Explore the Sights of Tower Hamlets
Let’s be honest, Tower Hamletsmanaged to gain some bad reputation through the years. According to the statistics, there are still lots of problems waiting to be resolved.
Although Tower Hamlets is rarely out of the news, albeit usually for the wrong reasons, this London’s borough has the power to bewitch you all of a sudden.
So fasten your seatbelts because it’s about time to unveil a bit of the hidden charm of this riverine gem.
The Most Tolerant Borough in London
Tower Hamlets has one of the world's most racially diverse communities. Valuing diversity is one of the four core values of local Council. The borough’s distinctiveness is considered to be one of its greatest strengths and assets.
The Tower Hamlets' community is engaged in many activities and offers lots of opportunities to help each and every one of its members to feel at home.
Still, if you ever need professional cleaning services to make your place brightly spotless, you can contact us. We’re more than capable of securing the cleanliness of the households in the district, a fact which our clients will confirm. For other purposes, you can turn to one of the following institutions.
- East London Mosque, situated in the borough, is one of the first mosques in Britain to allow the broadcasting of adhan and one of the biggest Islamic centres in Europe. The Maryam Centre, which is a part of the mosque, is the biggest Islamic centre for women in Europe.
- The main base of the Triratna Buddhist Community in London can also be found in the borough of Tower Hamlets. The London Buddhist Centre (LBC) teaches meditation and Buddhism, it also runs courses and retreats for those suffering from mental issues. LBC is located in a former fire station from the Victorian era, which is a Grade II listed building.
- Other notable places of worship include the Fieldgate Street Great Synagogue, the Congregation of Jacob Synagogue, the Hindu Pragati Sangha Temple and the Gurdwara Sikh Sangat.
The Most Impressive Precious Stone in the World
The Crown Jewels of England themselves have a long and interesting history, dating back to the time of Edward the Confessor. The almost untraceable regalia’s history, from the beginning of the former millennium, may stay unclear, but all symbols of the monarchy since Charles II's coronation in 1661 are now kept in The Tower of London. The Crown Jewels of England consist of 140 royal ceremonial objects.
The collection is the most historically complete of any regalia in the world. As a symbol of 800 years of monarchy, Britain is the only European kingdom still using its regalia for the consecration ceremony of crowning the Sovereign. The regalia contain 23,578 precious stones and if the number is not impressive enough then keep the following facts in mind.
The largest clear cut diamond in the world – Cullinan I - is set in the Sovereign's Sceptre with Cross. The stone got its name from the town of Cullinan, South Africa, where in 1905 was found the largest gem-quality rough diamond. Still, there’s no diamond to outshine its glory.
Diamonds are forever, they said, and this collection has more of them. On The Imperial State Crown shines not only Cullinan II - the Stuart Sapphire, St Edward's Sapphire, and the Black Prince's Ruby capture the eye as well.
The Koh-i-Noor diamond is one of the largest cut diamonds in the world and is another famous gem of the collection. It traveled a long way from India, before becoming a part of the British Crown Jewels. However, this stone is considered to be cursed and to bring bad luck to any man, who dares to wear it.
The Koh-i-Noor is often referred to as
the most deadly cursed diamond in the whole world. There are numerous stories claimed that the people who used to own the jewel ending their lives in torture, murder, mutilation, treachery and that the diamond is the one to blame for the collapse of their dynasties.
After the reign of Queen Victoria, only the wives of the male heirs to the British throne are allowed to wear the magnificent and precious but still deadly and cursed stone.
Probably because of an old saying about the Koh-i-Noor diamond, which states, that the one who owns the precious stone will own the world, but will also know all its misfortunes. It is as well believed that
Only God, or woman, can wear it with impunity.
It’s Time to Send you to the Tower
The Tower of London or officially
Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle with a prominent role in the English history.
One of the many examples of taking care for the community is the Tower Hamlets Council’s kind gesture to all residents of the borough, to give them the chance to visit the Tower of London for just £1.
But now let us move on and reveal just a few of The Tower's well-kept secrets.
The Ravens of the Tower of London is a group of at least six ravens, which never leave the palace. The black-colored birds are called
The Guardians of the Towerand are believed to protect The Crown and the sustainability of the Monarchy.
For more than three centuries a superstition holds that
if the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it. That’s why there are always more than six captivated ravens at The Tower, which wings are clipped so that they can never leave.
