Friday, 9 December 2022

Getting back to Things I used to Do


I don't know if you have found this, but life still feels a bit different from what it did before the pandemic.  Not just an awareness of crowded spaces, but even socialising, having friends to dinner, going out to concerts and movies ... I do it, but not as much as before. And I've only just got back into thinking about just getting on the bike or the train and exploring bits of London... just to see what is out there. I used to do it all the time.  

Still, it's getting better. We have had three trips into London recently just to see what is going on.  The most recent was to the Museum of London, one of my favourite museums.  Or at least it was, because just last weekend it closed for at least 4 years. It will reopen in around 2026 in an impressive new home in the old wholesale meat market in Smithfield (click the link to read more) so I was taking a farewell look.
  
It was not a very convenient museum in some ways, but I loved it just as it was, tucked away near the Barbican, in the financial district, in a peculiar, inconvenient but pleasant little 1960s development perched on a little concrete island amidst a wilderness of large roads.  Once you get there, it's spacious, calm and full of life, although you wouldn't know how lively it was if you just stood out in the morning sun admiring that interesting statue and the buildings beyond.     


Inside, the spaces are all kinds of shapes and sizes, with several oddly shaped little windows which look out on its immensely historical site. Because, appropriately for a museum of London its building stands right at London Wall. Look below and you see part of a real Roman gatehouse on the wall the Romans built to enclose London two thousand years ago). I love to see that.


Most of London Wall area was bombed to bits in the Second World War, but efforts were made to keep anything that could be preserved, and the museum feels very much part of that effort.  Below is another window I like. This goes from floor to ceiling and overlooks attractive leafy gardens and buildings in many different styles.


So it's clear that the museum itself had a very good architect, but unfortunately, London's 1950s and 1960s town planners were focused on motor traffic, with pedestrians separated off, supposedly for their own safety. In reality, pedestrians were forced under or above ground with little consideration for their needs.   Since the area was built, there has been a complete reversal.  Now, car traffic is  heavily discouraged in London, and the museum has no car park, but the road layout remains.  So most people have to approach the museum via a selection of grim concrete pedestrian walkways about 30 feet in the air, dark unpleasant outdoor lifts and staircases, tunnels and too-wide streets.   Let me show you Street View to give you an idea....

Open the link.  Can you see the museum's name on the wall ahead?  It seems so near, but let me tell you that getting there isn't so simple. After leaving the polluted tunnel you're in, where traffic noise echoes off the walls, you arrive here, and you'll be crossing that walkway over the road.   You need to find somewhere to tie your bike up, if you have cycled here, then make your way to the dark, unheated entrance here, (or one of the adjoining entrances), and go up four flights of now crumbling concrete stairs, or an escalator which might or might not work. While traffic below pumps its fumes up at you, you cross the walkway, possibly in the wind and rain and finally.... you are in the museum. And it is really nice.  Phew! 

 I don't know what people with limited mobility or small kids do, but I'm guessing grim dark elevators somewhere in the concrete. But they come, somehow, and when they do it's lovely to enjoy the little circular garden and plaza outside, and inside a welcoming, well laid out place full of surprises, all of it telling different stories about London, both now and in the past. 

Here are a few of my favourite things, which I may not see again for ages.  I like them all for different reasons, and I hope you will also find some of them interesting.  
 


These large, elegant, beautifully polished and curiously figured stone objects would not look out of place in many a modern interior. A sculpture maybe?   They're actually mace heads from 2500 BC, from a tribe living near London, and it is clear from the lovely figured stone and quality of workmanship that they were used only for ceremonial purposes. I marvel that such lovely things could survive in such good condition, and it certainly makes the stone age seem a bit less rough and ready. 
 

I'm not a great fan of the Romans but the museum's big diorama of the Roman town of Londinium is worth looking at.   Here's an unheeded corner. What do you think those teeny folks on the right are doing working at those rectangular pans?  I think they might be making salt - do you agree? At the top left there's a glimpse of the Thames in an unlikely blue, and the original wooden bridge which crossed it. What a feat it must have been building it.   It's interesting that these houses are nothing like the circular wattle-and-mud huts that the Britons lived in. They are more like the kind of places you still get in Italy and parts of France today, so it seems these were made by immigrants.   

