RIP BBC TV Centre

I, personally, am so sad to see the end of the White City BBC TV Centre, as it closes its doors next week. Its been a huge part of my life, and is actually the very reason I was born in this great city of London.

My parents moved to London from Birmingham in the 60s when my Dad got a job with the BBC. He worked there his entire working life (my whole life) retiring a few years ago. Starting out at White City he had the glamorous job of setting up for outdoor broadcasts (yes, he was responsible for Live Aid reaching your TV set!). This job, amounted to many happy memories for me, sometimes hanging out in BBC vans all day, watching all the weird dials and connections, to meeting celebs. One particular happy day was at a Live Aid event in Hyde Park, for some reason we had a radio connection to the celebrities’ caravan, and I sat listening to them on their breaks the whole day.

An earlier memory that also sticks firm in my mind was a visit to the TVC itself, eating at the then infamous BBC canteen, and paying a visit to the Blue Peter garden. I remember it well as it was a sunny day and 6 year old me, left my favourite white cardigan in the bp garden, never to be recovered.  I like to think it found its way into a time capsule and will be dug up again in 1000 years, and future generations will think ‘who was this ‘Celeste’ child, and what great things did she achieve to have the honour of inputting into the sacred time capsule?’

Later in my life it remained a significant place to me, passing by time and time again on the Central Line, I will always remember the huge Going Live painting on the side (until the renovations in the late 90s) anyone else remember that one?

And now more recently I spent two years working just a stone’s throw from the TVC, and would often bump into blurry eyed morning news presenters at the bus stop or in Starbucks… as they topped up their caffeine levels after their early shifts.

The Question Mark

The famous question mark was built in 1960 and provided a big boost to west London including the creation of homes for the influx of BBC staff (including my Dad) at nearby Ealing.

Its arrival at White City came at a time when the area was already famed around the world, having made its mark when it held the Olympics last minute in 1908, after hosts Rome dropped out. The area following this, as well as boasting a huge stadium, shared a large famous exhibition site, for the popular great exhibitions which were a regular event in the capital. It was also at this time that it earned its name as the great ‘White City’ after its white cladded exhibition halls. The site was vast, more than 8 times the size of the original Hyde Park exhibition in 1851.

Courtesy of BBCTV

BBC Centre and Stadium

The exhibition site and stadium, had its very own London tube Station Wood Lane, however this closed a year before TVC opened.  In 2008 the station was resurrected, completely rebuilt, one of the newest stations, opening on the same line as its early ancestor and serving  the BBC and nearby Westfield Shopping Centre.

Much of the exhibition site was demolished in the 30s making way first for a housing estate, and then the rest in the 60s for BBC Centre.  The site remained a sporting hotspot for many years entertaining many different sports from athletics, to rugby, and boxing , and even hosted a match in the famed 1966 world cup. However after the arrival of the BBC in the 60s the area went into decline. The stadium itself was eventually closed in 1980s and demolished, the space being bought out by the BBC for the extension of their TV Centre.

The TVC though,  continued to thrive and final renovations took place just a few years ago in the late 2000s when the brand new BBC Media Village was built (between the old question mark, and the A40) This new area includes it’s own post office, Tesco’s and Startbucks.

It’s now been sold off, and the centre of BBC life has moved to the BBC Broadcasting House in very central London, just next to Oxford Circus.

It’s expected that the site will be turned into flats, and a hotel, among other things.

Its an iconic building, and its closure has caused controversy even among celebs and those who have worked there in the past. I’m sure whatever the future holds for it I hope they are able to keep some of the essence and memories that this historic little corner of London created for so many across the world.

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What are your personal memories of BBC TVC, or favourite shows? I’d love to hear your memories and comments in the comments section below.

If you liked this read this:

London’s lost landmarks

Abandoned Industry on the Thames

London’s saddest building

Top Markets of London

Check out my quick guide to the top 5 Markets in London

Portobello Road

This famous market in classy Notting Hill  boasts of the world’s largest antiques market, as well as numerous bric-a-brac stalls and yummy organic, and international food stalls.  It started life as small country lane with a few traders serving the local farming community.  In the late 1800s there was a housing boom in the area, and with it the market expanded to the vibrant bustling market we see today.  Its fame has even spread as far as Hollywood, and it’s featured in numerous films, most famously Nottting Hill.   It is a favourite of tourists and celebrities who visit to shop at its many stalls and watch its talented live musicians on every corner.

