London & District : (Y51)

London & District : (Y51)

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Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is one of the most famous religious buildings in the world, and it has served an important role in British political, social and cultural affairs for more than 1,000 years. In spite of its name, the facility is no longer an abbey, and while it still hosts important religious activities, it no longer houses monks or nuns. Westminster Abbey has been the site of royal coronations since 1066, and has been a working facility for religious services since the 10th century.

The 35 Prettiest Places in London

These shots of England's capital city will make you want to book a flight ASAP.

On Thursday June 23, 2016, more than 30 million people in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union. There are a lot of people unhappy with the decision, but if Britain believes it can stand on its own, we thought we ought to find out why. Starting today, will be bringing you the best of everything from across the pond (fashion, food, culture, etiquette and more) in what we have coined, #BritWeek.

London has some stiff competition across the Atlantic when it comes to the prettiest city Paris and Positano rival its romance, as do the winding corridors of Amsterdam and Venice. Pretty Little London was born with the intent of showcasing everything sweet, styled and straight-up pretty in England's capital city. Tourists who travel to London know to visit its famous landmarks like Big Ben, the Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace and the like&ndashbut London is so much more. From pastel houses to pretty afternoon teas, Pretty Little London is always camera-ready, looking to fill their super chic Instagram feed with the pretty little things that catch their eye along the way. We asked them to collect a highlight reel of their latest discoveries exclusively for to showcase why London may just be the prettiest city across the pond.

Pricelet Street is popular for photo shoots and film locations&ndashits old buildings and eclectic feel make it a dream set for period pieces and dramatic scenes. This building was built in the early 18th century and is deliberately kept looking a bit gritty. It has been used in in the celebrated BBC series Luther.

25 Must-See Architectural Landmarks in London

There are many reasons for anglophiles to appreciate London—home of the royal family, world-class culinary and theater scenes, luxurious black cabs, Adele. The British capital is also an architectural gold mine where historical landmarks such as the Tower Bridge and Big Ben intermix with sleek, 21st-century skyscrapers like Renzo Piano’s Shard. We’ve distilled the Old Smoke skyline down to the top 25 must-see architectural landmarks so you’ll be in the know on your next London getaway.

Shown: 30 St. Mary AxeNicknamed the Gherkin (a British colloquialism for pickle) in reference to its rounded form, Foster + Partners’ Stirling Prize–winning construction was built in 2004. Standing 41 stories high, the environmentally conscious building was commissioned by reinsurance provider Swiss Re.

Jack the Ripper identified by DNA evidence, forensic scientists claim

Researchers say they have finally unmasked Jack the Ripper, the infamous serial killer who terrorized London in the late 1800s.

A forensic investigation published in Journal of Forensic Sciences has identified the killer as Aaron Kosminski, a 23-year-old Polish barber and prime suspect at the time.

Kosminski was previously named as a suspect over 100 years ago and once again in a 2014 book by British businessman and Ripper researcher Russell Edwards. But the latest finding marks the first time that Edwards' DNA evidence has been published in a peer-reviewed journal, according to the magazine Science.

&ldquoTo our knowledge, this is the most advanced study to date regarding this case,&rdquo the study authors wrote.

Jack the Ripper is believed to have killed at least five women in the Whitechapel district of London between August and November of 1888. Researchers Jari Louhelainen and David Miller ran genetic tests on a silk shawl stained with blood and semen that investigators say was found next to the body of the killer&rsquos fourth victim, Catherine Eddowes, Science reported.

Researchers compared fragments of mitochondrial DNA &mdash which the magazine noted is inherited from one&rsquos mother &mdash to samples from living relatives of Eddowes and Kosminski and found they matched those of Kosminski&rsquos relative.

The study also includes an analysis of the killer&rsquos appearance which suggests the killer had brown hair and brown eyes. which matches the only reliable witness statement, according to Science.