I am also fond of this huge lump of carved stone, carved with stylised flowers and leaves, several feet across, and still bearing signs of having been brightly painted. 


It is a stone roof-boss which once decorated the enormous roof of the medieval Merton Priory, in Surrey, near where I spent some of my childhood.  Merton Priory was pulled down so that King Henry VIII could create the grandest palace in the world with its materials. Since Henry's vision did not include carved ecclesiastical roof-bosses, the stone was put to use as rubble beneath Nonsuch's walls.  

I'd have loved to have seen Nonsuch Palace. As its name suggests, it really did not have any equal in the whole world. Its exterior featured nearly 700 white carved images of gods, goddesses, mythological stories and Roman emperors, many of them also gilded and painted. Imagine it!  There were two giant fairytale towers on either side of the front door, plus courtyards, turrets and oriole windows, magnificent brickwork, panelling and carving, and everything of the very best.  Here is a picture (credit: modelhouses.co.uk) which shows a historically accurate model of the palace, based on the work of Prof Martin Biddle of Hertford College, Oxford. 


Nonsuch Palace disappeared after King Charles II gave it to his mistress, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine, a mere hundred years after it was built.    I always thought this woman sounded completely awful - (but make your own judgement of course: here's a link).  She tore the entire place down and sold the materials to pay off her gambling debts.  Nothing remains above ground, but the roof boss survived. I love it I think for being such a survivor.  

The peculiar layout of the museum building means that there are many interesting corners. I like this lively diorama model of the Old Turk coffee house in the 18th century.  They weren't just drinking coffee, from the looks of it... and I am pretty sure the figure in the middle with the red waistcoat was Dr Johnson, the greatest literary figure of the time.   

 
By the way, sorry that some of my photos are not up to my usual standard. In places the lighting was very low and reflections were a problem.   The picture below is part of an  illuminated pleasure garden at night, and the whole display, which is much larger, is accompanied by particularly nice music. Take a better look on the museum's site  which gives a good idea of how charming, exciting and slightly dangerous these pleasure gardens were.  They flourished well into the 19th century and had alfresco dining, bands, menageries, amusement rides and, of course, the chance to drink and meet the opposite sex.  Predictably, when Britain turned ultra-moralistic in the Victorian age, they were put a stop to as being far too immoral!  


The museum's inventive layout includes some glass covered cabinets underfoot.  Here you see the teacher telling her six year olds about how people called archaeologists can find interesting stuff if they dig in the ground.  The kids were open mouthed at the idea of this, and full of questions, and peered intently at all the pottery and trinkets on display.   
 

The museum's Victorian London section has a replica area of real old shop fronts and fittings fully stocked and assembled.  The picture below is an area based on the showroom of the firm of James Powell, which made high quality decorative items of glass, mosaics and ceramics. I like the mosaic lady sitting there so casually with the enormous tigers. 


Off the Victorian galleries is a small room entirely illuminated with sections from William Booth's Poverty Maps of London, from various dates mostly in the late 19th century.



Booth was the founder of the Salvation Army and a social pioneer.  He talked to London's poor in language they understood, did not patronise or humiliate them, fed and sheltered them if they wanted and needed it, and tried to inspire them to turned their lives around.  Salvation Army members live strict and repressive religious lives themselves, but they do not ask their clients to join them in this, and are  to be found doing good work in the worst of situations, without asking any clients their orientation beliefs or identity.   I spent a long time  looking at these maps and seeing how they had changed over the years.  

