A Travellerspoint blog

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London, Before the Narrowboat Charter

July 18-19, 2002 Scenes from the Big Bus


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2002 An English Narrowboat Holliday & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Prequel

After Bob's heart attack, we got back from our harrowing trip - sailing up the Intercoastal back home. But our daughter was on a job exchange in Cheltenham, so we made arrangements to visit her. When I finalized the arrangements, she would be visiting Sweden at the time we arrived, so we spent a few days in London first.

End Prequel

Bob and I had both been to London before. I traveled there with my parents in 1950 when I was 12, and he was there while he was a midshipman at the Naval Academy. I wanted to see things that I had not seen on the first visit or things that were relevant for other things that we would be seeing. For this trip I had set out several Goals - places I wanted to go or things I wanted to see. These were (in no particular order - and the ones I achieved are BOLD)

Ride the Big Bus for an overall orientation
British Museum - Elgin Marbles, Rosetta Stone and Magna Carta
Evensong at St. Pauls
Gilbert & Sullivan at the Savoy
A brass rubbing at St Martin in the Fields

Shop at Harrods
London Eye
See pictures of Salisbury by Constable and paintings by Turner
Have afternoon tea
with clotted cream
Reduced Shakespeare performance

I booked the tickets through a bidding site, and the tickets were cheap, but the flight wasn't direct. At 1:48 pm July 17th, we took off from
DCA (Washington Monument)

DCA (Washington Monument)


and flew first to
West Virginia

West Virginia

sunset from the  plane 8:40 pm EDT

sunset from the plane 8:40 pm EDT


They fed us dinner and before we landed, they gave us breakfast. After a flight of almost 8 hours, we
2061691-River_mouth_Wales.jpgRivers glinting in the sun - 2:17 am EDT i.e. our time

Rivers glinting in the sun - 2:17 am EDT i.e. our time

landed at Gatwick

landed at Gatwick


a bit after 0800, and went through immigration. The guy asked if we were on vacation, and I said that we were retired so how could we be on vacation - what were we vacationing from? Our daughter said that I shouldn't tax them with any unusual responses, but what can I say - I was groggy. We went through the 'nothing to declare' maze and walked out into the airport. I knew we had to go to the other side of the airport to get a train to London, so we did that via moving walkways and non-moving walkways. I saw a brochure that said Gatwick to London £8.20 and grabbed it thinking it was for the Gatwick Express. So I went to the ticket window and asked for that ticket. The ticket agent said to go to Track 1-2. So we did, although Bob protested that the Gatwick Express was Track 4. I had some problem getting onto the escalators with two bags, but eventually we made it onto the train before 0930. I figured out during the ride that I hadn't gotten the Gatwick Express, which I think would have been £14.20 each, but only the "semi-fast" train which stops about 5 times on the way to Victoria Station in London so it takes a little longer. We got off the train a little before 1000, and it was warm and the station was full of people of course, so we went out front where I had intended to get a cab to the hotel instead of using the tube which I thought might be a problem with the suitcases.

Quel horror!! Because of the tube strike today, the taxicab line extends along the front of the station and around the corner, and there are NO cabs in the line - people are just standing there waiting. I don't want to stand and wait for several hours.

I look around and see a Big Bus (BB). I know the BB goes to within a block or so of the hotel because it has a British Museum stop on the green route from a brochure that our daughter sent. I booked that hotel because it was close to the British Museum. So I get us tickets £16 each. The cab would have cost at least £8 and I was intending to get the BB anyway just a little later in the day (it was one of my Goals). So I really saved money this way.

The queue for the Big Bus green route was around on the other side of Victoria Station, and after we climbed on, we rode around by Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament and to the British Museum for the first time on the downstairs part of the bus. Traffic was really very slow because of the tube strike. Just to go from stop 67 at Victoria to stop 78 at the British Museum took over an hour. Then we walked up to the Ridgemont Hotel and checked in. It was about noon but they let us check in a little early. We had a double on the first floor (i.e. one floor up from the ground floor - US second floor) with an ensuite shower for £65 (about $102). The small room looked out over the back garden which was nice and quiet.
Window from room to back garden

Window from room to back garden


We had a window that would open but there was no air conditioning. I would think the rooms at the front might be noisy. We had a small double bed (against the wall), a
TV over foot of bed because otherewise there was no space for it.

TV over foot of bed because otherewise there was no space for it.


a hair dryer, several shelves, a chair and a wardrobe. The rooms were cleaned each day and we were given fresh towels. The manager is very helpful with regard to getting show tickets, and the hotel is within easy walking distance of a tube stop, the buses run right down Gower Street in front of the hotel. It is really close to the British Museum. The rate also included breakfast.

I was concerned that Bob was exhausted (he had not slept on the plane, and he had a heart attack last winter), so I told him to take a nap, and I slept a little too and then took a shower. I also decided that I didn't want to eat lunch yet. My idea was that if we stayed up and out in the open air on top of the bus, and ate a meal that would be an early dinner here but would be a late dinner for us, that we would be resetting our clocks to English time, thus defeating 'jet lag'. So I waked Bob about 1400 and we went out onto Gower Street, walked a block down to the bus stop with my trusty bus map, and hopped a bus (£1 each) over to Marble Arch as a shortcut vs. walking back to the British Museum and taking the green route around to Marble Arch. Someone who has never been to London should definitely take a bus tour. We took the Big Bus, and I can recommend it. It gave us an orientation and overview of the city in a relatively short period of time (a bit more than 24 hours) that we could not have gotten in any other way. Also the top of the bus is windowless, so you don't have to cope with reflections. The only problem with such a tour (other than the weather if it is raining) is that you can take a lot of photos in a very short period of time, and may not remember what the thing pictured is

At Marble Arch, we hopped on the Red route BB, and went around via Trafalgar Square, St. Paul's and Mansion House to the Tower.
View from the bus

View from the bus


London street from top of the bus

London street from top of the bus

Belgrave Square houses

Belgrave Square houses

x65955_03_-_Copy.jpgThe City

The City

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey


When I was passing Westminster Abbey, I took a couple of photos of the statue out in front, which at first I thought was part of the Charing Cross series to Eleanor of Aquitaine. Wrong again. I went to the Westminster website and found the answer.
"What is the tall column opposite the west front?
"This is a memorial to those who had been educated at Westminster School who died in the

Monument to the Indian Mutiny and Crimean War 1854-9.

Monument to the Indian Mutiny and Crimean War 1854-9.


A full description is as follows: .. a Gothic column, or cross, nearly seventy feet high, erected, in 1861, as a memorial to Lord Raglan, and other "old Westminster scholars," who fell in the Crimea, in 1854—5. It is of Aberdeen granite, and very picturesque, although somewhat incongruous, which is perhaps owing to its having been executed by various artists. Around the polished shaft, which rises from a decorated pedestal, are shields bearing the arms of those whom it commemorates. At the top of the sculptured capital are four sitting figures, under Gothic canopies, representing the successive founders and benefactors of the School and Abbey—Edward the Confessor, Henry III., Queen Elizabeth, and Queen Victoria. The whole is surmounted by a figure of St. George and the Dragon. The architect of this beautiful column was Sir G. Gilbert Scott; the figures of St. George and the Dragon, however, are by Mr. J. R. Clayton. In 1870, the memorial having become somewhat dilapidated, a sum of £30 towards its repair was voted by the Elizabethan Club..
It is located in Broad Sanctuary and is often overlooked by tourists because they look past it to the Abbey. BROAD SANCTUARY is the name of the area to the north and west of Westminster Abbey, in which refugees were protected from the civil power by the church. Later when the privilege of sanctuary was abused, Queen Elizabeth restricted it to the case of debtors, and it was finally abolished by James I.
Dome of St. Paul's from the bus

Dome of St. Paul's from the bus


In England, there seems to be a charge to view the churches and cathedrals. And these places are often worth seeing. I can understand why they charge in a way because they have to maintain the site and pay the guides. Both Westminster Cathedral and St. Paul's in London, have this charge. There is a mandatory donation for Salisbury Cathedral. There's no charge to see some churches such as St. Martin in the Fields (also in London), and Worcester Cathedral, although there is a request for donations, and Worcester charges to go up in the tower. I wanted to visit St. Paul's for the Evensong performance for which there is no charge. I didn't want a guided tour or to climb into the dome, but I thought I could go to Evensong, and sit and listen to the music, and look at the interior without paying anything. Unfortunately I ran short of time for this.

These are a few of the photos I took, but they may not be in the correct order. If I have not captioned them, it is because I don't know what I photographed.
20020718_1..1024_-_Copy.jpgThe Monument to the London Fire which at first I thought from my photos was a minaret of a mosque from the Big Red Bus

The Monument to the London Fire which at first I thought from my photos was a minaret of a mosque from the Big Red Bus

x20020718-162819.jpgx65955_14_-_Copy.jpgxm20020718..5_17_-_Copy.jpg
I decided to do the free boat trip from the Tower to Westminster pier.
Boats jockeying for position

Boats jockeying for position


The boat we were directed to get on didn't have a narrative with it so I identified what we were passing by looking at the map. It was easy to identify the Tower and
Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge


but the
923212302067160-The_GLA_from..oto_London.jpgThe GLA (the new City Hall - Greater London Authority)

The GLA (the new City Hall - Greater London Authority)


wasn't on the map.
Hayes Galleria

Hayes Galleria

The Golden Hinde from the Thames

The Golden Hinde from the Thames


This is a replica of Sir Francis Drake's famous ship which in the 1570's, became the first English ship to circumnavigate the globe. (He didn't make it all the way around - he died enroute.) I've always thought it was the Golden Hind, but the website spells it "Golden Hinde". There seem to be several meanings for the word 'hind', but the meaning that I hope is the one meant for this ship is the female of the hart or stag (and not the one that refers to the hind end of a person or animal).. There's a bas relief or some kind of picture of an animal on the stern of the ship which seems to bear this out. The Golden Hinde is a fully operational warship on the River Thames in the heart of London, between London Bridge and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. This floating Museum was reconstructed in the 1970's. It is behind a bulkhead because of the tremendous tides in the Thames. The watermarks for high tide are visible.
xm20020718-162514_-_Copy.jpg
The Globe Theatre (which is the white half timbered building in the center just across the Centennial Bridge is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air playhouse designed in 1599, where Shakespeare worked and for which he wrote many of his greatest plays. Where possible, visitors are advised to arrive by public transport or by taxi (which means that there is no parking). On the other side of the Globe (right side of photo) is the Tate Modern. This wasn't a place that was very high on my list or places to visit although there were one of two things there that I would have liked to see.
x200218-1037-65955_07.jpgMillenium Bridge

