The Anonymous Widower

Is This The Last Pill Box In London?

When I went to Wimbledon to trace the Goblin Extension, I noticed that perched on Fulham Railway Bridge was a Second World War pill box.

So I just had to go back and investigate, by taking a trip to Putney Bridge station.

I think this type of defensive structure is pretty rare in London these days.

Note though how Putney Bridge station is on the Fulham side of the river, by a bridge with that name.

Was this all done to confuse invaders, so they didn’t know whether they were coming or going, so they could be picked off easily from the pill box.

Probably not, as the naming was I suspect a cunning plan to confuse those South of the river, if they should venture into the North.



August 7, 2014 Posted by | Transport | , , , | Leave a comment

The Pilot With More Lives Than A Cat’s Home

I watched the documentary entitled Britain’s Greatest Pilot: The Extraordinary Story of Captain Winkle Brown on BBC2 last night.

The title says his story has been extraordinary and never a truer use has been made of the word. His Wikipedia  entry reads like something penned by W E Johns.

He flew a total of 487 different aircraft types and made a record of no less than 2047 landings on aircraft carriers.

If his flying exploits weren’t enough, as he was a fluent German speaker, he interrogated some of the worst Nazi war criminals.

In the documentary last night he was still bright as a button at ninety-five.

If ever there was a program that everybody should see, then this is the one. This link is to the copy on iPlayer.

June 2, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Dating A Building In Berlin

I saw this next to my hotel in Berlin.

Dating A Building In Berlin

Dating A Building In Berlin

I can’t say I’ve seen anything so honest elsewhere giving the date of a building.

April 30, 2014 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

Four Memorials In Warsaw

Warsaw has a sorry history in the last hundred years. I took the tram to slightly outside the city centre to visit these four.

Sadly the Museum of the History of Polish Jews was closed as it was Tuesday.

The links to the appropriate Wikipedia pages follow.

1. Monument to the Fallen and Murdered in the East

2. Monument to the Ghetto Heroes

3. Umschlagplatz

4. Willy Brandt Monument




April 29, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Defence Of The Polish Post Office In Gdansk

Like most from Britain, my knowledge of the incidents at the start of the Second World War is limited.

I’d never heard the story of the Defence of the Polish Post Office in Gdansk.

The story and the defenders are commemorated with this monument. It reportedly shows the last defender handing his rifle to Nike; the goddess of victory.

April 27, 2014 Posted by | World | , , , | 1 Comment

The Spitfire Gate At Spitalfields Market

I spotted this as I walked into Spitalfields Market today.

The Spitfire Gate At Spitalfields Market

The Spitfire Gate At Spitalfields Market

The Internet provides the answer as to why a gate is named after Spitfire W3311. This article contains this extract.

The gate is called Spitfire Mk.Vb W3311 Gate because the Spitalfields fruit and veg traders clubbed together to buy a Spitfire fighter plane in World War II. They named it ‘Fruitation’.

London is full of little stories like this! But I suspect others are too, although London seems to mark them more!



January 10, 2014 Posted by | World | , | 2 Comments

Weapons Of The Spirit

The BBC is showing a piece about the wartime history of the village of Le-Chambon-sur-Lignon, in saving thousands of Jews from the Nazis. The story is here on Wikipedia.

The title of this post comes from the documentary about the story, made by Pierre Sauvage, who was born and sheltered in Le Chambon.

August 18, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

I Thought We Were Past This Too!

This story about a woman, who wants to be a mechanic, shows that sexism is alive and well in some parts of the motor trade.

I always remember a story from myt father, who did some sort of job, that meant he drove all round East Anglia during the Second World War. He was having problems with the old Ford he was driving and pulled into a garage in a small village near Sudbury in Suffolk.  Nobody was about, but he did see a pair of legs sticking out from under a car. So he called out and in a few moments, as he would say, a gorgeous tall blonde extracted herself from under the car and stood over him.  She asked what the problem was and he told her.  She said he’d better sort it out with the boss in the office. He found the boss and the problem was sorted, whilst he had lunch in the cafe next door. On returning he asked the owner, who was the mechanic, as even in wartime, you didn’t come across female ones very often. He was told she was Lady something and she was the best mechanic he’d ever had.

July 12, 2013 Posted by | World | , , | Leave a comment

The Dalston House

I went to look at the Dalston House Art Installation by Leandro Erlich, this  morning.

The idea is basically very simple.  a fake house front has been created on the ground and a large mirror at 45° has been placed so that if you say sit in the windows of the house, you can  see yourself sitting in the reflection.

It was fascinating and many of those exploring it, seemed to feel they were children again.

One of the best things, was seeing the expression on a three-year-old’s face as he walked towards the mirror, seeing himself  sticking out of the wall.

I can see that this simple idea being replicated all over the world.

My mother used to work at Reeves just round the corner and she used to tell a tale about how an enormous German bomb in the Second World War, destoryed a lot of the area.  I checked at the library and the whole site, where the Dalston House has been built was a bomb site.  They have a copy of the LCC Bomb Damage Book, which is a must-read book, for anybody, who lives or is thinking of living in an area of London that suffered bombing.

And to make everything even better, there is no entry charge to see this unusual work of art.

You just turn up and play! But they do limit the time you spend walking up and down the house to five or six minutes!

June 26, 2013 Posted by | World | , , , , | 2 Comments

The Stairway To Heaven Memorial At Bethnall Green

The memorial to those killed in the Bethnal Green Underground Disaster is now almost complete.

According to the Stairway To Heaven Memorial Trust website, only the staircase needs completing.



June 7, 2013 Posted by | Transport | , , | Leave a comment