There is a good 20th century section. I actually remember the last gasps of the Lyons Corner Houses . In their heyday they were inexpensive restaurants which served decent traditional food in elegant white and gilt surroundings.  You found them in towns all over England, and they were famous for their black and white clad waitresses, known as "Nippies."   You can see a Nippy in the background of this display of cakes (including a sensational wedding cake which looks more like a church).  She is actually on a film, and life sized, and in the darkened gallery there is something spooky and surreal about the way she flits about, smiling, in the darkness.    I only remember Lyons Corner Houses when they were modernising themselves, going self service, and downmarket.  


I also remember some of the old London department stores from when I was young.  This most beautiful lacquered relief panel came from Marshall and Snelgrove, of Oxford Street. It was my great aunt's favourite shop and when I saw this large panel in the museum I got a strange sense of deja vu. I must have visited Marshall and Snelgrove with her, I suppose, because I got a flash of memory of examining the detail of these great big panels a very long time ago, and feeling them as I ran my fingers over them. They probably dated from the 1920s, and I don't know when they were removed. 


Nobody who visited Selfridges before the late 1970s could have missed its magnificent bronze and painted-glass lifts.  I remember using these - it was like walking into a movie set, although they were ever so slightly alarming too because they did seem so very... well... old to be creaking their way up and down.   
 

These are the exterior doors, with bronze silhouettes of mythical scenes, I suppose. Apparently the customers demanded escalators.  


Luckily Selfridges has kept the fantastic bronze sculptural work of its front entrance, which is of equally splendid quality.  You can see it at the bottom of the page via this link, or in real life if you happen to be in Oxford Street.

Also from the early 20th century is this painting by CWM Nevinson, an artist who died in 1946.  It is my favourite one in the whole museum.  It shows seagulls over the Thames, filled as it was in those days with ships and industry, and with a fanciful depiction of the old Shot Tower on the right.  I love the feeling of life and movement, and the slightly Cubist style of the picture.

 

The war years are also well represented, with a lot of recordings and films, but I prefer the 1950s and  this lovely Coronation dress.  Look at all the decorations around the hem.  I was keen on royalty as a child and would have considered this to be the ideal dress for myself.  Can you see the toy royal coach at the bottom left? 



And then, the 1980s.  That was about the last time that young people had a hope of getting a reasonable sized home in London, and it wasn't easy.  The following pictures are actually of a model of Ellingfort Road, an area of slum housing in the London Fields area of the borough of Hackney.   Neglected for years, like the rest of Hackney, they were scheduled for redevelopment. They were squatted by young homeless people, who repaired them when they could and created a very active creative community.  After a high profile campaign to keep them, they won the right to remain.    The model, created by young artists James MacKinnon and John Hurley,  was one of their projects,  and I could look at it for hours.  The amount of work that went into it was remarkable, showing every peeling cornice, dumped bit of furniture, dustbin and sheet of corrugated iron.  



Hackney has become one of the coolest areas of London now, although I wouldn't personally describe it as smart.  The houses are still standing, painted, retiled, repaired and definitely in far better shape. My guess is that many are still rented and perhaps some of the original artists are still in residence. 


My final favourite item here is from 2012, the magnificent cauldron-like object at the opening of the London Olympic Games. It was built by Thomas Heatherwick, a highly original designer. He rails against "boringness" in modern architecture, and he is certainly right. I'm going to check out more of his buildings and projects - the ones I've seen are amazing.   

Looking at this cauldron, I remember the feeling of pride and optimism that filled us all when it first opened.  In the present fin de siècle atmosphere with a collapsing government and damaged economy, I remind myself that it was only ten years ago.  The damage that the last few years have done to Britain is not endemic, and despite the recent damage to our institutions and values, most people here want to put things right.     


I will look forward to seeing the new museum building for London. It is clearly going to be fantastic, and I hope they bear in mind to give it some cosy corners too. 

So now, with Christmas approaching at top speed, I won't be going anywhere for a few weeks. I want to find time to go through my pictures of the past few months and pick out a few favourites to post. Here are a few to be getting on with...  

Way back in July the twins had a Teddy Olympics. This is the referee of the Long Jump (teddies being hurled from one side of the room to another). Note the handy cup of coffee to keep her going.
 
