Red Scharlach (redscharlach) wrote,
Red Scharlach

Licks and mortar

The following is a public service announcement directed at any London-based people who are considering visiting any of the Open House London venues tomorrow, in order to see some interesting architecture.

Go to 100 Victoria Embankment (a.k.a. Unilever House), near Blackfriars tube. They will give you FREE ICE CREAM!

And it's not just any old ice cream, either. It's things like Magnums (or should that be Magna?) and Ben and Jerry's: quality products for nought pence! They are also giving out free Lipton's Iced Tea, on the off-chance that you consider that a better selling-point than FREE ICE CREAM. (And they're all Unilever products, I think that's the reasoning.)

For those less gluttonous than myself, the building itself is also quite attractive: an Art Deco exterior with a completely new interior. You can see what it looks like below.

Here's the outside of the building, which dates from the 1930s.

Inside it's been completely gutted and filled with curvy white futuristicness.

The "Space Trumpet" sculpture by Conrad Shawcross. Sadly it is not actually a trumpet and it does not communicate with space. It does, however, spin around very slowly.

There's also a glass lift with a great view of London, and a roof terrace.

For those of you who are not within reach of FREE ICE CREAM, here are some interesting facts I discovered as a result of my other Open House visits today:
  • When the first London Underground line opened in 1863, it ran from Paddington to Farringdon, and Farringdon became a popular destination for day trips to watch the public hangings at Newgate. Public executions were banned in 1868, putting an end to this weird combination of Victorian-style Progress (TM) and medieval-style horribleness. (From the tour notes at the Old Sessions House, Clerkenwell.)
  • Trotsky kept bunny rabbits. (From the rather nice man at the Marx Memorial Library.)
  • At the Vintner's Hall, there is a portrait of an 18th-century gentleman called Mr Van Horn, who, over a twenty-two year period, managed to consume 35,680 bottles of wine. That's an average of 4 and a half bottles a DAY. He lived to be ninety.

Of course, none of these pieces of information are quite as memorable as FREE ICE CREAM. However, they are at least guaranteed not to go straight to one's hips...
Tags: london, photos, trivia
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