The study&rsquos findings may not satisfy other Ripper experts who say the shawl may have been contaminated over the years. The shawl was given to Louhelainen by Edwards, a self-proclaimed &ldquoarmchair detective&rdquo and author of "Naming Jack the Ripper," who bought it at an auction in 2007, according to the Guardian.

&ldquoI&rsquove got the only piece of forensic evidence in the whole history of the case,&rdquo he told the newspaper in 2014. &ldquoI&rsquove spent 14 years working on it, and we have definitively solved the mystery of who Jack the Ripper was.&rdquo

"Latest Certificates added on 03/08/2018"

Our Crew Lists have details of over 80,000 members of ships' crews from the ports of Fleetwood, Lancaster and Preston - are your ancestors included?

  • To advance the study of genealogy, heraldry, and family history
  • To find, publish, and make accessible relevant documents and records
  • To promote the preservation of these documents and records, especially by transcribing original sources
  • To collaborate with organisations and bodies who have custody of records
  • To operate an information service and build up a library

Formed in 1973 as the Rossendale Society for Genealogy and Heraldry (Lancashire), the Society now has twelve branches in Lancashire, together with one in London where members meet regularly. The society also has a worldwide community of family historians with roots in Lancashire. Please check out the benefits of membership for yourself.

The area we cover is shown shaded green on the adjacent map. The Society has branches in Blackburn, Bury, Chorley, Fylde, Hyndburn, Lancaster & Morecambe, Pendle and Burnley, Preston, Rochdale and Rossendale. There are branches covering Heraldry and Irish Ancestry. The London and South branch holds joint meetings with members of the Cumbria Family History Society.

On joining the Society members are entitled to visit and take part in meetings held by all the branches. Members can use the facilities of any branch, such as its library, holdings of microfiche and CDs. Some branches have fiche readers that can be borrowed for use at home.

Each branch organises its own programme of events and activities. Details of these, together with locations and meeting timetables, can be found in the Branches section of the website and in the Society Journal.

Copyright © 2021 Lancashire Family History & Heraldry Society
LFHHS is a member of the Federation of Family History Societies
Registered Charity (Number 513437)

The best museums in London

Reopening on May 19. Booking required.

What is it? One of the greatest collections of decorative art, design, fashion and textiles in the world. The permanent exhibits in this South Ken cathedral to creativity are free to visit and include a mini pet cemetery (hello, Stephen King fans).
Why go? To check out some amazing design and eat cake in the sunny Italianate courtyard. Bliss.
Temporary shows &lsquoAlice: Curiouser and Curiouser&rsquo (opens May 22). &lsquoBags: Inside Out&rsquo (until Jan 16 2022).

2. British Museum

Reopening May 17. Booking required.

What is it? Since it opened in 1759 &ndash the first-ever public national museum &ndash the British Museum has been displaying artefacts of world heritage, including the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon sculptures.
Why go? The museum has more than 8 million objects in its collection, 50,000 of which are on display. That&rsquos a lot of bang for your buck, considering entrance to the main galleries is free.
Temporary shows &lsquoThomas Becket&rsquo, Murder and the Making of a Saint&rsquo (May 20-Aug 22). &lsquoNero, The Man Behind the Myth&rsquo (May 27-Oct 24)

3. Natural History Museum

Reopening on May 17. Booking required.

What is it? Full of more nature-based information than David Attenborough, t he magnificent South Kensington home of around 80 million plant, animal, fossil, rock and mineral specimens.
Why go? To come face-to-face with animatronic dinosaurs, a man-sized model of a foetus, a dodo, a giant sequoia tree, an earthquake simulator, glow-in-the-dark crystals and much more. Plus, it&rsquos also a world-class research institution.
Temporary shows &lsquoFantastic Beasts: The Wonder of Nature&rsquo (May 17-Jan 3 2022). &lsquoWildlife Photographer of the Year&rsquo (may 17-Aug 17).

4. Imperial War Museum

Reopening on May 19. Booking required.