 

And we went for a little break in Kent with our oldest grandson S. during the very hot spell. Among  other things, we spent a whole day on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway.  Combined with that extraordinary weather and the fact we were staying literally in the grounds of Canterbury Cathedral the trip was a magical and slightly surreal experience.   The railway runs passenger services on beautifully engineered 1/3 size steam locomotives, owns several stations and has a fascinating history like something out of a novel.   The line goes through some lovely countryside to Dungeness, a most curious place by the sea originally populated by poor folk who left London to live a peaceful life in converted shacks and railway carriages.  
 

It is now home to a nuclear power station, and although the atmosphere is still eerie and alienated, it is these days full of artists displaying their work in wooden shacks....   



...and also a Site of Special Scientific Interest, full of Napoleonic military ruins.  People waved at us as we puffed and chuffed by and we thoroughly enjoyed stopping at the museum in one of the stations and discovering one of the best model railways in Britain there. 

My next bike trip may well be to Hoxton. I finally bit the bullet and decided to have my great grandmother's scrapbook rebound...it is large and so full of different things that even though I photographed every page, I still haven't fully examined it all.   


We decided to use a bookbinders in Hoxton (on the edge of Hackney, see above) partly because it is near Monster Supplies Inc.  This is part of a literacy charity for young people in the area, and is most  remarkable: take a look here. The twins are desperate to visit but it's quite a long and complicated trip by public transport and they're not yet up to cycling it through London traffic, so we will have to see. 
The scrapbook is huge, falling apart, and full of elaborate cards, newspaper cuttings, family letter etc. stuck on heavy sheets of disintegrating paper.  It's going to cost an arm and a leg but if it's not fixed soon, it will be beyond repair. It is nearly time to go and collect it, and if I am to be honest, I am full of trepidation. I can't believe anyone could fix it but I am hoping for the best. 

So, that is what I have been up to and I aim to post again soon, if only to catch up.   Right now, though, I'm off to have my supper and view the next episode of Howard Goodall's Story of Music.  It's a BBC television series from 2012 which I discovered on Youtube.  I'm really ignorant about the history of music, but he explains everything so clearly and finds such amazing music that I'm loving every minute.  

50 comments:

  1. Thank you for the wonderful tour!
    It us nice to have a view from on the ground of how London really is. I am confident as hopeful the scrapbook will be repaired well.

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    1. Thanks. We have now got the scrapbook back and are happy with it, although if I had lived more locally I would like to have popped in and discussed some of the things they did in person. I am glad you enjoyed the museum tour!

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  2. Oh my! I have missed traveling along with you on an adventure!! What can I say--as usual, I was enthralled. So good to see a post from you. :)

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    1. Thank you Rita! And thank you for commenting.

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  3. Thank you for the visit to the museum of London. I am glad to have gone there before it shifts to better digs. It was so dark in there ,though, and I had just had eye surgery so...missed a lot.
    I think that you are very brave to cycle through London!
    The referee certainly looks alert, not missing anything!
    Refreshing post, thank you for this adventure and the links.

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    1. Thanks Linda. Yes, the old museum building was by no means perfect. The lighting created atmosphere, but was not necessarily all okay for those with limited vision. I don't massively care for the ride to the Museum of London but the cycling infrastructure is actually pretty good, it's just the architecture surrounding it that is off putting.

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  4. Museums are right up there with libraries when it comes to evidence of civilization in my opinion. Thank you for these gorgeous peeks into the Museum of London.

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    1. I agree Ms Moon. I love beaches and mountain views, but they don't occupy and expand the mind. If anything, humans tend to ruin nature.

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    2. Yes, absolutely. It is encouraging that most places have some kind of a museum ... there must be a need to record the lives of the past. The nicest tiny museum I saw recently was in an old parish church, which was in itself about 800 years old. It was full of things local people had collected, the most interesting of which was a gigantic bronze Roman head in the village pond!

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  5. I hope the new museum outshines the old. It was a grand tour.

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  6. Wow! What a place (plus more) and tour (plus more). How through the place is and your post too. Very impressive.

    We are remaining somewhat cautious with that flu rampaging apace. Let's hope for a healthy Christmas. Season's best to you.

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    1. Thank you. And a very happy new Year to you!

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  7. Your post provided me with a good Saturday afternoon read, and it is good to see you back in blogland.
    From many years back, I remember visiting the museum and approaching it via those concrete walkways. The inside was as impressive to me as you describe it; I remember a model of London showing how the Great Fire started and then spread.

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    1. Thanks Meike. Yes, the Great Fire model was a real favourite with kids, and I am sure I remember it, or something very similar, in the dim memories of my youth when it was in the London Museum in Kensington. " London Museum" later merged with another collection to become "The Museum of London." Near to that exhibit you might have seen the piles of plates, cutlery etc which were fused together in the heat of the fire and were all melted into big lumps.... a remarkable sight.

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  8. Thanks for giving us the gift of another fascinating post. I've never heard of Nonsuch Palace, but the model in the photo is incredible. I also never heard of Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine - but she sounds like an extremely unlikeable person. Can you imagine tearing down an entire palace to pay off gambling debts?? Wow!! I'm at a loss for words.....

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    1. I think everyone at the "top" of society in those days makes me at a loss for words. It almost makes me feel grateful for our current crop of top people. Almost, but not quite!

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  9. What a cornucopia of delights from a knowledgeable guide. Thank you.

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  10. Two polished stones are amazingly beautiful and precise. It must take long time to finish them. I do hope ancient ages are more known by scientific researches.

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    1. I can hardly believe that the stones are so old. Looking at them they seemed quite modern to me. It was a strange feeling.

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  11. Dear Jenny, what a fascinating post, full of wonderful places and things to see. The Roman Gatehouse would entice me (I have not heard of the Museum of London), and what delights await within. I only heard of Nonsuch Palace recently when it was featured on a TV programme. It must have been spectacular. Department stores were so architecturally lovely back in the day: the lacquered panel at Marshall and Snelgrove is exquisite. Loved the seagull painting, and the Coronation dress. It is exactly the style I wore as a little girl, and how I would have loved this. Hi to the twins from our little twins, who have turned two and are now chatting to us in the cutest and most engaging way. :)

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    1. Thanks for your comment, Patricia. You have a lot of fun in store with your little twins! Yes, I love the way that so much effort was made to create stores that were elegant and expensive looking. I suppose it was only the high end ones, really.... and in those days they would have not had the period charm that we love, but were probably bang up to date. My memory of the wonderful roof garden in one of the big department stores in Kensington High St. is still with me, it later became Biba's. It had flamingoes, a pond, and a "Rainbow Room" restaurant, very pretty. It only closed down a few years ago and I do miss it.

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  12. What a wonderfully rich post, Jenny. I've so enjoyed this one and wish I could have visited the museum before it closed. How very sad that it will be changed when it seems such a haven of peace as well as history. I think you're very brave to cycle through London. I'm too much of a wuss for big city cycling unless there are good bike paths like we have here.

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    1. London has improved a lot as far as cycling is concerned. I hate to admit it but Boris J. is responsible for getting that moving, if only he had stayed at local government level he might have been okay! The problem, as always, is with other drivers, but there are maps as well as new cycle routes which do make it quite easy in some areas!

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  13. I love the Museum of London too and look forward to seeing it in the new location. My aim for next year is to see more traditional museums and art galleries because I saw two of those interactive multimedia displays on Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo and thought they were a bit of a rip-off. I'd also rather put my money into institutions that need to.

    I love Dungeness and have always wanted to visit the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway.

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    1. I was wondering what the Van Gogh and Frida Kahlo experiences were like. I suspect they're not a patch on the place in Paris (Atelier des Lumieres) where I went with some scepticism but ended up utterly converted. Part of this is due to the magnificent sound tracks and also the interesting building where the show is, not a mere tent but with all kinds of different angles and nooks and crannies.

