Queueueueueueueueuing

This weekend was London Open House, where some of London’s greatest buildings open their doors too… the queuing public. First off we went to the Midland Hotel, but the guy said there was a two hour wait. It’s also open every weekend from now till Xmas so figuring we’d come back we decided to give it a miss. We then went across to the Bank of England, to find people queue past the sign that said ‘four hour wait – you won’t get in past this point’. It was a similar story at the Lloyds building. By this time we were beginning to loose heart, and it had started to rain. We caught a bus to High Holborn and walked to Dr Johnson’s house, which, yes, had a huge queue outside it. Bugger.

One thing I really wanted to see was the old Daily Express building at 120 Fleet Street. Built by Owen Williams for Lord Beaverbrook newspaper. The foyer is the best example of Art Deco in the country. It’s now been restored (£5m) to former glory, and is truly and incredible space. Standing in it rather reminded me of the lobby of the Empire State Building. It must have been amazing working on Fleet Street in the 50’s and 60’s, when it was the heart of British Journalism, I dimly remember the riots in the 80’s when it all moved out to Wapping and Canary Wharf. The building is now owned by Goldman Sachs, and although the foyer has been restored, there’s nothing of the original building left behind it.

Anyway, it was well worth queuing up for 45mins to go round it. Photo’s now on Flickr, (yes, I’ve decided to use it properly now there’s a decent iPhoto export.) Open House London – 120 Fleet Street Photo’s.

Sunday we went to the observatory at Greenwich, which is free and open all the time. There’s a permanent exhibition about the history of time, and GMT, nice write up here.

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September 2004
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