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IN THE NEWS
TOUR OF THE MONTH
ON THIS DAY IN LONDON
23rd April 1959 1st heliport in Britain opens in London
23rd April 1925 1st London performance of operetta Fasquita staged
23rd April 1881 Gilbert and Sullivan's opera Patience produced in London
23rd April 1775 Artist J.M.W. Turner was born in Covent Garden, London.
23rd April 1705 Richard Steele's Tender Husband, premieres in London
23rd April 1702 The Coronation of Anne I in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1685 The Coronation of James II (and VII of Scotland) in Westminster Abbey.
23rd April 1661 English king Charles II crowned in London
23rd April 1661 The Coronation of Charles II in Westminster Abbey.
The site of Sir John Vanburgh folly of a fortress
Location: Maze Hill, Greenwich, London
Description: This is a fortress-like folly built by Sir John Vanburgh, or Vanbrugh, the architect and dramatist, for his own occupation when he succeeded Sir Christopher Wren as Surveyor to the Royal Naval Hospital in 1719.
This castle-style mansion is the only survivor of a group that Vanbrugh built around it for other members of his family.
Sir John lived here from 1719 to 1726, as attested by a blue plaque outside. The castle is modelled on the French Bastille, where Vanbrugh was imprisoned on charges of spying for the British in 1690-92.
In modern times the building was until 1975 a school run by the Royal Air Force Benevolent Fund for the sons of RAF personnel killed in service; it was restored by the Blackheath Preservation Trust in 1977 and is now converted into maisonettes.
Vanbrugh died in London not here, but he did write his own epitaph:
'Lie heavy on him earth, for he
Laid many heavy loads on thee.'