Quirky fact: George Orwell live at 22 Portobello Road in the 1920s, whilst researching his book Down and Out in Paris and London. His house is today marked by a Blue Plaque
Nearest station: Notting Hill Gate or Ladbroke Grove Station

Borough Market
If its food you’re after a visit to the culinary heaven that is Borough Market is a must!  There has been a food market here since the 1300s.  Today it is a great place to visit and sample every kind of food you can imagine, and you are guaranteed to get fresh quality food.  Its not just a tourist attraction but this market serves many award winning London restaurants and chefs including Jamie Oliver and Gordon Ramsey

Quirky fact: The rounded Victorian Globe pub in Borough Market was the  setting of  Bridget Jones home, in the famous movie.
Nearest station:  London Bridge or Borough

Covent Garden
Probably the most famous market in London, Covent Garden is a beautiful covered market.  You will mainly find arts and crafts, and artistic souvenir items here but at any time of the day its well worth a visit for its vibrant atmosphere. There is plenty to see and do there.  There is always a street performer to entertain you, there is also the impressive London transport museum or of a evening you can attend a performance at the Royal Opera House.  Or you can just sit back and soak up the atmosphere in one of the many piazza cafes.

Quirky fact: London’s frist female public toilet was situated on near by Bedford Street in the 1850s. The guys toilet was located a few miles down the road at Fleet Street.
Nearest Station: Covent Garden or Charring Cross

Camden Market
For culture, check out the very alternative Camden Market.  A short walk from Camden Station, Camden Lock Markets nestled on the side of the Regents Canals is well worth a visit.  Once inside be sure to venture deep into the market and loose yourself in the old Stables. The twisty turny lanes of The Stables are reminiscent of a Moroccan souk.  Look out (or rather you can’t miss) the incredible, incredibly large, horse sculptures dotted around.  Be sure also to get something to eat here or across the road (opposite Camden Lock Market entrance), where you can grab a bite and sit at your leisure on an old moped, over looking the canals.

Quirky Fact:  Be sure to check out he Hawley Arms pub just the other side of the railway bridge. This pub was the famous hang out  Amy Winehouse, as well as playing impromptu gigs, she was known to occasionally get behind the bar and pull pints for punters.
Nearest Station: Camden Town or Chalk Farm

Greenwich Market
For all things quirky combined with a great day out, head over the beautiful Greenwich and Greenwich Market.  This quaint market sells bespoke items among other things hand crafted jewellery, gifts beauty products, and even stylish gift foods.  Aside from the market it is worth exploring historic Greenwich  check out  the restored Cutty Sark, or wander around the stunning historic Royal Naval College, or head up the hill to the Greenwich Observatory to enjoy stunning views of the city.  A day out to Greenwich is an absolute must for any visitor or resident of London.

Quirky fact: check out the Thames Foot  Tunnel. Is the last remaining Victorian pedestrian  tunnel left under the Thames.  This eerie damp tunnel was opened in 1902.  Entrance just next to the Cutty Sark.
Nearest Station: Greenwich Cutty Sark or Greenwich

The Oscars of London

We all love the glitz & glamour, but which Oscar nominees, and winners were filmed here in London.  Check out my top nominees and their revealing London locations.

 

Elizabeth The Golden Age 2007

Won Best Costume

Nominated for Best Actress (Cate Blanchet)

Winner Most Historic London Location 2013

Elizabeth the Golden Age filmed at Greenwich Royal Navy College (not the only Oscar winner to do so – scenes of the Iron Lady were also filmed here). A stunning location and one of my favorite days out in London. The real Queen Elizabeth was actually born here, in the original Greenwich Palace in 1533. Built in the 1400s this beautiful river side palace housed royalty, most notably the famous wife killing King Henry VIII. It was sadly demolished in the 1700s and replaced by the equally stunning royal naval college. It is said that an Oak Tree in the grounds is the very oak tree that the young Henry and Elizabeth played in as children.

Closer 2004

Nominated for Best Actor in a supporting role (Clive Owen)

Nominated for Best Actress in a supporting role (Natalie Portman)

Winner Most quirky London Location 2013

In 2004 a few British greats turned up on the nominee list but Closer was a standout. The opening is set in Postman’s Park, not far from St Paul’s. The park contains a memorial to people who died in heroic circumstances, and contains plaques and their fascinating stories. These include that of Mary Rogers who died when the ship she worked on sank in 1899, she gave up her life jacket for another passenger. Then there is 60 year old signal man William Goodrum who died (1880) whilst saving a colleague from being hit by an on-coming train. But perhaps the most moving is 11 year old Solomon Galaman who saved his little brother from being run over (1901). The inscription includes his sad dying quote “Mother I saved him, but I could not save myself.”

