70 images taken in October of central London, Leeds Castle and Penshurst in Kent.
Westminster Palace, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral and
other architectural sites plus a few of the iconic images of London are included.
Each image is thoroughly captioned with detailed historical information.

Click an image to open a larger version.
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Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Routemaster Double-Decker Bus 0777

One of London’s most famous symbols, the AEC Routemaster double-decker bus was made in the 1950s and 1960s and were in use until 2005. This is RML 2551, a lengthened bus on Route 12, retired into private ownership one month later.


Big Ben 0793

Elizabeth Clock Tower of Westminster Palace, known for its bell Big Ben, is vignetted by foliage near Westminster Bridge. The tower holds the world’s largest four-face chiming clock and is the third tallest free-standing clock tower.


Big Ben 0799

The Clock Tower was officially renamed Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It has been popularly known as Big Ben for its Great Bell, the 13.5 ton 9 foot diameter behemoth that resides in the belfry.


Big Ben 0813

The Gothic Revival tower was Augustin Pugin’s last design. The brick tower is clad in limestone up to the belfry, and the upper spire is framed cast iron. The four clock dials are mounted 180 feet above the ground, with the belfry above.


Big Ben 0811

The four clock dials are in a gilded iron frame, each of which supports 312
pieces of opal glass, thus each dial is similar to a stained glass window.
The Latin below each clock asks the Lord to keep Queen Victoria safe.
The clock uses a double three-legged gravity escapement, invented by
Edmund Beckett Denison specifically for use in this enormous clock.

The clock is adjusted by the placement of penny coins on the pendulum.
each coin used increases the speed of the clock by 0.4 seconds per day.

Big Ben is actually the second bell for the tower. The original 16 ton bell
cracked while being tested, and was recast as a 13.5 ton bell. This second
bell also cracked two months into service due to the hammer being more than
twice the maximum specified weight. The bell was repaired and rotated so the
new hammer struck a different spot, and Big Ben remains cracked to this day.
The belfry also houses four quarter bells, which chime at the quarter hours.


Big Ben Westminster Palace 0801 M

Westminster Palace contains the Houses of Parliament and stands on the bank of the River Thames.
The current building replaced the Old Palace of Westminster which burned in the fire of 1834. This fire
was caused when old unused tally sticks were ordered to be burned in the House of Lords furnace to
avoid annoying the neighbors. The overloaded furnace collapsed the copper flue liners, overheating
the brickwork and igniting the floor timbers, which set fire to the paneling, which in turn set fire to the
House of Commons, so the Old Palace was destroyed to avoid annoying the neighbors. Classic.

The New Palace was built around Westminster Hall, which survived the blaze due to the efforts
of firefighters who wet down the 14th century hammerbeam roof. The Jewel Tower also survived.
The New Palace was rebuilt in Perpendicular Gothic style by Sir Charles Barry, detailed by Pugin.


Westminster Hall Victoria Tower 0807

Westminster Hall, the only surviving part of the Old Palace, was originally erected in 1097. The outer walls still survive.

At right center is the 1899 statue of Oliver Cromwell, by Hamo Thornycroft on Cromwell Green. This controversial statue of the Lord Protector of the Commonwealth was emplaced even though many Conservatives and Irish Nationalists voted against it due to Cromwell’s conquest of Ireland.

Oliver Cromwell led the group of Parliamentarians which tried and executed King Charles I for treason at the end of the Second English Civil War in 1649. He established the Commonwealth, then invaded Ireland and in a brutal series of massacres and mass atrocities killed civilians including women and children. He later conquered Scotland in a somewhat less brutal manner than he did in Catholic Ireland.

Two years after Cromwell’s death in 1658, the Royalists reinstated Charles II as King, and Oliver Cromwell was posthumously executed by hanging and decapitation, although there is still some controversy as to whether the body was that of Cromwell (several stories state that the executioner found the body had already been decapitated and the head sewn back on, prompting some to speculate that Cromwell had his body and that of Charles I switched in their tombs at Westminster Abbey). Others state that the corpse was too fresh to be that of Cromwell. Some accounts state that Cromwell’s body was not placed in Westminster Abbey at all, but was hidden after his death. The head was passed around for centuries until it was finally reburied in 1960.


Westminster Hall Victoria Tower 0807c

The towers at right center stand over the St. Stephen’s Hall Entrance to Westminster Hall, at the far right is the Victoria Tower. This square tower at the southwest end of Westminster Palace was the tallest secular building in the world at 396 feet when the wrought iron flagstaff  was erected in 1855. The Victoria Tower stands at the end of the House of Lords and was purpose built as a fireproof storage structure for books and documents. The records of the House of Lords survived the 1834 fire as they were stored across the street in the Jewel Tower, but the records of the House of Commons were destroyed.

The main entrance at the base of the tower is the Sovereign’s Entrance, through which the Monarch passes when entering Parliament. The first 12 floors are Parliamentary document archives. Architectural and interior designs were by Augustus Pugin.


Blues and Royals 0787


Blues and Royals 0782

The Blues and Royals (the Royal Horse Guards and 1st Dragoons) are a part of the Royal Household Guards.
Along with the Coldstream Guards, they trace their heritage back to the New Model Army of 1645, formed by
the Parliamentarians during the English Civil War. It was formed by merging the Royal Horse Guards (Blues)
with the Royal Dragoons (Royals) in 1969, and along with the Life Guards form the Household Cavalry which
carry out ceremonial duties on State and Royal occasions and operational duties (e.g. field reconnaissance).


