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Between Aldwych and the Embankment is a corner of London you might pass by without noticing. Yet the area holds plenty of interesting sights, including a unique bit of London’s history and one of its most expensive buildings. Then walk up to Aldwych/Strand.

Tube: Temple

Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Temple Place

K2 Phone Box

The K2 (Kiosk No. 2) was the winning design by architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott in a competition organised by the Royal Fine Art Commission in 1926. The perforated crowns were for ventilation. Made of cast iron, it had 18 individual panes of glass on three sides. There are just over 200 K2s left in London. Note the height: room for your top hat.

Temple Place W2

Isambard Kingdo Brunel

Britain’s greatest engineer is immortalised by Baron Carlo Marochetti RA, who worked on the Arc De Triomphe in Paris and the Albert & Victoria tomb. Clutching a compass, one quizzical eyebrow raised, Brunel stands forlornly in a quiet corner of the Embankment, surveying the passing traffic.

Temple Place WC2

Sand Bin

Used to keep the streets clean of manure, or deaden the sounds of iron-shod cart-wheels outside the home of the sickly, these boxes were a common fixture in the horse-drawn 19th-century. This last surviving example was restored in 1945 - some sources say after being hit by a bomb in World War II.

Temple Place WC2

Cabman’s Shelter

The Cabmen's Shelter Fund was created in 1874 when, in the horse-drawn Hansom cabs, the cabbie sat outside in all weathers. These tiny cafés offering hot food must have been a godsend. There are 13 left now - all Listed buildings. [Is it true the cabbies motto is: ‘He was a stranger, and I took him in’?]

Temple Place WC2

Two Temple Place

William Waldorf Astor gave architect John Loughborough Pearson a blank cheque to create this beautiful structure in 1895. Look for the two cherubs on the phone at the front door and the beaten copper wind-vane of Christopher Columbus’ Santa Maria tops this ornate office building.

2 Temple Place W2
www.twotempleplace.co.uk

Milford Lane steps

These atmospheric steps from Milford Lane up to Essex Street are well worn by the passage of time and people, a shortcut from the Inns of Court to Temple tube. The Strand was once the beach of the Thames, and this street was named for a ford over the river, near which - you guessed it - once stood a mill.

Milford Lane WC2

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