Alfie 1966

Nominated for Best Actor (Michael Caine)

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress (Vivien Merchant)

Nominated for Best Original Song (Alfie – Bert Bacharach)

Winner Best view in London 2013

Turn back to 1966 and another classic London film was nominated for Michael Caine’s leading role in Alfie. For his final scene they chose one of the best viewing spots along the Thames, Waterloo Bridge (named unsurprisingly after the Battle of Waterloo). It was built in the 40s and was the only bridge along the central part of the Thames to be damaged by war time bombing. It’s situated on a bend in the river so is a great little spot to snap west at the houses or parliament and London Eye, and north up to St Paul’s and the Shard. It also features in that other great British classic Bridget Jones she crosses (commutes rather) across this bridge with a huge smile on her face, after a night with Daniel Cleveland!

The King’s Speech 2010

Won Best Picture

Won Best Actor in a Leading Role (Colin Firth)

Won Best Screen Play

Won Best Direction (Tom Hooper)

Winner Best Summer Spot 2013

(Also nominated for Best Actor in a supporting Role (Geoffrey Rush), Best Actress in a Supporting Role (Helena Bonham Carter) Best Art Direction, Cinematography, Costume Design, Film Editing, Music, Sound Mixing – I was just far to lazy to type all those out individually)

 

 Not long until the summer, I promise, and when it arrives you will find me chilling out in the beautiful Regents Park for most of it. But right now it looks exactly like its Oscar nominated scene in The Kings speech. As Bertie and Lionel stroll through the park on a misty chilly morning. Quite accurately the park is just a stones throw from Lionel’s real life office on Harley Street. Today (as then) Harley Street is famous for it’s elite doctors, and medical practices, and still attends to the needs of the Royals. Lionel has long left (obviously) but his practice at 146 is marked by a blue plaque. Interestingly enough the office they used for Lionel’s practice in the film is on the street directly parallel to Harley,  Portland place (number 33 to be exact).

Skyfall 2012

Nominated Best Cinamatograpy

Nominated Best Music/Original Song (Londoner Adele!)

Nominated Best Sound Editing

Winner -Most impressive London Location 2013

My final is our great hopeful for 2013… Skyfall, famously shot in London, starring our beloved underground among other greats. One of the government buildings featured is one of my favourite buildings (I know I always say that) 10 Trinity Square. It’s an impressive looking building, one of those you know has to be important. Situated just next door to the Tower of London, and Tower Bridge and opposite the river and City Hall, 10 Trinity Square was opened by Prime Minister Lloyd George in the 20s. Its an impressive building and is part of the Tower of London’s World Heritage site. It was originally home to the Port of London Authority, and entertained UN general assembly in 1946. Today it houses an insurance company with plans to turn part of it into a hotel – it is equally as impressive inside as on the outside. Both the inside and out was used for scenes in the movie.

For a quick overview of movie London locations check out this cool Underground Map produced by TFL in 2010.

You can also find out about a few other film locations in my other blogs

London’s Open House Weekend 2012

Open House Weekend, a history geek’s dream & if you happen to be visiting London that weekend you’ve hit a bargain.

Being able to get inside some of London’s most loved buildings that normally we only can only gaze at from the outside, such as the Gherkin, St Pancras Hotel Lloyds of London, & the Guildhall (to name a few) as well as a whole host of smaller buildings, is a dream. It’s also a fascinating opportunity to see the inner workings of some of London’s greatest systems and landmarks… as I discovered.

So here’s a little review of my Open House Weekend 2012 experiences…

Old, new and a few surprises.

Old

Despite my intense OHW preparations, I missed a few minor details, like when I forced my sister out of bed at an unearthly hour on a Saturday morning to go and see a building that wasn’t even open until the Sunday (whoops). I also failed to read the description of the Roman Baths in too much depth, so my ‘Old’ became my disappointment. I was surprised and curious to  see some Roman baths listed in an area not particularly famous for its Roman remains. So  I was quite eager to see this one. But the Roman Bath hidden underneath a Kings College building just off the Strand turned out instead to be a ‘Tudor Bath’, with a quirky list of famous visitors  including the Dutch Queen and Charles Dickens (well David Copperfield, but I’m going to assume Mr Dickens visited for inspiration). There wasn’t a great deal else to see there admittedly,  but what stood out for me was the beautiful original Dutch tiling in the entrance hall, which I’m sure would have be very much to the Queen’s taste.