Blues and Royals 0784

The Blues and Royals wear the red tasseled Home Service Helmet with the chin strap under the chin
(the Life Guards wear the strap under their lower lip). These troops are a part of the mounted squadron
in London that is part of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment used mostly in ceremonial occasions.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


London Eye 0817

The London Eye, or Millennium Wheel, is the largest Ferris Wheel in Europe at 443 feet tall, and was the world’s largest when erected in 1999. It is supported on one side by a single A-frame and offers one of the highest observation points in London. This view is from Westminster Bridge.


London Telephone Boxes 1177

Traditional red K6 telephone boxes in a shopping area in central London. The iconic red kiosks are a symbol of Britain throughout the world. First produced in 1920, these are the K6 version designed in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V and the first to be used outside of London.


Leadenhall Market 0731

Leadenhall Market is a covered market on Gracechurch Street dating back to the 14th century in the historic center of Roman London. It was originally a meat, poultry and game market on the site of Leadenhall Manor in the early 1300s. Leadenhall was gifted to the city in 1411 and the manor hall was replaced with a public granary, school and chapel in 1440.


Leadenhall Market 0818

The original market was enlarged in the 1400s, and after the Great Fire of 1666, it was transformed into a covered market and divided into Beef, Green and Herb markets. In 1881 the stone market was redesigned by the City Architect into the Victorian wrought iron and glass structure with an ornate roof and cobbled floors that is present today.


Leadenhall Market 0826

Leadenhall Market has been used as a location for several films, and as part of the 2012 Olympic Marathon course.


King George IV Trafalgar Square 0771

The equestrian statue of King George IV in front of the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square. The church has been on this site since 1222, rebuilt in 1542 and 1720.


Trafalgar Square Lion 0761

One of four bronze lions at the base of Lord Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square.
Vice Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson was famous for several notable victories during the
Napoleonic Wars, including the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805 where he was shot and killed.


Trafalgar Square Lion 0764

Another of the bronze lions at the base of Nelson’s Column, designed by Sir Edwin Landseer.

The Nelson Column itself is a 170 foot monument consisting of a pedestal and a fluted granite column
topped by a Craigleith sandstone statue of Lord Nelson standing on a Corinthian capital made from bronze
cast from cannon salvaged from the wreck of HMS Royal George, a 100-gun first ship of the line that was the
world’s largest warship when it was launched in 1756. It took part in the Battle of St. Vincent but later sank
due to mistakes made with moving of the cannons while preparing to sail in 1782. The four bronze relief
panels are 18 foot squares commemorating four battles and were cast from captured French cannon.
Three of the four panels are depicted below (the fourth is the Death of Nelson at Trafalgar in 1805).


Bronze Reliefs Nelson Column Trafalgar Square

A 1600 x 990 image with detail crops of three of the four bronze panels in the Nelson Column.
The image shows John Ternouth’s depiction of the Battle of Copenhagen (1801), where Nelson led
the main attack, ignoring an order to withdraw, and destroyed many enemy ships, leading to a truce;
William F. Woodington’s depiction of the Battle of the Nile (1798) where Nelson lost an eye defeating
and largely destroying a French fleet in Aboukir Bay, stranding Napoleon’s army in Egypt and losing
only 218 men to 1700 French (and 3000 captured); and Musgrave Watson’s panel depicting the
Battle of Cape St. Vincent (1797) where Nelson slipped through the Spanish Fleet in the fog
and passed the location to his commander, who sailed to intercept, forcing the Spanish into
the Atlantic where they were met by the British fleet. Outnumbered nearly two to one, the
British attacked rather than let the Spanish retreat to join the French fleet. Nelson took
a chance when he saw the British maneuvering would not catch the Spanish in time,
and brought his ship across several much larger and more heavily armed Spanish
ships, taking withering fire until his ship was disabled, at which time he boarded
and captured two Spanish ships after forcing them to cross each other and
become entangled. This maneuver was greatly admired in the Royal Navy.

Nelson went against the conventional tactics of the time by cutting through the
enemy lines, and was able to inspire and bring out the best in his men. By the time
he died in 1805 at the Battle of Trafalgar, he had become a national hero and was
given a state funeral. He is still considered one of the greatest naval commanders
in military history and continues to be a popular hero 200 years after his death.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Queen Anne Statue St. Paul’s Churchyard 1120

Anne was Queen of England when the new St. Paul’s Cathedral was completed in 1710.
The original Carrara Marble statue of Queen Anne was created by Francis Bird in 1712.

The weatherbeaten original had lost some fingers and toes by the late 19th century, and the sculptor Richard Belt went to the City Council of London and offered to replace it with an inexpensive stone replica. The City Council agreed and the marble statue was replaced with the one now in St. Paul’s West Courtyard. Unfortunately, the City Council did not own the Queen Anne statue or the four attendant statues (allegories of Britannia, Ireland, France and the American Colonies, all lands to which Queen Anne laid claim). These five statues simply disappeared into the night with no trace.

The 19th century travel writer Augustus Hare spent two years hunting for the statues, and finally they were found under a mound in a stonemason’s pit. They were about to be destroyed and sold for the weight of the marble to sculptors. Augustus Hare quickly discovered that the actual owners of the statues were the Bishop of London, the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Mayor of London. He arranged to get the shares of the Bishop and Archbishop, and the Archbishop was able to convince the Lord Mayor to give up his share. Hare then arranged for the statues to be transported to his home in Sussex (Holmhurst), where the statues remain today, although the allegorical statues are quite damaged now, missing arms, heads, or faces.


