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(22th – 27th February, 2013 )

A BRIEF HISTORY OF LONDON In mid-15th century, it was the War of the Roses, a cruel civil war between the Houses of York (whose symbol was a white rose) and Lancaster (whose symbol was a red rose). In the end the House of Lancaster won with Henry VII of the Tudors (1485), consecrating the hegemony of the absolute monarchy. The reign of Elizabeth I was one of the periods of biggest splendor of English History with the annexation of Scotland and the naval supremacy. With her reign the Tudor House finished. The Pest and the Great Fire (1666) provoked the beginning of Modern History in London. In 1952 Elizabeth II succeeded her father George VI in the throne and the current Royal Family History starts, which we all know. In the 60’s, London turns into the capital city of music par excellence. Fashion and Rock bands make of London a privileged place. Nowadays, between buildings of steel and glass, London rises as the neuralgic point of United Kingdom.


WESTMINSTER ABBEY It’s an old Benedictine Abbey




controlled directly by the Crown of England and out of the jurisdiction of the Church.

Built in the 13th century under the reign of Henry III, most of it was restored after the 18th century. Inside its walls, we can find not only the tombs of monarchs, but also other very important people like Charles Darwin, Edmund Spencer, Häendel, Isaac Newton or Charles Dickens because it is a great honour to be buried in the Abbey. With Gothic style, has been in countless occasions for coronations and burial of British monarchs and in September 1997 was the chosen setting for the funeral of Lady Diana, Princess of Wales.

THE NATIONAL GALLERY It’s an art museum on Trafalgar Square. One of



collections pictures


important European




organized chronologically, with works that go from 1250





founded in 1824 for the enjoy and benefit of the entire world.


TRAFALGAR SQUARE It is one of the most famous and crowded squares of London. The square was built as a homage to the victory of the English Navy commanded by Nelson over the Spanish and French in the famous Trafalgar Battle, on October 21st 1805 (Trafalgar Cape, Cadiz), and it was finished in 1845, after that in 1820 King George IV ordered the housing development of the area.





Trafalgar Square is the monument to Nelson, a tremendous commemorative column of more than 50 metres high, in which base rest four big bronze lions. Likewise, there are also two really nice fountains. As a curiosity, we have to say that from this square starts Charing Cross, where the “km. 0” is, the equivalent to the one in “Puerta del Sol” in Madrid.

OXFORD STREET It is maybe the most known street in London and this is due to the big number of shops (around 300) that can be found in this street placed in downtown London. In its beginnings, the path that currently makes Oxford Street was a very important Roman road, even being along some years the main way to come in and get out of the city. In the end of 18th century, the fields of the area were acquired by the Count of Oxford and it immediately started to become known by the number of shops that


were in it, something that still happens nowadays.

PICCADILLY CIRCUS Piccadilly Circus was created in 1819, as a junction with Regent Street. It is known as the Square of Light, due to the many video screens and neon lights, that cover buildings and light the night. We can find a little statue on a fountain that is known as the statue of Eros, but its real name is the Christian Charity Angel or Agape. This sculpture was the first one on being carved in aluminium. It represented a technological achievement by the material used. The sculpture was only retired from the fountain on the II World War, and it was back to its place in 1948.


The name of Big Ben makes reference just to the big bell of 13’8 tons and in honour of Benjamin Hall, commissioner who was in charge of the construction in the moment that the big bell was placed. The clock has four sides, one for each of the tower and its dimensions are huge. The four spheres have 7’5 metres of diameter. Each of the minute hands has 4’25 metres.


Since its opening in March 2000, the “Merlin Entertainments London Eye” has become an emblematic icon of modern United Kingdom. The London Eye is a great achievement of design


and engineering. The passengers in the capsules of observation can admire the sights up to 40 kilometres of distance in all directions.


design of the London Eye is used as a metaphor of the pass to the new century. As an anecdote we can say that it was built as a temporary facility but it was such a success that the Government decided to keep it to stay.