Millenium Bridge

Millenium bridge with police boat

Millenium bridge with police boat


Boat Dock

Boat Dock


What I didn't realize was that this boat stopped a couple of places in between the Tower and Westminster. So we got off at Blackfriars pier. Oops But it worked out OK - because of the tube strike, all the boats were free, so we just got on the next boat going our direction
200218-112..1200_-_Copy.jpgx65955_19.jpg
This one had a bunch of German middle school age kids on it. Judged they were German as they were speaking German. Judged middle school by their behavior. (We both used to teach that age kid.)
963234-Waterloo_bridge_from_the_north_London.jpgWaterloo bridge

Waterloo bridge


963238-County_Building_London.jpgCounty Building

County Building


x20020718-162618.jpgParked Trains from the Thames

Parked Trains from the Thames

x20020718-162616.jpgx20020718-163220.jpg
Looking up the Thames to the London Eye

Looking up the Thames to the London Eye


Clock Tower in the sun

Clock Tower in the sun


The hour bell of the Great Clock of Westminster is known worldwide as 'Big Ben'. Most people think the term refers to the whole clock.Tours of the Clock Tower are available but there is a very limited capacity; no children under 11 are allowed. At present, tours are only available to UK residents. Tours are free, but there are 344 spiral steps.

The story of the Great Clock starts with the fire of 1834 which burned most of the Palace of Westminister. In 1844 Parliment decided that their new buildings should incorporate a tower and clock. The Astronomer Royal, George Airy drafted a specification for the clock, including:
"the first stroke of the hour bell should register the time, correct to within one second per day, and furthermore that it should telegraph its performance twice a day to Greenwich Observatory, where a record would be kept."

Most clockmakers thought this was an impossible specification, so Edmund Becket Denison later Sir Edmund Beckett, the first Baron Grimthorpe was appointed by Parliament as co-referee with Airy. He was described as:
"zealous but unpopular, self-accredited expert on clocks, locks, bells, buildings, as well as many branches of law, Denison was one of those people who are almost impossible as colleagues, being perfectly convinced that they know more than anybody about everything - as unhappily they often do."

Eventually Denison designed a clock mechanism and also a bell for the clock. This bell was speced at 14 tons, which was bigger than any that had been done in Britain before. After the bell was cast at Whitechapel Bell Foundry and mounted, it cracked because Denison used too heavy a hammer (against the specs of George Mears, the master bellfounder and owner of the Foundry). After a lighter hammer was fitted, a square piece of metal chipped out of the soundbow, and the bell given an eighth of a turn to present an undamaged section to the hammer. The crack gives Big Ben its distinctive sound.
20020718-1..x500_-_Copy.jpg
We finally got off at Westminster. We decided we were ready for another meal, so we walked around til we found a reasonable looking place to eat (which I didn't write down - I guess I was too groggy). We each had a club sandwich and tea for £15.00 total.
20020718_1..1536_-_Copy.jpg.
British Lion

British Lion


Then we got back on the BB and rode over to Hyde Park. The last bus of the day started off at 1900, so we took that one (green line) to the British Museum riding on top this time.
xg20020718-191225_-_Copy.jpgBarges on the Thames - London

Barges on the Thames - London

19 July 2002- Friday morning

We had breakfast at the hotel which included cold cereal, English bacon (which is really ham), a poached egg, OJ, toast, butter and jam, tea and whatever the special item of the day was - either sausage, beans or tomato. Then we walked up to where we thought the beginning of the green route was around Russell Square, and finally found it about 0730.
Gower Street bookstore on the way to getting the Big Bus

Gower Street bookstore on the way to getting the Big Bus


We took that bus (the second bus of the day -they start at 0700) around to Trafalgar Square where we got on the Blue route BB at stop 32.
Looking from the Big Bus

Looking from the Big Bus


Statues of Great Britain and America on BBC's Bush House

Statues of Great Britain and America on BBC's Bush House


I do not know what the guide said which led me to take the picture, and I absolutely couldn't figure out what it was of. There are no tours of this facility, which is why it isn't in guidebooks. Domestic BBC programming comes from Broadcasting House in another part of the city, and tours of that facility are available. It is between Australia House and India House in Westminster, London. This photograph is taken from the Big Bus on the Aldwych Circle side. The inscription above the columns reads, "Friendship Between English-Speaking Peoples." The World Service does broadcast in English, but also in 42 other languages as well. From 1940 to 2008 (when the lease expires), Bush House has been the home of the BBC World Service (originally called the Empire Service) and BBCi. American businessman Irving T Bush planned the building, and the first part was finished in 1928. In 1929, Bush House was declared 'the most expensive building in the world', at a cost of $10,000,000.

According to the website, "The centre block opened in 1923, and boasts marble walls and floors. Portland stone was used to build it, the floors were made of Indian Hardwood, and the foyers all have Travertine marble on the floor. The foyers are heated by radiators set inside the stone walls, with grilles letting the warm air through into the rooms." "The main entrance ..[has] two statues... symbolise[ing] Great Britain and America, they each hold a flaming torch and a shield which have the British lion and the American eagle on them. In between the statues is an altar embossed with a Celtic cross."

In 1930, when The Strand was excavated for the east wing, a Carrara marble head of a grim visaged Roman man was unearthed. The slightly damaged head now sits in the Centre Block reception. In June 1944 a bomb landed outside Bush House. Three staff were severely injured, and one of the statues lost an arm. Thirty years later, an American businessman who worked for the Indiana Limestone Company was visiting his daughter in London and saw that the arm was missing. He persuaded his employers to send a replacement, and a stonemason to attach it.
xm7-19-03.jpgBob waiting for the Big Bus with phone box in back

Bob waiting for the Big Bus with phone box in back


Flags on the Embassies

Flags on the Embassies


x7-19-07a.jpg
The Royal Mews was in the second tier of things I wanted to see, and unfortunately, this was as close as I got. I wanted to look at the stables and the horses more than at the state carriages. The mews can hold up to 30 horses (Windsor Bays and Cleveland Greys which are breeds of carriage horses)and they are exercised every day. I would have liked to see that although the website says that the horses are moved to WIndsor when they are not being used for state occasions so they might have not been there. The mews is at the side of Buckingham Palace near Buckingham Gate.
xg7-19-09.jpgVictory Monument

Victory Monument


This picture is NOT of Rotten Row, but of riders near Wellington Arch on the south-east corner of the park.

This picture is NOT of Rotten Row, but of riders near Wellington Arch on the south-east corner of the park.


I first heard about Rotten Row when I was editing a newsletter for a special interest group on horses. One of our members went to England and mentioned it. Rotten Row is the most famous riding trail in Central London. It is three quarters of a mile (1,125 metres) of soft, sandy track. The strange name is said to be because of Londoners' inability or unwillingness to parler français: The name originally, was the Route du Roi, built by William III in 1690 as the royal carriage drive from Whitehall to Kensington Palace, his favourite residence. It is in Hyde Park, King Henry VIII's former royal hunting park. Riding for exercise and recreation was invented on Rotten Row in Hyde Park in the 1600s. Here, in the late 17th and 18th century, men galloped up and down Rotten Row, while ladies in long dresses rode sidesaddle along the adjoining Ladies' Ride.
Harrods facade with permanent Christmas lights

Harrods facade with permanent Christmas lights


Harrods has the reputation of having anything that you would want to buy. I really wanted to go here to the Food Hall. But it took so long to get onto the London Eye, that the closest I got was this picture from the top of the Big Bus.
Museum that looks like a church from the Big Bus

Museum that looks like a church from the Big Bus

Albert Memorial

Albert Memorial


Parade of cows at Marble Arch

Parade of cows at Marble Arch


xb047-19-15.jpg
Think car with map of London on a tow truck

Think car with map of London on a tow truck


Another Big Bus

Another Big Bus


Canaby

Canaby


During the 1960s Carnaby Street was at the centre of Swinging London - Mini skirts popularized by Mary Quant were the thing. Since then it has caters more to tourists than the fashionable but it is enjoying a revival.
Regent Street from the bus

Regent Street from the bus


I took the picture because of the cow. London had these fantastically painted fiberglass cows all over the city when we were there in 2002. Since then, I've seen other areas that had other sculptures like this - Norfolk had mermaids, the Outer Banks has winged horse. The store behind it is Hacketts - it has men's, women's and children's clothing some of which they call the Essential Kit.
xt20020719-21.jpgNelson's Column

Nelson's Column


xb067-19-23.jpg
Piccadilly

Piccadilly


We rode the Blue BB all morning, finally getting off at stop 31 Leicester Square after doing a complete Blue circuit about 1130 (I figured we really got our money's worth out of those tickets).

Now I went to get tickets to G&S. Beware!! There are a lot of rip-offs and scalpers selling tourists tickets for shows. Do not patronize any of the places around Leicester Square calling themselves the "Half Priced Ticket Booth". The Half Priced Ticket Booth WAS the name of the authentic booth that is now called tkts. Because of imitators, they changed their name. The cheapest way to get tickets of course is going or phoning to the individual box office and buying a ticket there. You will not get half price tickets, but you can get cheaper tickets without the service charge. [TKTS sells more of the best or most expensive seats.] You can't book ahead. You can only get tickets for performances on the same day. There is no phone number for TKTS. You can only get them by coming in person.