Queen Anne Statue St. Paul’s Churchyard 1127

Queen Anne is quite popular with the local wildlife. The statue is Portland stone and is in front of St. Paul’s West entrance.


St. Paul’s Cathedral 1129

The North transept entrance to St. Paul’s Cathedral. This is actually the fifth Cathedral to be built on Ludgate Hill.

The first St. Paul’s Cathedral was built by the East Saxon King Saeberht during the bishopric of Mellitus, the first Bishop of London in 604. When Saeberht died in 1616, his pagan sons ejected Mellitus and the kingdom reverted to paganism. In 675-85, Erkenwald, the Abbot of Chertsey, was consecrated as Bishop of London, and rebuilt the burned wooden cathedral which was destroyed in the fire of 675. Erkenwald’s second cathedral was built in stone. This 2nd cathedral was destroyed by Vikings in 962, and rebuilt later that year. This 3rd cathedral was destroyed along with much of London in the fire of 1087. Stones from the damaged Palatine Tower built by William the Conqueror on the banks of the River Fleet (now underground at Fleet Street) were ussed to rebuild St. Paul’s in a new Norman Cathedral now known as Old St. Paul’s. The new cathedral required 150 years to complete (1240), although a new Gothic Choir was added in 1313 making it the third longest church in Europe at 596 feet. The following year, an enormous spire was completed, making St. Paul’s the tallest church in Europe at 489 feet. This church lasted until the 17th century, although there was much damage during the reign of Henry VIII, who sold many of the outlying structures at St. Paul’s as shops and rental properties. The spire was destroyed in 1561 by lightning, and the entire cathedral was burned in the Great Fire of London of 1666. Rather than rebuild the gutted cathedral, it was decided to design and build a new one.


St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome 1149

St. Paul’s Dome and Transept Portico pediment as seen from the South. Christopher Wren’s multi-stage dome was inspired by Michelangelo’s dome for St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.


St. Paul’s Cathedral Dome 1155

St. Paul’s dome is an outer dome shell in three separate masonry stages, an inner dome for an artistically balanced interior, and an inner brick cone supports the lantern.

The Great Fire of 1666 had destroyed much of London, and Christopher Wren presented King Charles II a plan for rebuilding the city within days of the fire, but there were no funds to execute his designs. Instead, the King gave Wren a commission to rebuild the city’s churches, including St. Paul’s Cathedral. The King was a great fan of Wren’s design work, but the Church did not want a design that was too modern or too “Italian”, thus they rejected his first design as too modern and not sufficiently ”stately”: a circular domed vestibule similar to the Pantheon in Rome attached to a rectangular Basilica. They also rejected his second design: a Greek Cross design with a dome. This one was considered both too modern and too “Italian”. Wren then submitted a third design: an expansion of the Greek Cross design extended by a long nave. Christopher Wren created an oak and plaster Great Model of this design at considerable expense, but the design was rejected for being too unlike other English churches. Christopher Wren considered this to be his favorite design, but it was not to be. He did, however, refuse to create any more models or submit any further drawings to what he considered to be “incompetent judges” of his work.

Christopher Wren then created his fourth design which gave the Church elders exactly what they seemed to want: a longitudinal Latin Cross medieval cathedral of one and a half stories with Classical porticoes and transepts, and an unusual multi-stage spire with a wide shallow base dome supporting a drum, a cupola, and a seven-stage diminishing spire which was inspired by Oriental pagodas. This 4th effort was called the Warrant Design because the King affixed a Royal Warrant for building it, but he gave his favorite architect an out: a proviso was added by the King allowing Wren to make “ornamental changes” to the design, and he changed nearly every element of the plan, hiding his work behind scaffolding until, by the time the furious clergy realized what he had done, it was too late to change the work already in progress.


St. Paul’s Cathedral Millennium Bridge 1168

St. Paul’s Cathedral taken from the south bank of the Thames across the Millenium Bridge, a pedestrian bridge between the cathedral and the Globe Theater across the river.


St. Paul’s Cathedral Millennium Bridge 1170

The Millenium Bridge is a steel suspension pedestrian bridge which opened in 2000. Also called the Blade of Light, it has fluid and tuned-mass dampers to reduce movement.

Christoper Wren solved the problem of a large cathedral supported by the weak clay London soil by
building the largest crypt in Europe under the entire church, rather than only under the Eastern end. The
crypt has massive piers spreading the weight supported by the much slimmer piers in the church above.
His completed cathedral looks nothing like the Warrant Design, as it has two full stories, the large dome
considered by many to be the finest in Europe, and a Western facade with a two story Classical portico
rising on paired columns to mask the high central nave, and two towers standing on either side. The
lower portico extends all the way to the towers, while the upper story portico only covers the Nave.
The space between the Nave and the Aisles is bridged by a narrow wall with arched windows.


St. Paul’s Cathedral 1174

St. Paul’s from the south bank of the Thames, east of the Millennium Bridge in front of the Globe Theater.
The Western Towers rise above the buildings on the left and the 365 foot tall dome dominates the skyline.

Both the outer and inner dome shells were built on catenary curves rather than hemispheres and have a
far greater separation of space between the inner and outer shells than Michelangelo’s Dome at St. Peter’s
in Rome. The inner dome is supported by the cornice of the peristyle, and a brick cone rises above the inner
dome to support the stone lantern above and the timbers which support the lead-covered outer dome shell.