BRITISH MUSEUM The British Museum is one of the biggest museums of antiquities all over the World and the biggest in the United Kingdom. It has always been a controversial Museum, and it is still criticized on how it obtained its art works because many consider it spoliation. It is born thanks to the private collection of a doctor and naturist: Sir Hans Sloane, that in his will he donated his collection to the British Government. Apart from the many particular donations and the acquisitions that the Government has done, a great part of the objects exhibited come from the campaign booties of the military actions that England took and from its colonies, for example, the defeat of France at the Nile battle, allowed the British Museum acquire the famous Rosetta Stone in 1801, in this struggle it was able to get multiple antiquities from Egypt, which has made its section of Ancient Egypt the most important after the one from the Egyptian Museum of El Cairo. Many of the most eminent Egyptologists make their studies in London because of this.


BUCKINGHAM PALACE It is the official home in London for the British Monarchy since the reign of the Queen Victoria I, that started in 1837. From that date on, six monarchs have lived




including Elizabeth II. The palace is where almost every event related to the British Royal Family takes place, and also as a place of reception for the foreign Heads of State in official visit.

ST. PAUL’S CATHEDRAL The first building that is known in this place is from the Hellenic era, because what there was there it was a temple in honour of the goddess Diana. After that it was built as




Chapel, that was made of wood, the Romanic Church followed it, and after that the Gothic, that was the biggest religious monument in





remained destroyed in 1666 by the Great London Fire. One of the crypts is the funerary chamber of the Cathedral where you can find the tombs of a large number of famous characters as Horace Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Lawrence of Arabia, Winston Churchill and the ones of the painters Reynolds and Turner. The Choir is also a highlight, there is the organ where Mendelssohn used to play and even today is still used.







Diplodocus welcomes us as we come in. The museum is divided in five main areas: Botany, Zoology, Entomology, Mineralogy and Palaeontology. The





Palaeontology area, full of dinosaur skeletons of the most different sizes and types. From the rest of the areas, the huge collection of dissected animals is a highlight, most of all those that were donated by Darwin to the Museum. The halls dedicated to minerals are also very impressive, with spectacular collections of gemstones.

COVENT GARDEN The modern History of Covent Garden started in 1630, when the fields that before belonged to Westminster Abbey, “the Convent Garden”, they were redesigned by order of the fourth Count of Bedford. The Great London Fire in 1666 destroyed the markets in the East of the city and –almost from





Covent Garden became the most important




fruits, vegetables and flowers in the





ravages of time had made the market pay for it and that is why it was decided to move it to new facilities, remaining empty. When Covent Garden closed down a full restyle was done and ten years later it reopened as the first shopping mall. On the top part of all the lights that are in the Covent Garden Market, you can see pineapples. This fruit that became the most exotic food of England when they were discovered by the first Europeans, commemorate


the old fruit and vegetables market.




1066 William I the Conqueror builds a provisional


After that, in the year 1078, it started to build the White Tower London


protect citizens

from the possible attack of enemies. Along the following centuries, the London Tower was evolving and increasing its size, with the construction of new towers and buildings, that make what today is a great fortress. They were many the prisoners of London Tower, many of them famous, that ended executed in its facilities, for example: Thomas Moor, executed in 1535 and Anne Boleine, executed in 1536. The Crown Jewels are in one of the buildings, they are the jewels used in the coronation of kings and queens of the Royal British household since the 17th century, plus several pieces of clothing that have also been used in such coronations. London Tower Bridge, 1895



Marie Grosholtz (later to become Madame Tussaud) was born in 1761 in Strasbourg, France. Her mother worked as a housekeeper for Philippe Curtius, a doctor who was skilled at modelling wax to create anatomical figures. Marie learned the skill of wax modelling from the doctor. In 1767 Marie moved with her mother and Philippe Curtius to Paris where Curtius opened his first exhibition. At a time when visual media such as cinema and TV did not exist, people flocked to the exhibition to see for themselves what the famous people of the time looked like. In 1794 Curtius died and Marie was left to run the exhibition. However the exhibition struggled in the economic decline following the revolution and Marie decided to take the exhibition to England where it was a great success. Marie and her husband, Francois Tussaud, toured the British Isles with the exhibition for 33 years. At the age of 74, Madame Tussaud decided to settle the exhibition permanently at the Baker Street Bazaar, very close to the present site. Marie continued to work at the exhibition until her death in 1850. Her sons and grandsons continued the business and in 1884 decided to move the exhibition to its present site on Marylebone Road.



Colegio San Hermenegildo Dos Hermanas Sevilla


Viaje cultural a Londres 22-27 de febrero 2013