Every Object Tells A Story

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: South Kensington

Photo 06-05-2017, 15 18 35

The title of this exhibition, ‘Every Objects Tells A Story’, hangs somewhere between pretentious and redundant, and is all the more disappointing because of how good everything else about it is. That dealt with, I can begin my praise of this uniquely presented exhibition.

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Hunterian Museum

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: Holborn, Central Line

crystal_gallery

As someone who works day-to-day with the dry, safe, non-organic collections of Greek and Roman antiquities, it was a considerable step outside of my comfort zone to visit the biological repository that is the Hunterian Museum. The museum, housed within the Royal College of Surgeons, holds around 3,500 ‘specimens’, which is a pleasant way of saying ‘dead things in jars’.

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Bank of England Museum

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: Bank (ohsothatswhyitscalledthat), Central Line

bank_of_england_london

Yesterday I walked into the Bank of England and picked up a gold bar.

I was allowed to do this because, although they surround themselves with two-storey windowless walls, the Bank of England want you to come and visit. Continue reading

BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: Neasden, Jubilee Line

London_Temple

BAPS Shri Swaminarayn Mandir, aka. Neasden Temple

Any ideas where the above photo was taken? India, Nepal, Mauritius? I imagine very few people would guess Britain, and no-one would propose Neasden, NE London, as the home of this large Hindu Mandir. But here it stands, one of the largest Hindu Temples in the country, in the London borough of Brent.
Neasden Temple is not blessed with its location. It is surrounded by industrial ugliness and an oppressive prevalence of the colour grey. Perhaps this is important however. Were the Temple to be removed to some leafy Knightsbridge park, it would be effectively de-fanged. This proud cultural building would be reduced to little more than an elaborate garden folly.
Better, then, that the Temple stands where it is. Continue reading

Little Venice

Adult Entry: Free
Nearest Tube: Warwick Avenue, Bakerloo Line

Little Venice 1

Little Venice Lagoon

Venice is a unique city. It’s name alone is enough to evoke the grand renaissance architecture, and romantic pastel-walled canals. For London, then, to claim possession of a ‘Little Venice’ is a surprising boast.
So where, in a city famed for its industrial grime and poor air quality, is this continental gem secreted?
Another surprise: Paddington

Let me apply a little meat to the bones. Little Venice is a delightful network of waterways in the Paddington area, created by the meeting of Regent’s Canal and Grand Union Canal. The hub of this area is the Little Venice Lagoon, a triangular pool at the confluence of these canalways.
There is an abundance of canal boats along these stretches, exposing an unknown (to me) community of London. Enjoy these wonderfully authentic aquatic homes bravely resisting the cynical commercialism of the surrounding city. Continue reading

The Supreme Court

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Did you know that you can wander into the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom whenever you want?

No? Well you’re not alone.

The Supreme Court is a stone’s throw from Westminster, yet attracts far fewer of the crowds and less of the attention. It is amusing to stand just outside the Court, on Parliament Square, watching as the DSLR-shackled hordes flow around it as if it were an island, to reach the more recognisable destinations.

I would recommend the Supreme Court for many of the same reasons that I recommend visiting the Houses of Parliament. Visiting these institutions, rather than just reading about them, encourages a much stronger interaction and involvement with their topics. As far as cultural heritage engagement goes, that makes it a winner already. Continue reading

Historic Majorca (Well, some of it)

 

Photo 21-06-2016, 14 00 55

Viewpoint near Formentor- photo courtesy of Samuel Gaukroger

This blog reviews historic sites in London, but I went on holiday last week and needed a way to brag about it, so here we are.

Mallorca/ Majorca has a bad reputation. This is due in large to Magaluf, a name usually preceded with the phrase “I got destroyed in…”. But enough of that. I was staying on the opposite corner of the island, in Pollença. Continue reading