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Covent Garden and Holborn


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Covent Garden and Holborn are the areas that connect the two citys of Wesminster and London. Lying along the north bank of the Thames they contain the home of the judiciary with Bow Street magistrates court (at the home of the first police force), the Royal Courts of Justice and Temple Bar, Inner Temple and Lincoln's Inn Fields as well as Somerset House and the Royal Opera House.

Let us start our visit from Embankment tube station which is located underneath Hungerford Bridge. Facing the river, turn left.


Conspicuously placed on the Victoria Embankment is the famous granite obelisk known as Cleopatra's Needle. It was put up at Heliopolis by Pharaoh Thothmes II., about 1500 B.C., and twenty-three years before the Christian era it was erected at Alexandria—Cleopatra's city. For centuries the obelisk lay neglected in the sand; but in 1819 it was presented to the British nation by Mohammed Ali as a memorial of Nelson and Abercromby. Dr. (afterwards Sir) Erasmus Wilson expended £10,000 upon its removal to this country in 1877. Owing to stormy weather the transport ship had to be abandoned in the Bay of Biscay ; but fortunately the monument was rescued, and in the following year it was placed in its present position, near Waterloo Bridge. It is 68 ½ feet high, and weighs 180 tons. The sphinxes are modern.

Little has changed here since the erection of the Needle, apart from the growth of the trees blocking the view.

To the left of the statue from this viewpoint are Embankment Gardens, a sliver of green with some notable statues and summer lunchtime concerts.

  All materials (except where specifically acknowledged) (c) People First Solutions Ltd. 2005