Category: West

[before-after]

london-before-after

london-before-after

Charing Cross is a junction in central London where six routes meet. The name Charing Cross derives from the old English word charing, meaning a bend in the river. The original Charing Cross was one of the medieval Eleanor crosses that stood here in the heart of the hamlet of Charing.

Charing Cross is famous for its second-hand bookshops. Book stores are located between Leicester Square Underground station and Cambridge Circus. You also can find more general second-hand and antiquarian shops. Here are a few of them – Quinto Bookshop, Henry Pordes, and Any Amount of Books.

On the right side of the photographs, you can see The New Grand Hotel Charing Cross, London 1880. The hotel is located at the corner of Strand and Northumberland Avenue. The Grand Hotel at Charing Cross was closed in October 1968 to make way for the new inner-city ring road.

Charles I monument is one of the finest statues in the area. The statue was erected in 1633 and is especially pertinent to the Charing Cross area as it sits on the original location of the Eleanor cross. You will find a Blue Plaque here marking the Eleanor cross. You will want to pay a visit to this site to get a full history of this fascinating area.

What to do in Charing Cross?

Charing Cross can feel a bit like a tourist hub. Tourists and Londoners milling around the millions of bus stops that surround the already packed Trafalgar Square. But, please, don’t let that scare you off. There’s a lot of secret stuff available in the area where you can build some lasting memories. You can find something special for everyone here.  Charing Cross Theatre is one of those places.

Things to Do near Charing Cross Station

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[before-after]

london-before-after

london-before-after

I am happy to present you Griffin Statue Then and Now. Old photo above been taken in 1904, and the new one taken by me in 2016. You can walk by the dragon at any time. It’s in the middle of the street. Just outside the Royal Courts of Justice, stands a pedestal crowned by a sculpture of a dragon that appears ready to swoop down on passersby.

History

Dragons are always associated with guarding something. For example, in Greek mythology, a ten-headed dragon guarded the golden apples. The Victorians were romanticists and consciously revived trends from earlier periods of history. Birch chose the dragon as the subject because it always been a culturally important symbol. Especially for the City of London and the English nation. This particular dragon also plays another important symbolic role. In keeping with the folkloric beliefs about the treasure-guarding instincts of these mythical beasts, the Temple Bar dragon serves a totemic purpose as a protective guardian of the treasures of London. There are thirteen Dragons around the City of London. Those Dragons made by Birmingham Guild Limited were erected at main entrances to the City of London in the late 1960s.

The Griffin statue presents the official entrance to the City of London on Fleet Street. And just outside the Royal Courts of Justice. If you are west of the Griffin, you are in the City of Westminster. And if you are east of it, you are in the City of London. The statue was created in 1880 by the British sculptor Charles Bell Birch. The strange thing about the Griffin is that it is not a Griffin at all – it is a dragon. It is not clear how the confusion arose.

“ … he was quite a different person and much less easy to deal with the east of the Griffin.”

Alfred Watson: Racecourse and Covert Side (1883)

Do you have a favorite dragon? Or perhaps you haven’t had the chance to hunt them down? Download my free City of London dragon guide.

 

You can check out more Locations in my Gallery.

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