The ones who also always stay behind the Tower walls are the Yeoman Warders and their families. The tradition is going back 700 years, so nowadays more than 150 people consider The Tower as their home. Even though the Yeoman Warders must have at least 22 years of military service and have earned a good-conduct medal to be qualified enough for the position, sometimes even they find it hard to live in such a haunted area.
Despite its horrifying reputation, covered with stories about royal blood, savage tortures, and restless ghosts (that according to rumors can still be seen in their never-ending quest for revenge), actually, there have been only 22 executions in more than 900 years of its existence.
- There’s a hidden pub on The Tower’s Ground, but there are only two ways to have a drink there – to live within the walls of the palace or to have a really special invitation, which is really hard to get for a commoner.
- According to a very old legend, there is buried treasure hidden at the Tower of London. It’s believed that former Lieutenant of the Tower, Sir John Barkstead, hid 20,000 gold coins somewhere on the grounds. Many have tried to find it but the location of the treasure remains unknown.
- At least one person in the whole world holds a spare key to the Tower. Back in November 2012, the key to an internal lock to the royal palace was stolen. Of course, the lock was immediately replaced, but still the theft of the keys was never revealed.
World’s Oldest Grand Music Hall
Once Ray Bradbury famously said:
We need our Arts to teach us how to breathe, and Wilton’s Music Hall is here to give you the essential fresh air.
Wilton’s Music Hall is considered to be a true gem situated in the heart of London for anyone who can appreciate the art in its many forms. The Grade 2 Star listed building is the oldest grand music hall in the world. It presents a year-round programme of exceptional live music and world-class productions, alongside learning and participation work that engages the local community and schools.
Founded by John Wilton in 1853, the music hall was constructed from five houses on Grace's Alley in London's culturally diversed East End.
Wilton's Music Hall has a carefully planned location, close to the London docks in order to attract the transient audiences, who came to variety shows, eager to see the greatest talents of the day. The famous Mahogany Bar remembers the very first shot of whiskey served in its opening night. Nowadays you can order your drink at the exact same spot even without staying for the late night’s show.
Wilton's Music Hall remains in history as something much more than leisure place - it acted as a soup kitchen during the London dock strike of 1889 and worked to bring tea to air raid shelters throughout the Blitz during the Second World War. In the late 60s, the disused atmospheric space began to attract artists, filmmakers and television producers.
The first film to be shot here was Karel Reisz's Isadora. Since then the iconic Victorian performance hall has been redeveloped into a vibrant contemporary multi-arts venue.
Tower Bridge is Here to Stay
The iconic Victorian bascule bridge dates back to 1894 and once was a symbol of industrial development and London’s urban expansion. Nowadays it manages to keep up with time, while keeping its unique architecture.
Tower Bridge has a modern touch as well – in 2014 a new Glass Walkway was opened to amaze all of his visitors with a breathtaking view over the river of Thames and the pedestrians below. Many newcomers and tourists tend to confuse Tower Bridge with another iconic capital’s sightsee, London Bridge, which is likely the most famously named bridge in the entire world, although it is a much less exciting structure.
Now is the time to reveal some not so well-known facts of Tower Bridge’s long history.
- The bridge was officially opened on 30 June 1894 by The Prince of Wales (the future King Edward Vll) and his wife, The Princess of Wales.
- Nowadays you can see how the bascules are raised around 1000 times a year – it may seem a lot, but during 1894, which is Tower Bridge's opening year, it was raised 6194 times.
- As the access was possible only by taking the stairs, it is said that the high-level open-air walkways of Tower Bridge were once a famous place for seductive ladies of the night and sassy thieves.
Maybe you already know that there’s a posh café in a secret room underneath one of the bridge piers, but people seldomly notice that there’s a well-hidden chimney on the North Bank – it is skilfully painted to blend in with all the other tower lamp posts.
Its purpose was simple: to keep all the former guards in the guardhouse warm during the winter months.
Since its grand beginnings, ships have always had the right of way and there are never exceptions. This was made clear back in 1997 when former US President Bill Clinton drove into London on his state motorcade.
Even the President had to wait almost 20 minutes, while his convoy split in two, because barge Gladys had scheduled priority to sail the river Thames.
We know that there’s much more to add in this list so think twice before leaving the Tower Hamlet and its glory.
Meanwhile, let us know which are your favourite places in this extraordinary borough of London in the comment section below.