Michael Rosen Facts

Michael Rosen is best known as a children’s author and poet.

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Facts About Michael Rosen

  • Michael Rosen’s full name is Michael Wayne Rosen, and he was born in 1946 in Middlesex, England.
  • After briefly working for the BBC, in 1972 he became a freelance writer and broadcaster.
  • His first book of poetry for children Mind Your Business was published in 1974. He followed this up with other collections including Wouldn’t You Like to Know, You Tell Me, and Quick Let’s Get Out of Here.
  • His most popular title is the children’s picture book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
  • Michael Rosen’s Sad Book (published in 2004 and illustrated by Quentin Blake) won the English Association Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year award. The book is partly about grief and bereavement and was prompted by the death of Micheal’s son, Eddie, from meningitis at the age of 18 in 1999.
  • Michael Rosen appeared on the Radio 4 show Desert Island Discs in 2006.
  • Michael Rosen nearly died of COVID-19, and he wrote a book Many Different Kinds of Love: A Story of Life, Death and the NHS, detailing his experiences while in hospital after spending morethan 40 days in a coma in the intensive care unit.
  • He was a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn during his bid to become Prime Miniter in the 2019 UK General Election.
  • In 2007, Michael Rosen became the sixth British Children’s Laureate, taking over the post from Jacqueline Wilson. He held the post for two years, before being succeeded by Anthony Browne.
  • He has written more than 140 books.
  • His favourite books include Catch 22 by Joseph Heller, The Wool Pack by Cynthia Harnett, and Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
  • He supports Arsenal Football Club.
  • In 2003, he named his Top 10 Books and included Zebby Gone with the Wind by Binette Schroeder, Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet & Allan Ahlberg, In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Refugee Boy by Benjamin Zephaniah, Gulf by Robert Westall, and The War Poems by Siegfried Sassoon.
  • He is an admirer of the authors James Joyce, DH Lawrence, Carl Sandburg, Gerald Manley Hopkins, Rosemary Sutcliff, James Thurber, and Peter Ustinov.
  • Michael Rosen’s We’re Going on a Bear Hunt has sold more than 11 million copies, and it has been translated into 42 languages.
  • His poetry performance videos on YouTube have been viewed more than 100 million times.

Lord Carnarvon Facts

Lord Carnarvon was an English aristocrat, best known for being the key financial backer of many of Howard Carter’s Egyptian excavation projects, including the excavation in the Valley of the Kings of the tomb of Tutankhamun.

Facts About Lord Carnarvon

  • Lord Carnarvon was born George Edward Stanhope Molyneux Herbert in 1866.
  • His father was Henry Herbert, the 4th Earl of Carnarvon, and his mother was Lady Evelyn Stanhope.
  • Lord Carnarvon attended Eton College and Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • From his maternal grandmother, he inherited Bretby Hall in Derbyshire, and he became the 5th Earl of Carnarvon following the death of his father in 1890.
  • In 1895 he married Almina Victoria Maria Alexandra Wombwell, the illegitimate daughter of Alfred de Rothschild. Rothschild paid a marriage settlement of £500,000 (a sum that would total more than £60 million today). This allowed Lord Carnarvon to pay off all of his debts.
  • In 1902, Lord Carnarvon set up the Highclere Stud to breed racehorses.
  • His grandson, the 7th Earl of Carnarvon was Queen Elizabeth II’s racing manager.
  • In 1903, after becoming injured in a car accident, his doctors recommended that he spend winters abroad. He started to visit Egypt, and became a keen Egyptologist, seeking out antiquities for a collection he was putting together in England.
  • In 1907, he employed Howard Carter to carry out the excavation of some Ancient Egyptian tombs near Thebes.
Lord Carnarvon and Howard Carter
  • In 1914, he again employed Howard Carter, this time to search the Valley of the Kings for any tombs missed during previous explorations and excavations. The search was hampered by World War I, but in 1922 Howard Carter sent a telegram to Lord Carnarvon to inform him that a sealed tomb had been located.
  • Lord Carnarvon was present with his daughter, Lady Evelyn Herbert, when the staircase to the tomb was cleared, and he was present when the sealed doorway to the room containing Tutankhamun’s cartouche was breached.
  • Some reports suggest that Howard Carter, Lord Carnarvon, and Lady Evelyn Herbert entered the inner burial chamber of Tutankhamun’s tomb before the arrival of the officials of the Egyptian Department of Antiquities.
  • Lord Carnarvon sold the rights to report on the Tutankhamun excavation to The Times newspaper.
  • In 1923, Lord Carnarvon received a severe mosquito bite. The bite became infected after he nicked it with a razor when he was shaving, and he died of blood poisoning in Cairo.
  • The press speculated that Lord Carnarvon had been struck down by the Curse of Tutankhamun, and Arthur Conan Doyle (the author of the Sherlock Holmes books) suggested that Lord Carnarvon had been killed by elemental priests guarding the tomb.
  • Lord Carnarvon’s country house, Highclere Castle, featured in the Downton Abbey TV series.
  • Lord Carnarvon was played by Sam Neil in ITV’s 2016 Tutankhamun television series.

