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A Queen Anne house, situated on the south bank of the Thames between the Globe Theatre and Tate Modern, which has a plaque on the wall declaring that both Christopher Wren and Katherine of Aragon lived in it (not simultaneously). Both assertions are false. The plaque is of unknown date. The house is a private residence.
From 1940 - 1946, 64 Baker Street was the world headquarters of the Special Operations Executive, SOE, a clandestine organisation ordered to be set up by Churchill with the instruction to 'set Europe ablaze' by helping local resistance movements and conducting espionage and sabotage in enemy-held territories. A plaque was unveiled on the building in May 2010 by Margaret Jackson MBE, who was PA to Brigadier, later Major-General, Colin Gubbins, head of SOE from 1943 known by the initial 'M'. Margaret Jackson, herself a remarkable woman, was just 23 years old in 1940; she died in Croydon on 2 June 2013.
Along a small private road to the south of East Grinstead are the ruins of what was once a fine Jacobean house. This is Brambletye House. There had been a Brambletye Manor at the time of the Domesday Survey, on a now deserted moated plot nearby. This house was built in 1631 by Sir Henry Compton and allegedly destroyed during the civil wars by Parliamentary troops. Of course, there are stories…
The ruins can be viewed from the road, but there is nothing to actually visit – the old house is on private land. That said, the listing on Historic England suggests the ruins might be viewed by appointment – contact details on their site.
Directions - off the A22 about 2 miles south of East Grinstead. There is very limited parking just inside the entrance to a westbound farm entrance and private road. From there, you need to walk.
Oxford’s so-called Bridge of Sighs (Hertford Bridge) was completed in 1914 and links two halves of Hertford College. It has become something of a landmark and is much-photographed. It was never intended to be a replica of the Venetian Bridge of Sighs, and looks more like a considerably smaller version of the Rialto Bridge.
It is not generally open to the public.
Brightling is a tiny village in the Weald, surrounded by lovely countryside and other tiny villages. There are two reasons you might want to visit. Firstly, it has an attractive church, dedicated to St Thomas à Becket, which was actually mentioned in the Domesday survey. So, given that Thomas was murdered in 1170, the church was obviously originally dedicated to someone else, possibly St Nicholas. The current building dates from the 13th century and among its features are some good brasses, 17th century wall paintings (biblical texts) and a rare barrel organ. The second reason to visit Brightling is to see the large stone pyramid in the churchyard. This was built as a mausoleum for John ‘Mad Jack’ Fuller (1757-1834), the local squire. Fuller was an eccentric, drunk, Member of Parliament, plantation and slave owner, philanthropist, patron of the arts and science (he supported JMW Turner and Michael Faraday) and builder of follies. Local legend was that he had been buried in his pyramid seated at a table in full evening dress with a bottle of claret but, sadly, that was shown to be untrue. Among his other structures are a ‘temple’ in the grounds of his house, Rosehill (now Brightling Park) next door to the church, an observatory (now a private residence), an obelisk on a local hilltop, ‘sugar loaf’ (no idea, sorry) and a tower – which is easily accessible a short walk across fields south-east of the church.
What used to be Cowan Bridge School for clergymen’s daughters, attended by the Bronte sisters, is now a row of cottages, one of which has been restored and is available as a holiday let. The school appears to have been a horrendously cruel and unhealthy place - the two older sisters, Maria and Elizabeth, died aged 10 and 11 in 1825 having allegedly contracted tuberculosis there. Charlotte drew on her experiences at Cowan Bridge to create Lowood School in Jane Eyre. There is a plaque marking the association on the gable end of the building, by the side of the A65.
Buckingham House, Portsmouth, is a former inn where George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, was murdered by a disgruntled naval lieutenant, John Felton, on 23 August 1628. It was on the market for £1.5M in March 2017 and as of October that year was being run as Ye Spotted Dogge guest house - a return to its past. The building possibly dates from the late 15th century and is certainly Tudor in origin. In 1523 it was Le Greyhound Inne. By the time of Buckingham's murder, it was known as Ye Spotted Dogge Inne and owned by a Captain John Mason. Mason was an explorer and credited with naming New Hampshire. Felton was executed in London - his body was brought back to Portsmouth and left to rot near Clarence Pier. The property was later owned by Dr William Smith, who died in 1732 and left a bequest to found Portsmouth Grammar School - now located next door.
Note - the building is not a tourist attraction or generally open to the public. See their website.
Bunners describes itself as a traditional ironmonger, which it is; but it is so much more too. In addition to the things you would expect, such as tools, brackets, hinges, paint and brushes, it sells toys, kitchenware and gifts. It sells stoves and garden equipment. Even fuel. It has an enormous range. Established in 1892, Bunners is still a family business and, inside, it is a little like stepping back in time. There is a traditional shop counter with friendly, helpful, staff who know their stock. You can still buy a single screw, rather than a pack of 10 or more. Beyond the counter, the place is something of a rabbit warren and, frankly, worth exploring for the experience and education.
This is a growing listings directory – over 950 entries have been listed as of September 2022.
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