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The Comedy Store, Piccadilly Circus, London

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The Comedy Store, Piccadilly Circus, London

One of the most famous comedy venues in the world, the Comedy Store has played host to some of the biggest names on the circuit for many years. Its opening in 1985 capitalised on the boom in the 80s appetite for alternative comedy. As the old-style stand-up comedians who relied on jokes about their mother-in-laws and people from different countries fell out of favour, a new breed of comedians took to the stage of the Store to bring satire, story-telling and surrealism to eager comedy audiences.

History of the venue

When it opened in the 80s, the Comedy Store wasn’t based at the location it now inhabits. Its original venue was on Leicester Square, where the original comedy teams were established to bring in the crowds. Not unlike clubs that have resident DJs or house bands, the Comedy Store had resident comedians from a variety of genres that included a number of names that went on to become famous in the world of comedy and beyond.

The original line-up of the Comedy Store Players, an improvisational group who performed regular sets at the Store, included well-known British comedian Paul Merton, whose involvement with the store continues to this day. Also in that first troupe was one Mike Myers, who most people will know from hugely successful comedy films such as Wayne’s World and the Austin Powers movies

Comedy Store famous venue

The Comedy Store’s famous venue

.In the 1990s, the growth in satirical and political comedy led to the Store setting up a resident group called The Cutting Edge. The comedians in this group, including stand-up and political activist Mark Thomas, brought back some of the edgy alternative comedy for which the club had originally become famous in the early 80s when the likes of Ben Elton took to the stage.

Comic present

In the early 1990s, the Comedy Store moved from its Leicester Square venue to its current purpose-built location on Oxendon Street near Piccadilly Circus. Many of the stalwarts of the Store remain closely involved with the regular shows there, and The Cutting Edge and the Comedy Store Players take to the stage weekly to continue the tradition on Tuesday and Wednesday, and Sunday respectively.

The Store also has a strong reputation for putting on some of the biggest names in comedy and hosts events that allow comedy to contribute to important causes. October sees Jo Brand lead an all-star line-up in Shake with Laughter for Parkinson’s UK, where a large percentage of the £15 ticket price will be donated to charity. In November, it’s Bill Bailey’s turn to bring the charity laughs with a night of stand-up with stellar acts in support of the Abandoned and Destitute Children’s Appeal Fund.

 

Comedy Store - London, May 2011

Regular shows play to packed houses ready for laughs

With its huge international reputation for comedy, the Store has a motto to expect the unexpected. Whatever night you choose to go, there’s every chance you could get more than you bargained for, with world-famous comedians popping in to take to the stage on any given night. With the likes of Eddie Izzard, Chris Rock, Jerry Seinfeld and Michael McIntyre popping in and joining the line-up for the evening to entertain the crowd.

Conclusion

With a world renowned reputation and some of the biggest names in comedy, you’re guaranteed a great night at the Comedy Store. Offering ticket prices at a much lower cost than the majority of West End shows, you’ll have the opportunity to get a great night out and enjoy some of the best comedy and still be able to afford your night bus at the end of the evening. Take a chance on booking for any evening and you never know who you might end up seeing!

Image Credits: Wikipedia and Robert Nyman

A Guide to National Trust Properties in London

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London is home to many Tudor manor houses, Georgian country estates and neo-classical mansions. If you are intrigued by their history and fancy exploring them for yourself, why not participate in one of the National Trust’s guided tours? Today we will share with you four of our favourite National Trust properties based in London.

Sutton House, Hackney

Sutton House is a Tudor building found at the heart of East London. It was built all the way back in 1535 by Sir Ralph Sadleir. Although the home has had some alterations over the years, it still retains many original features including oak-panelled rooms, carved fireplaces and a courtyard. After you have explored the beautiful property, you can head onto the charming tearoom to quench your thirst.
There is also a lovely little second-hand bookshop you can visit, as well as a shop stocking a range of National Trust goods and gifts. Entry costs just £3.50 for adults and £1.00 for children. Family tickets and group tickets are also available to purchase.

Sutton House

Heading to Hackney? Why not visit Sutton House?

Ham House and Garden

Ham House was built in the 17th century and is located alongside the River Thames. It is an impressive building that has a rich history. The building’s design was the vision of Elizabeth Murray, Countess of Dysart. Over centuries Ham House has survived war, fashion and neglect, but is still standing strong today. Many people view the house as being quite mysterious, with some visitors even claiming that it is haunted! Throughout the year the National Trust hosts many ghost walks at Ham House and they also put on a special Halloween event in October. Once you have explored the house and grounds, head onto the Orangery Café where you can indulge in homemade soups, sandwiches and salads all of which are made with fresh local produce.

Eastbury Manor House

Eastbury Manor House is a stunning Elizabethan merchant’s house and gardens. It is a Grade I listed building which is now owned by the National Trust and managed by the London Borough of Barking and Dagenham. It was built in 1573 and retains most of its original features today such as its exposed timbers in the attic, spiral oak staircase and soaring chimneys. There are parts however which decayed over time and the house is missing one of its two octagonal stair turrets. Luckily the National Trust purchased it in 1918 or it would have most likely faced demolition!
The atmospheric building really tells the story of its past occupants. If you fancy a day out with your family, you are sure to love the National Trusts costumed guides. Whilst exploring the building on the tour, you will also learn about its colourful history.