What is it? A powerful museum shining a light on people&rsquos experiences of conflict from the First World War to today. A few minutes&rsquo walk from Waterloo, IWM is made up of permanent galleries, such as the ace Curiosities of War exhibit, and temporary displays, exploring recent conflicts and terrorist attacks.
Why go? For impressive and extensive collections, including the profoundly moving and troubling permanent Holocaust gallery (not recommended for under-14s).

5. National Maritime Museum

Reopening May 17.

What is it? Hello, sailor! An ode to all things nautical and a treasure trove of watery artefacts, maps, art and memorabilia. The museum is part of the Royal Museums, Greenwich, which also features the Queen&rsquos House gallery, the Cutty Sark clipper ship and the Royal Observatory.
Why go? To be wowed by almost 2.5 million historical items, such as Admiral Nelson&rsquos uniform from the battle of Trafalgar.
Temporary shows &lsquoTudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits&rsquo (May 28-Oct 31)

6. Science Museum

Reopening on May 19. Booking required.

What is it? You don&rsquot have to be a physics or chemistry nerd to have an incredible time at the Science Museum. Founded in 1857, all seven floors of the building house hands-on exhibits, mad-looking inventions from throughout history and shiny machines. Highlights include a sixteenth-century artificial arm and a cross-section of a real-life Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet.
Why go? To discover the incredible &lsquoInformation Age&rsquo exhibition &ndash which is where the Queen sent her first tweet, signed &lsquoElizabeth R&rsquo.

7. Design Museum

Reopening on May 18. Booking required.

What is it? A fascinating museum that explores contemporary design and architecture. The Design Museum is bursting with free temporary exhibitions, pop-ups and bookable displays.
Why go? The museum&rsquos newish home in Kensington is an absolute design feat, and when you&rsquove finished your walkabout, take a detour to the nearby Holland Park Kyoto Garden for some well-deserved rest and recuperation.
Temporary shows &lsquoSneakers Unboxed: Studio to Street&rsquo (May 18-Jun 6). &lsquoMargaret Calvert: Woman at Work&rsquo May 18-Aug 22). &lsquoCharlotte Perriand: The Modern Life&rsquo (Jun 19-Sep 5).

8. London Transport Museum

Reopening May 17. Booking required.

What is it? The Covent Garden residence of all things London Transport. It&rsquos home to vintage red Routemaster buses, early tube trains, maps, transport signs and uniforms, as well as ace posters, artworks and photographs capturing London from 1860 to the present day.
Why go? Who&rsquod have thought that the history of London&rsquos world-famous transport network is totally fascinating? Well, turns out it is and once you&rsquove bought entry you can visit any time for an entire year.

9. Sir John Soane’s Museum

Reopening May 19. Booking required.

What is it? The London home of architect Sir John Soane, who designed the Bank of England, Dulwich Picture Gallery and numerous other significant buildings. Soane (1753-1837) obsessively collected art, furniture and architectural ornamentation. In the nineteenth century, he turned his house into a museum to which, he said, &lsquoamateurs and students&rsquo should have access. The result is this perfectly amazing place.
Why go? See above. There&rsquos nowhere like it in London. In the world, probably. Quite apart from the collection, the decoration of Soane&rsquos home is extraordinary. Mirrors and light wells channel and direct daylight, walls open out like cabinets to display paintings (Canaletto, Turner, Hogarth). The Monument Court contains an alabaster sarcophagus so fine it&rsquos almost translucent, carved for the pharaoh Seti I (1291-78 BC).
Temporary shows &lsquoThe Romance of Ruins&rsquo (May 19-Sep 5)

10. Museum of London

Reopening May 19. Booking required.

What is it? The history of London, from prehistoric times to the present is told in the Museum of London through reconstructed interiors and street scenes, alongside displays of original artefacts found during the museum's archaeological digs across the city.
Why go? The Museum of London is a strange throwback to when museum-going in the capital was a less spangly activity. You can sense the principles on which the collection had been put together and the underlying desire to represent the capital&rsquos history in every walk of life. Plus, it&rsquos next to the Barbican, which is always a fun place to roam around. The Museum of London Docklands offshoot is also fascinating, with a terrific permanent gallery about London and the slave trade.

