Sunday, November 30, 2008

Seats of Power: Whitehall and the Mall

The "Seats of Power" walk is filled with important monuments and memorials that are relevant to British history and continuing tradition. The day that I conducted this walk was very significant because it was Armistice Day. Because there are a lot of military memorials and building in the area, there were poppies everywhere and many people gathered in honor of those who had given their lives in war. When the clock struck eleven, there was a moment of silence observed by all in the area. It was a neat experience to be in an area so magnified by history, while this memorial day was being observed.

The first thing we came across on the walk was the statuary. I have to admit, I wan't very familiar with most of the figures that the memorials are dedicated to, but Bassett assured me that they are very well-remembered by the British people. They mainly include the great war heroes, but there are a few of non-military figures as well. One of these is Tyndale, who translated the Bible into English.
Two of the staues in the statuary were in memory of Air mArshall Lord Trenchard and Lord Portal, who founded the Royal Air Force. They were responsible for the Air Force Branch of military during WWII, and are very famous in British History. The statue above shows a winged fighter pilot from WWII.

If there was ever a respectable British leader, full of character and zeal- this was the one. Winston Churchill is probably my favorite figure in British history. He was a magnificent speaker, and led during the darkest times of WWII and the "iron curtain" of communism in Europe. he still retains a strong presence today just outside of Westminster Abbey.
Guard's memorial stands in memory of those British troops that died in WWI and WWII. The day we took this walk was Armistice day (11/11). It was very moving to see all the wreaths of poppies placed by the memorial and the many people who had come to pay their respects.

Big Ben is probably London's most recognizable landmark. It's tall clock tower marks the location of British Parliament, and of course, chimes the time on the hour.
This monument, the Admiralty arch, marks the official way to proceed to Buckingham Palace. The road is a red color, like a red carpet for royalty.

St. James' Palace is a remaining monument of the Tudor reign. It is the palace where "Bloody Mary" died, and the birthplace of many royalty, including many of Charles I's children. Charles I was living here when he was taken to his execution.
And of course, the climax of the walk-- Buckingham Palace. You can't live here, unless you are royalty. It is still quite a spectacle from the outside as well.

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