Wednesday, 3 July 2013

London 2013 Part 2......

Our first full day in London dawned and after a good breakfast we made our way to the station to catch the tube for our first visit of the day, The Globe Theatre, Bankside, Southwark, on the south bank of the Thames.  We crossed the Millenium Footbridge across the Thames to get to the theatre.  Here I am on the bridge with St. Paul's in the background.

This was our first glimpse of the theatre as we crossed the Millenium Footbridge.

The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company  and was destroyed by fire on 29 June 1613. A second Globe Theatre was built on the same site by June 1614 and closed in 1642.   A modern reconstruction of the Globe, named Shakespear's Globe, opened in 1997 approximately 750 feet (230 m) from the site of the original theatre.

The new Globe owes its rise to Sam Wanamaker who founded the Shakespeare Globe Trust to rebuild the Globe in London, and he played a central role in realizing the project, eventually raising well over ten million dollars. Sam, on his first visit to London in 1949 had sought traces of the original theatre and a was astonished to find only a blackened plaque on an unused brewery. He found this neglect inexplicable, and in 1970 launched the Shakespeare Globe Trust, later obtaining the building site and necessary permissions despite a hostile local council. He syphoned his earnings as actor and director into the project, undismayed by the scepticism of his British colleagues.
On the south bank of the River Thames, near where the modern recreation of Shakespeare's Globe stands today, is a plaque that reads: "In Thanksgiving for Sam Wanamaker, Actor, Director, Producer, 1919–1993, whose vision rebuilt Shakespeare's Globe Theatre on Bankside in this parish".  For his work in reconstructing the Globe Theatre, Wanamaker, in July of 1993, was made an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE). He was also honoured with the Benjamin Franklin Medal by the Royal Society of Arts in recognition of his contribution to theatre.

The Theatre is amazing inside, faithfully reproduced, as far as it can be, to the original.  Here are some photos, which really don't do it justice I have to say.

After a fabulous tour of the theatre we walked along Bankside taking in the sights.   Here's London Bridge with St Paul's in the background.

We walked a little further and came to The Anchor pub, where we had lunch.   You can see The Shard, the tallest building in Western Europe, in the background.

After lunch we walked a little further and came across The Clink Prison Museum, built on the original site of the Clink Prison.  The Prison dates back to 1144, making it one of England's oldest, if not the oldest prison.

The Clink Prison was used to control the Southbank of London known as "The Liberty of The Clink".  This area housed much of London's entertainment establishments including four theatres, bull-baiting, bear-baiting, inns and many other darker entertainments.  We didn't go in as we had other places to go.

We headed back to the Millenium footbridge and St. Paul's,

and onto Churchill'sWar Rooms, underneath the Cabinet Offices on King Charles Street, to see the wartime bunker that sheltered Churchill and his government during the Blitz.  Construction of the Cabinet War Rooms began in 1938. They became operational in August 1939, shortly before the outbreak of war in Europe. They remained in operation throughout the Second World War, before being abandoned in August 1945 after the surrender of Japan. After the war the historic value of the Cabinet War Rooms was recognised. Their preservation became the responsibility of the Ministry of Works and later the Department for the Environment, during which time very limited numbers of the public were able to visit by appointment. In the early 1980s the Imperial War Museum was asked to take over the administration of the site, and the Cabinet War Rooms were opened to the public in April 1984. The museum was reopened in 2005 following a major redevelopment, as the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms but in 2010 this was shortened to the Churchill War Rooms.

The next photo is of Churchill's bedroom in the War Rooms.

It was a fascinating tour, the whole place is huge with so many rooms dedicated to different aspects of the defence of our country. When operational, the facility's Map Room was in constant use and manned around the clock by officers of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force. These officers were responsible for producing a daily intelligence summary for the King, Prime Minister and the military Chiefs of Staff.

Our next stop was The British Museum to see the new exhibition, Life & Death Pompeii and Herculaneum, but as our slot wasn't until 4.20p.m. we had a bit of time to kill.  The sun was shining and we were thirsty so guess what we did?