Recording Studios: A History Of The Most Legendary Studios In Music

The histories of the most iconic recording studios – Sun, Motown, Abbey Road – have made them almost as famous as the musicians who have recorded there.

When The Beatles were photographed in August 1969, striding over a zebra crossing in St. John’s Wood, London, for the cover shot of their album Abbey Road they were celebrating a building that had played an essential part in helping them take the music world by storm – and, in the process, turned Abbey Road into one of the most famous recording studios in the world.

The names of iconic recording studios – Sun, Muscle Shoals, Motown, Electric Lady, Trident, Sunset – have become almost as famous as the musicians who have created masterpieces at these venues.

Important recording studios are more than just bricks, mortar and audio equipment to musicians. The Rolling Stones named a song in honor of the Chess Records Studio and Sonic Youth acknowledged New York’s Echo Canyon Studios by naming their 12th studio album, Murray Street, in tribute to a site that had played a key role in their success.

The first ever recording studio

The roots of the recording studio go back to 19th-century inventors such as Thomas Edison and Alexander Graham, who laid the groundwork for the phonograph industry. By the time of the First World War, recording studios were appearing in major cities throughout the world, including the first OKeh Records studio, in New York, which was set up by Otto KE Heinemann in 1918.

Thomas Edison, pictured with one of his earliest phonographs, in 1878. Photo: Library Of Congress, Manuscript Division, Brady-Handy Collection

At that time, musicians would be recorded as they played or sang in real time, and the performance would be captured directly on master discs. The big transformation in that decade was when microphones and amplifiers could be electronically mixed to form a single signal. The music industry never looked back, and Victor, Colombia and HMV were among the first record labels to seize on the ability to record electrically and organize an industry to produce and market the records that were now mass-selling products.

In the 30s, record companies were focused on producing and selling soundtracks to the film industry. However, the idea that recording studios could play a key part – in terms of equipment and atmosphere – in the creation of great music took hold in the 40s, with the proliferation of tape as a recording medium (when thermos plastic allowed for considerable improvement in the sound quality of recording). Companies such as RCA – who maintained studios in New York, Chicago and Hollywood – Decca, Universal Recording Corporation and Columbia Records began to focus on developing studio techniques. The post-war era also saw the rise of important independent studios such as Radio Recorders in Hollywood, Gotham Studios in New York and The Barn in Nashville.

Pioneer Bill Putnam, an early architect of the modern recording studio, used techniques at his studio at Chicago’s Civic Opera that would come to define the modern record engineer, such as the use of tape and multi-tracking, creatively-deployed reverbs and overdubbing. Hazard “Buzz” Reeves, whose work developing Cinerama for the movie industry helped advance the stereo hi-fi revolution, worked closely with Norman Granz (the founder of Verve Records) and was behind many significant jazz recordings, including Charlie Parker With Strings.

At 706 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennesse, you’ll find a reconstruction of the legendary Sun Records studio, complete with a recording studio where the likes of U2 and John Mellencamp have recorded. Photo: Paul McGuinness

“People play better at Capitol Towers”

The year Presley left Sun also saw a significant advance in studio design, when Capitol Records completed the Capitol Tower, a 13-storey building that is one of the most iconic buildings in Los Angeles. Designed by Louis Naidorf, the tower resembles a stack of records and the 90-foot spire blinked “Hollywood” in Morse code at night. Inside the building, Michael Rettinger pioneered state-of-the-art acoustic techniques that were used on the first record made there, Frank Sinatra Conducts Tone Poems of Color. Over the next decade, hit songs from hundreds of musicians, including Bobbie Gentry, Peggy Lee, Nat “King” Cole, Glen Campbell and The Kingston Trio, were recorded at the Hollywood studio.

Capitol Tower was also renowned for its “echo chambers”, which are part of an underground concrete bunker designed by legendary guitarist and sound engineer Les Paul to get a better reverb sound. The chambers could provide reverb for up to five seconds and the technique was a key factor in creating the sound of The Beach Boys’ classic “Good Vibrations.” As producer Phil Ramone used to say, “People play better at Capitol Towers.”