The website says: You'll find it in the clocktower building on the south side of the garden in Leicester Square. It's easy to find - it is the only free-standing building actually within the Square, rather than around the edge. Beware the many imitators around the Square!
TKTS is run by the Society of London Theatre, the trade association that represents London theatre. Most tickets are sold at exactly HALF PRICE plus a service charge of £2.50 per ticket. Some additional shows may also be available at a 25% discount or at full price, giving you the broadest choice of on-the-day tickets available in London. Payment is by cash (Sterling or Euros), credit card or debit card, or by Theatre Tokens (cheques and travellers cheques are not accepted).
Bob standing at TKTS bulletin board

Bob standing at TKTS bulletin board


Look to see which shows have tickets available by looking at the two noticeboards in front of the building. One of the noticeboards at tkts gives details of matinée (afternoon) performances, the other lists evening performances. Note: Tickets for Matinee and Evening shows are sold from different windows. Check the signs above each of the windows so that you get into the right queue. I stood in line at the half price TKTS booth for tickets to "The Mikado" (£40 for two including handling charge of £5.00 or $64 whereas the normal prices are about £25-35) and then we ate lunch.

From Leicester Square, we headed for the National Gallery. I'm not exactly sure what the front of the National Portrait Gallery looks like, because we came to it by the side door, but I do know that it is right next to the National Gallery. Since we came to the National Portrait Gallery first, we went in and went through the "Beatrix Potter to Harry Potter:Portraits of Children's Writers" exhibit which was free (and was quite interesting and worthwhile). This consisted of portraits (photographic or sculpture or graphics) of writers of children's books (In addition to Beatrix Potter and J. K. Rowling, this included
Frances Hodgson Burnett

Frances Hodgson Burnett


A. A. Milne

A. A. Milne

,
Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, Raymond Brigg, Travers etc.), and they had some of the books there for kids to read. I looked at some of them because I had never heard of some of the people featured. J R R Tolkien's portrait showed him almost invisible sitting among tree roots. We also did walk through the portraits of the Kings and Queens of England. The portraits are arranged in timeline order, and the timeline ended (with contemporary portraits) next to the special exhibit gallery. But the National Portrait Gallery really wasn't on my list of things to do so we didn't spend much time on it, but continued next door to the National Gallery.

In the National Gallery, on the way to the English painters wing (Goal), we passed by the satirical series Marriage A-la-Mode by Hogarth (unfortunately we started at the end instead of the beginning), and we also saw the huge George Stubbs painting of
Whistlejacket

Whistlejacket


But I was primarily interested in the
Captur2e.jpgConstable paintings of Salisbury Cathedral

Constable paintings of Salisbury Cathedral


because we were going to visit Salisbury later,
Wind Rain and Speed by Turner

Wind Rain and Speed by Turner


and I just really like Turner paintings
National Gallery from the bus stop

National Gallery from the bus stop


Then we went across did a rubbing at St. Martins in the Fields. (Goal) There is a large set of brasses to choose from and then you pick your paper and the colour crayon that you want to use and pay for it. You can also have lunch there - there's a little restaurant in the basement next to where you do the rubbings.
Street beside St. Martin in the Fields

Street beside St. Martin in the Fields

Rubbing my daughter did for me

Rubbing my daughter did for me


before having dinner (fast food) and going back to the hotel to change for the theatre. I worked with a Gilbert & Sullivan group in college. I didn't sing well enough to be on stage, but I did costumes and scenery. We put on one of the plays each semester. We did Pirates, Mikado, Gondoliers, Princess Ida, Yeoman, Patience, Ruddigore and Iolanthe So I was looking forward to seeing one of the operettas at the Savoy.

One of my Goals was to see a Gilbert and Sullivan production in their theatre. Richard D'Oyly Carte apparently had the foresight to see that Gilbert and Sullivan's works deserved a theatre of their own. The small uncomfortable theatre he purchased for the D'Oyly Carte company was considered after it was remodeled in 1881 to be the most beautifully fitted theatre in Europe. The Savoy Theatre became famous as the first public building in the world to be lit by electric lights. Then it was again remodeled in 1929 by Rupert D'Oyly Carte with Frank Tugwell as the Architect and decorative designs by Basil Ionides. The Theatre re-opened on 21st October, 1929 with a revival of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Gondoliers. Subsequently the Savoy Theatre became a listed property. It was ravaged by fire in the early hours of 12th February 1990. The auditorium (which is underground) has now been restored to the 1929 vision of Tugwell and Ionides.
Marquee of the Savoy

Marquee of the Savoy


In front of the Savoy where cars drive on the right and not the left

In front of the Savoy where cars drive on the right and not the left


Bob waiting for the opening of the Savoy Theatre

Bob waiting for the opening of the Savoy Theatre


Bob wore a coat and tie, and I wore a long dress which seemed appropriate. In the evening, we actually got to the theatre before 1900 and had to wait for them to open the doors. We stood outside where it was cooler, and watched the traffic in the little cul-de-sac, as the Big Bus guide had said that one street traffic is on the right instead of the left. We got to see some fancy cars. The Mikado was terrific and we really enjoyed it. We were in the center of the very front row (the stalls - when I heard that someone had tickets in the stalls, I always thought of horse stalls like boxes with dividers, but I guess that's not it). The TKTS tickets are usually half priced of the most expensive tickets because that's what doesn't sell.

Ko-Ko was played by Jasper Carrott who is apparently a British TV star. Everyone was in white-face like mimes, and even the costuming was funny. The "Gentlemen of Japan" who are usually in kimonos were in suits and spats, except they had the Japanese hairdo, and an obi around their waists. Koko's song "I've Got a Little List (They'd None of Them be Missed)" mentioned the mayor of London with his traffic reduction schemes, a critic whose name couldn't be mentioned "because he always sues", and spoke disparagingly of "an actress from the west [I think Pam Anderson] and a pop star who announces he is gay and his ** publicist." He also spoke of a 'leftist monarchist' as an anomaly, and talks about the "idiots who draw on railway carriages" who will be "condemned to ride on (in the original it was parliamentary trains, but in the updated version it was) partially privatized trains." I enjoyed it so much that I asked Bob to get me a program £5.
Bob reading in bed on the British Museum - a booklet from our daughter to prepare for tomorrow

Bob reading in bed on the British Museum - a booklet from our daughter to prepare for tomorrow

July 20, 2002 - British Museum - Roman Britain

After breakfast at the hotel,
Street with Bob in front of hotel

Street with Bob in front of hotel

Doorknocker at the Gower House Hotel  a couple doors down the street

Doorknocker at the Gower House Hotel a couple doors down the street


we walked down Gower Street (and I took photos on the way) over to the British Museum, (one of my goals)
Street in Bloomsbury

Street in Bloomsbury

Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts

Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts


entering the back way. After I visited the Rosetta Stone and the Elgin Marbles I wanted to go to one other quintessentially British section of the museum - something that I could see here better than anywhere else. They have mummies in the Smithsonian. I decided on Roman Britain. I knew there would be a FREE guided tour (called an Eyeopener Tour) on Roman Britain (room 49) at 1100 (because I had gone to the site on the internet and printed out the tour schedule), so first we went up to the starting point for that,
Horse figures in the Roman section

Horse figures in the Roman section


and it was very interesting and informative. The guide told us the significance of the tombs and mosaics that were there
Bacchus on a tiger in the British Museum

Bacchus on a tiger in the British Museum

Venus rising from the sea mosaic

Venus rising from the sea mosaic


and about the silver that was found by someone plowing their field (the top item was a little damaged by the plow - these items are on loan and are considered one of the 10 most valuable items in Britain).
Bob looking at Roman Silver

Bob looking at Roman Silver


There was a model of a Roman camp, and the guide pointed out the flushing outhouses on the perimeter of the model.

She showed us the little wooden shim-like things that they wrote on. She said that up until those were found, everyone thought that people just wrote on papyrus or sheepskin or paper like material. These wooden pieces were normally burned after use, so the fact that these were found was due to them getting wet and not burning. There was one there where someone was apparently practicing writing, and the teacher had corrected it, and written "Sloppy" on it.

There was also an invitation from the commander's wife of one camp to the commander's wife of another which was written by a scribe, and on the bottom, in different handwriting was an addendum which said something to the effect of "I'd be honored if you would come to my party". The guide said this was the first known instance of a woman writing.

Then we went down to the main hall with the big dome window and Bob sat down while I tried to find out where the other things I wanted to see were, and also tried to find a bathroom. (Never actually went to the bathroom.) After I connected up with him again, we walked in to see the Rosetta Stone which I consider enormously significant because it is the source of our ability to decipher hieroglyphics (and I tried to explain what its importance was to Bob). It had so many people clustered around it that it was impossible to get a picture. Then we walked back to see the Elgin Marbles (the frieze from the Parthenon). They are called the Elgin Marbles because it was Lord Elgin who facilitated probably illegally the removal of the frieze and shipment to England
Reconstruction of the Nereid monument

Reconstruction of the Nereid monument


Elgin Marbles  A section of the frieze from the Parthenon

Elgin Marbles A section of the frieze from the Parthenon


Elgin Marbles Closeup

Elgin Marbles Closeup


Originally the frieze had been around the outside of the inner temple, and they would have been painted. In the original setting they could only be seen from below at a sharp upward angle. In the 1930s they were cleaned of their paint and are now probably overwhite. Here, the frieze was displayed at viewing height all around the room on the walls. We sat down and contemplated them for a bit. The horses appeared to be racing, and in very shallow relief their legs were arranged in constantly varying patterns.

It was Saturday, so the museum was very crowded. Since the museum was so crowded there was a line up (queue) for lunch at the museum, so we left the museum.
Pediment of the British Museum

Pediment of the British Museum


They happened to be having a Roman day at the museum, with gladiator fights on the front lawn, auguries on the steps, tents and static displays in the forecourt all day long. This was very serendipitous since we had just done the Roman Britain tour. There were folks that were demonstrating sword fighting,
Mock battle (Roman gladiators)

Mock battle (Roman gladiators)


and they also showed how the armor was put on, and, later, how wounds were bandaged. We stopped to watch some of the re-enactments
Ruler and wife watching gladiators plus a Roman butt scratcher

Ruler and wife watching gladiators plus a Roman butt scratcher


and look at the exhibits on the way out to lunch. We also walked around to the 'static' displays.
Roman armor and cavalry equipment

Roman armor and cavalry equipment


A "Roman" horse at the museum

A "Roman" horse at the museum


This was a semi-static display on Roman cavalry - the horse wasn't static, but the other stuff was just a display. I don't know if they rode the horse, or he was just a display object.
Women re-enacting Roman crafts

Women re-enacting Roman crafts

Roman re-enactor taking photo of other re-enactors

Roman re-enactor taking photo of other re-enactors


They had tents set up showing the kinds of things they ate, beds, pottery, weaving etc. We left the forecourt area then, in search of lunch and wandered over to New Oxford Street, and went to Savoire Faire.
Bob at the table - his back to the street

Bob at the table - his back to the street


I had croque monsieur, and Bob had a steak sandwich. I found at this time that to the English, lemonade means Sprite. This was one difference between American English and English English that I had a hard time accepting. It seemed really perverse to me to call something lemonade that wasn't. It wasn't even as though the English didn't HAVE lemonade. Later I discovered that I could get a non-carbonated, non-caffeine non-bottled-water something to drink by asking for squash which is a sweetened juice concentrate. And sometimes a bartender would give me canned pineapple or some other type juice - a very small can, but regular juice. The lunch was £13.20 (which turned up on my credit card as $20.99). After lunch it was time to find the London Eye
Red Post Box in London

Red Post Box in London


The London Eye was one thing that certainly was not in London when we were there in 1950 (a Goal). I thought it would be wonderful to see London all spread out in front of me like a map. We took the bus over to Waterloo Station, which was as close as I thought I could come to the British Airways London Eye (a big ferris wheel type arrangement) on public transportation. We walked a good ways trying to get to the actual site. I'm sure there's a better way to do this, but I don't know what it is.

We got there about 1400 and stood in line to get tickets (£17.00 pounds for two seniors plus £2 for the little pull-out photo crib sheet which worked out to $30.22). You need the crib sheet so you can figure out what is in your photos later. But our 'flight' wasn't until 1630, so we sat around and people watched, and then at 1600 stood in line. The people behind us in line were English from the south of England. I had been told not to talk to strangers because the English did not do that but we had a nice conversation with them. They had been there earlier and had been told there were no flights until 1830, but when they came back they were able to get the 1630 flight.

Bob thought the queues of people were inefficiently managed, as there were numerous opportunities for folks to jump the queue. You could start to line up a hour ahead, and then half an hour ahead, they moved you straight across the area that people leaving the London Eye were coming out.
But whatever.
Other people waiting to get on

Other people waiting to get on


It looked like it might rain, but when it did any raining (just a drizzle) it was when we were under cover. We had a relatively peaceful go-round
Getting in the capsule

Getting in the capsule


although the shiny walls of the pod made it hard to take pictures and avoid the reflections. And the fact that it clouded over and was dreary made the pictures not as good as it would have been if it was sunny.
6351732965005-HMS_Belfast_l..002_London.jpgCharing Cross station and HMS Belfast

Charing Cross station and HMS Belfast


2065674-Westminister_Greater_London.jpgWestminster

Westminster


View from the top

View from the top

2065675-Thames_Greater_London.jpgLooking up the Thames

Looking up the Thames

St. Pauls and Oxo tower

St. Pauls and Oxo tower


256676592065692-Looking_out_..ter_London.jpg2065697-Thames_Greater_London.jpg726899902065695-More_photos_..ter_London.jpgLeft - Royal Air Force Memorial: Right - BT tower in distance

Left - Royal Air Force Memorial: Right - BT tower in distance


835088862065696-More_photos_..ter_London.jpgLooking over London from the London Eye

Looking over London from the London Eye


County Hotel

County Hotel


705158-Tower_on_County_Hall_London.jpgTrampolines next to the London Eye

Trampolines next to the London Eye


Trampolines and outdoor tables

Trampolines and outdoor tables


Near the end of the trip, they ask you to stand and look at the camera and they took an automatic picture of the riders on that capsule. I totally didn't see where to stand when they said they would take our pictures, so I didn't even look at the picture booth when we got off.

The long wait meant that we couldn't go to evensong at St. Paul's, or go back and shop and have tea at Harrods. So I probably would have been better off to skip this, as I really regretted not being able to do those things. We also couldn't go to the matinee of Reduced Shakespeare. (3 goals down the tube). If you go, don't go on your first day in London - wait until you have some idea of what you are looking at. Try not to go on a sunny Saturday, which was what we did. We had to wait 2 hours for our 'flight' because everyone else in London had the same idea as we had. Go on a clear and preferably sunny day (or at night - I understand it is wonderful at night with everything lit up). The day we went was sunny to begin with, but by the time we got on, it was cloudy and rainy. You can also book on-line which will save standing in one queue (line) at least.

We walked over to Westminster Bridge, and got on a double decker red bus and rode up to Regent Street. I thought we might window shop a little, so we got off and we walked up Regent Street (stopping in a china store to see if we could find a wedding present for my niece in her requested pattern) to Liberty's. I remembered Liberty prints for women's clothing (they now describe these as "blurred and washed out 50s style florals" but I still think they are nice). It was close to closing time (1900), so we went down to the basement to Arthur's Bar to have tea. I think the Art Bar Café was already closed. Arthur's Bar is named after the founder - Arthur Lasenby Liberty - and has leather sofas at the rear. We had tea there, cucumber sandwiches, tea and Bob had a chocolate cake and I had a lemon tart (£17.89/$28.45). Bob thought the price was ridiculous for the amount of food (one sandwich although cut into tiny pieces, a pot of tea and one slice of cake). But we did do tea, just not with the clotted cream. We browsed in the furniture (Oriental rugs and lamps) and accessories section (handbags, scarves) and wandered around the store and looked at their fabrics nearly until the store closed at 1900. Bob thought the fabric prices were also exorbitant. I hadn't intended to buy anything anyway and possibly the Harrods prices would have been worse
Inside the store after having tea

Inside the store after having tea


Lighting section

Lighting section


I remember that my mom was completely crazy about half timbered buildings when we were here in 1950. I wasn't as impressed, but there were a lot of things about Europe that my mom thought were wonderful that kind of went over my head. I'd forgotten about that until I was in Liberty's of London, and we walked out a different way than we came in and found ourselves here
Half Timbered buildings

Half Timbered buildings


I wasn't sure that I had the proper term for this type of construction, so I went and looked it up. In the definition I found England the source said that England used oak for framing until the 17th century. (Oak like all deciduous trees is a hardwood.) I knew oak was a very "hard' hardwood - if you are sawing oak in a mill it makes much more noise than poplar (which is also a hardwood) for instance. Because oak is so hard the oak logs could be halved. The term "half-timbering" refers to that fact.In other areas of Europe, such as Romania and Hungary, there was no comparable hard wood available, houses were more frequently constructed using whole logs.

But another source says that Half-timbering means that In half-timbered buildings the walls are filled in between the structural timbers with other materials - not that the logs were cut in half.

"Often the upper floors project out over the lower ones. There are several conjectures as to the reasons for this. One is that houses in cities were taxed on the width of street frontage they used. So a high, narrow house saved the owner money, yet to maximize interior space the non-taxed upper floors were lengthened. Also, the projecting upper floors helped protect the lower house from rain and snow in the days before gutters and down-pipes.""By the 15th and 16th century timber framing began to be exploited for its decorative qualities. Timbers which had minimal structural importance were added to the frame, to enhance the decorative effect of dark wood set into whitewashed walls. The Jacobean period saw this use carried to extremes."
Chimney pots on half timbered houses in London

Chimney pots on half timbered houses in London


Although Liberty's is old dating back to 1875, these buildings were built in 1924 when all the buildings on Regent St. were torn down and rebuilt in this style. Liberty's was built with the timbers from the HMS Impregnable and the HMS Hindustan.


Goodge Street Station

Goodge Street Station


We walked back to the hotel from the tube station
Backs of buildings on Gower St

Backs of buildings on Gower St

.Tree-lined street behind our hotel

Tree-lined street behind our hotel

The next day we took the Docklands Light Rail to Greenwich

Posted by greatgrandmaR 19:08 Archived in England Tagged london_eye british_museum rosetta_stone gatwick liberties savoy big_bus g&s tkts constable brass_rubbing elgin_marbles Comments (7)

The Almost Prime Meridian

Greenwich, Salisbury and the Henges


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2002 An English Narrowboat Holliday & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

July 21, 2002

After breakfast, got the bus to transfer to a bus that went to the Tower station (rode on the top all the way there) which was the one that I determined after considerable map study was the one to go to for the Docklands Light Rail. The streets were relatively quiet this early on Sunday morning. The light was dim so the cameras wanted to deploy the flash which made a hot spot in the photo
FE998309DEEC83651911246F33361E48.jpgFrom the top of the bus

From the top of the bus


After we got off the bus, we wended our way up and down and across to the Docklands Light Rail station to go out to Greenwich. None of the trains seemed to be going to that destination. But a non-USA English speaking guy (can't remember now if he was from England or Australia) told us that we'd have to get a train to another station and transfer. He was with a big group. So we did that. The ride was very interesting. It went across
The Isle of Dogs

The Isle of Dogs


The stop we wanted was the Cutty Sark stop, and it was listed as being zone 2/3,
x20020721-121865963_14.jpgCutty Sark from the light rail station

Cutty Sark from the light rail station


so I was a little worried that we might be in trouble as our weekend passes were only good for zone 1 and 2. But later I found information which indicated that either zone 2 OR zone 3 tickets were acceptable. I certainly didn't want to walk through the mile long tunnel under the river. I both didn't want to expend my limited energy in walking that far, and know that there's nothing to see in a tunnel.
Bow of Cutty Sark with end of tunnel dome

Bow of Cutty Sark with end of tunnel dome

Bow of Cutty Sark with Bob

Bow of Cutty Sark with Bob


When we arrived, We walked around the outside of the Cutty Sark, but Bob didn't think it was worth the admission fee of £3.50 to go on board.
Stern of Cutty Sark

