Adventures in London, Part II
Last week I shared pictures from my recent trip to Lonon, and I have more this week!
Not “amuse” but “a mews”!
Our hotel was a converted townhouse (two actually) near the Earl’s Court Tube stop in Kensington. Every morning we took a shortcut through the nearby mews to get to Earl’s Court. All of the buildings on our street were the same design you see in this picture, white, with ornate porticos and railings.
This is the entryway to the mews off our street. All of the stables have been converted to medical offices for the nearby hospital.
I know, this has no tourist-y value, but it was very interesting for a historical fiction author!
Home of the Future King of France
We did our own little walking tour of Mayfair, still a fabulously wealthy neighborhood, and found this house on South Audley Street.
This modest townhouse was occupied by the future Charles X of France, while he was in exile due to the French Revolution. It looked far too tiny to be a king’s residence.
Sir John Soane’s Museum
Sir John Soane’s Museum is the quirky little residence of a high-end historical hoarder. Pictures were not allowed on the inside, so I can only tell you that it is filled to the rafters with artifacts and collections. After the very interesting tour of the kitchens, my husband zipped through the rest of the claustrophobic space and waited for me on the front steps.
Sir John managed to cram a lot of very good art into his small gallery by hanging it on large swinging doors. Only the docents were allowed to touch those doors. The paintings in Hogarth’s “A Rake’s Progress” are part of the Soane collection. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to see them. I’ll save that for the next visit.
On our way to the Imperial War Museum in Southwark, we stumbled across the residence of Captain William Bligh of Mutiny on the Bounty fame.
The blue marker on the house says
William Bligh, 1754-1817, Commander of the “Bounty”, lived here.
I wonder what it was like living down the street from Bedlam? (If you recall last week’s post, Bethlehem Mental Hospital was converted into the Imperial War Museum)
Here and there in romance stories, you’ll find a hero with a yen for astronomy taking a trip out to Greenwich and the Royal Observatory. The town of Greenwich is located downriver from London (or is it upriver?) and it’s the site of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian. We traveled by boat down the Thames to Greenwich, which in itself was amazing.
The gold-colored bar in this picture is 0% longitude.
Establishing the measurement of latitude and longitude is critical for navigation, and keeping time is all tied up with those measures. The museum at the observatory provides a very detailed explanation of the efforts made by British scientists to improve accurate timekeeping and marine navigation. It was pretty fascinating.
The hike through the park and up the hill to get to the Royal Observatory was a bit daunting, but the view was amazing.
Greenwich also houses the old Royal Naval Academy and the National Maritime Museum. We didn’t spend a lot of time at the museum, but they did have some interesting displays.
This snazzy little Georgian river boat belonged to Frederick, Prince of Wales. The red poles sticking up in the back are the oars.
(Quick history note: Frederick was the son of King George II, and the father of King George III. He died before his father.)
And here’s one more picture to prove that I was there!
The museum had this terrific display of figureheads from ships. Aren’t they lovely?
And Last but not Least–a Turner
In a world without television, art was really important, and I’ve learned a bit about artists of the Georgian and Regency era. If any of you are fans of the artist, J.M.W. Turner, the Maritime Museum has his painting of the Battle of Trafalgar. Not a great photo, but here it is.
Those are just a few of my photos, and I haven’t even got (or as we say in America, gotten) to World War II!
If you’ve visited any of the places I’ve mentioned, what was your favorite exhibit?
All images are the author’s.