England Special Buildings Part I
Palace of Westminster – Houses of Parliament
The two houses of the British Parliament meet in this neo-Gothic palace on the Thames. The building stands in Westminster on Parliament Square and has also been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The royal family originally lived in the palace, which was almost completely destroyed in a major fire in 1834. The most famous part of the building is the clock tower with the Big Ben bell. The heaviest of the five bells weighs 13.8 tons, originally it weighed 17 tons and was damaged during testing, so that the metal was melted down and a slightly lighter bell was cast. The tower in which the bell hangs is now sometimes referred to as Big Ben, actually only the bell is meant by this name. Sir Benjamin Hall’s tower is over 96 m high, the clock faces have a diameter of 8 meters. The melody of the clock comes from Georg Friedrich Handel’s “Messiah”. When parliament is in session, a light is on at the top of the tower.
The City Hall of London is the seat of the Greater London Authority and the Lord Mayor of London, the Lord Mayor. Opened in July 2002, the Norman Foster building is located on the south bank of the Thames in Southwark, between Tower Bridge and London Bridge station. The City Hall is 45 m high and has an unusual shape: some compare it to a crooked egg or a tuber. It was Norman Foster’s intention to use this construction method to keep the surface of the building as small as possible and thus increase energy efficiency. Inside there is a 500 m long spiral staircase that is reminiscent of the Guggenheim Museum in New York. At the top of the tenth floor is “London’s Living Room”, a meeting room with a viewing platform.
Guildhall of London
The City of London is not located in the City Hall but in the Guildhall north of the Thames. The building has been used as a town hall for centuries. The council chamber, the Great Hall, is built in a medieval style and there are numerous other historical rooms inside the building. During the Roman era there was an amphitheater on the site of today’s Guildhall, the ruins of which can now be seen in a museum below the Guild Hall. The building was first built in 1411 and has been damaged and rebuilt several times over the course of its history. It was almost completely destroyed after the German air raid in 1940 and was rebuilt in 1954 by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
Department stores in London
Oxford Street: Debenhams, John Lewis, Selfridges
Regent Street: Liberty
Piccadilly Street: Simpson, Fortnum & Mason
Near Knightsbridge: Harrods, Harvey Nichols Horse Guards in London A gate where the changing of the guard takes place every day at 11 a.m. . The archway leads to the Horse Guards Parade, where a parade of guards on horseback takes place on Sunday mornings.
Stock Exchange in London
East of the Bank of England on Thogmorton Street is the 26-story, modern building: the London Stock Exchange. The building was built between 1970 and 1973 and is home to one of the largest stock exchanges in the world. The business is still negotiated here today under the slogans “Dictum Meum Pactum” or “My Word is my Bond”.
The Old Bailey in London
The central court of justice in London deals with the UK’s largest criminal cases and is located between Holborn Circus and St Paul’s Cathedral. The building dates from 1907 and was designed by EW Mountford.
Docklands in London
The Docklands district actually consists of parts of the boroughs of Southwark, Tower Hamlets and Newham. In the past, the docks belonged to the port of London, but today ships no longer leave the Docklands, instead the dilapidated site has been converted into residential and commercial areas. The former docks are used as water sports centers, for example. After the Docklands had been redesigned into an exclusive residential area, there were also problems within the population: prices rose enormously and the long-established dock workers feel marginalized in their social housing right next to the luxury apartments. In addition to the luxury apartments, huge office complexes such as Canary Wharf were also built.
Canary Wharf in London
The office towers are on the Isle of Dogs in Tower Hamlets in Docklands. The name (“Canary Shipyard”) is intended to recall the early trading of the docks with the Canary Islands. Canary Wharf has the three tallest buildings in Great Britain: the Canary Wharf Tower, the HSBC Tower and the Citigroup Center. Several major banks and other companies have their headquarters here. Today Canary Wharf offers a variety of jobs and has become a popular shopping center, among other things; it can now be reached very easily by public transport, which was not the case at the beginning and was a problem for the entire Docklands. Today the fully automated light rail system Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line of the subway run here.
Battersea Power Station in London
On the south bank of the River Thames stands this controversial London landmark: a coal-fired power station and electricity station that operated until 1983. The architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott designed the building, which was used as the CD cover by many rock and pop bands. The building has 4 chimneys arranged in a rectangle and all measuring over 110 m in height. Hundreds of thousands of tons of carbon dioxide were blown into the air here every year. In 1983 the power plant was shut down.
Abbey Road Studios in London
The Beatles have made Abbey Road Studios the most famous music recording studios in the world. The two studios are located on the street of the same name. Film music has also been recorded here since 1980, including the music for “Lord of the Rings” and ”