(ILCE = Interchangeable Lens Camera with E-mount)
(Not exactly hidden but in plain sight but unless you know what you are looking at, then it’s hidden.)
Texas Embassy, London.
To the left of the ornate shop front to Berry Bros & Rudd, 3 St James's Street SW1, which was established as a wines and spirits merchants in 1698, is a wood paneled passageway leading to Pickering Place.
Halfway down on the right is a door, with a light over it, that used to be the entrance to the Legation from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James in 1842. After Texas gained independence from Mexico in 1836, it sent diplomats to the Court of St James’s and the closest property available to the Palace of St James, which is just across the road, was in offices rented from Berry Bros. Britain and France had offered troops to guarantee Texas’s independence and protect its borders with Mexico and the USA. Texas eventually joined joined the United States in 1845 and closed the Legation.
The plaque at the entrance to Pickering Place, has the ‘Seal of the Republic of Texas’ at the top was erected by the Anglo-Texan Society in 1963.
Pickering Place is an historic location in itself. The Georgian courtyard, dating from 1734, is the smallest public square in Britain and is also said to be the last place where a duel in London was fought.
A Nice Pair of Knockers
Wilkes Street, Spitalfields, London.
The door furniture along Wilkes Street are plenty and varied but the hand shaped door-knockers stand out as unusual. There are basically two types. There are the ones with uncovered wrists known as the The Hand Of Fatima, who was the daughter of Mohammed, and is a symbol of protection and the ones with covered wrists, said to represent lace, and are the symbols of the Huguenot weavers who settled in Spitalfields after fleeing persecution in France in the 17th century.
Giro - The Weimar Republic’s Dog.
Just off the Mall at the top of the steps, is a tree with a wrought iron gated enclosure and at the base of the tree is a small gravestone with a wooden and glass box protecting it. The gravestone belongs to ‘Giro’, the pet terrier of the German ambassador to the Court of St James’s, Leopold von Hoesch when he was appointed in 1932 and lived at the German Embassy at 9 Carlton House Terrace. In 1934, Giro bit through an electric cable in the garden and died and was buried in the garden. The grave stone was moved to its current location in the 1960’s following building works being carried out at Carlton House Terrace. Although referred to as ‘Giro the Nazi Dog’, in 1932 Germany was the Weimar Republic which in 1933 became the Third Reich and it’s known that Leopold von Hoesch disliked the Third Reich so it’s doubtful that Giro supported the Nazi party as well. The gravestone reads, in English,Giro/A faithful companion!/London in February 1934/Hoesch.
German Gymnasium, King’s Cross.
To the rear of King’s Cross station and opposite St Pancras International station at 1 Kings Boulevard is the German Gymnasium, which is now a cafe and restaurant, and was listed Grade II on the National Heritage List for England in January 1976. Designed by Edward A. Gruning, the German Gymnasium is a 2 1⁄2-story multi-coloured stock brick building constructed between 1864-65 for the German Gymnastics Society, a sporting association established in London in 1861 by Ernst Ravenstein. At a cost of £6,000, It was funded by the German community in London to become the first purpose-built Gymnasium in England. The National Olympian Association held the first Olympic Games for indoor events in the building in 1866 which continued annually until 1908 when the Games moved to White City.
Dotted around central London are what look like large green garden sheds. They date from 1875 when 61 were built as shelters for cab drivers. At one end is a small kitchen serving food and drink to cab drivers who sat around tables and chairs. Members of the public are not allowed in but can buy food and drinks from a small hatch at the kitchen end. 13 shelters still exist and are now Grade II listed buildings.