London’s Landmarks Part 1

     American Embassy, Grosvenor Square Having first moved to number one Grosvenor Square in 1938, the American Embassy. then moved to the West side of the Square and the Canadian Embassy moved into number one Grosvenor Commercial Removals South London Square. The building, which now houses the American Embassy, was designed by Eero Saarinen and was completed in 1960. During the Second World War the Chancery occupied one side of Grosvenor Square and the headquarters of General Eisenhower were located on the other side, this led Londoners to refer to Grosvenor Square as ‘Little America’. In 1989 a statue by Robert Green of Eisenhower was unveiled and stood across from the buildings that the General resided in during the war years. The Roosevelt memorial was funded entirely by the sale of a souvenir brochure to the British Public in 1946, symbolising the affection for the Americans and appreciation of their assistance during the war effort. More than 160,000 separate donations were accepted for the memorial. In May 1986 a memorial to the Eagle Squadron was erected, this Squadron being composed of almost entirely American volunteers to the British Air Force. In the centre of Grosvenor Square is located the September 11th memorial garden. Created and donated in remembrance of those who died in the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Centre. The Diplomatic Gates in Grosvenor Square were donated in recognition of the continuing quest for peace, so admirably sought by both the American and British governments alike. Banqueting House, Whitehall Located in Whitehall, near Horse Guards Parade, stands the magnificent Banqueting House. It is the only complete building of the Palace of Whitehall to still remain standing. The Palace was acquired from Cardinal Wolsey by Henry VIII and became the Royal residence until the ascension of James I. The Banqueting House was purpose built for state occasions. After the installation of the grand ceiling panels, the purpose of the banquet hall was changed to a reception area for greeting foreign dignitaries. A scaffold was built against the North of the Banqueting House in 1649 and thousands of spectators gathered to watch the beheading of Charles I with a commemorative service is still held here every year on January 10th. Oliver Cromwell lived at the Palace from 1654 until his death in 1660. After the restoration of the monarchy with the ascension of Charles II, the palace once again became the Royal residence and the Banqueting House once again was used for receiving guests. In 1698 a devastating fire burned Whitehall Palace to the ground and Sir Christopher Wren was commissioned to convert the Banqueting House into a chapel to replace the one that was destroyed in the fire. The Banqueting House is now a museum, with it holding many fine paintings and the building itself offering an incomparable setting. There is wheelchair access and a gift shop on-site. Barbican Art Gallery The Barbican Art Gallery is situated on the third floor of the Barbican Centre on Silk Street, being named after a fortification that previously occupied the site and was built to attract people back to London after the devastation of World War 2. Work on the Centre began in 1962 and was not complete for almost twenty years. The Art Gallery itself is composed of two exhibition areas and due to its scale is often the preferred venue for temporary and touring exhibitions in virtually every type of artistic medium.

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