Monday, 16 July 2018

London, England (Hampton by Hilton, London Dockland)

Today is my last full day in London. Very little sightseeing this trip. Good to see friends and enjoy the city rather than mingle with the tourists. Though I guess I’m a tourist too, but now I’m feeling much more at home now – and perhaps becoming more protective when I hear negative things being said about the city that are not true. The city is not under siege and plagued by acid attacks, bombings, stabbings, or pedestrians being run over by cars. This is all being reported as common occurances to sell papers and improve ratings on TV and the internet media.

Today I have a couple of places I’d like to visit. First, the church where Theodore Roosevelt married his second wife, Edith and I will swing by Buckingham Palace to see if the Queen is at home. Then I’m meeting Prean and Viktor for tea.

I’ve been interested in both lines of the Roosevelt family (Theodore and Franklin) for quite a few years. I even remember when Eleanor Roosevelt passed away in 1962 since I followed her career with the U.N. I tried to read everything that was written about this remarkable family. I found it interesting that Theodore married Edith in London (his first wife, Alice, died as a result of childbirth) out of respect and wanted minimal publicity and celebration.

The location of St. George’s Church is located in Mayfair and easy to get to via the underground. Getting from the station to the church was more difficult. The streets in this part of the city still follow the pattern from ancient times. There didn’t appear any strategy on how the streets were named. My GPS was not very helpful and I took a number of wrong turns before I came upon the church.

The church was built in the early 18th century, and because it was located in the Mayfair district, was frequently the venue for high society weddings. Both Theodore and Edith were considered members, both in the U.S. and in England.

The church was built as part of a project to build 50 new Anglican churches in London during the early 1700’s. Not a large church like St. Paul’s, but well constructed and has a well-appointed interior. I tried to take a decent picture from the outside but I couldn’t get far enough away from the church to get the whole building in one shot. The interior was easier to capture.

I saw that there was someone in the church office so I went in an introduced myself to day I was an armature researcher of the Roosevelt family. They were very familiar with this wedding, being one of the more famous of those performed within the church. Unfortunately, they didn’t have the old records but where kind to gife me the address where I could look up the marriage in the city archives.

After leaving the church I was able to walk to Buckingham Palace via Green Park. When I arrived I could see by the flag flying from the roof that the Queen was home. While I was taking pictures two cars left the palace but no one but the drivers were in the cars. You never know…

I had just enough time to walk to where I was to meet Prean and Viktor. Prean made reservations at The Wolseley, located next to The Ritz London on Piccadilly. They were already seated when I arrived.

The Wolseley offered an Afternoon Tea setup and I ordered that so I could share with Prean and Viktor. There was more than enough for three people. We stayed for a couple of hours before it was time to leave. Viktor had to return home and Prean wanted to show me Shepherd Market nearby.

I had no idea about the little enclave that contained Shepherd Market just off Piccadilly. It was the place where many years ago shepherds gathered to buy and sell wool and do business. Now the space has several pubs and other small businesses. It is very quiet since it is off Piccadilly by a few blocks. I’ll have to return on another visit.

I headed back to the hotel after saying goodbye to Prean. After a nap I went downstairs at the hotel and ordered a burger and beer. I was in bed fairly early so I would have time to get ready in the morning for my flight to Copenhagen.

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