that remains is a series of columns crossing the Thames and the southern abutment, which is a Grade II listed structure. (see above picture)

The solar-paneled roof on the Blackfriars Railway Bridge
The second bridge, built slightly further downstream (to the east), was originally called St Paul's Railway Bridge and opened in 1886. It was designed by John Wolfe-Barry and Henry Marc Brunel and is made of wrought iron. It was built by Lucas & Aird.] When St Paul's railway station changed its name to Blackfriars in 1937, the bridge changed its name as well.

At the southern end of the bridge was Blackfriars Bridge railway station which opened in 1864 before closing to passengers in 1885 following the opening of what is today the main Blackfriars station. Blackfriars Bridge railway station continued as a goods stop until 1964 when it was completely demolished, and much of it redeveloped into offices.

As part of the Thameslink Programme, the platforms at Blackfriars station have been extended across the Thames and partially supported by the 1864 bridge piers. The project is designed by Jacobs and Tony Gee & Partners and built by Balfour Beatty. The work also includes the installation of a 64,583 square feet solar bridge on its roof.  The energy that will be generated is said to be used to power the station or at least half of it.  The solar panels used are Sanyo HIT photovoltaic panels with 4,000 high-efficiency. It is the largest of only two solar bridges in the world (the other being Kurilpa Bridge in Australia). Other green improvements include sun pipes and systems to collect rain water.

Between Blackfriars Bridge and the Millennium foot bridge is the current City of London School.

City of London School with St Paul's Cathedral behind it
The present building on Queen Victoria Street was designed by City of London architect Thomas Meddings, an Old Citizen of the school as well as a former Temple Church chorister. It is a wholly modern building, although some of the stained glass and sculptures from the Victoria Embankment building has been relocated to this new building. A design and technology block was added to the building in 1990, though in 2008, the block was transformed into a building mainly used by the ICT and music departments, although some design and technology facilities remain. The building was designed on a structural grid and non-load bearing walls were used so that the internal layout of the building could easily be changed when necessary. The school's design is also slightly unusual in that it was built avoiding a road tunnel in the center of the premises. This meant that the first and second floors of the building could only be built on either side of the road tunnel. The load on the third floor directly above the road tunnel is also limited and so a courtyard, surrounded by the building, which goes up to the fifth floor, exists in that area.

The current building is opened to the public annually on one weekend in September as part of the Open House London event.The front view of the building beside the River Thames with St Paul's Cathedral in the background and the Millennium Bridge on the right is occasionally seen in popular media such as in the BBC News 60-second countdown as well as in an early scene of the 2005 movie, The Constant Gardener and in the 2009 film Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.

Across the river from the City of London (School for Boys) is the Tate Modern (connected to St Pauls by the Millennium Bridge) and the Globe Theatre.

Globe Theatre and Tate Modern
Next along the river comes the Southwark (pronounced Suthuck) Bridge.
Southwark Bridge (with St. Pauls in the distance)
After Southwark Bridge, on the south side of the Thames is The Anchor Pub Bankside.  For more information about this pub, please visit Day 15.

The Anchor Pub Bankside
The next bridge we pass under is the Cannon St Railway Bridge.  The Cannon Street Railway Bridge carries trains over the river to Cannon Street station on the north bank. It was originally named Alexandra Bridge after Alexandra of Denmark who was the wife of the future King Edward VII.

The Cannon St Station and Bridge
The bridge was designed by John Hawkshaw and John Wolfe-Barry for the South Eastern Railway. It was opened in 1866 after three years of construction. In its original form, it carried the railway over the Thames on five spans standing on cast-iron Doric pillars. It was subsequently widened between 1886–93 by Francis Brady and extensively renovated between 1979–82, which resulted in many of its ornamental features being removed and the structure taking on an even more utilitarian appearance than before.

It was the scene of the Marchioness pleasure boat disaster in 1989, where fifty-one people drowned after two boats collided due to poor visibiltiy.

Visible on the north side next is the Fishmonger's Hall. The earliest recorded Fishmongers' Hall (sometimes shortened to Fish Hall) was built in 1310. A new hall, on the present site, was bequeathed to the Company in 1434. Together with 43 other Company halls, this one was destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666 and a replacement hall designed by the architect Edward Jerman opened in 1671. Jerman's hall was taken down when the new London Bridge was constructed in 1827. The next hall, opened in 1834, was designed by Henry Roberts although his assistant Gilbert Scott made the drawings for the new building, and built by William Cubitt & Company. After severe bomb damage during the Blitz, Fishmongers' Hall was restored by Austen Hall and reopened in 1951.