Osterley House

Today the stables at Osterley House have been converted into a fully-functional tea room.

Osterley Park and House

This beautiful Georgian country estate is found at the heart of West London. Whilst it is only a short tube ride from Central London, its contrast in atmosphere, almost feels like it is a world away. Osterley House is surrounded by picturesque gardens, parks and farmland. It is one of the last surviving country estates in London and is certainly worth a visit! The building was designed in the late 18th century by architect Robert Adam for his clients, the Child family. They were looking for a building where they could entertain and impress their peers. We have to agree that it certainly is an impressive building and has been described in the past as ‘the palaces of palaces.’

Today the house still looks as it did in the 1780s and you are welcomed into it like you are one of the family’s guests. Once you have explored the house, be sure to stroll through the beautiful gardens which have been re-stored back to their 18th century looks, with herbaceous borders, roses and vegetable beds. There is also a tea-room in the stables where you can treat yourself to a cup of tea and a slice of homemade cake. If you fancy doing a little wildlife spotting before you go home, head over the Middle Lake, where you will also find the forgotten boathouse.

Although these four National Trust properties are truly magnificent, they are not the only historical houses to visit in London. Make sure that you also take a trip to Carlyle’s House in Chelsea, Fenton House in Hampstead and 2 Willow Road in Hampstead.

Image credits: avail & Maxwell Hamilton

Scenes of Famous Battles in the City of London

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Many battles have taken place in the City of London and Greater London. Here we take a look at some of the most famous battle scenes in history

Boudica Statue

After the death of her husband, Boudica went on to battle the Roman’s, destroying Colchester and London.

Boudica

Boudica was known as the queen of the Iceni people, who resided in Eastern England. She was married to Prasutagus, ruler of the Iceni people and played a major role in rebelling against occupying Roman forces. After the Romans conquered southern England in AD 43, they allowed Prasutagus to continue to rule Eastern England, however upon his death they confiscated the property and decided to take charge. Years later (thought to be in 60 or 61 AD) the Iceni rebelled, along with the help of other tribes.

Boudica and her warriors successfully defeated the Roman Ninth Legion and destroyed Colchester, which was the capital of Roman Britain at the time. They then took it a step further, destroying London and Verulamium. After a bloody battle which killed thousands of people, Boudica was defeated. It was thought that she took her own life to avoid capture. To this day the site of the battle and the circumstances of Boudica’s death are still unknown.  

The Battle of Barnet

The Battle of Barnet took place in Greater London during the War of the Roses. The exact date was the 14th April, 1471 and it is believed to have lasted around four hours. It was a significant and decisive battle which led to fourteen years of Yorkist rule in England. The battle was led by Edward of the House of York against the House of Lancaster, led by Richard Neville, 16th Earl of Warwick who was backing Henry VI for the throne.

The Battle of Turnham Green

The Battle of Turnham Green took place on the 13th November, 1642 near the village of Turnham Green. It followed the battle of Edgehill, where after taking Banbury and Oxford, the royalist army went on to advance through London and along the Thames valley. After two successful attacks on parliamentarian regiments, the royalist army was delayed and halted by the parliamentarian army close to Turnham Green. The royalist army was commanded by Patrick Ruthven, Earl of Forth and the Parliamentarian army was led by Robert Devereux, Third earl of Essex. After a full day’s battle both sides lost around fifty people and it resulted in a Parliamentarian victory. 

Battle of Cable Street

The Battle of Cable Street took place on Sunday 4th October 1936. Cable Street is located in the East end of London. The battle took place between the Metropolitan Police and around one hundred thousand anti-fascist demonstrators. The demonstrators were attempting to build road blocks to prevent Oswald Mosley and the British Union of Fascists from marching through the street. As the police attempted to prevent them from blocking the road, they were attacked with sticks, rocks, chair legs and other improvised weapons.

Residents in the houses along the street also got involved, throwing rotten vegetables and the contents of their chamber pots at the police. As a result of the riot, the march had to be moved. The police managed to arrest one hundred and fifty demonstrators at the time, though some did manage to escape. A total of one hundred and seventy five people were injured including police, women and children. The riot was one of the reasons why the Public Order Act 1936 was established. This Act of Parliament required the police to give their consent to political marches and forbid the wearing of political uniforms in public. Today a commemorative plaque can be found on Dock Street

Battle of Britain

The British victory in the Battle of Britain was a significant turning point of the war.

Battle of Britain

The Battle of Britain took place during the Second World War and was the name given to the air campaign set up by the Germans. The battle took place in London skies during the summer and autumn of 1940. To that date, the Battle of Britain was the largest and most sustained aerial bombing campaign. It was also the first major campaign to ever be fought entirely by air forces. It was the aim of the Germans to defeat the Royal Air Force by targeting coastal shipping convoys and centres, RAF airfields and infrastructure and aircraft factories. The fact Germany failed to achieve its objectives of destroying Britain’s air defences is considered to be the first major defeat and a significant turning point during the war.

Image credits: Aldaron & Vicburton

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