Le Chic En Rose

Diaries of an independent traveller

We arrived in London in March in the midst of the “Beast From The East”, the extreme weather front that gripped the UK for a week or so coming straight from the Siberian Steppes. It was minus two and blowing a blizzard when we landed belatedly at Heathrow Airport on the Friday night, after our original flight from Hong Kong was cancelled.

We had just a couple of full days to spend with our daughter Mlle in London and with the weather remaining bitterly cold and the pavements icy with the snow and frost, we didn’t fancy spending too much time outdoors. I’ve already written a quick account of the weekend whilst on the road here.  However we did brave the elements and in fact managed to pack quite a lot into our flying visit to the capital.

On the Sunday, when a slow thaw had set in, Mlle suggested heading down to the Temple area of the city for lunch at the Temple Brew House in Essex Street before taking in an exhibition. The moody blues and greys down by the Thames don’t really depict the full story – it was absolutely freezing even for Mlle who is more acclimatised than us by now to the cold!

 

The Temple Brew House proved an inspired choice. During the week it must be packed with workers from the legal offices and chambers nearby but on this cold Sunday lunchtime it was more or less deserted and the warming pies and drinks were just what we needed. I did manage to get a glass of wine though Monsieur and Mlle sampled some of the many craft beers on offer (well not too many I should hasten to add!).

 

 

Two Temple Place is just a few minutes walk away from the Temple Brew House. An imposing building near the Victoria Embankment with views towards the Thames, it is now owned by a private trust, the Bulldog Trust, and is open to the public at certain times of the year for special exhibitions. Mlle works in the music PR industry and a number of her clients are in the jazz world so it seemed serendipitous that the latest exhibition, “Rhythm & Reaction, The Age of Jazz in Britain” was on at the time of our visit.

 

Not only was the exhibition free (though donations were welcome), it gave us an opportunity to look round this impressive, albeit unusual, piece of architecture. Originally known as Astor House, it was built in 1895 for the wealthy American-born William Waldorf Astor, businessman, attorney, politician and newspaper publisher, who was apparently so scared of potential kidnapping attempts that he relocated himself and family to England (deemed safer than the USA). Constructed by John Loughborough Pearson the exterior is built from Portland stone whilst the interior is decorated with heavy wooden panels and stained glass windows – a bit reminiscent of something out of a gothic novel meeting an Elizabethan Tudor mansion!

 

Apparently used as both an office and living quarters by Astor and his family, it also housed some of his extensive artworks and certainly provided an interesting backdrop for the jazz history exhibition. Thoughtfully curated, the exhibition took us through the history of jazz in the Britain of the 20s, 30s, 40s and later, as well as providing a fascinating tour of the opulent mansion at the same time.

 

 

I had to restrain myself in the lovely gift shop, which was selling books, cards, prints, toiletries as well as other gifts – luggage allowances being of the essence when travelling though I can’t say I came away totally empty handed! We headed out from the cosy warmth inside the building to brave the crisp, cold air of a wintry London late afternoon.

 

 

Two Temple Place is one of those hidden gems and it’s well worth looking out for exhibitions or other events there if you happen to be in London.

Copyright © 2018 Rosemary Thomas Le Chic En Rose. All rights reserved

11 thoughts on “London Travels – Two Temple Place

  1. I had never heard of this place until another blogger wrote about it. It looks amazing! The Beast from the East is totally forgotten now as we swelter in, what is for us, a heatwave.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think it’s the sort of place you would love Anabel. From what I can gather they hold an annual exhibition from January to April then a few other events during the year but otherwise it is closed to the public. Best to check the website for information if you were planning a trip down to London. The weather sounds incredible – an extended heatwave most unusual! We have pouring rain and wintry conditions here!

      Like

      1. Oh dear! Still scorchio here, though more of a breeze today.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Shouldn’t complain as we can always do with rain here – it’s very wild and woolly outside though and I nearly got blown over in a squall when I was out earlier. Warm and cosy inside though – we have all the heating on and the wood fire blazing! Enjoy the sunshine – looks like it’s continuing for a while! 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Gilda Baxter says:

    Not even bad weather can stop people from enjoying London. There is always so much to do and see there that is not weather dependent. I must check out this place next time I visit my son in London. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it wasn’t really a problem as there is always so much to see and do in London – so many interesting galleries and museums not to mention the pubs and restaurants! Best check the website if you were thinking of going to see when the next events are on as they are not open all year round!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. kayrpea61 says:

    Thank you. Added to the wish list already 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s a great find Ken – would not have known about it if our daughter wasn’t a local! The website has details of events and when they are open 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. restlessjo says:

    Fabulous looking place, Rosemay, and one that I’m not familiar with either. 🙂 🙂 Your daughter’s job sounds so interesting and I’m sure she must be happy doing it. And that will make you happy too- even though she is so far away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s good to have Mlle’s input Jo as we get to go to some less well known places! 2 Temple Place is a gem though it isn’t open all the time. Yes she has a very interesting job – tough at times but she enjoys it and she wouldn’t have had such opportunities in Perth. I’ve always said as long as both my girls are happy that is the main thing 🙂 It is a long way but we’re lucky as it gives us one more excuse to travel over and Mlle is back a couple of times later this year (for a wedding and then Christmas) 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

What Do You Think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: