The itinerary is much like that of any sightseeing bus today:
“A cheerful fellow who had been driving in London for the past 40 years”was their excellent tour guide. “We ran down Tottenham Court Road, thence along Oxford Street to Hyde Park. We saw the Serpentine, Kensington Palace, Rotten Row, and then passed on to the Prince Albert Memorial, erected by Queen Victoria in memory of her husband …. Then we saw the Natural History Museum. Tattersall’s was pointed out to us; the Duke of Wellington’s home; the Triumphant [sic] Arch and the Rothschild’s [sic] home. Our next point of interest was Buckingham Palace. At the time we arrived there an investiture was in progress, the heroes of the last “Zep” raid being awarded their well-earned honors. Then we saw the Victoria Memorial, St. James Palace and the Marlborough House.” (1)
Tattersall’s is the only sight that would not be pointed out today: it was and is a world-famous auctioneer of racehorses, and anything to do with horseflesh would have been of interest to the artillerymen. The firm had moved from its original premises at Hyde Park Corner to two acres on Knightsbridge Green in the 1860s. Auctions at that site were continued until the outbreak of World War II. The buildings have been demolished. (2) Over the entrance of the modern building erected in its place is a statue of three stylized horses to commemorate the earlier business.(3)
There is nothing left of the green but a couple of London plane trees growing out of a cobbled triangle.
Tattersall’s, now 250 years old, continues to sell very expensive horseflesh, but from the heart of racing country near Newmarket, Suffolk, 65 miles (105 km) north of London.
(1) Wills, Archie. Diary. 3: 57-58. October 7, 1917. Archie Wills Fonds, University of Victoria Archives. Copyright 2007, University of Victoria. For a reminder of the Zeppelin Raid, go to October 2, 1916/2016.
(2) A description of the buildings can be found in Survey of London: Volume 45, Knightsbridge, ed. John Greenacombe (London, 2000), British History Online
(3) More information about the statue, “Triga” by Franta Belsky, is available from Chris Partridge’s Ornamental London