Guide to Baker Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism

Stretching along more than 1.5 miles, Baker Street runs from Marylebone to Oxford Street, and is one of the main arteries in this area of London. Like other neighbouring streets, Baker Street was first laid out under its current name during the eighteenth century. The street received its name from the builder who laid it out.

In the beginning, Baker Street was mostly a residential area for affluent families. However, as London grew in size, population, and economic importance, the street welcomed new tenants and transformed some of its residential buildings into office space and commercial premises.

Famous buildings

Perhaps the most well known building in Baker Street is number 221B, otherwise known as Sherlock Holmes’ residence. In fact, the address does not exist, although the Sherlock Holmes Museum is located on numbers 237-241. The Abbey House, home to the Abbey National Building Society between 1932 and 2005, and located on numbers 219-229 of Baker Street, received for many years correspondence addressed to Mr Sherlock Holmes. Continue reading “Guide to Baker Street: History, Architecture, Business and Tourism”

Explore Great Portland Street: Key Facts, History, Architecture and Tourism

With its elegant mixture of Edwardian and Victorian buildings, Great Portland Street is one of the W1 postcode’s richest places of character. The first mention of this street dates back to 1726, when it was known as John Street. A few years later, the expansion of the estate owned by the Dukes of Portland brought a change in the street’s name, which then became known as Portland Road. Towards the end of the 18th century, the street layout was pretty much identical to the one we see today, with large period buildings lining each side of the street.


(Image © Tony Day)

Towards the beginning of the 19th century, Portland Road became an important residential and commercial hub. Great Portland Street received its name in 1870. By that time, the street was known to be home to many restaurants, shops, massage parlours, and antique shops. In the early twentieth century, Great Portland Street was dubbed “Motor Row” due to the number of companies in the automobile sector that chose the street as their base. Benz Motors, Jaguar, Austin, and Vauxhall were some of the most important firms that were represented in the showrooms that lined Great Portland Street at the turn of the century. The textile sector was also very important until the 1970s, and for decades Great Portland Street was the place to go for those who wanted good quality garments made to order.

Important and notable buildings

In an effort to preserve the historic and architectural value of the street, the local authority has designated Great Portland Street as part of the Harley and East Marylebone conservation areas. Great Portland Street is home to four Grade 2 listed buildings: the Great Portland Street tube station and the structures on numbers 78/80, 94, and 126. Interesting Edwardian buildings can be seen on numbers 160-180, 226, and 229. Continue reading “Explore Great Portland Street: Key Facts, History, Architecture and Tourism”

Tips for Office Moves in London

Moving office can be both equally exciting and daunting a prospect. Moving within the London area can also provide equal benefits, through lots of choice and removal options, and disadvantages such as traffic, parking restrictions and the general business found in the capital. Your office move will certainly disrupt your usual business for the duration and this can easily result in negative impacts. In order to limit the negative effects associated with the big move, here are some tips for office moves in London.

Planning

Planning is the most important part of this process and understanding its importance could make or break the success of the move. Communication is perhaps the most important so plan to have your phone line and Internet in place before the move. There could be nothing worse than having a delay on your line connection and being un contactable for longer than you need. During the move, forward phones to mobiles and look into mobile email access. Having a set layout of the new office will speed things up at the final stop. Based on this plan, make sure you have considered power points, network cables etc. Use the opportunity of the move to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter that as built up in the office place and ensure staff do the same. Continue reading “Tips for Office Moves in London”

The History of the London Wall Buildings

The London Wall is a defensive wall built by the Romans in the 2nd or 3rd century from Kentish stone; it formed the foundations for the later City Wall which historically defined the boundaries of the city. The wall protected the city from invasion and contained the Great Fire of London. It underwent some demolition during the 18th and 19th century and many parts were destroyed in the bombings during the Second World War. Today, part of the route of the wall is followed by the road named London Wall, from Aldersgate and east to Bishopsgate.

The remaining sections of the wall have been protected in gardens and museums or incorporated into the construction of modern buildings. The largest and best preserved section of the London Wall stands at Tower Hill, just north of the Tower of London at nearly 11m tall. During the 17th Century, other buildings were put up either side and parts were destroyed during construction. In the 1930s, the buildings which obscured this section of the wall were cleared away and it is currently preserved by English Heritage. It can be easily reached by train as it is situated opposite Tower Hill Station.

At Tower Hill Station itself there is a section of The London Wall preserved in a green space beneath the underpass, encircled by walkways for commuters to view. When the station was built, the site was excavated and on discovering the fragmented remains of the wall, construction was redesigned around it. From Tower Hill station, north along Coopers Row sits the Grange City Hotel one of whose courtyard walls incorporates a section of the Roman wall with medieval additions. Continue reading “The History of the London Wall Buildings”

Tips on how to save money when working in London

London is a busy, bustling hub full of opportunities and can be a great place to live and work but, like many capital cities, the cost of living can be very high. However, with a little ingenuity and creativity, it is possible to save money, try something new and even stumble across some hidden gems you might not otherwise discover.

Travelling around:

The Oyster Card makes travelling by tube and bus a little easier and cheaper; the savings on single journeys compared to buying a ticket on the day range from 50p to £3; what’s more, if you make a number of journeys by bus and tube throughout the day, the fee is automatically capped at the maximum day rate.

Once you are in central London, it is surprisingly easy to get around on foot, it may be possible to avoid using multiple modes of transport by heading to a tube station relatively near your destination and walking the rest of the route. This way you become familiarised with your surroundings, get some exercise, save money and do something positive for the environment.

