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  1. Alexandra Palace

    The Theatre

    Recently I was lucky enough to attend one of the rare behind the scenes history tours of Alexandra Palace. Named after Alexandra, Edward VII's wife, and affectionally known as Ally Pally.  The original building sadly burnt down just sixteen days after it opened.

  2.  Emmanuel Court Bristol

    On Christmas Eve, 24th December 1914 Agatha Miller married Archie Christie, her first husband, at Emmanuel Church, Guthrie Road, Clifton, Bristol. On a recent visit to the city I did a bit of research to identify the location of the church only to discover, like in all good detective novels, that things were not as they first appeared to be.

  3. Andaz Hotel

    The Andaz Hotel has been on my must do list for ages (for fascinating reasons listed in the blog title) and a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of going there with the delightful Helen Langley. The hotel's 1901 Restaurant, where afternoon tea is served, certainly has the wow factor and it was orginally built as the hotel's ballroom.

  4. Butterworth Charity

    On Good Friday hot cross buns are distributed in the churchyard of St Bartholomew the Great. The ceremony known as the Butterworth Charity, was named after Joshua Whitehead Butterworth who created the trust in 1887. It was set up to provide the sum of six pence to twenty one needy widows in the parish and buns were to be handed out to children who attended the distribution. With the understanding that nowadays anyone who attends can have a hot cross bun I went to investigate further.  

  5. Two Temple Place

    Two Temple Place was built for William Waldorf Astor, one of the richest men in the world, and today it is owned by the Bulldog Trust charity. Since 2012 it has opened its doors for a free annual exhibition. With this also comes the wonderful opportunity to visit one of the most splendid buildings in London, a magnificent Victorian house.

  6. Old Swan Hotel Harrogate

    Old Swan Hotel - Harrogate

    Earlier this month I fulfilled my long standing wish to stay at the Old Swan Hotel in Harrogate which has  connections with the  mysterious disappearance of Agatha Christie, the Queen of Crime.

    On the evening of 3rd December 1926 Agatha left her home in Sunningdale and her 4 seater Morris Cowley car was later found abandoned at Newlands Corner in Surrey. By this time Agatha was aged 36 years old and was already a successful crime writer and her 6th novel, The Murder of Roger Ackroyd had just been published. Her sudden disappearance attracted both national and worldwide interest. The search for Agatha was the largest manhunt of the time, involving over 1,000 police officers and civilians, and reputedly the first search in England to use airplanes. Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) gave a medium one of her gloves in the hope of locating her, however Agatha's whereabouts remained a mystery for several days. 

  7. Mackintosh Willow Tea Rooms

    Today Mackintosh Architecture opens at RIBA (The Royal Institute of British Architects) and is on until Saturday 23 May 2015. Charles Rennie Mackintosh (1868 – 1928), the Scottish architect and artist, is one of the most influential designers of the late 19th and early 20th century and this exhibition devoted to his work features over 60 original drawings, models and films. This is one of the exhibitions I am most looking forward to seeing in London this year as Mackintosh is very special to me as it was discovering more about his work that started my passion for architecture and design, particularly my appreciation of modernist styles.

    Mackintosh was born in Glasgow and most of his surviving work can be found in his home city. In 2006 Wendy Jo, dear friend and fellow CRM lover, and I visited Glasgow and joined the Mackintosh in Style weekend organised by the CRM Society.  The weekend was amazing as we visited so many wonderful buildings so I thought I’d post a few photos of our trip.

  8.  Kings Cross North

    The transformation of King’s Cross is well underway and there’s a lot to discover. So whether you are looking for somewhere nice to eat in a fascinating heritage building or wanting to enjoy a family day out, King’s Cross is well worth checking out. Last week I was delighted to be taken on a private tour of the area and hear more about some of the projects which are opening soon

  9. Guildhall Art Gallery

    The Guildhall Art Gallery has just re-opened following its first rehang since the present building opened in 1999. The gallery is one of London’s hidden gems, it's a relatively small, intimate space compared to some of the more well known art galleries, but it offers is a remarkable collection of Victorian and Pre Raphaelite paintings. I was delighted to be invited to the press launch prior to the gallery opening to the public.