The overall design of the Cathedral is a restrained Baroque design blending English Medieval cathedrals,
Roman and Greek architectural designs of the Italian architect Andrea Palladio, Classical designs of the
earlier British architect Inigo Jones who brought Palladio’s Vitruvian designs to England to create early
British Neo-Classical architecture, and modern Baroque designs of 17th century Roman architecture.
St. Paul’s Cathedral is considered to be Christopher Wren’s masterpiece of architectural design.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Tower Bridge 0749

One of the most iconic symbols of London, Tower Bridge crosses the Thames near the Tower of London,
from which it gets its name. Tower Bridge is a combined Bascule and Suspension Bridge, with two towers
which are intended to withstand the forces exerted by the suspension sections on the landward sides, and
a central span split into two equal bascules: two leaves which pivot upward toward the towers to allow the
passage of taller ships under the center section of the bridge. Tower Bridge was built from 1886-1894.


Tower Bridge 0750

Tower Bridge without the tour boat. In the latter half of the 19th century, increased commercial development
of the East End created a requirement for a bridge crossing the Thames downstream of London Bridge, as the
distance required for traffic and pedestrian travel to and from London Bridge was adding hours to the commute.
A fixed bridge would prevent tall ships from reaching the port facilities between the Tower and London Bridge,
so it was decided after a design competition to accept John Wolfe Barry’s design for a bascule bridge with
two towers built on piers, with suspension sections on the landward sides. Construction began in 1886.


Tower Bridge 0758

A Police boat travels under the suspended roadway on the south side of Tower Bridge near the Tower of London.

Tower Bridge stands on two massive piers containing more than 70,000 tons of concrete which were sunk deep into the riverbed. Over 11,000 tons of steel were used to create the framework for the towers and walkways. This framework was then clad with Cornish Granite and Portland stone (limestone) to both protect the framework and provide a pleasing appearance to the bridge. The original design by Barry (submitted by City Architect Sir Horace Jones) called for a brick facade, but when Jones died in 1887, George D. Stevenson took over and changed the brick facade to an ornate Victorian Gothic style intended to make the bridge more in harmony with the nearby Tower of London, although recently some architectural critics have stated that they consider the design to be pretentious.

When it was completed, Tower Bridge was the largest, most sophisticated bascule bridge ever built. The bridge is 800 feet long with two 213 foot tall towers built on piers. The central span between the towers is 200 feet. The towers are connected by two pedestrian walkways and the two 1000 ton bascules. The two counterbalanced bascules were originally raised by pressurized water which was pumped into the six hydraulic accumulators by two steam engines. During World War II, a third steam engine was added as a redundant safety feature in case of damage by enemy action. Between 1974 and 1976, the entire system was changed to oil hydraulics driven by electricity rather than steam.

The two high-level open-air walkways were closed in 1910 due to an unfortunate reputation as a place frequented by pickpockets and prostitutes. The walkways were covered and then reopened in 1982 as part of the Tower Bridge Exhibition which uses films and videos, photos and interactive kiosks and displays to show how the tower was built, and to offer the panoramic views of central London.

Tower Bridge is one of the most recognizable bridges in the world. The raised walkways offer spectacular views from 140 feet over the Thames. The West walkway offers views of the Tower of London, Westminster Palace, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the London Eye, and other sites in central London. It is one of the must-see sights in London, day or night (see below).


Tower Bridge 1048

Tower Bridge at Night. This was one of a series of shots taken during a training session...
one each at f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 and 5/8 plus one extra at f/4 with a tour boat nearing the bridge.
The image above is the shot taken at f/5.6, the image below is the one at f/4 with tour boat.
Each of the images is available, but only these two are shown here except in the analysis.


Tower Bridge 1051

Tower Bridge from the eastern side at night, with a tour boat about to pass under the central bascules.

Besides the obvious difficulties caused by long exposure times (1/15 to 1/2 second), generally requiring
the use of a tripod (which I did not bring with me to Europe due to the fact that it could not be used in most
of the places where I would be shooting), night shots require careful calculation of exposure so that enough
mid-tone information is available for good color saturation and detail without radically overexposing bright
lights. In addition, the choice of aperture used alters the effects of coma (spreading and softening of light
around bright light sources) as well as the length and intensity of rays emanating from the light sources.

Generally, once you know what exposure you need to get the look you want, you select the aperture
based upon the character you want to achieve with the light sources. If there is movement in the shot
(e.g. a tour boat), you may need a wider aperture for a faster shutter speed to reduce subject blurring.


Aperture Effects Tower Bridge 1044, 1046-48

An analysis of the effects of different apertures on light sources around Tower Bridge at night.

In the upper left image, shot at f/2.8, the lights are soft, spreading blobs with minimal ray effect.
In the upper right image taken at f/4, there is a lessening of coma effect and more apparent rays.
The lower right image (f/5.6) shows a little coma in a ‘tail’ below the light and sharper, longer rays.
The lower right image taken at f/8 shows insignificant coma and long, well defined ray effects.
An image taken at f/11 would show no coma at all and very long, sharply defined rays, but
the shutter speed would be 1 second, too long to take without a solid camera mount.

With long exposures, it is difficult to achieve a sharp image, thus you either need to
practice a very solid holding technique, brace the camera on a wall, or use a tripod.