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  14. I went to the Museum of London once when I lived in London and I agree, it's full of fascinating exhibits. I imagine the new relocated museum will have many more exhibits. Nonsuch Palace looks amazing, what a shame it was pulled down to pay off some debts. The model of Ellingfort Road is wonderfully realistic, it looks absolutely like the real thing. The Old Turk customers certainly look as if they're having a fine old time. Yes, I imagine large quantities of alcohol had been consumed....

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    1. I think large quantities of alcohol were ALWAYS consumed in those days, it's eye opening to read about the levels of drunkenness in all parts of society!!!!

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  15. Sadly I never entered that museum, though I wanted to. Just passing by I was astounded at how boring the immediate area was, bar the remains of the wall. Also there was no obvious entrance, as you have shown. I liked the horse statue at the entrance. The Roman model looks good, I love the red tiled roofs, very unusual for the UK then. Certainly the new museum will be good, but why close for 4 years? There were planty of Pleasure Gardens around, Blackpool had one. That also closed after it became somewhat disreputable. Barbara was indeed a nasty bit of work, I have met many like her, and I always fond it dunny that such women are seen by some as heroic, when in fact they are chancers that would destroy you tomorrow for gain. Men, according to these folk meanwhile, are always bad. Kids in mueums are great. There are so many things they have not encountered before and are astonished by. I suspect that lot went home and dug up the nearest garden. 'Sally Ann live strict and repressive lives?' Really? Also teddy bear throwing and Dungeness? What a time you have had. I hope the scrapbook is well done. Lots of that sort of thing in the past, and that one looks a good one, full of interesting treasure. Glad you had a good time, hope the snow has not hindered this.

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    1. I believe the Romans brought red tiles to England, yet another of their achievements... what is interesting is that in many very old parish churches, you see bits of red tile in the brickwork. Of course the poverty stricken folk of those days would have used all the second hand stone they could find, including those from Roman ruins... Yes the immediate area round the old museum of London is grim, a showpiece of horrible 1960s architecture. But I personally think it will be a miracle if the new one opens in 4 years, there is a lot to do. I don't know why they have to close while they're doing it but no doubt it is to do with money. Perhaps the money they spend on heating lighting and staff wages have to go on the rebuild.....

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  16. First, it was wonderful to find a new post, Jenny, and since I may never experience the Museum of London firsthand, you provided an informative tour, thank you. Spending a day on the rails with your grandson sounds like a fun outing and the teddy bear olympics must have been loads of fun as well.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoyed the tour - thank you for your nice comment. Yes, we have lots of fun with the grandkids.

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  17. Forgot to wish you and your family a very happy 🎄time full of memories and lots of good times together.

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  18. Jenny, I also love the Museum of London. And I remember the Roman wall, which surprised me. I did not think that such monuments can still be preserved. I especially liked the pharmacy in the museum, with jars, test tubes, a microscope. In photo No. 5, I remember this layout of a Roman settlement. I could look at it for a long time. It is a pity that it will be closed for 4 years and will be in another place.
    I've been to Selfridge but I don't remember this magnificent elevator, which is well shown in the series Selfridge (2013). I wish you success with the scrapbook.

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    1. Thank you Nadezda. I think the lifts were removed from Selfridges in the 1980s. They were quite old and needed maintenance, and it was decided to instal modern escalators instead in the space where the lifts had been. I think it is a pity they went but at least they were put into a museum! You remember a lot about the Museum of London and I think the new museum will also be good, but perhaps not as quaint as the old one.....

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  19. Hi. Thank you for visiting my blog. I am very much interested in archaeology and history as you are. I always look forward to reading your posts full of unknown information and precious photos of buildings and ruins.
    It has become colder. Take care of yourself in this season. See you!

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    1. Ancient buildings are so fascinating, they tell a story without words sometimes.