Looking good:

London is a stylish city but it is possible to look chic without breaking the bank. Search charity and thrift shops for designer garments including office wear in perfectly good condition at a fraction of the retail price; look out for sample sales held by many high-end stores, most are announced online through social networking sites and fashion blogs; visit Camden or Spitalfields markets for unique outfits and have a go at bartering for an even better price.

Look out for salons seeking hair models; trainee stylists offer free haircuts and colour in exchange for the practise, they are always observed closely by senior staff there is usually very little chance of a disaster.

Eating and drinking:

By far the best way to save money on a working lunch is to bring you own. Prepare a sandwich or salad or even leftovers from last night’s dinner, it works out cheaper and usually healthier.

Alternatively, buy lunch from the supermarket, many offer meal deals and reward points schemes. For coffee, avoid the large chains and try out the numerous independently owned coffee shops, they are cheaper, you will be supporting small businesses and often the coffee is excellent. Continue reading “Tips on how to save money when working in London”

The Changing Landscape of the Docklands Area

The landscape of the London Docklands as we see it today is aesthetically very different to how it appeared as recently as thirty years ago. The area referred to as the London Docklands stretches from London Bridge for thirteen miles east along the River Thames, incorporating the London boroughs of Tower Hamlets, Greenwich, Lewisham, Newham and Southwark. When the Georgian docks began to open at the start of the 19th Century, they operated under the Port Of London Authority and ultimately formed the world’s largest port. The surrounding areas were populated by the families of those who worked on the docks and in related industries such as factories and warehouses; the docks were closed in 1980. Continue reading “The Changing Landscape of the Docklands Area”

Tips for London Start Ups

New business start ups are not only important to drive the economy but also to create new ideas and companies of the future. With London being the driving business capital of the UK, London start ups are of keen interest to many investors and business communities. If you have an exciting, innovative and sustainable business idea, now is a great time to push forward with it. Below are some tips and links on how to begin with your London start up.

Business Plan

Once you have your idea, be sure to create a solid and professional business plan. The importance of this cannot be underestimated as the plan will ensure you have focus on your objectives and how you will reach them as well as being crucial in obtaining funding and investment from external sources. Make sure you highlight your target audience and how you will market and promote your product or service to them. Sale projections are crucial to understand the business potential and will be expected by investors. Continue reading “Tips for London Start Ups”

Video Conferencing Tips

Video conferencing is becoming an ever more popular solution to connecting people in multiple locations by allowing the combination of both audio and visual interaction without the need to be in the same room. With rising fuel costs impacting travel expenses, video conferencing can not only be convenient and time efficient but can also reduce expenditure on conference rooms, car costs, airfares and entertainment. With more and more people, in both business and education, taking advantage of video conferencing, it looks likely this trend will continue to grow in popularity. Below are a few suggestions on how to make the most of video conferencing and ensure a good impression is made.

Be confident in using the system – perhaps the most important factor in video conferencing is being able to set up and manage the equipment you are using. Before going ‘live’ make sure you have researched and tested the system and are confident in its operation. Losing connection, changing a setting without realising or, worse still, not being able to rectify such a mistake could be disastrous. Continue reading “Video Conferencing Tips”

How to Save Money on Your Office Energy Bills

Maintaining a successful company and running an effective office within the current economic climate is challenging enough. Add to that the inevitable consistent rise in energy costs you may agree that now is a good time to think about implementing an energy saving strategy within your organisation. Successful focus on, and management of, making your office space more energy efficient does not only provide the benefits of becoming a greener organisation but the change can almost certainly make some positive adjustments to your balance sheets.

The quickest way to notice a difference in your electricity use is by adjusting your lighting set up. It is estimated that approximately 35% of electricity bills are made up of light associated costs and so replacing normal usage bulbs with energy efficient alternatives can make a significant impact on your energy consumption. Installing lighting and bulbs that operate at a lower current can increase efficiency by up to four times due to the more effective conversion of electricity to light as opposed to heat. Furthermore, encouraging your staff to turn lights off when not in use, or at least at the end of the day, can also save many kilowatts on a monthly basis. The installation of occupancy sensors may well be a worthy investment for areas such as toilets or rooms with limited use. Over time, this initial investment will be made back from the savings generated through keeping lights off when not required. Continue reading “How to Save Money on Your Office Energy Bills”

Recycling Office Furniture in London

Increasingly, society is becoming more aware of the consequences of decisions regarding waste in our domestic and working lives and the importance of sustainability, not only environmentally but also ethically. With the proliferation of businesses, charities and social enterprises dedicated to reuse and recycling, it has never been easier to arrange for clearance of unwanted office furniture in a responsible way.

There are a number of organisations in London who offer a comprehensive service including a survey, quotation, clearance and recycling or reuse of office furniture and goods. Where possible, most of these companies are committed to reuse and cultivate a network of organisations, charities and car-boot and ebay sellers to repair, re-home and distribute the goods among charities, schools and businesses. Very rarely has office furniture reached the end of its intended life span at the point of disposal, as more often than not it has simply been replaced during a refurbishment or redecoration project. Reuse is by far the most ethically and environmentally friendly approach since the process of repairing, grading and re-installing reused furniture sustains jobs and creates 1000 times fewer CO2 emissions than the manufacturing of a new item. Where it is not possible to reuse, goods are broken down into separate materials to be effectively recycled. Waste goods that are not recycled end up in landfill which may contribute to air pollution due to methane emissions and contamination of water and soil. Continue reading “Recycling Office Furniture in London”