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I’ve recently been reading a lot about Mr John Nash and his contribution to shaping the London we know and love today. So I was quite keen to get to see inside Carlton Terrace down by Pall Mall. It’s another of those easily missed stunning London buildings (as is Senate House as you will discover if you read to the end 😉 Overlooking St James’s Park and the Mall its most impressive side (the beautiful columned frontage) is hidden well by the trees.  Carlton House (6-9)

Built by Nash as the end of his very long ‘New Street’ (currently Great Portland Street/Regents Street) it was built  for the Prince Regent to rent out to the very best of society, the elite of England.   These days its still owned by the Crown, and  houses among others The Royal Society.

Nash also designed the interior, so I was excited to see this as well. As with pretty much every building in London, the insides have been updated a great deal to meet 20th century tastes and technological criteria  this one still contains some quirky features of it’s original design  as well as that of its more recent inhabitants. 

You get the gist of what it would be like to be an elite tenant from the impressive lay out. There is a nice view of the park (great spot to watch the Olympics, looking out on to Horse Guards Parade – well it would if not for those pesky trees the swamping the view). 

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It has an spectacular library, done in a Italian renaissance style, by a previous Argentinean millionaire tenant, as well  as a stunning stairwell with a glamorous gold and black Tudor style ceiling.

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There’ is not much of Nash’s handiwork left on display, but I was lucky enough to be taken into a ‘staff only’ area on the tour, which was pure unadulterated Nash. It was also another great display of what it would be like to live there, (see the pictures).The Royal Society moved in in 1967 (having previously been housed in both the amazing Somerset house and Burlington House). They bought with them an impressive collection of portrait paintings 
including a young Einstein (his hair was still messy even then) and some quirky artifacts including Isaac Newton’s death mask!

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Another highlight of this visit was a painting over the grand staircase. During the year they moved into Carlton Terrace they had their first Australian President. A relative of Mr Florey gifted them with this impressive painting (about two stories high) which takes pride of place over the staircase. It’s size is impressive but also its content. It depicts the beautiful Burlington House overlooking a stunning London Skyline under (& I love this) an ‘Australian night sky’. Those are three of my favourite things 🙂 

 

London Skyline Painting 

Unfortunately my bag (albeit big) was not quite big enough to smuggle the picture out.

I would recommend a visit to Royal Society, they are open to the public during the week and here’s a shhhtopsecretlondon secret – the impressive library (overlooking St James’ Park) is open to the public during the week … study in style!

Surprise

Next on our tour was a building I’ve always loved from the outside, in fact if you’ve ever watched the news you’ve seen it. The Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, the national court of appeal. Those live news feeds, however, never show it in all it’s glory.  

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This beautiful Victorian Gothic building was built by Mr Edmund Street better known for his many Gothic churches across England. However stunning this is on the outside its also particularly stunning inside, but what I found more interesting were all the little surprises in store for Open House visitors

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When the prison guard asked me if I wanted to be locked in I thought he was joking, until I heard the cell door across the way slam shut. Yes, on this little tour you could run riot through every nook and cranny of the justice system, from being locked in the cells, to trying out the prison van (yes we’ve all seen the Serco vans wooshing by) or trying out the riot gear. 

We also got inside the courts. I’ve never considered the courts before, they are strictly ‘no photo’ zones, and on TV we only ever see the ‘artist impressions’ which focus more on the criminal than the room itself.   But the many court rooms are beautiful pieces or Victorian design, and sort of cosy; lots of wood paneling  book shelves of ancient laws (which the presenter told us they still refer to on a daily basis).  The 10 year old judge on this particular day (dressed in the red judges robe, and wig) seemed to approve of the humourous presentation the retired employee gave us.   Here in the courts they had numerous presentations of what actually went on in the courts. I loved that those running and helping out for the weekend were the ones that actually worked there day in day out. It was a fascinating morning.

Art Deco & Batman

Going forward a few years into the 1930s, was a visit to one of my most favourite buildings in London, one of the unknown landmarks of London, Senate House. I love this building, it’s tall, imposing and very impressive, in its hey day it was the tallest building in London and would have stood out across the London Skyline in the same way the Shard does today. Yet strangely today it’s quite forgotten and lost, most people I know have never even heard about it.

