First service

L is for London - Tennis PlayerHenry VIII was a keen tennis player. He invented the ‘service’ – his servants used to throw the ball up in the air for him because he was too fat to do it himself.  While his second wife Ann Boleyn was being beheaded at Tower Green, Henry played tennis at Hampton Court. The tennis court is still in use today.

Horse Guards

L is for London - Horse Guards Parade

Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground. It was formerly the site of the Palace of Whitehall’s tilt yard, where tournaments were held between knights in armour in the time of Henry VIII. Today it is the scene of the annual celebrations of the Monarch’s official birthday — the Trooping of the Colour.

Underneath the arches …

L is for London - Marble Arch… we dream our dreams away, but 500 years ago the site of Marble Arch was a place of nightmares. Prisoners would “go west” to the Tyburn Tree (near Marble Arch) to be hanged in front of crowds large enough to fill Wembley Stadium.

On the traffic island at the junction of Edgware Road and Marble Arch is a plaque, which marks the place where more than 50,000 people were executed, and only a few minutes walk away is the Tyburn Convent where the nuns still pray for the souls of those who died.