Tower Bridge 1106

Tower Bridge taken from the western side, on the bank in front of the Tower of London.

This image was taken at f/2.8 to achieve soft coma effects around the lights.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Tower of London 0737

Devereux Tower and part of Legge’s Mount (lower left) on the northwest corner of the fortress.
Devereux Tower is at the northwest corner of the curtain wall between the Inner and Outer Wards,
 Legge’s Mount is the northwest corner bastion on the wall between the moat and the Outer Ward.

The Tower of London was founded in 1066 by William the Conqueror, who built a stronghold on the site in the southeast corner of the Roman city walls to control the huge population, who were understandably angry with the conquering Normans. By 1070, work had begun on the White Tower, a great stone tower over 100 feet across in both directions and up to 90 feet tall. Nothing like it had been seen in England, and it proclaimed the power and domination of the new Norman monarch when completed in 1100. The primary function was to act as a fortress rather than as a royal residence. Later kings expanded the fortress, adding towers and walls to create three layers of defenses: the innermost, inner and outer wards.


Tower of London 0738

Legge’s Mount, Devereux Tower, and the edge of Waterloo Barracks at the upper right.

Devereux Tower was built by King Henry III between 1238 and 1275. It was named for Robert Devereux,
Earl of Essex, who was executed by Queen Elizabeth in 1601, nearly implicating William Shakespeare
in his treasonous plot when he arranged for Richard II to be played at the Globe Theater the day before
his rebellion was to occur. When Londoners stayed out of his rebellion, he was captured and executed.

Legge’s Mount is a bastion tower on the curtain wall created during the reign of Edward I (Longshanks)
in the 13th century. This curtain wall completely surrounded the fortress, creating the Outer Ward. At the
same time, Edward I added fill land to the south, extending the fortress to space which had previously
been submerged under the River Thames. He built St. Thomas Tower (Traitor’s Gate) from 1275-79.
The bastion was named for George Legge, 1st Baron Dartmouth, Constable of the Tower 1685-91.

Waterloo Barracks was built on the site of the Grand Storehouse which was destroyed by fire in 1841.
The Duke of Wellington, the Constable of the Tower, named it after his greatest victory over Napoleon.
The Jewel House, where the Crown Jewels and Regalia are kept, is in Waterloo Barracks west wing.


Tower of London 0741

At the left is Beauchamp Tower, at right center is Bell Tower, and in between is Queen’s House.
At the far right is Byward Tower, the Gate Tower at the southwest corner of the outer curtain wall.

Beauchamp Tower was built by King Edward I between 1275 and 1281, first for defensive purposes
and then as a place to house prisoners of rank. Named for Thomas Beauchamp, 3rd Earl of Warwick,
who was imprisoned there by Richard II in 1397 and restored to liberty and honor by Henry IV in 1399.

Queen’s House was built in Tudor style during the reign of Henry VIII, and is currently the home of
the resident Governor of the Tower of London. The Queen’s House is one of few remaining wood
houses from this period which survived the Great Fire of 1666, as it was inside the stone fortress.

Bell Tower was built during the reign of Richard the Lionheart between 1190 and 1210 and is the
oldest building in the fortress other than the White Tower. The bell in the tower was rung in times
of danger, and at its signal all drawbridges were raised, portcullises dropped and gates closed.
The small wooden tower on its edge contains the curfew bell, which has rung for over 500 years
to signal to prisoners that they have to return to quarters (it now signals the Tower closing time).
The Bell Tower is octagonal up to the level seen in the image above, then it becomes circular.
It rose directly out of the waters of the Thames, until the south was filled in for the Outer Wall.

Byward Tower was built as a new Gatehouse and entrance to the Tower of London during
the construction of the Outer Ward by Henry III and Edward I and strengthened by Richard II.
Byward Tower was the innermost of the three western gates leading to the Tower of London.
As the inner gate, it was the last protection for the keep and was guarded by two portcullises,
a drawbridge in the causeway and numerous arrow slits protecting the two cylindrical towers.


Tower of London 0745 M

St. Thomas Tower, part of which can be seen on the left, was built by Edward I between 1275-1285
as a State entrance and apartments. The entrance was via a water gate, a strong double gate known
as Traitor’s Gate as it was the entrance used to bring the State’s prisoners into the Tower of London.
Luxurious apartments were built on the upper floor, and arrowslits and a portcullis protected the dock.

In the center is Wakefield Tower, a circular tower built between 1220 and 1240 for King Henry III, who
maintained his privy chamber on the upper floor, with frescoes on the walls. It was originally called the
Blundeville Tower in medieval records after the Constable of the Tower. It is on the inner curtain wall.
Henry VI was murdered in the small chapel off the presence chamber (Wars of the Roses, 1471).
In 1869, the Crown Jewels were moved to Wakefield Tower and remained there until 1967.

On the right is the White Tower, the original Norman Keep built between 1077 and 1100. It is
the most complete 11th century palace in Europe. It measures 118 x 105 feet and is 90 feet tall
at the southern end where the ground is lower. The onion-shaped domes with weather-vanes on
the turrets were added in 1530 during the reign of Henry VIII. The first prisoner of the White Tower
was Ranulf Flambard, Bishop of Durham, who was responsible for building Westminster Hall as well
as holding King William II’s seal and handling financial administration. He was imprisoned by Henry I,
the successor to William II, as a scapegoat for the creative financial extortions of the previous King.
Ranulf Flambard was not only the first prisoner at the Tower... he was also the first to escape.