Stern of Cutty Sark


We walked around the Gypsy Moth
Bob reading the Gypsy Moth information

Bob reading the Gypsy Moth information

896017-Gypsy_Moth_Greenwich.jpgGypsy Moth

Gypsy Moth


which Sir Francis C. did a solo circumnavigation in (and wrote a book about it) and Bob noted that the windlass was in an unusual place.
windlass

windlass


You can't go on board.
Observatory from the museum

Observatory from the museum


Then we went to the information building, and they told us we could take a shuttle bus (£1.50 each RT) up to the top of the hill to the observatory, so we did that. It is walkable, but for someone in better shape than I am. We walked from the parking lot to the observatory. We walked along the prime meridian and looked at the exhibits there. They had the standards for an English yard and two feet below a 24 hour clock
24 hour clock with length standards

24 hour clock with length standards


Bob at the Royal Observatory Entrance

Bob at the Royal Observatory Entrance

Prime Meridian between the two ladies

Prime Meridian between the two ladies

2065655-Prime_Meridian_Greater_London.jpgListing of places on the prime meridian (left film, right digital)

Listing of places on the prime meridian (left film, right digital)


We also looked at the garden shed where the Astronomer Royal did most of his observations because the observatory building wasn't in quite the right place.
20020721-114165963_12.jpg
It is a very small site and was a bit crowded. Because there are a lot of steps, only the ground floor of the observatory is wheelchair accessible.
Ceiling of the octagonal room

Ceiling of the octagonal room


259585992667302-Looking_down.._Greenwich.jpgThames from the observatory

Thames from the observatory


You can also see up and down the river, including the Millennium Dome. I saw a foreign sailboat sailing slowly up the river.
Then we bused back to the National Maritime Museum. (the bus driver let us off on the observatory side so we would have less of a walk),
Observatory side of the museum

Observatory side of the museum


and there we had lunch. I had 1/2 roast chicken, squash to drink and a peach thing for dessert. Bob had a sandwich, Sprite/lemonade, and rice pudding for £12.95 total. Squash was something I remember from previous trips, which I like, but this was the first time I'd seen it available. It's kind of a fruit drink.

Then we walked around looking at the exhibits. There were a lot of interactive ones - game type things where you shoot missiles, quiz type ones, and even stuff like a pretend corridor in a ship where they have a persons name and job on the doors (cabin steward, purser, captain) and you open the door and see the uniform that person would wear and hear a recorded message about them and their job.
Inside museum looking down from 1st floor

Inside museum looking down from 1st floor


They had model ships, and paintings, dioramas, including two family groups of emigrants with their luggage - one steerage and one-first class. There were also decorated royal barges, and the uniform Nelson wore when he was killed with bullet holes and blood. In the library, you can use interactive computers to look up specific exhibits or items of interest. We looked at a lot of the Explorers and the Seapower exhibits. Photography is forbidden in the museum. The maritime museum, the observatory and the Queens House had an admission charge at one time, but they are now free. We didn't get to the Queens House.
x20020721-141865963_18.jpgThe street in front of the museum

The street in front of the museum


At about 2, we left because I wanted to take a boat down to the Thames Barrier (which is to keep the Thames from flooding - it did it last in the early 50's and killed a whole bunch of people). But none of the boat ticket people would admit that it could be reached by boat (even though my Lonely Planet London Guidebook SAID it could), and I didn't want to try the bus, so I gave up and bought a boat ticket back to Westminster pier.

The first place I tried wouldn't accept a credit card for under £10.00 and the tickets would only have been about £8, so I went to City Cruises, where they accepted the credit card, but put a surcharge on it. We got a reduced rate because we were old people with a weekend travelcard, so the total bill was £7.80 ($12.40). The ticket says that a guidebook is available for £2 onboard. I didn't buy it.

Bob didn't want to sit outside as it was cold and windy and looked like rain, and he hadn't brought his coat. He had it Saturday and didn't need it. So we sat inside
x20020721-110165963_06.jpgStarting out

Starting out


and had a nice ride back up the river. Again I noted the large tides in the Thames. We saw Zodiac type boats hanging from davits what looked like about 12 feet above the river.
Tide mark and zodiac dinghy

Tide mark and zodiac dinghy


It was difficult to take pictures through the window because of the reflection. We went by
Limehouse Bridge

Limehouse Bridge


again and I started seeing more familiar river scenes including Tower Bridge and
Waterloo Station

Waterloo Station


ending up at the
x65965_38.jpgTower of London (from the boat)

Tower of London (from the boat)


We took the tube back to the hotel stop (the tube was VERY crowded even though it was Sunday), and looked for a restaurant (Mondari ?) had been recommended on Goodge St. We found it, but it was closed, either because it was Sunday or because it was too early in the evening. We ate at a pub called Finnegan's Wake. Bob had fish and chips and chocolate fudge cake and tea, and I had a half roast chicken, fruit crumble with custard and tea for £12.60 ($20.04). The food was quite good, although I was suspicious of the name and the place was nearly empty. Then we walked back to the hotel
F.C.U.K.: Not a Joke? Department stores on the way back to the hotel

F.C.U.K.: Not a Joke? Department stores on the way back to the hotel


The name of this chain of stores stands for French Connection UK. It created a furor when they tried to open a store in the US with that name. I'm not sure if they deliberately picked that name in order to rile up people's sensibilities or not. I suspect they did, otherwise, why not change it in the UK to F.C.G.B. or in the US to F.C.U.S.? Of course that wouldn't be as controversial.
Then we set about packing so we could leave the next day for Salisbury.

July 22nd, 2002
Out goals for this part of the trip were:
See Salisbury Cathedral
Visit Stonehenge
Stay with our daughter in Cheltenham
Go to Bath
But the main overriding idea for the trip was to rent a Narrowboat
So we went to the canal museum in Gloucester and traveled to Wales to see the aqueduct there first.

We checked out of our hotel and a bit after rush hour, we took the tube out to the last stop. Our daughter picked us up there (so she did not have to drive into London). We went to visit Salisbury Cathedral. I wanted to see the Salisbury cathedral (which is sort of on the way back to the house our daughter was renting in Cheltenham) because I remembered studying paintings of it when I was in school.
Capture3.jpgSalisbury Cathedral by Constable

Salisbury Cathedral by Constable


I had taken Bob to see the two paintings of it by Constable at the National Gallery while we were in London. Constable painted several of this cathedral from various view points. The cathedral rises out of the plain and is visible for miles away. And I also wanted to see the Magna Carta which was there. The one in the British Museum had been moved to the British Library.
Parking in the Cathedral Close

Parking in the Cathedral Close


Our daughter parked in the car park (it was £5.00 then) in the close - the price is for the whole day and includes handicapped parking. Which was expensive, but it was pretty close to the cathedral. The houses in the close date from the 13th to the 20th century. They were originally built to house the senior clergy but now there are only 5 members of the chapter resident. Most are now private residences but there are a few that are open to the public. And the walk enabled me to get additional pictures of the cathedral from a different perspective.
Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral

Scaffolding

Scaffolding


x7-22-03.jpg
The cathedral was built all at once over just 38 years in the 1200s- an incredibly short period of time (even for today). The site was prepared in the 1190s and between 1220-1258 the main body of Cathedral and free-standing bell tower (since demolished) was built in Early English style by 300 workers. This means that the entire cathedral is in a single architectural style. Most medieval cathedrals were the work of decades and various bits and pieces are in different styles.
1334701-West_Facade_of_the_Cathedral.jpg West Facade of the Cathedral

West Facade of the Cathedral


"The West Front was completed by 1255 with the statuary work in 1300. At least 24 medieval statues survived to the seventeenth century but only 10 now. 60 statues were added during the Victorian period. The statues conform to a carefully considered iconography based on the Te Deum: bishops and doctors, saints and martyrs, apostles and evangelists, prophets and patriarchs are ranged in ascending order below Christ in Majesty in the high gable. At the base of the west front was the ceremonial entrance to the cathedral. All the original wooden doors survive here. A book on the West Front (published 2000) and a West Front leaflet are available in the shop. New statues of two angels and St. Aldhelm carved by Jason Battle."

Inside-the-church are flying buttresses to stabilize the steeple which is 123 m tall, and is tilting 75 cm to the SW. This is because the original plans for the church only had 4 Purbeck 'marble' piers which were to support only a small lantern tower. The tower they ended up with is the tallest in England It was difficult to take pictures inside the cathedral and flash would not have helped because the area was too large to be illuminated in that way.
2770988-Salisbury_Cathedral.jpgSalisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral


"Gabrielle Loire from Chartres, France designed the Prisoners of Conscience window in 1980. The candle for Amnesty International and the details on the adopted prisoners of conscience are just below this striking blue glass window in the Trinity Chapel at the east end of the Cathedral."

I tried to take a picture of the way that they had dealt with the fact that the spire was tilted due to the original plans not having anticipated having to support such a high structure, but those pictures did not turn out. The tower has internal flying buttresses and even from the ground one can see the columns bending under the weight and see that the tower has tilted. The cathedral also has an old clock c. 1386 (which only strikes the hour - it has no face - it is supposed the oldest working clock in the world).

