Chinese New Year in London

Decorations are up in London again, this time for Chinese New Year.   Although today is the first day of the lunar New Year, the main festivities are scheduled for the weekend.

CNY sign The next sign is less inviting, with the same “Avoid the Area” message sent out for Christmas events.

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If you are in Chinatown this week, what can you see?  Lots and lots of red lanterns.

Newport Place sign with lanterns

Chinese lanternsIf you want to combine two February festivals, go to the Chinese supermarket selling these bamboo branches with  heart decorations for Valentine’s Day.

bamboo valentine

Lanterns are also hanging at the Chinese Embassy (click here to see an earlier photo) and at the Fo Guang Shan Temple in Fitzrovia.

Fo Guang Shan Temple


Welcome to the Year of the Monkey!



Chinese New Year monkey


28 Photos Later: Day 24 in London

Welcome to Day 24 of “28 Photos Later”.


Today’s title is “Broadcasting House”.   Broadcasting House was built for the BBC in 1932, and redeveloped over the past ten years.  It’s hard to get a vantage point to show the complete horseshoe shape of the building in one image, so here are two photos.

First the inside of the horseshoe.  The Christmas tree is a giveaway that I didn’t take the photo this week.

Broadcasting House at night

Yesterday I was standing on the outside of the horseshoe.  Can you see how the old and new parts of the building fit together?

Broadcasting House day

If Distant Drumlin readers are ever asked to appear on a BBC news programme, come round to my house afterwards – it’s only a 5 minute walk.

The Antenna of Fitzrovia

The tallest building in my neighbourhood in London is the BT Tower.  It is both visible and mysterious.  It’s visible all the way across Fitzrovia and Marylebone to Regent’s Park.

Regents Park view of BT Tower (cropped)

Now for the mystery.  We know what it is NOT.

It is NOT open to the public (although visitors were welcome from its opening in 1965 until 1980 and there was even a revolving restaurant near the top).

It is NOT an Official Secret (although it was omitted from official maps for a long time).  It even has its own Twitter account now – @bttowerlondon.

It is NOT a clock, but in 2012 it did display a countdown of the days remaining until the start of the London Olympics.

It is NOT the tallest building in London – it is only 11th in the current list.

It is NOT a post office, even though it was called the Post Office Tower when it was first built.  It is now called the BT Tower. (British Telecommunications plc is part of the BT Group).

If you walk along Howland Street, you begin to see what it really is – a pretty cool-looking, and still functioning, communications tower.  Take a closer look at the top levels in the next photo.

BT Tower communications

 Here are some links to interesting sites about the BT Tower: