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Welcome to month two of London Town, the Tower of London.


Brace yourself, because this month I'm sending you to the Tower! In days of yore that would have been very bad news indeed, because the Tower of London has spent half of its 900-year history serving as a the most fearsome prison in the land. 

It was founded by William the Conqueror in 1067 and strategically sited on the river Thames next to the old city walls, dominating London as a symbol of Royal power. His 13th century successors - and enthusiastic builders - Henry III and his son, Edward I, created the Tower complex we see today, enlarging the moat and adding the outer defensive walls along with a new water gate onto the river, which later became known as Traitor's Gate. 

Henry is credited with establishing a Royal menagerie at the Tower after being gifted three leopards. They were swiftly joined by a polar bear and an African elephant (the polar bear was apparently allowed to fish in the river). But by the 19th century there were 150 animals squeezed into the Tower precinct, so they were built more suitable lodgings at the newly created Regents Park.

More prosaically, Edward installed the Royal Mint within the safely of its walls, where it stayed nearly as long, and the Tower also acted as the safe repository for documents, armaments, the crown jewels - which are still there - and, most famously of all, Royal prisoners. The 'Princes in the Tower', the two teenage sons of Edward IV, were sent there for their 'protection' by Richard II in 1483 and were never seen again. And Henry VIII's unlucky wives, Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard, were both imprisoned and executed within its walls. 

One happy legacy of those days are the Yeoman Warders, resplendent in their tudor uniform, who were part of the monarch's personal bodyguard and allowed to eat as much beef as they pleased from the Royal table, hence their nickname: the Beefeaters.

They and their families still live within the Tower - they even have a pub! -  along with the its most eccentric residents, the Ravens. When the Tower briefly served as the Royal Observatory in the late 17th century, the royal astronomer complained to Charles II that the birds were a nuisance, but was informed of the old legend that if the ravens left, the Tower would fall and a great disaster befall the Kingdom. Charles wisely moved the observatory to Greenwich.

Hopefully, creating your Tower of London block will be disaster-free, but please read my notes for this block in the Technique Box.

This month's technique...


London Town: month 2

This month we will use the ribbon in your parcel to add the pennants to the turrets on each side of our Tower.

Use the fray-check included in your Month One parcel to seal the cut edge of the ribbon. The other end is secured in a seam.

I glue basted my pennants in place - using my favourite Sewline glue pen - and found that lining up the edge of the ribbon with the inside edge of my presser foot kept my stitches lovely and even.

If the ribbon elements don't appeal, you could make your flags with raw-edge applique - using scraps of fabric fused in place - or with embroidery. 

{The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that this photo is from a later block (the Cutty Sark) as my Tower photos were a little out of focus}

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