Peter Blake Facts

Peter Blake is an English artist from England, best known for his pop art collage pieces and for designing the record sleeve for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.

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Facts About Peter Blake

  • Peter Blake was born in Dartford, UK, in 1932.
  • He was evacuated from London as a child during World War II.
  • He attended Gravesend Technical College and the Royal College of Art in London.
  • His work titled On the Balcony was produced in the mid-1950s and combines pop culture images with fine art. Although it looks like a collage, all of the elements are painted.
  • Other of his early works of pop art include Self-Portrait With Badges, Girls with Their Hero, Captain Webb Matchbook, and The First Real Target.
  • His artwork was shown at the 1961 Young Contemporaries exhibition alongside the work of David Hockney and R. B. Kitaj.
  • He was also featured in a BBC pop art documentary called Pop Goes the Easel in 1962.
  • He famously designed the album sleeve for the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band LP, but he has provided artwork for numerous other records, including Stanley Road by Paul Weller (1995), Stop the Clocks by Oasis (2006), Face Dances by The Who (1981), I Still Do by Eric Clapton (2016), and the Band Aid Do They Know It’s Christmas? charity single (1984).
  • In addition to his pop art work, Peter Blake has also produced paintings. In the early 1970s, he completed a series of watercolour paintings to illustrate an edition of Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.
  • In 1991, he painted a portrait of the wrestler Kendo Nagasaki.
  • In 2008, Peter Blake created an updated version of his Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album artwork to support Liverpool’s bid to become European Capital of Culture 2008.
  • He updated the artwork again in 2012 to celebrate his 80th birthday. The new collage featured images of people who he had admired and been influenced by during his long career, including Twiggy, JK Rowling, Grayson Perry, Amy Winehouse, Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Mick Jagger, Vivienne Westwood, Tom Stoppard, and Elvis Costello.
  • He is a supporter of Chelsea FC, and in 2010, he produced a collage to promote their 2010 kit.
  • He created the London Stands Together poster in 2020, and it was distributed via the Evening Standard newspaper.
  • Peter Blake was knighted in 2002 for services to art.
  • In 2005 he produced a set of collages titled Homage to Schwitters, based on the work of Kurt Schwitters.
  • Although he admired the Beatles, he was a bigger fan of the Beach Boys, and he also enjoyed the music of the Four Freshman, Dionne Warrick, Chet Baker, the Hi-Lo’s, the Kirby Stone Four, and Bo Diddley.
  • He is a big admirer of the work of Simon Rodia.
  • Some of his favourite books include Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Ulysses by James Joyce.
  • He has vast collections of items and objects, including taxidermy, puppets, ornaments, toys, and folk art.

Vivienne Westwood Facts

Vivienne Westwood is a fashion designer from England. She is best known for shaping the fashion of London’s punk movement in the 1970s.