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Built for, and still belonging to, the University of London, this building was part of a grand plan to consume Bloomsbury (had it been completed it would have been a mighty impressive, expansive building stretching from the British Museum all the way to Euston Road (massive). The plans represented a world wide prestigious seat of learning, as well providing a hub of London life, grand plans in deed. However, the grand plans proved grandly expensive and in the end only a small section was built.  Fortunately for us it the most impressive section, that of the main Senate Tower.

I’ve always been impressed and in awe of this building (I used to work opposite and walked past it every day) but what is inside in equally impressive as its imposing art deco outside. In fact you might of seen it in one of its many Hollywood appearances, most recently Batman, Dark Knight Rises, which is not surprising as this one would look very at home in Gotham.

 

Art Deco Senate House

As you walk in you’re greeted with a grand marble entrance hall with a equally grand staircase. Our tour took us up to the main Chancellor rooms on the first floor. What impressed me most of all though was the way the original features had been preserved so well, despite being updated for a 21st century techo world – in contrast to Carlton House.  But also the quality of the original features. No pennies were spared on the the quality of this one (perhaps that’s why they ran out of money so quickly, but also perhaps why it is preserved so well).  For example their heating system is still the original, and generators for the building were only replaced a few years ago.

This building also has an extensive library which fills the higher levels of the Tower and offer amazing views of London (which sadly we weren’t able to see on this tour).

The building has always and still operates as the administrative hub of the University of London, however during the war the government took it over and it was used as the headquarters for Ministry of Information. Journalists of the day and those involved would often camp out here for days on end. When it was hit by bombing the quality of the build proved its worth and the building was barely touched, and those inside barely noticed.  It was also during this time that a young George Orwell was inspired by Senate House in writing his famous Nineteen Eighty Four.

Perhaps my favourite story about Senate House (although my tour guide would not verify this one) was that during the blitz, Hilter had his eye on this building as his future UK head quarters and gave specific instructions to his bombers to steer clear of damaging this one. Strangely (& knowing what I know about Hitler and his design plans for Berlin) this one would have looked very at home in his grand building collection.

My advice is to wander over to Bloomsbury and take a look at this Senate House, it’s mighty impressive and sadly forgotten these days.

New

Probably the most interesting of my OHW experiences was this one, and despite having to queue in the pouring rain for over an hour curiosity got the better of me. A nose at the Cross Rail Bond Street site . A future and epic building project in the heart of busy London using some very old technology (Mr Brunel would have been quite impressed by it all). 

Living and working in central London  I go past many of the Cross Rail development sites every day, so I was fascinated to see exactly what’s going on underground while we go about our busy lives. This particular visit centered around the new Bond Street Station (for Cross rail). Currently they’ve built the shell of the two main station areas, which we got to look into. To be honest not much to see, just a big (organised) hole in the ground about 8 stories deep. But what was impressive was the technology of building this big hole, not entirely different to the way the Victorians did it.

The big tunneling machine, works at a slow pace (understandably, you would too if you weighed 1000 tonnes)  and Ada (yes ‘Ada’ – the machines were named by the public in a competition at the start of the project) Ada is due to reach Bond Street at Christmas – no doubt she wants to stop off and do some Christmas shopping. But I find it fascinating that all this is going on under our feet with minimal disruption to the roads and daily London life. We will have to wait until 2018 to see the finished product but I’m told that we will get an opportunity to see an update at OHW 2013.

One of the most interesting/quirky facts I learned at this visit was some of the discoveries they’ve made whilst digging, unearthing among other things a Mamouth’s jaw!! Just a reminder of the rich heritage of thousands and thousands of years that lies beneath our feet.

And Open House Weekend is another reminder of exactly this, and it gives us a great chance to explore that heritage both old and new.   But don’t forget there is ample opportunity to explore it all year round, and I hope through my blogg and tweets that you will find the opportunities and be inspired to go beyond the facades and discover all London has to offer.  

You can find out more about Open House at http://www.londonopenhouse.org/

A load of old wax

I have the privilege of working in London. As I sit at my desk I gaze out across the roof tops of London, out to the Houses of Parliament, and the London Eye, even as far as The Shard. Then I swing my chair round and out the window I see the Emerald Dome that is… Madame Tussauds (well technically it’s actually the Planetarium).

