Tag: london

london photography travel

Exploring London: Highgate Cemetery

After finishing grad school last September, I was constantly stressed out about being in the dreaded Transition Phase. I’m sure anyone who reads this can relate to that state of mind–you’ve finished school; you have a good degree; so what are you going to do with your life? Wait, didn’t you already go through this after getting your BA?

For five months, I constantly worried about finding a job so I could stay in London. And for those five months, I had way too much time on my hands. Now, between working two jobs, I feel like my free time is practically non-existent. Stress and I have been on intimate terms for a long time, and as someone who is prone to anxiety, it’s really important for me to take opportunities that allow me to just chill out. My go-to method for mentally unwinding is photography. When I can, I like to grab my camera and head out with a friend, or solo, to take photos around London.

A couple of weeks ago, my friend Anthony and I decided to go on a photo walk in what is possibly my favorite part of London. Highgate is a beautiful village bordering Hampstead Heath and the ancient Highgate Wood. Its biggest tourist attraction is the hauntingly atmospheric victorian cemetery where many notable people, including Karl Marx, George Elliot, Ralph Richardson, Jean Simmons, Lucian Freud, and most of Charles Dickens’ family, have found their final resting place.

Highgate Cemetery is split into two sections spanning either side of Swains Lane. The East Cemetery is open to the public for a small fee. The West Cemetery, often referenced in film and literature, is accessible by guided tour only. We chose the West Cemetery and were led on a trek by a quirky guide who regaled us with stories of the cemetery’s famous inhabitants and put to rest the urban legend of the Highgate Vampire. No ghosts or vampires were seen on our tour, but it’s easy to see why such stories abound in this quaint corner of North London…

Highgate Wood

Highgate Cemetery

Cedar of Lebanon, Highate Cemetery

Circle of Lebanon, Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery
White Eagle Hill, Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery
Highgate Cemetery

Highgate Cemetery is roughly a 10 minute walk from either Archway or Highgate tube stations (Northern Line)

london photography site updates

Spring cleaning

Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier by Laura Loveday
I’m very excited to unveil a new look for vivandlarry.com! The header, based on a photo by James Abbe Jr, was designed by the amazingly talented Miss Laura Loveday, a designer and illustrator living in Cornwall, using a combination of hand-drawn and photoshop. I’ve known Laura for many years through the blogosphere and our mutual love for classic films and creative design. The new look was created for the anniversary of this website, which is happening on April 7. I can’t think of a better way to commemorate 5 years online than with this beautiful illustration. Thanks, Laura!

Also, just to remind everyone, if you had previously subscribed to receive an email update whenever a new blog post is made, you will have to re-subscribe to continue getting this service. When the site was recovered a couple days ago, this data was lost. I’ve re-subscribed a few people already but can’t remember everyone’s email addresses.

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london photography

This is London calling

London is such a photogenic city that I have a had time keeping my camera turned off. On Monday, my friend Ali and I did a circular walk from Trafalgar Square to Lambeth Bridge, across to the South Bank and over to St Paul’s Cathedral (where I got to test my new tripod) before walking back to Holborn and catching the bus to Crouch End. This route is part of the Jubilee Walkway, a project chaired by  Vivien Leigh biographer and friend of vivandlarry.com Hugo Vickers. Our mission was to get some good shots along the walk, which offers brilliant views of some of London’s most iconic landmarks.

Mission accomplished? I like to think so. We even said hello to Laurence Olivier along the way.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean




london photography vivien leigh

Final Destination: Golders Green

Golders Green crematorium

Consider this 31 Days of the Oliviers {days 10-15}.

There have been many posts around the classic film blogosphere lately documenting visits to cemeteries where the rich and famous are interred. Okay, so all of these posts have come from Meredith at Dear Mr. Gable, but they’re fascinating. I have a long-standing fascination with cemeteries, particularly victorian ones such as Bonaventure Cemetery in Savannah, GA, and Highgate Cemetery in North London (which I visited a few months ago and posted about on my photography blog). They are beautiful, somewhat creepy and endlessly fascinating. There are many burial grounds in London. Whether out in the open or inside cathedrals, if you visit one you’re almost guaranteed to spot a famous person’s grave.

Today I went to snap photos at a place that’s slightly different from your traditional cemetery. Golders Green Crematorium is one of the oldest crematoria in Britain. Its gates opened in 1902, and it has been providing non-secular cremations and funeral services for both celebrities and the general public ever since. Fans of Vivien Leigh may find it interesting because she was cremated here in 1967 before her ashes were scattered at Tickerage Mill. Some of the notable names who still remain at Golders Green include Ivor Novello, Alexander Korda, Elisabeth Bergner, Keith Moon, Sigmund Freud, Conrad Veidt, Anna Pavlova and Peter Sellers, among others.

The grounds and garden are very beautiful, especially now that the foliage has donned Autumn colors. It was very quiet and peaceful when I visited this afternoon, with only one or two people resting on the benches in the garden, taking in the afternoon sun and possibly thinking of a departed loved one. As it is a crematorium and not a cemetery, there are no grave stones. Ashes are kept in urns inside the chapels or are scattered on the lawns in the garden. Plaques adorn the walls as well as sit at the base of rose bushes and trees that have been dedicated in memory of the dead.

Golders Green Crematorium can be reached via Golders Green tube or by bus from Golders Green road. It’s very easy to find–located just across the street from the Jewish cemetery.

All photos in this post © Kendra Bean/vivandlarry.com

london photography the oliviers

Girls’ Night Out at The Savoy

The Savoy Hotel, Strand, London

My friend Zsazsa came to visit from Hungary two weeks ago. She’s a big Vivien Leigh fan, so we made some plans to see some of the places we visited back in May during the Weekend with the Oliviers (Zsazsa unfortunately couldn’t make it). One of the first things we did was have drinks at the Savoy. Three of my friends, Sami, Ali and Emma joined us and we went for cocktails at the ultra-classy Beaufort Bar.

The Beaufort Bar has the atmosphere of an upscale gin joint with its black and gold art deco furnishings. The bar itself occupies the former cabaret stage where Gershwin once performed. They still employ a piano player and cabaret singer who lend greatly to the ambiance by crooning Cole Porter, Ella Fitzgerald and Lena Horne. But the best part of the experience is the booze!

The first time I came to the Savoy for my friend Shirmoa’s birthday, I had a cocktail called Grounds for Divorce:

50 ml BACARDI – Reserva Superior 8 Year Old
15 ml LILLET – Blanc
10 ml NOILLY PRAT – Original French Dry
4 ml Black Treacle Syrup
1 dash(es) Bob’s Vanilla Bitters

It was fantastic but a bit heavy. This time I decided to go for something a little more girly and ordered the Princess Ida (named after the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera):

Grey Goose
Cherry Mariner
Pressed Lemon

A nice light martini (by light I mean flavor-wise, definitely not alcohol by volume!). It was divine. I have to confess that I don’t like beer (with the exception of Crabbie’s alcoholic ginger beer, a delicious but probably tooth-rotting beverage that can be purchased in Wetherspoon’s) and therefore always prefer a proper cocktail bar over a regular pub, particularly one where fancy dress is required!

Photos © Zsuzsa Ribai