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Vivienne Westwood Facts

  • Vivienne Westwood was born as Vivienne Isabel Swire in 1941 in Tintwistle in Cheshire, England.
  • She took a course in jewellery-making and silversmithing at the University of Westminster but quit after just one term. Instead, she trained to be a primary school teacher and made jewellery in her free time, selling it from a stall on London’s Portobello Road.
  • Vivienne Westwood met Derek Westwood in 1962, and they got married the same year. She designed and made her own wedding dress.
  • The marriage of Vivienne and Derek Westwood ended when Vivienne met Malcolm McClaren. Malcolm McClaren and Vivienne Westwood lived together in Balham, London, and they collaborated to produce pieces of clothing.
  • In the 1970s, Vivienne Westwood co-managed a shop with Malcolm McClaren that became a hub for the London punk scene. The Sex Pistols band, managed by Malcolm McClaren wore clothes designed by Vivienne Westwood and McClaren, and Vivienne Westwood is often credited as being one of the key architects of punk style.

Vivienne and Malcolm use clothes to shock, irritate and provoke a reaction but also to inspire change. Mohair jumpers, knitted on big needles, so loosely that you can see all the way through them, T-shirts slashed and written on by hand, seams and labels on the outside, showing the construction of the piece; these attitudes are reflected in the music we make. It’s OK to not be perfect, to show the workings of your life and your mind in your songs and your clothes

Viv Albertine
  • The first Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McClaren fashion collection to be shown to the media was called Pirate, and they went on to collaborate on other collections, including Savages (1981), Punkature (1982), and World’s End (1984).
  • In the late-1980s, Vivienne Westwood combined the Victorian crinoline (a stiff petticoat designed to hold a skirt away from the body) and the miniskirt, creating the mini-crini.
  • In 2007, Vivienne Westwood designed the academic gowns for London’s King’s College.
  • She also designed uniforms for Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic cabin crew.
  • Vivienne Westwood designed for numerous big-name clients over the years, including Dita Von Teese (wedding dress), Marion Cotillard (dress for film premiere), Princess Eugenie (dresses for the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton), and Pharrell Williams (Buffalo hat).
  • In the video game Final Fantasy XV one of the characters, Lunafreya Nox Fleuret, is shown wearing a wedding dress designed by Vivienne Westwood.
  • In the 2008 Sex and the City movie, one of the main characters, Carrie Bradshaw, wears a Vivienne Westwood wedding dress.
  • Although she has at times been a supporter of both Britain’s Labour Party and the Conservative Party, in 2015 she supported the Green Party of England and Wales.
  • In 2017, she endorsed Jeremy Corbyn’s bid to become Prime Minister at the UK general election. He was unsuccessful.
  • She has supported many different campaigns, charities, and causes over the years, including PETA, climate change awareness, the Trillion Fund (clean energy), Liberty, and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND).
  • In 2008 Vivienne Westwood published the Vivienne Westwood Opus 2008 book at London Fashion Week. It featured 97 large-format Polaroid photographs. The subjects include Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Sarah Ferguson, Helena Bonham Carter, and Sir Bob Geldof.
  • Vivienne Westwood was awarded the OBE in 1992, and the DBE in 2006 for services to fashion.
  • She was included in the updated version of Peter Blake‘s Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band Beatles album cover.
  • In 2012, one of Vivienne Westwood’s tartan outfits appeared on a Royal Mail postage stamp to celebrate Great British Fashion.
  • She is a vegetarian.
  • In 200, she moved into a house in Clapham, London, once owned by Captain James Cook’s mother.
  • Vivienne Westwood has twice been named British Designer of the Year.
  • The Richest website estimates that Vivienne Westwood has a net worth of more than £150 million.
  • In recent years, many celebrities have worn clothes and accessories designed by Vivienne Westwood, including Dua Lipa, Hailey Bieber, Rita Ora, Gigi Hadid, Elle Fanning, Miley Cyrus, and Kristen Stewart.

Kurt Schwitters Facts

Kurt Schwitters was a German artist. Although he produced works of poetry, painting, sculpture, and graphic design, he is best known for his works of collage.

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Facts About Kurt Schwitters

  • Kurt Schwitters was born in 1887 in Hannover, Germany.
  • In 1901, as a teenager, he experienced his first epileptic fit.
  • He studied art at the Dresden Academy, and then he began a career as an artist, initially as a post-impressionist.
  • His work became more expressionist as World War I progressed.
  • Although Kurt Schwitters was conscripted into the 73rd Hanoverian Regiment in 1917, he was exempted due to his epilepsy. During World War I, he worked as a draftsman in a factory.
  • The style of work he produced changed dramatically in the years following the end of World War I.
  • Kurt Schwitters produced his first abstract collages in 1919. He called these works Merz (after text appearing on one of the paper fragments).
  • In his collages, Kurt Schwitters included fragments of found objects, personal items (such as tickets, and items given to him by friends), and pieces of newspaper.

