More time in London with the group.
Day 50 Planned:
Again, plenty of things to do in London. I’ve suggested Hampton Court Palace because I loved it last time, and would like to see it again with a group.
Day 50 Actual:
That wasn’t so much a planned itinerary as a vague idea. 😄
That didn’t happen.
The Churchill War Rooms
Instead we walked to the Bayswater tube station and caught that to Westminster on the Circle line. Once at Westminster we headed to the Churchill War Rooms.
I have been to the CWRs before, but the restoration now includes the addition of an extensive Churchill museum. I have to admit that I skimmed through this as I was more interested in the CWRs themselves. The restoration of those, and the audio guides that accompany them are quite impressive.
Fortunately not everything in the CWRs is an unadulterated paean of praise to Winston Churchill:
Rendering the CWRs somewhat bomb resistant involved, at a couple of points, the use of a large amount of concrete. Dealing with that during the restoration when a connecting corridor was needed to manage visitor flow required some effort:
With the addition of the Churchill Museum, I spent about 3 hours in the overall complex.
After that I headed off to a pub lunch whilst the others went in separate directions. Ben and Julian went shopping, I believe Fran did so as well elsewhere, and Charlie skipped the CWR entirely in favour of the Science and Natural History Museums.
After lunch the awesome Amelia from Anime Feminist turned up at the pub and we spent a great hour chatting about all sorts of anime. I hadn’t realised that Amelia is also a space anime fan who, like me, has hesitated over Space Brothers because of the length! Amelia hasn’t read or seen Rocket Girls though so that was one recommendation I was able to make (with the usual qualifiers). We both adore Planetes though, as is right and proper.
London Transport Museum
Then I went to Covent Garden to visit the London Transport museum. The early section of the museum is quite cleverly laid out to tell the parallel stories of river, railway, and horse transportation (this segued into buses later) from 1800 through to 1900. The story breaks down after that, but I was quite impressed with this section of the museum:
Some of the old vehicles on display were quite impressive (if probably cleaner and shinier than they would have been in use):
Some of the exhibits dealt with the, um, challenges of using steam trains in the early underground. There’s a reason they electrified as soon as possible. Once the main story breaks down there’s a neat vehicles hall featuring a nifty display that tracks various aspects of the London transport network in real time:
In terms of temporary exhibitions there was an impressive collection of posters for the Underground by women. There’s a good chance that if you do have a favourite poster from the Underground, then a woman artist was responsible for it. Seeing a curated set like this, with credits given, was fascinating:
The transport museum is relatively small and can be adequately covered in a couple of hours. There’s a lot of interesting artefacts there, and a fairly well curated story of how transport options/methods evolved in London from 1800 through to 2000 (although the coherency does break down somewhat after 1900).
After the transport museum I met up with the group for a superb Peruvian dinner at a restaurant called Lima IIRC. Speaking of which:
To get back to the hotel we walked to the Holborn station to directly access the Central line as the Piccadilly line is being difficult at the moment.
And here are the photos for day 50.