Friday, 15 April 2011

English Bluebells

Near Guildford, Surrey

One of the great pleasures of walking through the English countryside in April-May is to come across spectacular carpets of bluebells stretching endlessly in some woodlands.

Emmetts, Kent

Sadly the Common Bluebell, also known as the English Bluebell, is under threat. One of the reasons behind its decline, apart from the destruction of its natural habitat and climate change, is the hybridisation with the paler and larger Spanish Bluebell. Cultivated as a garden plant, this type of hyacinthoide spreads easily beyond flowers beds and invades the hedgerows and deciduous woodlands where the Common Bluebell is traditionally found. As the hybrid species tend to be more resistant, over time they can wipe out the native flowers.

Near Edenbridge, Kent

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Bobby Bollard, London

Bollards come in many different shapes but this must be one of the most unusual. This bobby stands guard outside the former Gerald Road police station in Belgravia.
Until the early nineteenth century this part of London was still covered with fields but from the mid-1820s it was rapidly developed by Richard Grosvenor, 2nd Marquess of Westminster. Construction of Belgrave Square began in 1825 and the first mansions on Eaton Square emerged two years later. The streets to the south of Eaton Square were laid shortly afterwards and it was in one of them, Cottage Row, that a police station opened in 1846. The name of the street was changed to its present one, Gerald Road, in 1885. Over time the officers based at Gerald Road became responsible for enforcing law and order in an area bound by Exhibition Road, Hyde Park Corner, Victoria Station and Chelsea Bridge. By 1978 though, the Metropolitan Police was considering closing it down and merging it with Rochester Row police station. After years of debate, the police left the building in 1993 and moved to the newly-completed Belgravia police station. The Gerald Street building was renovated and converted into a residential property. One can imagine this bollard was placed then, as a reminder of the building's original use.
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