I could see no reason why used tram tickets, bits of driftwood, buttons and old junk from attics and rubbish heaps should not serve well as materials for paintings; they suited the purpose just as well as factory-made paints.

Kurt Schwitters
  • From 1923 to 1937, he worked on an ambitious 3-D construction at his Hanover studio. It started out as a single column, but soon expanded to fill his enitr working and living space with a series of angular pillars, caves, and grottoes. He called this work Merzbau.
  • From 1937-1948, Kurt Schwitters and his son fled Germany for Norway to avoid being arrested by the Gestapo. his wife remained in Germany to manage their four properties.
  • When the Nazi’s invaded Norway in 1940, Kurt Schwitters moved to Leith in Scotland before being relocated to Hutchinson Camp in Douglas in the Isle of Man.
  • During his internement, Kurt Schwitters produced more than 200 works of art.
  • He was released from the internment camp in 1941, and he moved to London.
  • In London, he was in contact with the artists Ben Nicholson, Naum Gabo, and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy.
  • During this period of his career, Kurt Schwitters started to incorporate more natural elements into his work, including pebbles, and sea-worn pottery.
  • In 1944, Kurt Schwitters suffered a stroke, and he learned that his wife had died of cancer in Germany.
  • He moved to the Lake District in 1947, and he died in 1948 on the day after he had received the news that he had been granted British citizenship. He was sixty years old.
  • The artists Damien Hirst, Robert Rauschenberg, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake, Eduardo Paolozzi, Ed Ruscha, and Al Hansen, have all said that Kurt Schwitters has influenced their work.
  • In 2014, one of Kurt Schwitters’ 1920s works, Ja-Was?-Bild (an abstract composition combining paper, cardboard, fabric, wood, and nails), sold at auction for just under £14 million.

What is Photorealism? Facts and Information

Photorealism is an art genre in which the artist attempts to recreate a photographed image in another medium. The work is incredibly detailed and faithful to the source image. As a result, works of photorealism often feel cool and emotionless, as the artist is trying to achieve a perfect copy of what was seen through the camera’s lens, free from emotion or artistic style.

The term Photorealism was first used by Louis L Meisel (an American gallery owner and art dealer) in 1969 to describe artists who gathered information with cameras and photographs and produced work that appeared photographic.

Who were the first Photorealists?

Know as the American Photorealists, the first Photorealist artists included Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Ralph Goings, Chuck Close, Don Eddy, Richard McLean, John Salt, Tom Blackwell, Ron Kleeman, and Ben Schonzeit.

These artists worked independently of each other, and produced landscapes, portraits, and still lifes.

Many of the original Photorealists moved away from this genre of art as their careers progressed and evolved, but since 2000 and the rise in digital photography, new Photorealist artists have emerged.

Other artists who have produced works of Photorealism include Roberto Bernardi, Bryan Charnley, Raphaella Spense, Glennray Tutor, Tjalf Sparnaay, Robert Neffson, Clive Head, and William Nichols.

What is the difference between Hyperrealism and Photorealism?

Although the term Hyperrealism has been used to describe the work of Photorealist artists, the Hyperrealism movement is considered a distinct offshoot of the Photorealism genre.

Unlike Photorealist painters who focused on recreating mundane and everyday scenes in a precise, mechanical manner without emotion or narrative, the Hyperrealists, using digital photography as their starting point, try to create an illusion of reality that is not present in the original (creating a simulation of something which has never really existed). Hyperrealist works often focus on social, cultural, and political themes, and they often portray the subject with emotion and feeling.

Hyperrealist painters at once simulate and improve upon precise photographic images to produce optically convincing visual illusions of reality, often in a social or cultural context.

Petra Halkes

Some artists who have produced works of Hyperrealism include Dennis Peterson, Gottfried Heinwein, Ron Mueck, Andreas Orosz, Peter Maier, Mark Jenkins, Eric Dillman, and Jack Mendenhall.

