283 - Secret London

Continuando nossa viagem aos tesouros secretos de Londres, vamos a mais lugares que não constam nos guias turísticos, mas que são inesquecíveis para todos que os visitam.
by Martin Simmonds.

Eltham Palace is a little known, but fascinating, London tourist attraction. Originally it was a medieval royal palace, but it later fell into decline. In the 1930s it was acquired by a wealthy couple who transformed it into a temple of Art Deco. And so, if you visit Eltham Palace today, you can see two very different styles side by side. Speak Up went to Eltham Palace and met with Annie Kemkaran-Smith (pictured, above right), who works for English Heritage as Curator for Collections for South London. She talked about Eltham Palace’s unusual history:

Annie Kemkaran-Smith
(Standard English accent)

The whole site, as a manor house, dates from around the 11th century. {yootooltip title=[Bishop]} bishop: bispo {/yootooltip} Odo, who was a half-brother of William the Conqueror, was given it by his brother, and, from that point, really up until the sort of 14th century, it stayed as a manor house. It was given to Edward I in the 1300s and, from that point on, it became a royal property and various monarchs did building schemes to improve it. Some of the monarchs that spent a lot of time here: Edward IV, he built the Great Hall, as you see it now, Henry VII spent a lot of time here and Henry VIII was actually raised in the royal nursery when it was at Eltham.

Eltham Palace changed dramatically when it was bought by Sir Stephen Courtauld and his Italian-Hungarian wife, Virginia Peirano. The Courtauld family had made their fortune in textiles and Stephen’s older brother Samuel founded London’s Courtauld Institute of Art. The couple revolutionised Eltham Palace:

Annie Kemkaran-Smith

In domestic architecture, I think it was streets ahead of its time. I think there are public places like hotels and other public buildings that probably had the same general style, but I think in this house at Eltham the fantastic things that you see, like the {yootooltip title=[centralised vacuum cleaner system]} centralised vacuum cleaner system: sistema de aspiração de pó centralizado {/yootooltip}, so there’s a motor and the actual hardware in the basement, so all the {yootooltip title=[maids]} maids: domésticas {/yootooltip} had to do was {yootooltip title=[plug in a hose in a socket]} plug in a hose in a socket: ligar uma mangueira no encaixe {/yootooltip} in each room and {yootooltip title=[hoover up]} hoover up: aspirar todo o pó {/yootooltip} and it would all get collected in the basement. That kind of thing is so advanced for the 1930s period that they were far ahead of the rest of the world.



London is famous for its royal palaces: Buckingham Palace, Kensington Palace, St James’s. Less well-known is Eltham Palace in the south of the capital. But it has something none of the other palaces can offer – a unique combination of royal history and 1930s design. Here you can find a medieval Great Hall alongside spectacular Art Deco interiors!
The original {yootooltip title=[manor house]} manor house: casa do senhor feudal {/yootooltip} was given to King Edward I in the 1300s, when Eltham was still {yootooltip title=[a leafy village]} a leafy village: vilarejo no campo {/yootooltip}. It soon became popular with royalty for {yootooltip title=[deer-hunting]} deer-hunting: caça ao cervo {/yootooltip}, {yootooltip title=[jousting tournaments]} jousting tournaments: torneios de cavaleiros com lanças {/yootooltip} and Christmas celebrations. Prince Henry (later King Henry VIII) grew up here in the royal nursery. {yootooltip title=[At its peak]} at its peak: no seu auge {/yootooltip} Eltham was a major royal palace where parliament was held and European monarchs were entertained.
But what makes Eltham really special is its 20th century house. Built in the 1930s by the {yootooltip title=[wealthy]} wealthy: abastado, rico {/yootooltip} couple Stephen and Virginia Courtauld, it is an elaborate Art Deco home which was ahead of its time. The entrance hall has a glass {yootooltip title=[dome]} dome: cúpula, domo {/yootooltip}, white linoleum floor, {yootooltip title=[lavish furnishings]} lavish furnishings: mobília de luxo {/yootooltip} and murals on the walls.
There is also a gold-plated bathroom, Italian drawing room and even a decorated cage for the Courtaulds’ {yootooltip title=[pet lemur]} pet lemur: lêmure doméstico {/yootooltip}!