There is a tour one can take climbing 332 steps by narrow winding spiral staircases to reach to the foot of the spire 225 feet above ground level. I have not taken this tour as I have bad knees and do not do stairs. I understand that from here you can see up into the spire through the original medieval scaffold, and from the outside you can see over the city and surrounding countryside.
7658131-Towering_Towers_and_Scary_Stairs.jpgTowering Towers and Scary Stairs photos from the on-line tour video

Towering Towers and Scary Stairs photos from the on-line tour video


Main aisle. Tower tours cost £12.50 for adults, £8.00 for children and £30.00 family (2 adults + 3 children). Scheduled tours last approximately 90 minutes and run at least once a day for 12 months of the year (subject to daily conditions). The website says: "Children must be at least 4ft (120cm) tall and 5 years old. Each child aged 5-10 must be individually accompanied by a responsible adult... Some of the stone spiral staircases date back to the 13th century and have no hand rails"

This is in addition to the *required voluntary* charge for viewing the cathedral. (That seems like an oxymoron to me -Voluntary is a misnomer here unless it means something different in English English. You weren't getting in unless you ante up. The website says "If you are a UK taxpayer, please ask for a Gift Aid envelope. (Through Gift Aid we can reclaim from the government the tax you have already paid on this donation, which represents an additional 25% on top of what you give during your visit.)" The tours by volunteer guides are free. They give our grandson an animal hunt game to play while going through the cathedral.
1334280-Magna_Carta.jpgThe Cloisters

The Cloisters


were built later (1264-1270) in the English Gothic style. We went into the cloisters (this was never a residential abby), and into the chapter house. The chapter house (no photos allowed) has one of the four surviving original texts of the Magna Carta. (Two of the originals are in the British Library. One is at Lincoln Castle.) I did not have time to visit the British Library while I was in London so I was glad to see it here. In 2009 UNESCO entered the four copies of King John’s Magna Carta on the Memory of the World Register – the list of the world’s most important documents. This shows that a document that arose from an English conflict 800 years ago, and has influenced constitutional movements ever since. They had translations into various languages (the original is in Latin) on wooden paddles.
Magna Carta

Magna Carta


Part of the translation:

JOHN, by the grace of God King of England, .. to his archbishops, bishops.. servants, and to all his.. loyal subjects, Greeting.

KNOW THAT BEFORE GOD...

(1) FIRST, THAT WE HAVE GRANTED TO GOD, and by this present charter have confirmed for us... that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired...

TO ALL FREE MEN OF OUR KINGDOM we have also granted,..all the liberties written out below...

(13) The city of London shall enjoy all its ancient liberties and free customs....

(20) For a trivial offence, a free man shall be fined only in proportion to the degree of his offence, and for a serious offence correspondingly, but not so heavily as to deprive him of his livelihood...

(35) There shall be standard measures of wine, ale, and corn (the London quarter), throughout the kingdom. There shall also be a standard width of dyed cloth, russett, and haberject, namely two ells within the selvedges...

(38) In future no official shall place a man on trial upon his own unsupported statement, without producing credible witnesses to the truth of it...

(40) To no one will we sell, to no one deny or delay right or justice...

(45) We will appoint as justices, constables, sheriffs, or other officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well...

Both we and the barons have sworn that all this shall be observed in good faith and without deceit. Witness...

Given by our hand in the meadow that is called Runnymede, between Windsor and Staines, on the fifteenth day of June in the seventeenth year of our reign (i.e. 1215: the new regnal year began on 28 May).

The charter house also had a large display of antique silver. We found that there was a restaurant in the visitor's area on the site of the old Plumber’s yard. You can get a variety of meals, snacks and hot and cold drinks. Another good thing - the roof was made of glass so that you could look up and see the steeple.
Salisbury Cathedral

Salisbury Cathedral


Our lunch was about £18 for all 4 of us. I had minestrone and a big hard roll and a Pavlova (which I've always wanted to know what one tasted like), our daughter and grandson shared roast chicken, and Bob had an egg mayo and cress sandwich and apple and a Sprite.
xSaliscath10.jpg
After we walked around the gift shop, we went back to the car and started in the direction of Stonehenge and Avebury (which my daughter liked better than Stonehenge). We stopped at Old Sarum on the way where the original cathedral was located to look back at the 'new' cathedral. The site of Old Sarum is located one and a half miles north of the present town of Salisbury and about two miles from Stonehenge. This is an English Heritage site, which we did not visit except to look back at Salisbury plain.
Salisbury Cathedral from Old Sarum

Salisbury Cathedral from Old Sarum


Old Sarum is approached via an opening in two high Iron Age banks, which obscure the site from outside. The banks were begun almost 5000 years ago. In 1070, William the Conqueror paid off his army here and, in 1085, demanded loyalty from his nobles. A castle, palace and cathedral were built inside the earthwork. The Normans built a royal castle within the earthworks of an Iron Age hillfort. This fortification, named Sorviodunum in Roman times, was occupied successively by the Romans, the Saxons, the Danes. The original cathedral here was built after the Norman conquest. and was consecrated in 1092. Just five days later, a great storm came and the building was largely destroyed by lightning
Constable painting 1829 of Old Sarum

Constable painting 1829 of Old Sarum


During the twelfth century a great tower and palace were built in the inner bailey. The cathedral, begun in the late eleventh century, was constructed on the north side of the outer bailey. Because of infighting or because the site was too small to support a large cathedral, or because of the great distance from a secure water supply, the Salisbury cathedral was built down on the plain.
299431561335273-The_entrance.._Old_Sarum.jpgBob, daughter and grandson on the entrance path between the fort walls

Bob, daughter and grandson on the entrance path between the fort walls


After the move to lower ground, Old Sarum began to be reclaimed by nature and, by about 1500, was used only as pasture land. Today, the remains of the prehistoric fortress, of the Norman palace, castle and cathedral have been excavated. Even without going in, you can see the surrounding chalk downs, with many wild flowers.

On to the Henges
I had been to England and Scotland once before in 1950 when I was 12, and Stonehenge was one of my "must sees" because I didn't see it the first time I was there. Bob went to England courtesy of the US Navy in 1962 when our daughter was a baby. His ship came into Southampton, and he visited London and northern Ireland. But he hadn't been to Stonehenge either.

So our daughter took us here after we visited Salisbury. There weren't enough of the audio tours to go around. Some of them that were there didn't work because their batteries had run down or they had some other problems. We could only get one for the four of us. I walked out of the tunnel, and commandeered some of them from some kids who were leaving. And later I found one on one of the benches that someone had left. Our daughter and grandson had been before so they weren't quite as important for them.
Grandson lying on the grass at Stonehenge

Grandson lying on the grass at Stonehenge


I found the pace too slow for me, so Bob did the most listening.
Bob with audio tour next to unknown woman

Bob with audio tour next to unknown woman


The audio tours are included in the admission price. You don't have to pay for an additional guide.
Stonehenge showing 'ditch' around it

Stonehenge showing 'ditch' around it


Backlighted in strong sun

Backlighted in strong sun

2042510-1406_Stonehenge.jpg2611451-1416_Stonehenge.jpgShows road up to stones and barriers around them

Shows road up to stones and barriers around them


I took a couple of pictures (trying not to get people in them). This was difficult because there were a LOT of people there.
Site showing all the tourists

Site showing all the tourists


large_641625-Closeup_Stonehenge.jpg
Section of the circle

Section of the circle


The heel stone is called the Frog Stone. From the side it does look a little frog-like. It is off by itself but right next to the A344 road.
Heel Stone with the road behind it

Heel Stone with the road behind it


It is unworked sarsen (hard sandstone). One of the mysteries of Stonehenge is that the nearest source for these stones is on the Marlborough Downs, about 30km (18mi) to the NE. The heaviest of them weighs about 45 tons- so were they transported on some type of sledge? I didn't think it looked so much like a frog. To me it looked more like the face of a moray eel. The lips and snout of the eel are facing you, the big crack is the mouth, and you can see a hole that looks like an eye on the right of the picture. But I guess the original namers of the stone didn't know moray eels

We left here and went to Avebury which my daughter and grandson preferred because you can get right up to the stones and there aren't so many people. But I preferred this because it was easier for me to navigate and see, even if there were a gazillion people here getting in the way of pictures. I had never heard of Avebury until our daughter said she wanted to take us to visit it. It is one of our grandson's favorite places. The stones are in a much larger circle which is all the way around the village of Avebury. They are not all there, and missing ones are indicated with cement markers. I think they are doing some excavation work there now but there was no evidence of it in 2002. I was surprised to be able to see crop circles from Avebury. (The picture was taken in July.)
Crop Circles

Crop Circles


I'm not sure if they are visible except in the summer and I don't know who or what is responsible for them. Parking in the tourist lot is free. There was also an ice cream truck in the parking lot. My daughter was concerned that I would not be able to walk from the lot to Avebury, but actually it wasn't a bad walk.
Sheep on walk from the parking lot

Sheep on walk from the parking lot


I did not go around the stone circle though, because walking on uneven surfaces is hard for me. I just looked from afar. Actually I was much closer to the stones at Stonehenge than I was to the ones at Avebury
Stones from the road

Stones from the road


The story goes that while returning from a day's hunting one winter's evening in 1648, John Aubrey had an epiphany - the earthworks and stones in Avebury were an ancient Druid temple. William Stukeley in the early 18th century saw the distressing destruction of numerous stones by farmers intent on clearing the land for fields. In 1743, he published "Abury, a Temple of the British Druids". This book mapped all the stones surviving at that time. The Avebury complex covers about 28 acres partially overlapped by the village and dates to around 2500 BC.
Big ring

Big ring


There is a huge circular earthwork ditch, originally about 30 feet deep, and bank about a quarter of a mile in diameter which encloses an outer circle of standing stones. Within this outer circle are two inner circles, both about 340 feet in diameter. The northern inner circle only has a few stones remaining. Bob and our daughter and grandson walked around to the closest stones, and I walked up through town. I went into one of the souvenir shops along the street. My family was more interested in the stones than the village, and I did not know anything about the village at the time, except that there was no place for me to sit and rest - a serious shortcoming as far as I am concerned.
Main street of the village

Main street of the village


However, I found a website on Avebury which says:

"The village itself holds much of interest including the church of St. James which has a long history going back to Saxon times. It also contains a notable font believed to date from the 12th Century which is adorned with some interesting carvings. There is also a fine Manor House alongside which is The Alexander Keiller Museum. This contains detailed information relating to the archaeology of the monuments and has many fascinating artifacts from the area on display. Supplementing the Keiller museum is the Barn Gallery which also contains some interesting "hands on" exhibits and other information supplied by The National Trust under whose care the monuments now fall."
PwRr.jpg
I would have liked to have seen the museum when I was there. Visitors who would have difficulty walking the 150m from High Street car park may park near the Barn by prior arrangement