I have to say if there is one thing that irritates me about London it’s the obsession with Madame Tussauds; I just don’t get it! Every day I see it, come rain, come shine, queues and queues of people crowding to get in. Why would anyone come all the way to London just to see a bunch of wax figures, worse than that, have their pictures taken with a bunch of wax figures. It wouldn’t be be so bad, but it’s a rather expensive tourist attraction, at £28 (adult). It’s just a load of all wax; wouldn’t you rather get up close and personal with the real thing? And, this being London, there is plenty of opportunity for that. It’s not too hard to cross paths with celebrities in London, I used to bump into Ricky Gervais every day on my way to work a few years ago, they’re everywhere, you just need to know where to look.

A good place to start is with a little research. Leicester Square regularly hosts film premiers, google what’s coming up there. Then there are back stage doors, with over 40 West End theatres, there are plenty to choose from and always a host of big names making their début. The backstage door is a classic for celebrity spotting, they have to leave the theatre at some point. I still remember the day my sister won her long waited for kiss from Christian Slater at a backstage door (I was so embarrassed I was hiding behind the bins across the road – camera in hand to capture the moment of course).

Then there is knowing the right areas, and then it’s as easy as hanging out at a pub on a sunny day or a stroll down the high street. Primrose Hill is a quaint little area of London (close to Regents Park/Camden – and also home to some great London views from the hill itself), many a trendy celeb lives down here such as Chris Martin, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. Camden down the road is also a classic celebrity haunt; up until recently it was a well known fact that you didn’t need to spend too long over your pint in any Camden pub before coming across the diva of soul herself Amy Winehouse (RIP Amy). Or why not head down to Richmond on Thames on a Sunday afternoon for a movie, because that’s what Brad Pitt and his brood are currently doing every Sunday.

If you are satisfied in seeing wax-like-lifeless celebrities but would prefer to save yourself £30 then make you’re way down to Highgate cemetery, resting place for lots of history’s greats such Karl Marx, writers George Eliot (Mary Anne Evans) and Douglas Adams, cinema revolutionist Carl Mayer, Charles Dickens’s family, and that TV hero Jeremy Beadle! (you might have to be English to appreciate that one). And if the showbiz names on graves doesn’t impress you the graves themselves might, the Cemetery is well known for it’s impressive Victorian, and Gothic architecture.

Night life is also another must for celebrity spotting. One very famous haunt is The Ivy restaurant near Covent Garden. You’ll be unimpressed by the exterior, but inside, those walls have seen much that the newspapers haven’t. You will have to wait outside to see the celebrities though, as it’s impossible to get a table here unless you have an Oscar on you or £100k in your pocket.

If you want meet some royals forget the palaces and make your way down to Mahiki in Mayfair, a favourite night club of the Princes (before Marriage tamed William). And yet again you will need to have married a prince to get through the door here (or afford a drink!).

Just up the road is the Punchbowl Pub, a beautiful Georgian pub with original features, owned by none other than Madonna & Guy Ritchie (well almost, Guy gained full custody of Punchbowl in the divorce a few years ago). With a stream of celebrities through the doors, it’s a little more authentic and historical than Mahiki. But be warned the pub was investigated by authorities a few years ago for charging tourists higher prices than the regulars.

So you see there are plenty of places to get your photo snapped with a celebrity, and so much more to London than Madame Tussauds.

Of course as much as I complain about the institution that is Madame Tussauds, I actually have a lot of respect for the woman herself. She was a revolutionary business woman of her time. In the early days she led a travelling show of her wax works having gained her skill sculpting death masks of those killed in the guillotine in France. It was the freak-show of it’s time (hmm well I guess not too much has changed since then) later her work progressed as important people (Kings and dignities) began asking for their image to be preserved in 3d, the oldest of these models is the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ waxwork modelled on French Madame Du Barry (Louix XV’s mistress) back in 1763. Eventually she settled her show for a brief while round the corner on Baker street then moved to the building that now is Madame Tussauads today, a building designed and purposed for the show, a business that has gone on successfully for over 200 years and stretched world wide. That’s quite an entrepreneurial spirit for a woman of that time, and an inspiration. Donald Trump would be so proud of her.

So next you walk past Tussauds and see her image emblazoned on the side (it’s the one that looks like the backside of a penny), be inspired by a woman who knew how start a successful business, …then just keep on walking past, with your £30 safe inside your wallet!