Famous Photorealist Paintings

Some of the most well-known works of Photorealism include:

  • ’71 Buick by Robert Bechtle
  • Gum Ball No 10 by Charles Ball
  • Stanley II by Chuck Close
  • Tattoo by Robert Cottingham
  • The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum by Richard Estes
  • Medalion by Richard McLean
  • McDonald’s Pickup by Ralph Goings
  • A Season of Moment by Glennray Tutor
  • Shiva Blue by Audrey Flack

Audrey Flack Facts

Audrey Flack is an American artist working in the genre of photorealism. Her work incorporates painting, sculpture, and photography, and it often portrays women, everyday objects, and important moments in modern history.

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Facts About Audrey Flack

  • Audrey Flack was born in 1931 in Washington Heights in New York City, US.
  • She went to school at the High School of Music and Arts in New York, and she went on to earn a graduate degree from New York’s Cooper Union and a Fine Arts degree from Yale University. She also studied Art History at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York.
  • Audrey Flack started out as an abstract expressionist painter, but in the 1960s she started to develop a photorealism approach.
  • In 1966, Audrey Flack was the first photorealist painter to have work included in the Museum of Modern Art (New York) collection.
  • Audrey Flack was one of the first painters to use photographs as the basis for her paintings. Her photorealist work is based around a cluttered and busy tabletop still life, including everyday objects such as lipstick tubes, perfume bottles, and fruit.

There is an instinct for realism, a powerful drive to reproduce oneself. The fascination of photorealistic paintings lies partly in their apparent replication of life, but these are not merely replications. These paintings are often out of life scale, varying from over life-size to under life-size, from brilliant, heightened color to pale, undertone hues.

Audrey Flack on Photorealism
  • In addition to being a painter, Audrey Flack is also a talented sculptor. Her sculptures often feature heroic and powerful women and goddesses from history and myth. Some of her sculptures include Medusa (1989), Egyptian Rocket Goddess (1990), and Sofia (1995).

I believe art cuts across time. Art lives forever.

Audrey Flack
  • Audrey Flacks has had her work shown in exhibitions and galleries in cities all over America, including New York, Tampa, Minneapolis, Louisville, San Francisco, Austin, Charlotte, Phoenix, and Roanoke.
  • Audrey Flack plays the banjo in the band Art Band. The band performs songs about famous artists, including Jackson Pollock, Vincent Van Gogh, Picasso, Mary Cassat, Lee Krasner, and Camille Claudel. A CD of their music was released in 2013.
  • She is inspired by Rembrandt, Pablo Picasso, Juan Gris and Georges Braque, Franz Kline, Jackson Pollock, and Spanish sculptor Luisa Roldan.
  • Alongside Chuck Close, Wayne Thiebaud, and Malcolm Morely, Audrey Flack is considered one of the key artists of the photorealism movement. Some of her best-known photorealist works include Marilyn: Golden Girl and Fortune (Vanitas), World War II (Vanitas), and Wheel of Fortune.
  • Audrey Flack has written three books about art and her creative process. They are titled Audrey Flack On Painting, Audrey Flack: The Daily Muse, and Art and Soul: Notes on Creating.

Every still-life painter has her bag of tricks. You have your prop closet and just pull them out. One of the beauties of being an artist is that no one can tell me what to paint.

Audrey Flack in 1978
  • In a 1994 interview, Audrey Flack said she was intrigued by some of the great 19th cenury sculptors, including Willam Rush, Charles Grafly, Malvina Hoffman, Bessie Potter Vonnoh, and Hiram Powers.

What makes for great art is the courage to speak and write and paint what you know and care about.

Audrey Flack

Victorian Inventors & Inventions

Queen Victoria’s reign began in 1837 and ended with her death in 1901. This period is often described as an age of rapid change, and many breakthroughs were achieved in terms of scientific thought and industrial innovation and design.

Here is a list of some of the inventions that were developed during the Victorian period (both in the UK and overseas) and the inventors behind them.

1837 – The telegraph was invented by Samuel Morse, and the postage stamp was invented by Rowland Hill.