Tower of London Night 1112 M

Traitor’s Gate, the infamous Water Gate in St. Thomas Tower where State Prisoners entered the Tower.
The gate was built by Edward I between 1275 and 1279 to provide a water entrance to St. Thomas Tower,
and did not become known as Traitor’s Gate until the Tudor period, when the Tower was increasingly used
as a prison and place of execution. This was the largest residential arch in Europe at the time it was built.

The gate is protected by a portcullis and arrowslits, replacing the Bloody Tower as the primary water gate.
The steps beyond lead to the Bloody Tower, where the Princes in the Tower murders occurred in 1483.
The Princes were Edward V and Richard, Duke of York. They were the only sons of Edward IV who
were alive at the time of their father’s death. They were moved to the Tower by Richard, ostensibly
in preparation for Edward’s coronation, by Richard, Duke of Gloucester who was responsible for
the boys (12 and 9) until the coronation. Richard allegedly ordered the boys murdered and took
the throne for himself. In 1674, the skeletons of two children were discovered under a staircase
leading to the chapel in the White Tower, and they were interred at Westminster Abbey. Later
forensic analysis of the skeletons  performed in 1933 determined they were of the right ages.


Tower of London Night 1118

Traitor’s Gate in St. Thomas Tower.


Tower of London Night 1063

Lanthorn Tower and Cradle Tower.


Tower of London Night 1074

Lanthorn Tower and Cradle Tower in the Inner and Outer walls respectively.

Lanthorn Tower is at the opposite side of the southern Inner wall from Wakefield Tower.
They were originally separated by the Great Hall, which was the site of Anne Boleyn’s “trial”,
Lanthorn and Wakefield Towers were built by Henry III, and both contained royal chambers.
Lanthorn Tower was named for a lantern which was placed atop the tower at night to guide
ships on the Thames. Medieval “lanthorns” were candles mounted in a metal frame with
sides made of thin, translucent horns. Later, prisoners were kept in Lanthorn Tower.
In 1774 the tower was partially destroyed by fire and was demolished in 1776. The
three story tower was rebuilt between 1851 and 1883 in a pseudo-medieval form.

Cradle Tower was built betweeb 1348 and 1355. It is the principal surviving example of
Edward III’s works at the Tower of London, and was built to provide a private water gate to
his apartments in Lanthorn Tower, and was defended with a drawbridge and two portcullises.
In 1679, a committe reviewing the Tower’s defenses ordered the tower walled up. The original
top floor was demolished in 1776. It was rebuilt in 1879 along with unblocking of the river gate.


Tower of London Night 1081

St. Thomas Tower, Wakefield Tower, and Henry III’s water gate at night.

Henry III’s water gate was built into the Inner wall next to Wakefield Tower. When the Outer wall
was built by Henry III and Edward I, the arched gate shown above was built leading to the inner gate.
Later, Edward I built St. Thomas Tower and the new water gate (Traitor’s Gate) replaced Henry III’s gate.


Tower of London Night 1097

A closer shot of St. Thomas Tower and Wakefield Tower at night.

These last two shots were rather difficult, as they were at 1/6 second and 1/20 second respectively.
Achieving clean results at long shutter speeds wiithout the use of a tripod can be quite challenging.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

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Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Leeds Castle Pavilion Lawn 1613

The first view of Leeds Castle beyond the Pavilion Lawn on a dark and dreary day
in October. It had just rained and was still threatening, but we managed to stay dry.

Leeds Castle is considered by many to be among England’s most beautiful castles. It has
taken many forms over the centuries: originally a fortified Saxon Manor and Mill which was
listed in the Domesday Book (which was a highly unpopular asset survey conducted in 1086
for William I, also known as William the Conqueror,  to determine who held England’s wealth),
it was rebuilt as a Norman stronghold (motte and bailey) in 1119, and was acquired as a royal
residence by Queen Eleanor of Castile, wife of King Edward I in 1278. For the next 300 years
it remained a royal residence until Henry VIII granted it to Sir Anthony St. Leger in 1552 for
the annual rent of 10 as a reward for his services in subjugating the Irish Uprising.
It was then handed down through a network of interlinked families for 400 years.
In 1926 it was sold for death duties to Lady Baillie, an Anglo-American heiress.


Leeds Castle Pavilion Lawn 1618

Leeds Castle rising over the peripheral foliage at the edge of the Pavilion Lawn.

In 1090, William II granted the Saxon Manor to his cousin Hamo de Crevecoeur, who
arrived with William the Conqueror in 1066. In 1119, Hamo’s grandson Robert built the
first stone fortifications on two rocky islands in the Len River. The Keep was built on the
smaller of the two islands, where the Gloriette stands today (at left in the image above).


Leeds Castle Barbican Norman Stonework 1624

Some of the original Norman stonework in the Barbican wall, a wall which extended from the original gatehouse across to the islands. This is the oldest surviving part of the original castle.


Leeds Castle Barbican Falls 1630

The small waterfall which penetrates the Barbican. The original Barbican wall extends to the revetment wall which was built in 1278 around the large island by Eleanor of Castile.


Leeds Castle Barbican Bridge 1634

The stone bridge from the original Gatehouse, which was also built in the 13th-14th century.