Avebury is particularly busy at the summer solstice. If you go then, it might be a good idea to use the regular bus services that operate to Avebury from Swindon, Marlborough and Salisbury. Otherwise be careful to park only in legal places or the police will give you a ticket and maybe tow you away. You can get a pamphlet with six walks around Avebury from the National Trust. The "Walking around Avebury" guide features six local walks (£2.50 plus 50 stamp)

After this we went to our daughter's house. We did not stop at another nearby site Woodhenge. But we did stop where there was a beautiful overlook of Cheltenham
large_xcheltviewers2.jpgBob, daughter and grandson at overlook

Bob, daughter and grandson at overlook

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:17 Archived in England Tagged salisbury tower stonehenge greenwich avebury magna_carta cutty_sark Comments (2)

Bath and Heading for Wales to See the Pontcysyllte Aqueduct

Preparing for the Narrow Boat Cruise


View Summer, 9-11-2001 - and then the 2nd time down the ICW & 2002 An English Narrowboat Holliday & 2002 Heart Attack at Shroud Key & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

After we left London, we were based in Cheltenham where our daughter was living on a 3 year job exchange.
House our daughter leases

House our daughter leases


Her house is a listed house which means that it can't be changed without permission.
654722-House_our_daughter_leases_Bath.jpgListed house

Listed house

large_24810FA8F1FF2F4515CBC622E0D5CB31.jpg
2892638-Front_door_from_outside_Cheltenham.jpgFront door -outside and Inside

Front door -outside and Inside

front parlour window

front parlour window


zImage010.jpgfireplaces

fireplaces


2481F2BFC028BF8A484811BCD517ADE2.jpgTV room

TV room

kitchen

kitchen


The central window over the entrance door was blocked off many years ago to avoid a window tax. It gives the house a boarded up look.
Cheltenham house facade

Cheltenham house facade


The house has been used as a B&B and an old folks home. It has 5 bedrooms and 3 baths on the floor above the ground floor (we would call it the 2nd floor - the English call it the 1st floor).
Our bedroom window which looked out on the street

Our bedroom window which looked out on the street


24825F2EB0C49039A2F70B96EE205B6D.jpgdaughter's bedroom

daughter's bedroom

which looked out on the back garden

which looked out on the back garden


2892683-Back_garden_Cheltenham.jpgBack garden

Back garden

July 23rd, 2002 - A Rainy Day in Bath

Bath was a place I wanted to visit because I was intrigued by the photos that were taken of it by my mother on a bus tour of England with my second daughter. It was a place that we hadn't visited in 1950.

We (Bob and I and our grandson) got a late start on the first really rainy day we've had (and it was just a drizzly type rain) - Bob drove our daughter's Rover to Bath. He did have some problem with trying to shift with his right hand and hitting the door instead. I was antsy about how close he was to the left-hand side of the road. And in fact he did hit a curb pretty hard, but he said that he was avoiding a cyclist.

Our daughter had told him the way to go and we had maps - both a big book map and a map of Gloucester and Cheltenham where our daughter lived. Getting to Bath was OK (we went through a town called Pennsylvania), but we didn't realize how far out the Park & Rides were so we ended up in the middle of Bath which is not where I wanted to be. I had intended to park out at the North Parade. Somehow we missed this. I think at some point we drove through the Royal Crescent. It was hard to find where we were on the map, and watch Bob's driving to keep him from going the wrong way down a one way street or something.
Streets of Bath

Streets of Bath


Bob insisted on following the signs to the long term car park lot (£3.80 until 6 pm), and after he and our grandson used the bathroom, he took a short cut out of the lot on foot. We ended up getting thoroughly lost (even after asking directions at a store - I asked the wrong question - I asked what the name of the street was, and not which way we should go on it) and walked in the wrong direction, ending up a Victoria Park,
Victoria Park playground

Victoria Park playground


which has a big playground for kids. Our grandson stopped and had a few minutes to play while I used the bathroom and found out that we were on our way out of Bath on foot and got directions for the bus from some of the mothers who had their children there.

We took a bus back in (£2.40 for the three of us) which let us off downtown near the railway station, and then by default had lunch at McDonalds £7.29 because it was too late (and we were too lost) to try for anything else.
Downtown Bath

Downtown Bath


We got to the baths and admission was £18.60 ($29.29 - two seniors and child). We had a good time listening to the recorded tour. It was somewhat confusing though, because the numbers were not consecutive. It started with 1 and then went to 16, and there was no #2. We didn't wait for the free guided tour. There were so many people we probably couldn't have gotten close enough to hear it anyway.
Statues on roofline

Statues on roofline


Looking down into the Baths

Looking down into the Baths


We heard all about Sulis Minerva, and saw the various baths, and our grandson touched the water.
654725-Baths_Bath.jpgListening to the tour

Listening to the tour


The Baths were packed with people. I took a few pictures, but not many because there were so many people there. One lady (apparently not a primary English language person) asked me what a glove was. I had one in my pocket which I showed her.
65956_03.jpgPump Room

Pump Room


When we finished, we went to the Pump Room, but it was full and we didn't want to pay to drink the waters. I heard later that the service was terrible there. Our grandson wanted to buy a souvenir (he knew exactly where the shop was), so after we did that, we went out and wandered around in Bath until we got directions from a bus driver (He said, "You don't want to take THIS bus.") to walk back up past Queen Square to our car park.

I had wanted to go to Sally Lunds and maybe the costume museum, but once we found the car park I thought it would be better to leave. We wanted to get back before rush hour at 1700 (and we did). We did manage to find our daughter's house, and park.
Son-in-law's car in driveway

Son-in-law's car in driveway


They park the Toyota in the driveway, and the Rover has to make do on the street. Since there is no parking in front of her house, it is parked up a side street across the street

July 24th, 2002

I had never been to Wales, and was anxious to go there. I also wanted to see the famous aqueduct. So our daughter took a day off work and we took the Toyota (the American car as the Rover isn't reliable over long distances) to drive to Wales, accomplishing TWO goals - one to go to Wales, and one to see the big famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct up there. It was a long drive. There was considerable construction around Birmingham. We had left at a leisurely time i.e. after 0800 in order to avoid the rush hour in Birmingham, and were successful in doing that. We got to Llangollen about noon and parked (80p for 4 hours)
Shop near the parking area

Shop near the parking area


All the signs are both in Welsh and English of course.
No Fouling sign in English and Welsh

No Fouling sign in English and Welsh


Bull Inn and 'Stabling'

Bull Inn and 'Stabling'


Looking up main street from bridge

Looking up main street from bridge


The bridge in Llangollen has those cutouts (angles that extend out from the bridge) for people to stand in out of the way so they don't get trampled while carriages, stagecoaches or the hunt goes over the bridge.
Standing in the bridge cutout

Standing in the bridge cutout


We had lunch at a little place over looking the river called the River View Bistro.
Entrance to lunch place on right

Entrance to lunch place on right

River View Bistro

River View Bistro

My grandson at lunch

My grandson at lunch


My lunch

My lunch


The waitress had to run up and down the stairs, as the kitchen was on a lower level. The river Dee is full of rocks and rapids.
4447174-River_Dee_Llangollen.jpgLooking downstream - River Dee

Looking downstream - River Dee


The canal was uphill from the town past the railway station. We tried to shop some on that side, but the stores were closed. So rather than huff and puff our way up the hill to the canal, we walked back across the bridge and back to the parking lot.
Looking up the hill toward the terminal

Looking up the hill toward the terminal

Railroad station from across the river

Railroad station from across the river


Our daughter got her husband a mug for his collection. I also got a Welsh love spoon and explanatory booklet for a wedding present for my niece. (She got married on the 27th. We couldn't go because she didn't decide on the wedding date until after we'd booked our plane tickets.)

You can get barge trips up to the Aqueduct from Llangollen, but we decided to just drive up to the canal and walk across as we were hiring a canal boat at the weekend. (Quoting from the literature: "Two hour trips ..to carry your through the beautiful Vale of Llangollen and across the famous Pontcysyllte Aqueduct built by Thomas Telford between 1793 and 1806. The country's biggest aqueduct towers a massive 126 ft (38 m) above the River Dee supported by 18 stone piers. The canal runs through an iron trough 1007 ft long, 11ft 10 inches wide and 5 ft 3 inches deep.
.Live commentary from your cheeky "Captain".. A fully stocked bar provides something to steady the nerves..Price Adult £7, Child £6
")
We drove off in pursuit of the Aqueduct. We couldn't drive to the town on the other side [Trevor] because they were working on the highway bridge (stone bridge) on the road that went to it, so we went to the east end and parked.
Inn along the road near the canal

Inn along the road near the canal

Canal building

Canal building

View from the road going up to the parking place

View from the road going up to the parking place


Auto and pedestrian bridges

Auto and pedestrian bridges


693784-Bridges_Trevor.jpgRaising the road bridge

Raising the road bridge


Boat going under a road bridge

Boat going under a road bridge


Boat coming to turning basin

Boat coming to turning basin

Bob and our daughter leaving the turning basin

Bob and our daughter leaving the turning basin


Private Canal Boat  with wind generator

Private Canal Boat with wind generator


Ducks waiting to be fed in canal

Ducks waiting to be fed in canal


The Pontcysyllte aqueduct must be one of the most spectacular in Britain. The canal is fed from the River Dee at the Horseshoe Falls just out of Llangollen and the Dee runs under the aqueduct. The famous engineer, Thomas Telford, built Pontcysyllte Aqueduct near Llangollen in 1795. Today, it is a protected Grade I listed building, a Welsh National Monument and is one of the seven wonders of the British Inland Waterways System.
Aqueduct from the side

Aqueduct from the side

I wanted to hire a narrowboat for a week and do this canal, but could not due to time constraints. I had only a long weekend that that's not enough time to get from the hire station to the aqueduct and back. So I settled for driving up in a car and walking across. I understand that you can hire a boat for the day for up to 12 people at 2 local Marinas to travel on this canal.
Warning Sign at the entrance to the towpath