1838 – Samuel Morse invented Morse Code.

1839 – The process of rubber vulcanization was invented by Charles Goodyear, the first pedal bicycle was produced by Kirkpatrick Macmillan, and the first paddle steamship was made by Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

1841 – The stapler is invented by Samuel Slocum.

1842 – The first grain elevator is constructed by Joseph Dart.

1843 – The first Christmas card was designed by John Calcott Horsely.

1845 – Elias Howe invented a type of sewing machine.

1849 – The safety pin is invented by Walter Hunt, and modern concrete was developed by Monier.

1851 – Isaac Singer invents a type of sewing machine.

1852 – The gyroscope is invented by Jean Bernard Leon Foucault.

1856 – Louis Pasteur invents the process of pasteurisation.

1858 – The internal combustion engine is invented by Jean Lenoir.

1861 – The Yale lock is invented by Linus Yale.

1862 – The machine gun is invented by Richard Gatling, and the first man-made plastic is produced by Alexander Parkes.

1864 – Jelly Babies are invented by Herr Steinbeck.

1866 – Dynamite is invented by Alfred Nobel, and Robert Whitehead invents the torpedo.

1868 – Air brakes are developed by George Westinghouse, and J. P. Knight invents the traffic light.

1873 – Barbed wire is invented by Joseph Glidden.

1876 – The telephone is patented by Alexander Graham Bell.

1875 – First chocolate Easter eggs were manufactured by Fry’s in Bristol.

1877 – The world’s first recording of the human voice is made by Thomas Edison.

1880 – A form of toilet paper is manufactured by the British Perforated Paper Company, and the seismograph is invented by John Milne.

1881 – Roll film for cameras is patented by David Houston.

1884 – The mechanical cash register is invented by James Ritty, and a useable fountain pen is invented by Lewis Edson Waterman.

1885 – The first practical internal-combustion engine powered car is developed by Karl Benz.

1886 – The dishwasher is invented by Josephine Cochrane, and Coca-Cola is invented by John Pemberton.

1887 – Radar is invented by Heinrich Hertz, the gramophone is invented by Emile Berliner, and the first wearable contact lenses are developed by Muller & Fick.

1888 – The first pneumatic tyre is patented by John Boyd Dunlop, and the AC motor and transformer are invented by Nikola Tesla.

1891 – The escalator is invented by Jesse W. Reno.

1892 – The diesel-fueled combustion engine is invented by Rudolf Diesel.

1895 – The first wireless is launched by Guglielmo Marconi.

1888 – George Eastman invents the Kodak box camera.

1898 – The rollercoaster is invented by Edwin Prescott.

1899 – A motor-powered vacuum cleaner is patented by J. S. Thurman.

Hyde Park Facts

Located in Westminster in Greater London, Hyde Park is the largest of London’s Royal Parks that form a line from the entrance to Kensington Palace to past the main entrance of Buckingham Palace.

Facts About Hyde Park

  • Hyde Park is a public park and it has an area of approximately 350 acres.
  • The park was founded by Henry VIII in 1536. He took the land from Westminster Abbey and established a hunting ground.
  • The park was opened to public in 1637 and it was often used as a place to celebrate May Day.
  • During the English Civil War a series of forts were constructed along the park’s east side, and in 1665, during London’s Great Plague it was used as a miitary camp.
  • During the 18th century more than 170 duels took place in Hyde Park, and more than 60 people were killed, including Charles Mohun and James Hamilton.
  • Hyde Park’s lake, the Serpentine, was formed in the 18th century by damming the River Westbourne. A bridge (designed by George Rennie and built in 1826) divides the Serpentine from the Long Water (a lake located in Kensington Gardens).
The Serpentine
  • The Great Exhibition of 1851 was held at Hyde Park. The Crystal Palace was located on the park’s south side, but it was moved after the event to Sydenham Hill in South London.
  • Hyde Park Lido, located on the Serpentine’s south bank, opened in 1930.
  • In 2012, Hyde Park hosted a festival as part of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
  • The Winter Wonderland event at Hyde Park has been running since 2007, ad includes fairground rides, Christmas market stalls, and bars and restaurants. It is one of Europe’s largest Chrstmas events.
  • Although it is claimed by some that the massive Standing Stone located to the east of Hyde Park was taken from Stonehenge by Charles I, it is actually part of an old drinking fountain.
  • In 2003, it is reported that more than 1 million people gathered in Hyde Park to protest the Iraq War.
  • Hyde Park’s first rock concert was held in 1968. Pink Floyd, Roy Harper, and Jethro Tull played to a crowd of 15,000 people.
  • Since then, numerous bands and srtists have performed at Hyde Park, including The Rolling Stones, Queen, Bruce Springsteen, The Who, Elton John, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, R.E.M., and U2.
  • During the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, Hyde Park hosted the triathlon, and the open water swimming events.