Yep, we sat outside a pub opposite the museum and enjoyed a pint of real ale, what else?   Before long it was time to go over to the Museum.   The Exhibition is very popular but the tours are evenly spaced so it wasn't too cramped inside.  Once inside there is a short film explaining what the artefacts on show represent.

AD 79. In just 24 hours, two cities in the Bay of Naples in southern Italy were buried by a catastrophic eruption of Mount Vesuvius.   Preserved under ash, the cities lay buried for just over 1,600 years, their rediscovery providing an unparalleled glimpse into the daily life of the Roman Empire.   From the bustling street to the intimate spaces of a Roman home, this major exhibition takes you to the heart of people’s lives in Pompeii and Herculaneum.  

Photography was not allowed in the exhibition so I have no pictures to share with you, but if you follow the link here you can see what the Museum says about it.

After the exhibition we made our way to Covent Garden to a restaurant recommended by Morning AJ, Dishoom, a Bombay Cafe, where we enjoyed a lovely meal before catching the tube back to Bayswater and our hotel, to rest our weary bones after a hard day sightseeing, in preparation for more the following day.

Join me next time for more sightseeing in London 2013 Part3.


Ron said...

How utterly interesting to read about the Globe Theater and Sam Wanamaker!

And the photos you captured inside the theater are spectacular! Love how the walls and ceiling are painted - like a work of art unto itself. I bet it felt as though you were stepping in time!

And great shot of the London Bridge!

Thank you for yet, another fascinating tour, m'dear!



Akelamalu said...

I knew you would enjoy the Globe Theatre Ron. The inside is magnificent and it took a long time to get permission to have a thatched roof on the theatre too. I would have loved to have gone back that evening to see the production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" but we really didn't have time unfortunately.

Cloudia said...

Whirlwind! Fun!


Valerie said...

Great tour, Pearl.
I always wanted to visit the Globe Theatre but never made it. I hadn't heard of the Clink, now that would have been interesting.

Beach Bum said...

With my wife researching a trip to England for sometime in 2014 I find one of the places I liked to see would be St. Pauls.

Akelamalu said...

It was, both, Cloudia LOL

Oh you must go to see both Valerie!

Beach there is so much to see in London you will need as long as possible. Hope our trips give you some inspiration of what to include when you get there. x

Secret Agent Woman said...

Very interesting. I've not been to London since I was a teenager.

Daryl said...

when i last visited London back in the mid 1970s i was lucky enough to see Derek Jacobi in a play, the title of which escapes me now ... at the restored Globe ... i am enjoying seeing London through your eyes ... such a treat

Travis Cody said...

Such diverse sites to see, encompassing so many years of history.

Flowerpot said...

You do pack it in don't you Ak?!

Akelamalu said...

You should come back SAW :)

Oh I bet that was a real treat Daryl, I so wished we could have gone back to the Globe that evening.

Absolutely Trav and we do both adore history.

We try Flowerpot ;)

Maggie May said...

I've never been inside the Globe Theatre so I enjoyed seeing the photos and hearing about the origins of it.Its always good to go to London.
Maggie x

Nuts in May

Anonymous said...

Interesting trip to my beloved London. I lived there for 13 years, leaving in 1992. I loved it but I love Paris as well. I do miss a lot of things British but I have no complaints with living in France!

Empress Bee (of the high sea) said...

love your photos of your trips!!!

smiles, bee

Anonymous said...

Fabulous pictures! The Globe Theatre fascinates me. When I lived in Aylesbury, we used to go to London regularly on the train (40 minute journey) and we never went to see the Globe. If I ever visit London again it's one place I'll put on the top of my list of things to see.

CJ x

CrystalChick said...

OH WOW! That Globe Theater looks like a a must see. I know I would enjoy it. Thank you for some information and photos.

Banker Chick said...

What a great visit to London. I missed these spots on my trip but I hope to see them next time. I did see St Paul's. I was staying at a hotel in the area, however, I didn't know it I went out myself that morning as DD2 had a class, I needed to get a photo for my tube pass, low and behold I turned the corner and there was St Paul's in all it's glory. Since I got the picture safely in my bag, I went for the tour.

Mimi Lenox said...

I am learning so much from this tour of yours. The Globe is stunning!!! You do holidays like no one else.