Leeds Castle and Outer Bailey Wall 1635

Leeds Castle looms above the Outer Bailey Wall, the revetment wall or curtain wall which rises from
the moat to surround the large island. This wall was built by Eleanor of Castile in the late 13th century.
The Outer Bailey Wall has four semi-circular bastion towers. Three of the towers have been lowered to
the level of the revetment wall. The northeast tower (the Water Tower) remains in its original condition.


Leeds Castle Outer Bailey Wall 1637

The Outer Bailey Wall and Water Tower (far right), with the eastern wall of Leeds Castle, from below the Water Tower. The Water Tower is a red-peaked pointed tower which can be seen in the last two images in this section (Maiden’s Tower).


Leeds Castle Gloriette and Water Gate 1643

The Bridge over the Water Gate (left) leads to the Keep, which is called the Gloriette. The lower Keep dates from the 14th century, and the upper structure was built during the reign of Henry VIII in the 15th century. The bridge was built in 1822.

The Gloriette (main Keep) was originally connected to the larger island by a drawbridge. The current bridge with its castellated parapet was built when the Smythe’s Jacobean House which replaced Henry VIII’s Tudor Palace was rebuilt in 1822.

Leeds Castle has undergone many alterations over the centuries. Edward III refurbished the original royal apartments in the Gloriette in the middle of the 14th century. The upper floor was added in the 15th century. In the early 16th century under Henry VIII, major alterations transformed Leeds Castle into a palace. The upper floor of the Gloriette was made into an apartment for the exclusive use of Catherine of Aragon, the first wife of Henry VIII.

The fortified manor itself was later demolished and rebuilt as a Jacobean House in the early 1600s after the castle had been acquired by the Smythes from the St. Leger family. The St. Legers had been granted the castle in 1552 by Henry VIII for an annual rent of 10, but they had to sell it after losing their fortune by backing Sir Walter Raleigh in his ill-fated expedition to find the legendary city of gold (El Dorado). Unlike many aristocratic homes Leeds Castle was not damaged during the English Civil War (1642-51) as the owner was the only one of his family to back Oliver Cromwell’s Parliamentarians, although he was financially ruined when the Royalists returned to power in 1660. Leeds Castle was sold to a Royalist Culpeper, whose father had been granted 5 million acres in Virginia for aiding in the escape of the Prince of Wales. It remained in the related families for four hundred years. The sale of the Virginia estates financed the extensive repairs and remodeling of Leeds Castle in the early 1800s which transformed it into the Tudor Castle that appears today.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Cuirassier Armor Leeds Castle 1647

This 3/4 suit of Cuirassier Armor dates from the Civil War period (1642-1651) and was worn by a mounted pistoleer.


Leeds Castle Central Towers 1651

The central towers beside the entrance to Leeds Castle. The main castle is on the site of the Jacobean manor house.


Leeds Castle 1652

The New Tudor Castle replaced the Jacobean Manor house built in the 1620s. The remodeling was
financed by the sale of the remains of over 5 million acres of prime Virginia land (the Fairfax Grant).
This land was confiscated during the American Revolution, and after extensive legal battles which
continued all the way to the Supreme Court, the family finally received some compensation. This
proved critical to the condition of Leeds Castle, as it financed the much needed reconstruction.


Leeds Castle 1653

The sun finally peeks out for a few moments, allowing two beautifully lit shots of Leeds Castle.

At the time of the sale of the Virginia land, many of the structures at Leeds Castle were either
in major disrepair or in danger of outright collapse. The funds allowed the rebuild of the main
house in the Tudor style as seen today, and the repair of the Maiden’s Tower, Gloriette, and
several of the other structures on the grounds. One hundred years later, the family had to
sell the castle to the American heiress Olive Paget, who became Lady Baillie after her
third marriage. Lady Baillie restructured the interiors to resemble a medieval castle,
and later work was done in the French style of Louis XIV. The Maiden’s Tower was
transformed from a Brewhouse to apartments and a cinema, and extensive work
on the grounds created a garden, swimming pool, tennis and squash courts,
an aviary, and re-landscaping of the park-like grounds. Lady Baillie used
the Leeds Castle estate to throw many very lavish parties in the 1930s.


Leeds Castle 1655

An oblique view of the Tudor facade of Leeds Castle in the afternoon sun.

During World War II, Lady Baillie moved into the Gloriette and the Castle was used as a hospital.
Leeds Castle was also the site of secret weapons research and safety systems design research.
After the war, Lady Baillie resumed entertaining at a greatly reduced level, and finally, when she died
in 1974, she left the castle and grounds to a Charitable Trust for the use of the public. The Castle has
recently been used for global conferences (including the Irish Peace Talks) and is popular for weddings.


Leeds Castle Maiden’s Tower 1656

The Maiden’s Tower, and on the far right the Water Tower, the only remaining bastion tower on the
Outer Bailey Wall to remain at the original height. The Maiden’s Tower was built during the reign of
Henry VIII in the early 1500s, and was used as a bakery and brewhouse before it was transformed
into separate apartments in the 20th century under Lady Baillie’s reformation of the Castle interiors.


Leeds Castle Maiden’s Tower Black Swans 1661

Black Swans swimming in the moat in front of the Maiden’s Tower and Water Tower.

The Black Swans were a gift to Winston Churchill from the Australian government, and not having
anywhere to put them, he forwarded the swans on to Leeds Castle, where their descendants remain.
Leeds Castle now has a resident population of 8 breeding pairs which freely roam the castle grounds.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Penshurst Church 1689

The Church of St. John the Baptist in Penshurst Village is a sandstone church which was built on
the site of an earlier Saxon church. Saxon artifacts have dated the original foundations to 860 AD.
The first priest at Penshurst was assigned by Thomas Becket two days before his murder in 1170.
The church was constructed in the 12th century and additions were made over several centuries.