Fishmongers' Hall
The hall contains many treasures, including the dagger with which Lord Mayor Walworth killed Wat Tyler in 1381, Pietro Annigoni's first portrait of Her Majesty The Queen, a collection of 17th- and 18th-century silver, an embroidered 15th-century funeral pall, two portraits by George Romney, and river scenes by Samuel Scott. The hall is located in Bridge Ward on London Bridge.

The next bridge we went under was the London Bridge.  Though the name "London Bridge" refers to several historical bridges that have spanned the River Thames between the City of London and Southwark, the current crossing, which opened to traffic in 1973, is a box girder bridge built from concrete and steel. This replaced a 19th-century stone-arched bridge, which in turn superseded a 600-year-old medieval structure. This was preceded by a succession of timber bridges, the first built by the Roman founders of London.

London Bridge
The current bridge stands at the western end of the Pool of London but is positioned 30 metres (98 ft) upstream from previous alignments. The traditional ends of the medieval bridge were marked by St Magnus-the-Martyr on the northern bank and Southwark Cathedral on the southern shore. Until Putney Bridge opened in 1729, London Bridge was the only road-crossing of the Thames downstream of Kingston-upon-Thames.

After the bridge, on the north side, is St. Magnus the Martyr.  This church was one of 51 parish churches rebuilt by Sir Christopher Wren and his office after the Great Fire (in fact, the enterprising parishioners had already begun to rebuild north wall with the mason George Dowdeswell by 1668). The work spanned 1671-84, but was substantially complete by 1676; at £9579 19s 10d, it was one of his most expensive churches. Wren's craftsmen were John Thompson, mason; Matthew Banckes Senior and Thomas Lock, carpenters; William Cleere, joiner; Doogood & Grove, plasterers; with internal woodwork by William Grey and one Massey. Although the model for the steeple was probably made by 1684 (very closely based on that of St. Charles Borromée by François Aiguillon in Antwerp), it was only completed in 1703-06.

St Magnus the Martyr Church
St. Magnus is reportedly just one of the many haunted churches rebuilt by Christopher Wren after the Great Fire of London in 1666. However, the tomb of Miles Coverdale, the man who gave us the first English Bible and who died in 1535, can be found in the church's south east corner. Many visitors report a great feeling of sadness when near his tomb.

A ghostly figure with black hair and wearing a serge cassock with a cowl, has been seen on several occasions both near the tomb and in other places in the church. A church worker, a rector and a rectors wife all testified that the church was haunted. Although churches don't normally admit to playing host to anything supernatural, Miles Coverdale was rector of the original church before he became Bishop of Exeter so perhaps it is him keeping a spectral eye on things.

Once we landed at Greenwich and tipped our commenter, we stopped at a small hamburger place called Byrons and had some warm drinks.  The boat wasn't heated and the "doors" where the passengers enter and leave are left open, so it got chilly.

After our drinks we boarded the DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and took a train to Tower Gateway.  The Docklands Light Railway (the DLR) is an automated (computer-operated with no engineer) light metro system opened in 1987 to serve the redeveloped Docklands area of London. It reaches north to Stratford, south to Lewisham, west to Tower Gateway and Bank in the City of London financial district, and east to Beckton, London City Airport and Woolwich Arsenal.

The system uses minimal staffing on trains and at major interchange stations; the four sub-surface stations are
staffed to comply with underground station requirements. Similar proposals have been made for the adjacent
system, the Tube.

From Tower Gateway we walked closer to the Tower where we picked up another tour bus and rode it to Piccadilly, where we walked to Denman street and stopped at the Clock Jack Oven for a chicken dinner.  The chicken was good, and both of us ordered a salad to go with it, since nothing else came with the meal.  We did take a picture, which I will add in later.

Since the theatre was practically next door, we left the restaurant and walked across the street to the Piccadilly Theatre for Dirty Dancing.  This is the second time the show has come to London and it's for a limited engagement.  Unfortunately, it had a lot of the same problems From Here to Eternity had.  The actors, either through bad direction or lack of interest gave flat performances.  Though the lead characters were supposedly in love with each other, they interacted as though they sort of liked each other, but neither would have minded if the other left.  Line readings were flat all around.  The musical was primarily a dancing show, which they did do very well.

The show followed the movie very closely, though it used a relatively flat stage with backdrops that showed movement.  There were two actresses I felt understood their parts and made the most of them.  Once was the Penny character who had a botched abortion and the other was Baby's older sister Lisa, who as a character couldn't sing or dance and yet appeared in the talent show.  The actress did a very good impression of an untalented amateur that made you laugh and wince at the same time.

After the show, we returned via Leicester Square, which was crowded with vampires, witches, ghosts and ghouls of all shapes and sizes.  Again we took pictures, which I will have to add tomorrow.  So, come back and check in again tomorrow night if you can.  Until then, good night.

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