Frank Sinatra recording at the legendary Capitol Studios. Photo: Capitol Photo Archives

Perfecting sound

In 1959, when Capitol was recording two more Sinatra albums, a cathedral of jazz opened across on the eastern seaboard with Rudy Van Gelder’s studio in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. This beautiful acoustic setting, with a 40-foot-high cedar ceiling, held up by arches of laminated Douglas fir, was where artists such as Horace Silver, Art Blakey, Joe Henderson and Antônio Carlos Jobim made some of their finest work for Blue Note Records.

Van Gelder was a remarkable recording engineer, who had learned his trade recording stars such as Miles Davis and Cannonball Adderley in his parents’ living room in Hackensack, New Jersey. To Van Gelder, the atmosphere at the studio was essential to the music which resulted. He said: “I built the studio, I created the environment in which they play, I selected, installed and operate the equipment. An analogy might be, someone wanted to put a man on the moon, but it was an engineer who got him there. My goal is to make the musicians sound the way they want to be heard.”

WMGM’s Fine Sound Studios was another place where great jazz was made in the 50s for Granz, including albums for Mercury/EmArcy by luminaries such as Count Basie, Billie Holiday, Johnny Hodges, Gerry Mulligan, Max Roach, Clifford Brown, Roy Eldridge and Dinah Washington. The groundbreaking Miles Davis/Gil Evans/Gerry Mulligan sessions that were eventually collected as Birth Of The Cool was also recorded there.

Old churches, because of their superb acoustics, often worked well as revamped recording studios. The Columbia Records 30th Street Studio, for example, was a converted Armenian church with a ceiling more than 100 feet high. The tall ceiling of a converted church also contributed to the fine sound at Pythian Temple, a former meeting place for the Knights Of Pythias, which was rented out to Decca Records in the early 40s, and where Louis Jordan, Billie Holiday and Buddy Holly cut records, and Bill Haley And His Comets laid down ‘(We’re Gonna) Rock Around The Clock)’.

One of the most successful of all recording studios was RCA Studio B, which opened in Nashville in 1957. The studio, which recorded The Everly Brothers and Presley, became known for producing the iconic “Nashville Sound”, a style known for its particular use of background vocals and strings. The studio recorded more than 35,000 songs, of which more than 1,000 went on to become Billboard hits.

In this period in the late 50s, the easing of import restrictions also meant that burgeoning British recording companies, such as Pye and Phillips, were making their mark in the UK as they introduced innovations to studios such as multi-track recording.

Dawn of a new era: the studio as instrument

In simple terms, the history of recording studios can be roughly divided into two time periods: before and after the 60s. During the remarkably creative period from 1965 to 1967, the studio changed from being simply a place of work for musicians, engineers and producers, to becoming an artistic hub. The role of the producer was transformed during another period when technology was a significant agent of change. Multi-tracking sparked greater experimentation in the studio: eight-track recording became commonplace in the 60s, and 8-track recording was introduced in the U.K., initially by Trident Studios, in 1969. Forty years on, 32-track digital recorders for simultaneous mixing are commonplace.

The Beatles recording ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ at Abbey Road in 1967. Photo: Apple Corps

The idea that you would carry on recording until an album was finished (instead of hiring a studio for a few days) was a revolutionary concept and helped, said producer Martin, to redefine “the studio as an instrument”. As Martin said, “When I first came into the business, the ideal for any recording engineer in the studio was to make the most lifelike sounds he could possibly do, to make a photograph that was absolutely accurate. Well, the studio changed all that… because instead of taking a great photograph, you could start painting a picture. By overdubbing, by different kind of speeds… you are painting with sound.”

British musicians were, however, still paying attention to recording studios in the US. McCartney frequently asked Abbey Road executives to produce “an American sound”, insisting that producers at Motown got a richer bass sound than studios in Britain.