Warning Sign at the entrance to the towpath


The aqueduct with canal boat at the end

The aqueduct with canal boat at the end


Looking back -Man and dog walking along the canal path

Looking back -Man and dog walking along the canal path

Bob and our daughter as boat passes

Bob and our daughter as boat passes


We walked across the aqueduct, our grandson actually was invited to hop on one of the boats and he rode part of the way. There is about 5 inches or so water on each side of the boats going across. The aqueduct is 125 feet in the air and the water trough is only about 7 feet wide and 5.3 feet deep. The height apparently concerns some people but not others. I saw a man standing on the roof of the canal boat taking pictures. I saw one lady with a toddler asleep in a sling across her chest, walking fast along the aqueduct with a camera in her hand, while her husband drove the canal boat and red headed twin girls played in the front. Presumably she was going ahead to take photos
Mom of the twins with baby running ahead

Mom of the twins with baby running ahead


Canal boat in aqueduct

Canal boat in aqueduct


Twins on the bow of a narrow boat

Twins on the bow of a narrow boat

In order to get some Idea of how far up you are, - look down
66381587693804-Looking_up_th..nal_Trevor.jpgA long way down

A long way down


River Dee - note a child's tricycle in lower left corner

River Dee - note a child's tricycle in lower left corner


Sewage treatment plant from above

Sewage treatment plant from above


But you also get good views looking out
49530834693838-Downstream_to..uct_Trevor.jpgRoad bridge from the aqueduct

Road bridge from the aqueduct


231284544447190-View_of_the_..Llangollen.jpgView from the Top

View from the Top


Sheep grazing

Sheep grazing

Railroad viaduct in the distance

Railroad viaduct in the distance


There were a lot of canal boats coming across the aqueduct as there is a mooring area there at Trevor where people spend the night.They have the option to either cook on their boat, or go to the local pub for a meal.
Trevor basin

Trevor basin


Canal boat in the turning basin turns to go back

Canal boat in the turning basin turns to go back


I started to walk back. The others went to the bathroom and then crossed the aqueduct (walking path only on one side), and went under the aqueduct and came back up on the side of the canal where the car was parked.
2461798-Pontcysyllte_Aqueduct_Trevor.jpg
So suddenly I was walking on one side, and there they were on the other side. After we got back to the car, we drove down to the football field that we'd seen from the top, It is so big that it is hard to take a photo that gives an idea of the size - even from a distance I couldn't get both ends in the same photo
Aqueduct from the ground -person walking across

Aqueduct from the ground -person walking across

693858-From_soccer_field_Trevor.jpgAqueduct from the soccer field

Aqueduct from the soccer field


and I walked down to the little stone bridge, and I talked to the bridge workers and took some pictures.
Aqueduct from road bridge

Aqueduct from road bridge


4447187-Work_on_road_bridge_Llangollen.jpgRoad bridge construction site

Road bridge construction site


89043062693861-Looking_up_th..dge_Trevor.jpg

Cooling towers?

Cooling towers?


On the way up to Llangollen, our daughter noticed the signs to Ironbridge, and thought if there was time we'd come back that way. And there was, and we did. Ironbridge is a town and has in it a bridge made of iron. The bridge is a National Historic Landmark.
Shops on the square

Shops on the square


Directional sign at the end of the bridge

Directional sign at the end of the bridge


Iron Bridge from downstream

Iron Bridge from downstream


This bridge was built with cast iron after a nearby smelter made it an economically feasible material to use. I would not have thought iron was a good material to use in a wet location because of the possibility of rusting, and in fact vehicle traffic is now prohibited on the bridge. But you can walk across to the other side, and there are views up and down the river from the bridge. The Iron Bridge itself is a public access monument
One end of the bridge

One end of the bridge


Looking through the railings

Looking through the railings

4436452-Houses_Ironbridge.jpgLooking down the river

Looking down the river


Iron Bridge from upstream

Iron Bridge from upstream


Path beside the river

Path beside the river

Bob by the wall

Bob by the wall


There are no eye witness accounts are known which describe the Iron Bridge being erected, so the method is a bit of a mystery. After you've taken pictures from a distance, then go and look at it close up from underneath to appreciate how it might have been constructed.
222317854436432-Looking_down..Ironbridge.jpgViewing area from above

Viewing area from above


Bob, daughter and grandson walking down

Bob, daughter and grandson walking down

Looking down on daughter and husband

Looking down on daughter and husband

Looking down on the path

Looking down on the path


Museum of the Gorge is on the other side of the bridge. We did not get to visit this museum as we got to Ironbridge right about 5 pm. The website says that the secrets of how and why the bridge was built "are revealed in an exhibition housed in the original Tollhouse on the south side of the Bridge." The Tollhouse is open 10am - 5pm and is ***FREE***
Toll House from across the bridge

Toll House from across the bridge


There are other museums in the Ironbridge area. The Passport Ticket allows repeat daytime access to all 10 Ironbridge Gorge Museums, during normal opening hours, so you can return as often as you like for one year. If after 12 months you have still not visited particular sites, you can return at any time in the future to make one free visit to the sites that you've missed.

The church in Ironbridge is one of the "Waterloo Church" type and it was built in 1835/6 using funds from the Church Building Act 1818.
St. Luke's Church

St. Luke's Church


The tower has a three dial clock, which was made by W. Davies of Shifnal. The architectural style is simple Commissioners' Gothic. The church is oriented in a direction that is the reverse of the most churches with the sanctuary at the west end and the tower at the east end. This is because the land at the west end would not bear the weight of a tower. The living was endowed as a rectory when the parish was created from Madeley in 1847 and is now a united with Coalbrookdale. It is in the Diocese of Hereford which is a Church of England diocese based in Hereford, covering Herefordshire, southern Shropshire and a few parishes within Worcestershire in England; and a few parishes within Powys and Monmouthshire in Wales.
War Memorial

War Memorial


Shrewsbury Chronicle 25th January 1924.
The War memorial has been erected in the market square this week. It is a bronze life-size figure of a soldier in mourning attitude on a pedestal of Cornish granite 8ft. high. It is fenced with Iron pillars and an ornamental chain.
Two bronze tablets are erected one bearing the inscription:
In grateful and undying memory of the valiant men of Ironbridge, who laid down their lives in the Great War 1914-1918. We thank God for every remembrance of you.

The other bronze tablet bears the names of the fallen...
The sculptor for the memorial was, Mr. Arthur G. Walker.
The monument was moved to the other side of the road, to provide a bus bay, this upset many local people. Local folk lore says:
” In the square he was looking towards the railway station to see his pals returning”.
”He was looking towards his beloved river Severn

Parking sign

Parking sign


We got there late in the day - so late that we didn't have to pay for parking- the meter refused all our money. Our daughter called our son-in-law about 1700 from the parking lot to say we were about 2 hours from home. After we walked around a little, we decided to eat there at the Iron Bridge Tea Rooms.
Tea Rooms at dusk

Tea Rooms at dusk


The downstairs room seemed full so we went upstairs - this was another place where the waitresses really had to run up and down the stairs. We were one of the last ones there, leaving at 18:43 I think that it is mostly for lunches. I had a cottage pie, Bob and our daughter had a steak and ale pie and our grandson had a children's meal. I had bread and butter pudding for dessert, Bob had an ice cream sundae, and our daughter had coffee. We brought dinner home for our SIL. This meal was £33.74 including a tip of £3.50 ($48.11 without the tip for the 5 of us, which I thought was extremely reasonable.)

July 25th, 2002

Our daughter walked in to work again (as she did on Tuesday because the buses don't run that early in the a.m.), and we took the car and went to the Gloucester Waterway Museum with our grandson. The museum is one of our grandson's favorites (he is 8 years old), and we also thought it would be good preparation for the narrowboat trip we were taking starting on the next day. Our daughter gave us directions for the Shop Mobility place where we could have parked free (my mother used it), but I didn't feel as disabled as that. So we paid £3.00 for parking. We left late because I was writing up our previous days for the home folks

We got to our goal (the National Waterways Museum) about noon after getting lost a couple of times. I was still very nervous about how close Bob was to the left (he was driving the Rover which is RHD), but I think it was pretty much unnecessary - I was just nervous. He did hit another curb, but managed to miss a child of about 3 who jumped out into the street in front of him, causing the mother to yell (loud enough that I could hear her) "You stupid child.. " etc. I would have said she was the stupid one to let a toddler that age be close enough to the road when her mom was far enough away for that to happen.
792167-Thursday_July_25_Gloucester.jpgNational Waterway Museum

National Waterway Museum


After we parked, I saw a huge gaggle of middle school kids about ready to go into the museum, so we stopped and ate lunch at the museum shop first. Our grandson had a milkshake (which is a bottled drink and not ice cream) and chips, I had tea (85p), quiche and a jacket potato, and Bob had a tuna sandwich and Sprite (lemonade). The bill was £8.55 ($13.60). Then we went to the museum £12 for 2 seniors and one child.

We did all the interactive things. This included investing in a canal company (I lost all my money), designing a canal (I did this with my grandson - the first time we did it the computer came back and said something to the effect of "I can't believe that they are allowing you to be in charge of this project - you need to go back and work under an engineer as an apprentice", working a lock (on the computer) by doing things in the correct sequence, and designing your own canal boat. Our grandson also had a list of things to look for and write down the answers to questions about them, which he turned in at the gift shop to be eligible for a drawing. It was sponsored by a chocolate company.
Grandson marking his answer sheet

Grandson marking his answer sheet


There were also exhibits on the canal navvies (some boys went to work as young as 8 - the same age as our grandson), cargos, a speeon dredger, a coal hoist, a lock gate (a real one - unfortunately so dark that it was hard to take a picture of it, information about leggers (when the canal boats couldn't be pulled by the horses through tunnels, the men lay on their backs and walked the boat through - was called legging), and a painted ware gallery (something like Pennsylvania Dutch work). There were also cruises available, but we didn't take one. After we got home (we are getting better at finding our way back to the house), Bob walked up to the store.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:53 Archived in Wales Tagged boat canal cheltenham pontcysyllte_aqueduct iron_bridge national_waterways_museum Comments (0)

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