On our last day in England we took a final look around London before catching our flight home that evening. However, unlike some of our ancestors, I do not think it will be forever. In fact I am sure we will be back again as there are many areas that we have not seen and others that we would love to explore more.
During our trip to Stratford-upon-Avon we had broadened our knowledge of Shakespeare and his life and times. Now it was time to round out our experience with a visit to The Globe Theatre. This is actually the 3rd Globe Theatre and has been built as far as possible to replicate the earlier versions. We couldn’t get on the stage but here we are in front of it.
One of the obvious concessions is the addition of a sprinkler system atop the thatched roof. Hopefully, this will avoid it succumbing to the same fate as the original which burnt down due to the misfiring of a cannon during a performance of Henry VIII.
The entertaining and informative tour helped us to imagine the reality of the theatre experience in Shakespeare’s time.
Our next stop was the Old Operating Theatre Museum & Herb Garrett located in the roof space St Thomas’ Church. This seems a bizarre location, however, the wards of the old St Thomas’ Hospital were built adjacent to the church which provides the explanation. This small and quirky museum is not for everyone but I found it particularly interesting due to my career in operating theatre nursing.
Here are a couple of views.
We then moved on to something a bit more mainstream – the Tower of London. Although we did not tour the tower we were interested to see the current installation of ceramic poppies in the area surrounding the tower. This being done to commemorate the British servicemen killed during World War I as 2014 is the centenary of the outbreak of that conflict. This is a work in progress and the final one of the 888,246 poppies will be ‘planted’ on Armistice Day (November 11th) 2014. Each poppy represents a British or Commonwealth soldier killed during World War I. It is a sobering thought to consider when viewing this work.
It is fitting that the final things we saw before leaving London were these two statues at St Pancras Station. They are located just neat the platform for the Eurostar on the upper level. This 9 metre statue titled ‘The Meeting Place’ stands on a plinth surrounded by images of travel and trains.
It is certainly impressive but I actually prefer the one below. This is of the former Poet Laureate, Sir John Betjeman and commemorates his successful campaign to save the station from demolition during the 1960’s. The words from his poem, ‘Cornish Cliffs’ are inscribed around the base.
And in the shadowless unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.
Time to say goodbye and catch the train to Heathrow Airport for the long flight home. We had booked into the traveller lounge (at a cost) so were able to relax for a couple of hours before boarding our flight. There was food, drink and internet access included in the entrance fee. However, the most important thing was the shower facilities. After a day of sightseeing in what turned out to be the warmest day of the entire trip we were very grateful for a refreshing shower before setting out on a flight of almost 24 hours.
I hope you have enjoyed following our adventures through the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland and in the words of the friendly flight attendants, “We look forward to seeing you when next we travel”.
There will be one more short post regarding the budget and costings for the trip. I need to finalise the figures before I write that one.