My London Journal

My London Journal
View from Westminster Abbey

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Aug.1: Greenwich trip

National Maritime Museum

Our class took a nice boat ride on the Thames to get to Greenwich. We got there early so the "mature" group headed out for some breakfast.---Had an excellent one in a French cafe in Greenwich and it was so nice to have a meal with these folks since we knew our time was getting short in England. Then it was back to the museum for our tour of the Caird Library of Maritime History.

Our guides were lovely and very hospitable. We were told that the collection holds 35,000 books about maritime history, with 8000 being rare books dating from 1322. They use the UDC (Universal Dewey Classification System).

They then took us to a conference room where they had laid out some remarkable items for us to see (and even handle!). They had ledgers kept by pirates, letters written by Admiral Lord Nelson to his mistress and his wife, a 1796 account by Fletcher about the events on the Bounty, and a large collection of Titanic artifacts.

After visiting the Caird Library, we were then free to visit the Royal Observatory perched high on a hill above Greenwich. We hiked (with a few rests) up the hill and found the site of the Prime Meridian. We had our pictures taken with our feet in two hemispheres.

We watched the ball drop at 1:00, which was not all that exciting. We were expecting more of a "bang." Kathy W. and I then went through the museum and climbed up to the top of the observatory. I found out that Halley's tomb is at the observatory, too. We stopped long enough to really experience the incredible view of London from the top of the hill before walking back down. We headed for the Painted Hall and enjoyed sitting there for several minutes just taking in the gorgeous art work.

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