Learn more about London and some of the city’s greatest landmarks.

Trafalgar Square Facts

A public square located in the City of Westminster in Central London, Trafalgar Square was constructed in the early part of the 19th century. Nelson’s Column, a 46-metre granite column topped with a statue of Admiral Nelson, is located in the middle of Trafalgar Square to commemorate the victory at the Battle of Trafalgar (1805).

Facts About Trafalgar Square

  • Formerly known as Charing Cross, Trafalgar Square has been a significant London landmark for centuries. It once was the site of the enclosed King’s Mews courtyard, but this was moved to Buckingham Palace by George IV.
  • Trafalgar Square is owned by the British monarch and it is managed by the Greater London Authority. The roads surrounding Trafalgar Square are owned by Westminster City Council.
  • The fountains flanking Nelson’s Column in Trafalgar Square were designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens, and the four lions guarding the column were designed by Sir Edwin Landseer and are made out of bronze. Each one weighs more than 7 tons.
  • Many famous London landmarks and buildings surround Trafalgar Square, including the National Gallery, St Martin-in-the-Fields Church, South Africa House, Canada House, and The Mall which leads to Admiralty Arch and Buckingham Palace.
  • In 1914, as part of the suffragette bombing campaign, a bomb was placed in St Martin-in-the-Fields church. The explosion blew out the church’s windows and started a fire.
  • Three of the four Trafalgar Square plinths contain statues (of George IV, Sir Charles James Napier, and Sir Henry Havelock). The so-called ‘Fourth Plinth’ has remained statueless and has been used to show specially commissioned works of art.
  • Some of the artists who have had their work displayed on the Fourth Plinth include Marc Quinn, Antony Gormley, Yinka Shonibare, Katharina Fritsch, Hans Haacke, David Shrigley, and Michael Rakowitz.
  • The statue of Edward Jenner which was located in Trafalgar Square in the 1800s has been relocated to Kensington Gardens.
  • Trafalgar Square used to be famous for its flocks of pigeons. People used to be encouraged to feed the birds, and at one point it was estimated that there were 35,000 pigeons visiting the site. In 2001, the sale of bird seed in the square was outlawed, and in 2003 it was illegal to feed the birds in Trafalgar Square.
  • Traditionally, Londoners would congregate in Trafalgar Square on New Year’s Eve to celebrate the coming of the new year.
  • Since 1947, a ceremony has been held in Trafalgar Square to unveil a Norway spruce Christmas tree presented annually to London from Oslo in Norway in recognition of the support Britain provided to Norway in World War 2.
  • Throughout history, Trafalgar Square has been the site of protests and demonstrations. In the 1980s, anti-apartheid protests took place outside South Africa House, in the 1990s, Poll Tax protesters congregated in Trafalgar Square, and in 2015 a vigil was held for the victims of the terrorist attacks in Paris.
  • Trafalgar Square has appeared in numerous TV shows and movies, including Casino Royale, Doctor Who, and the Ipcress Files.
  • A LEGO set based on Trafalgar Square was released in 2019 as part of its Architecture theme (Set 21045).
  • Trafalgar Square features as one of the properties in the standard UK edition of the Monopoly board game. It is part of the red set, alongside the Strand and Fleet Street.
  • Trafalgar Square appears (as Victory Square) in the novel Nineteen-Eighty-Four by George Orwell.
  • Trafalgar Square was designed by Sir Charles Barry, and was constructed in the 1840s.

Learn about some more of London’s landmarks.