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London Town Sampler: Buckingham Palace & Parliament Square

This is my second post introducing you to my new Petit FOUR sampler patterns, the London Town blocks. For the past nine months Andrea from the Willow Cottage Quilt Company and I have been posting out parcels of Tilda-filled loveliness to our Block of the Month participants and taking them on a wonderful, whistle-stop tour of the British capital as they created their sampler quilt together. And now it's time to share the block patterns with you.

Get wave your Union Jacks, because we're joining excited crowds outside two sights that are at the centre of our national life...


Buckingham Palace

Time to get your poshest frock out of the wardrobe: we're off to the Palace! Buckingham House, as it used to be known, was built in 1703 and only became a palace when it was purchased by George III as a private home for his large family later that century. His spendaholic son, George IV, made lavish alterations to the Palace, but George's brother, William IV - who succeeded him - wasn't keen and offered it to Parliament when the the Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire. They declined.

It became a family home again when Queen Victoria acceded to the throne in 1837. She became the first monarch to make an appearance on the Palace's iconic balcony, along with Prince Albert, during celebrations for the opening of the Great Exhibition in 1851. The balcony is the focus of this month's block (because the entire façade would take over the quilt!).

The splendid, tree-lined Mall was added a hundred years ago when the Victoria Memorial was built and the East front - and that famous balcony - refurbished in classical style. Buckingham Palace is now the royal family's HQ and crowds gather in the Mall to celebrate every national event, most recently last May for the coronation of King Charles III.

More than 50,000 guests are invited to the Palace each year, to state banquets, garden parties - the 42 acre gardens behind the palace are the largest in London - lunches and receptions, including Paddington Bear. Luckily his rather accident-prone visit during Queen Elizabeth's platinum jubilee was captured on film.

If you ever visit the Palace, look out for the secret door in the White Drawing Room: at first glance it's an ornate console table, topped by a large mirror and gilded candlesticks, but those candlesticks are screwed down and the whole thing swings away from the wall to reveal a door to the private apartments. I do love a secret door...

A PDF Pattern for the Buckingham Palace block is available here.


Parliament Square

We're stopping to check the time with, arguably, the world's most famous clock: Big Ben in Parliament Square. The name Big Ben actually refers to the bell that strikes the hours, rather than the clock tower, which was renamed the Elizabeth Tower in 2012 to celebrate the late Queen's diamond jubilee. It's not the first clock tower at Westminster: a 14th century tower housed the first public chiming clock in England, but fell into disrepair and was replaced, rather bizarrely, by a sundial in 1707, leaving nearby St. Paul's cathedral to chime the hours.

The old Palace of Westminster - the seat of government for 800 years - was destroyed by fire in 1834. The new Palace, designed in the Gothic style of neighbouring Westminster Abbey, included a magnificent clock tower. The clock was constructed to the designs of amateur horologist Edmund Beckett Denison. Denison's wonderfully named ‘Double Three-Legged Gravity Escapement’ ensured the clock’s accuracy despite external factors like wind pressure on the hands, although the original cast-iron hands were too heavy and had to be replaced with copper ones. It began keeping time on the 31st May, 1859.

The first time the chimes of Big Ben were heard outside of Westminster was on the 31st of December 1923, when the BBC broadcast them to the nation to ring in the New Year. The midnight chimes of Big Ben are now a traditional part of New Year's Eve celebrations in London and on screens across the UK.

The accompanying Grenadier Guard represents the British Army's most oldest and most senior serving regiment. They were formed in 1656 to protect the exiled Charles II and the Sovereign's Company has fulfilled that role ever since. Their duty to protect extends to a monarch's final journey: Grenadier guardsmen are chosen as the pallbearers for royal coffins. Along with their fellow Foot Guards, posted outside the Royal Palaces in their red ceremonial uniforms, they're an integral part of London life.

A PDF Pattern for the Parliament Square blocks is available here.


You can find all of the London Town PDF blocks patterns collected together, along with the setting directions, here. If you'd prefer a Pattern Book, they'll be heading to the shop - and Amazon - in a couple of weeks!

In my next post we'll be catching a river bus - my favourite way to travel in London - and journeying downstream to Greenwich to explore the city's trading past...

Nicola xx


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2 comentários

23 de ago. de 2023

Stunning blocks, very excited to start putting these together. I'm new to Tilda fabrics and recently purchased Bloomsville and Abloom so my blocks will look a bit different. I might have to use Basic Grey Grunge for some of the buildings - should be interesting! Gina from Springfield, IL, USA

24 de ago. de 2023
Respondendo a

That sounds amazing, Gina. There are some lovely reds, blues and golds in that collection and the grunges will set them off beautifully. Can’t wait to see it! xx

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