Monday, March 29, 2010

Whitehall (July 9, 2009)

There isn't much left of the old palace that use to stand here, at Whitehall in London; only the Banqueting House designed by Inigo Jones. Destroyed by fires in 1691 and 1698, the sprawling palace complex once covered an area that stretched from Downing Street and Derby Gate in the south to Northumberland Avenue in the north, from the Victoria Embankment in towards St James Park and ending at what is now Horse Guards Road.

Now Whitehall is the name given to a road running from Trafalgar Square down to Westminster, and it is also used metonymically to reference the British government. Ironic, since famous royal Whitehall resident Charles I--whose bust is shown in the picture above--didn't think much of parliament, and ended up getting into rather a lot of trouble for it. The bust and plaque commemorate Charles, and the text below his effigy reads:

"His majesty King Charles I passed through this hall and out of a window nearly over this tablet to the scaffold in Whitehall where he was beheaded on 30th January 1649."

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