London, England. Saturday 18-Sep-2011
Sunday morning looking through Time Out for something to do on my birthday the following Tuesday we discovered that it was London Open House weekend. So whatever plans we had for the day took a sudden swerve.
We got our walking boots on and headed for the closest venue - an architect's house off West Hill. There was too much of a waiting list so we headed on to the next item on our itinerary: Fulham Palace.
I know there is a park and a road of the same name but I had not realised the Palace was still extant which was a pleasant surprise. We got there in time for the one o'clock tour and spent the next 60 minutes being shown round the palace - home to the Bishops of London for over 1300 years, the grounds and the church.
Next it was a walk and a bus ride up to Hammmersmith for Kelmscott House home of William Morris and the W.M. Society. The open house-ness was limited to the stables, basement and part of the back garden. The main house was disappointingly off-limits.
Next a walk, a tube, a train and a walk back south of the river to Battersea Park and the Pump House. It is a restored grade II listed building, built in 1861 to supply water to the lakes and cascades of the then new Battersea Park.
Battersea Pump House
It didn't take long to climb to the top and back down - not much to see really. However a side effect was that we wandered through parts of the park we had not seen before; we had mainly cycled round the perimeter road.
There was lots more to see including the Festival Gardens built for the 1951 Festival of Britain and a girder from the Twin Towers made into a memorial sculture. That ramble of discovery was the highlight of the day.
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