Penshurst Church 1686

The Penshurst Church Tower was constructed in three stages: the lower two-story section was built in the 15th c. using large stone blocks, especially in the buttresses. Two later sections housing the clock and belfry were added in the 18th century.


Sarah Heather Penshurst Church 1688

The churchyard contains nearly 800 years of burials (it was closed to further burials in 1857). This is the grave of Sarah Heather, who died after an illness of two days in 1817. It is one of the more unusual gravestones (see detail below).


Sarah Heather Penshurst Church detail 1687

A detail crop of Sarah Heather’s gravestone at St. John the Baptist Church in Penshurst Village.

Penshurst Church also contains the Sidney Family Chapel. The Sidney Family has lived in the
nearby Penshurst Place manor house for over 450 years since it was granted to Sir William Sidney
by Edward VI in 1552. Sir William was a courtier to his father King Henry VIII. Sir William’s grandson
Sir Philip Sidney was born in the manor house two years later and as a famous poet, soldier
and courtier he became one of the most prominent figures of the Elizabethan period.


Penshurst Place Manor House 1691 16x9

Penshurst Place was built on the site of an earlier 13th century manor called Penchester.
The original medieval part of the house is one of the most complete examples of surviving
14th c.domestic architecture in England. The 60 foot high Great Hall was part of the original
manor built by Sir John de Pulteney in 1341. The manor was expanded under the ownership
of the Duke of Bedford and two Dukes of Buckingham. The Buckingham wing, a two story wing
with a long hall and several small chambers, was begun by the Duke of Bedford and completed
by Henry Stafford, the 2nd Duke of Buckingham, just in time for it to be used as a barracks for
soldiers during the 15th c. Wars of the Roses. Many later additions to Penshurst Place were
made by the Sidney family over the centuries, including apartments and the King’s Tower.
Penshurst Place exhibits eight distinct architectural styles, including medieval and Tudor.

Penshurst Place was built in 1341 as a medieval manor house in the rural Weald of Kent. It was built by Sir John de Pulteney, a wealthy merchant and the Lord Mayor of London, as a country home. It was then owned by a succession of Dukes. Henry IV’s son Sir John Devereux, the Duke of Bedford, was succeeded by the 2nd Lord of Buckingham (Henry Stafford, who was one of the primary suspects in the disappearance and presumed murder of the Princes in the Tower). After the execution without trial of Henry Stafford for leading a revolt against Richard III, Penshurst Place passed to Edward Stafford, 3rd Duke of Buckingham.

Edward Stafford opposed Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, King Henry VIII’s chief advisor, and as many of the wives of Henry VIII found out, he definitely should have avoided annoying the King. Apparently, Henry VIII was already annoyed by a lavish feast Stafford held at Penshurst in 1519, where he spent the equivalent of 1 million in today’s money. At the urging of Cardinal Wolsey, Buckingham was investigated for treasonous activities. He was one of few peers of the realm with Plantagenet blood, and his numerous connections with the upper aristocracy caused Henry VIII to personally examine witnesses against him and bring him to trial. Edward Stafford was executed in 1521 for treason and Penshurst Place became the property of the Crown.

Henry VIII then used Penshurst Place as a hunting lodge, and also lived there while he was wooing Anne Boleyn, who resided in nearby Hever Castle. Henry VIII gave the manor to Anne of Cleves as part of her divorce settlement, then it was briefly owned by Sir Ralph Fane, who forfeited the manor to the crown when he was hanged at the Tower of London in 1552 for plotting to murder John Dudley, 1st Duke of Northumberland. These events may have led some to think that owning Penshurst Place might not have been a good thing, as it seemed to have had all its noble owners executed for one thing or another.

In 1552, Penshurst Place was given to Sir William Sidney by King Edward VI. Penshurst Place has been the ancestral home of the Sidney family since the original grant.


Wheatsheaf Pub Bough Beech 1664

Near Penshurst is a magnificent country pub which also had royal beginnings as it was originally a
hunting lodge owned by Henry V. The building’s oldest parts have timbers and a crown post dating
from the late 14th century. The ivy-covered brick exterior is supported by these original timbers, and
areas within have exposed wattle and daub (mud and straw) walls over the fireplaces, dated 1607.


Wheatsheaf Pub Bough Beech 1665

A portrait of a young and already portly Henry VIII on the timbered wall of the Wheatsheaf Pub.


Wheatsheaf Pub Bough Beech 1671 M

The walls are covered with farm implements, weapons, African masks and other artifacts
as well as several animal heads which attest to its original use as a royal hunting lodge.


Wheatsheaf Pub Bough Beech 1675

Next to the bagpipe and various saws is this unusual smoking buck. This place does have character.
These were all rather difficult interior shots. This one was taken handheld at 1/20 second at f/1.4 (28mm).


Wheatsheaf Pub Bough Beech 1682

African trophies on the wall at the Wheatsheaf Pub
between Penshurst and Hever Castle in Kent, England.


Images in this section are in a number of different Galleries on the Photoshelter website.
The Banner below leads to the London and Kent Collection where a Gallery can be selected.


Direct Links:

London         British Museum

Leeds Castle and Penshurst


Click the Display Composite above to visit the British Museum page.