In a park in south London there is a strange and unexpected sight. Groups of huge animals {yootooltip title=[gather at the edge of a lake]} gather at the edge of a lake: aglomerados à beira de um lago {/yootooltip}, looking for {yootooltip title=[prey]} prey: presa {/yootooltip} or relaxing in the sun. These are the Crystal Palace dinosaurs, the world’s first dinosaur sculptures.
Victorian London was fascinated with dinosaurs and, when Crystal Palace Park opened in 1852, the sculptor Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins was commissioned to build life-size models. To celebrate their completion, on New Year’s Eve 1853 Hawkins {yootooltip title=[held]} held: organizou {/yootooltip} a dinner party in the stomach of an Iguanodon!
In all, 15 different species of dinosaur and other extinct animal appeared in the park. They were a sensation in London at the time. But the term dinosaur, meaning ‘terrible {yootooltip title=[lizard]} lizard: lagarto {/yootooltip}’, had only been invented ten years earlier and the science was new. The models were not very realistic and soon became ridiculed, {yootooltip title=[ overgrown ]} overgrown: recobertos de mato {/yootooltip} and forgotten. Today they have been fully restored and stand {yootooltip title=[proudly]} proudly: orgulhosamente {/yootooltip} again in their own corner of London.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence {yootooltip title=[is used to guarding secrets]} is used to guarding secrets: está habituado a guardar secredos {/yootooltip}. But beneath their building in the heart of London is a clandestine space concerned with wine, not war. In the 16th century Whitehall Palace was located here. It was a labyrinth of more than 2000 rooms, mostly wooden, which were devastated by fire in 1698. However, one room did survive – {yootooltip title=[the brick wine cellar]} the brick wine cellar: a adega de vinho feita com tijolos {/yootooltip}.
It was built by Cardinal Wolsey – Lord Chancellor and Archbishop of York – between 1514 and 1529. Wolsey was a rich and powerful man with 500 servants. He was also responsible for the first recorded import of champagne from France. So {yootooltip title=[we can assume his wine cellar was well stocked]} we can assume his wine cellar was well stocked: podemos imaginar que a sua adega era bem abastecida {/yootooltip}!
When King Henry VIII removed Wolsey from power he took over his property, including the wine cellar. Over the years it was forgotten, until building work in the 1940s {yootooltip title=[threatened]} threatened: ameaçou {/yootooltip} to destroy it. The cellar was saved by an incredible {yootooltip title=[feat of engineering]} feat of engineering: façanha da engenharia {/yootooltip}: {yootooltip title=[weighing]} weighing: com um peso de... {/yootooltip} 800 tons, it was gradually moved 3 metres to the west and nearly 6 metres deeper. Today it lies perfectly preserved – with its fine Tudor {yootooltip title=[vaulted roof, pillars and brickwork]} vaulted roof, pillars and brickwork: teto em forma de arcos, colunas e alvenaria {/yootooltip} – deep within the corridors of power.

The River Thames has always been at the heart of London’s life. {yootooltip title=[Snaking its way]} snaking its way: serpenteando {/yootooltip} through the city, it was once described as “liquid history.” Into the 20th century it was still a working river, {yootooltip title=[thick with barges]} thick with barges: lotado de barcaças {/yootooltip}. Today, {yootooltip title=[sightseeing and commuter boats]} sightseeing and commuter boats: barcos de turismo e de transporte de pessoas {/yootooltip} make up most of the river traffic. There is even a fast catamaran running between the Tate Britain and Tate Modern art galleries.
But one boat which still works the river is the Woolwich Free Ferry. Its origins go back to the 14th century, when Greenwich was a fishing village.
The free ferry service was established in the late 1880s. Today it operates all year round, except for Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and carries over one million vehicles across the river each year. But foot passenger numbers are low, especially in the daytime and at weekends. Fortunately, this means you should have the {yootooltip title=[benches and lookout points]} benches and lookout points: bancos e pontos panorâmicos {/yootooltip} (with views of the Thames Barrier) to yourself. The ferry’s future is uncertain, so take advantage of it while you can. After all, it’s probably the only free boat ride you will find on the Thames!

{yoogallery src=[images/stories/galery/materias/ed283] thumb=[polaroid]}

How much do you remember from Secret London, Part Two?