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  20. I can't tell you how much I enjoyed this post! I so much enjoy the museums in London!I have not seen the Museum of London but my husband tells me he visited there when he worked in the City of London. (He worked at Wren House, just across from St. Paul's. It is so different there now!) The architect that you mentioned, Thomas Heatherwick, I do remember him doing that for the London Olympics. I think I wrote about him on my blog once. I will have to go back and see what I said! LOL!! Happy Christmas!

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    1. I am sure the new museum of London will be good and probably larger, so if you manage to get here sometime after 2026 you should be able to make a trip. I like it so much becuase it is mainly about ordinary people, plus info about whichever famous ones lived in London at the time. Kind of like my experience of London now.

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  21. Lovely to see and read this post from you.
    A wonderful tour in the comfort of my armchair :)

    Some years ago we visited Kent and enjoyed a wonderful ride on the Romney Hythe and Dymchurch railway.

    With just a few days to go, I wish you and yours a Happy Christmas.

    All the best Jan

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    1. I hope yours was good too, Jan, and thanks for the good recipes.

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  22. Your post was a virtual museum in itself; I can see why you belong to the Guild of Travel Writers.
    I clicked on your blog from Meike's, and I am looking forward to interrogating your archives.
    YouTube videos you may enjoy ...

    *The changing face of Camberwell (1963) London Screen Archive.*
    *Pimlico, London - Rare 1950s film of Thomas Cubitt's stucco streets.*
    *Pimlico in 1970: Creation of the Churchill & Illington Estates.*
    The latter features Ian Nairn whose outstanding videos on English townscapes are on now onYouTube.

    My sister used to live in Pimlico and has just decamped to Putney; another sister resides in Cheltenham.
    I am a Glasgow man.
    Pimlico makes me think of Elizabeth Taylor perhaps my favourite postwar English novelist.
    Emily Rhodes has a YouTube talk on *Mrs Palfrey at the Clairmont*.
    Emily Rhodes has a reading & walking reading club in Hampstead where my late brother lived.
    Jack (John) Haggerty

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    1. I am so late in replying to comments here, and thank you for your nice long one, John. Thanks very much for the Youtube videos. I am a big fan of Ian Nairn who was a fascinating person and a breath of fresh air about architecture at the time he made those videos. He had such a wide and generous view. I don't know how many videos he did but have checked out a couple of them already. I was delighted to find a copy of his "Nairn's London" recently and actually had it rebound as it was a rather tatty paperback. Do you have a blog? I would like to follow it if so.

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  23. Like you I would love to get back to the things I used to do, I do now, just not as much. COVID set me back from doing things like most folks but basically health issue stopped the most. I am hoping in the spring I can add more to my list.

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    1. I hope you are well enough to do the things you want to do in 2023, Pam. Covid does seem to hang on. It put paid to our Christmas celebrations although nobody got really sick it was enough to stop everything happening.

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  24. Hi Jenny -- I read this when you first posted but didn't have time to comment so saved it for a return visit. And what a rich, fascinating visit it was! I regret that I won't be able to see this museum -- I suspect the rebuild will take a long while and oh, how fascinating. I especially love the dioramas/models, like Nonsuch Castle and the area in Hackney with the greatly detailed model. I'm always astounded at how one can work so small and make things so detailed you feel like you could step into them. That painting is a stunner, too. I hope they don't do anything after this is gone to damage the Roman outpost or the part of of the wall. It must be fun to see things, like the elevator and nippies that you remember as a child. And that coronation dress is so pretty. Some little girl was lucky.

    The railroad visit sounds fun, too -- and very interesting. That's another thing I'd love to do! And as for your granadmother's album, I am so grateful you are getting that restored. It looks to be a gem and I hope you have it back by the time I (hopefully) get to visit again! All those cards, clips and personal memorabilia. Wow. And I can see why the twins want to visit the Monster Supplies shop -- that's just up their alley! Oh, so glad to revisit this with you. (ANd yes, I've noticed the same thing you mentioned in the first paragraph about how what we do and who we do it with has changed over the past few years. But that's for another time.)

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