Visit London Blog » horses Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Visiting the Past: London’s Working Horses Mon, 17 Jun 2013 15:56:45 +0000 Did you know that those small brass decorations you see adorning the walls of London’s traditional pubs once decorated the harnesses of a workforce essential to the capital’s life and economy – horses?

In the 19th and early 20th centuries horses were essential for all short distance transport in the capital. Drawing, among other things, buses and cabs, delivery vans, waste carts, fire engines, and working machinery. Horses were as much part of London as cars and lorries are today. In 1893 there were an estimated 25,000 carrying horses alone.

With a little digging, each London horse brass that survives can conjure up a lost world. The first railway companies, with their familiar London termini – Paddington, King’s Cross, Euston – owned their own horses to carry goods to and from trains. In the early 1890s, the Great Western Railway Company, for example, stabled 500 horses at Paddington.

And many visitors to Camden’s Stables Market would be intrigued to know that its buildings once housed the London and Birmingham Railway Company’s horses.

Many London companies also owned their own horses and stables, including breweries like Mortlake, Trumans, Charringtons, Cannon and Meux.

After World War I, as motor vehicles replaced horses, brasses began to decline. By the 1950s they had all but disappeared from London’s streets.

Brasses are still produced, although as souvenirs rather than for working horses. In 2011, the National Horse Brass Society produced a brass to commemorate the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton.

You can see more horse brasses in the Museum of London’s collections – and through them connect to the lost world of London’s working horses.

A guest post by Julia Hoffbrand of the Museum of London as part of our Visiting the Past series. More London history next week

]]> 0
Household Cavalry Museum Opens Olympic Exhibition Fri, 30 Mar 2012 12:00:57 +0000 Olympic medal. Photo by Vickie Flores Olympic torch. Photo by Vickie Flores Olympic exhibition. Photo by Vickie Flores

A new exhibition has opened at the Household Cavalry Museum, celebrating members’ of the Household Cavalry’s participation in the Olympic Games since 1908.

Five Olympic medals and an Olympic torch from 1996 are among the items on display.

You can see the Olympic exhibition, along with the permanent displays about the history and role of the Household Cavalry, and take a peep into the working stables until 17 June. After that, the museum closes for the Olympic Beach Volleyball competition and will re-open in October.

The Household Cavalry Museum is on Horse Guards, London SW1. It costs around £6 to enter, and you can book tickets here

]]> 0
London’s Rich and Famous On Show at The Derby Mon, 07 Jun 2010 15:11:25 +0000 The Derby. Photo By: Jonny Payne The Derby. Photo By: Jonny Payne The Derby. Photo By: Jonny Payne

On a scorching day in Greater London, the 2010 Derby unfolded in front of a packed crowd at Epsom Downs Racecourse.

Those clad in top hats and tails would have been feeling the heat, but clearly Workforce, The Derby winner wasn’t, as he made a late burst on the home straight to win the UK’s most famous flat race in record time.

It had looked as though there may be a major shock on the cards when the 100-1 outsider At First Site, took its pacesetter tag a little too far surging well clear of the pack, but Workforce had enough in the tank to win by seven lengths at odds of 6-1.

The Queen, dressed in a summery yellow, had left her Buckingham Palace residence to see her two runners, while novelist Jilly Cooper and TV personality Jeremy Kyle were also spotted on Derby day.

The main race was at 4pm, but there was much to do throughout the day with a number of other races, fairground rides and a chance to sample culinary delights such as seafood at a mobile Green’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar on offer.

Those looking to have a flutter could check out the runners and riders in the parade ring before heading to the grandstand to see whether their bet was worthwhile.

Unfortunately for me, my lack of expert knowledge told, as choosing a quirky name or picking the colours of my favourite football team failed to work – I came back £50 worse off.

It would have been nice to have come back a winner, but the thrill of the race and the pulsating atmosphere as the crowd cheered on their favourite jockeys more than made up for it.

]]> 1