Hitsville USA

Berry Gordy could never be said to have lacked confidence. In 1959, he put up a sign that read “Hitsville USA” on his house when he turned a former photographer’s office and garage into a studio. Gordy’s record label, Motown, was a stunning success and, within seven years, the studio occupied seven additional neighboring houses in West Grand Boulevard, Detroit.

Situated on 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, the Motown Historical Museum has preserved the legendary recording studios dubbed “Hitsville USA”. Photo: Universal Music Group Archives

Gordy had a template for success. Each morning, Motown would hold a “quality control” meeting – where honest opinion was valued – to decide what to record over a 22-hour day. Initially, their equipment was basic. They had three tracks. One was used for drums and bass the second for other instruments and the third for the vocalists. The formula was a triumph, however, and hit after hit followed for artists such as The Miracles, The Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and Stevie Wonder. Motown quickly became the most successful African-American business in the music world.

Chess Records and the sound of the electric blues

Like Sun in Memphis and Motown in Detroit, Chess Records was run out of small premises. Chess started out as small recording studios attached to offices and facilities for distribution. Chess had several different locations in Chicago, but the most important was 2120 South Michigan Avenue, which was immortalized in a song by The Rolling Stones (it is now the home of Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven Foundation).

When Britain’s athletes walked out for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympics, they did so to David Bowie’s ‘“Heroes”’, a song written and recorded in 1977 in West Berlin’s Hansa Tonstudio, which overlooked the Berlin Wall and its watchtowers. This desolate wasteland setting sparked a creative resurgence in Bowie, who had moved to Germany to cope with a cocaine addiction and a collapsing marriage. “It was literally like being reborn,” he admitted later.

The complex, first used as recording studios by record label Ariola in the 60s, was bought by brothers Peter and Thomas Meisel. In 1976, their Meisel Music Publishers bought the property and fitted it with recording equipment. The Meistersaal (main hall), which had hosted classical music concerts in the 20s and later served as a social club for the Nazi SS, was turned into Studio 2, and bomb-damaged rooms were renovated into smaller modern recording studios.

Over the next 20 years, the roll call of celebrated albums made at Hansa – utilizing the eerily dark sound quality – afforded the studio near-legendary status. Rock stars from around the world flocked to Berlin to make albums, including Bowie, Iggy Pop and R.E.M.. Boney M – for the label Hansa Records – cut million-selling hits such as “Rivers Of Babylon” and “Brown Girl In The Ring” and U2 recorded their acclaimed album Achtung Baby there.

The strange setting led to a fortuitous moment of inspiration. As Robert Fripp’s guitar riffs vibrated through the building, Bowie was struggling to find lyrics for the song ‘“Heroes.”’ Then, peering through the window, he spied the famous kiss “by the wall” between Visconti and one of the backing singers, and the words for his song flowed.

By the time Bowie returned to Hansa in 1982, to record his EP Baal, the studio had begun a period of investment in new technology and the SSL 4000E console desk, in eye-catching “Hansa blue”, cost around £2.5 million in today’s money. It is considered one of the best pieces of recording equipment ever made.

In the 80s, Nick Cave, Marillion and The Psychedelic Furs also flocked to Hansa, and even in the 21st Century it has remained a destination studio for leading artists such as KT Tunstall and Manic Street Preachers.

Southern soul at Muscle Shoals

Brian Eno, who worked with Bowie at Hansa, once said that “if you had a sign above every studio door saying ‘This Studio Is A Musical Instrument’, it would make such a different approach to recording.” That ethos was as true of Hansa as it was of Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama, which was originally started by the four members of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (known as The Swampers) after leaving FAME Studios.

Ten years of The Hepworth Wakefield

The Hepworth Wakefield celebrates its tenth anniversary 21 May and on the same day re-opens to the public with an exhibition on the life and work of Barbara Hepworth. The art gallery has established itself both nationally and in the community, as recognised when it received the UK’s Museum of the Year Award in 2017. Continue reading

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