Sunday, 28 May 2017

Bart's Hospital Museum. (London Museum #30)

St Bart's Hospital is the oldest hospital in Britain that still provides medical care from its original site. Bart's was founded in 1123 by Rahere, an Anglo-Norman priest and Monk. It survived both The Great Fire of London and the Blitz and being a hospital it was not affected by the Dissolution of the Monasteries (1536-41). However, that act did mean an end to its income and consequently Henry VIII refounded the hospital in 1546 by signing an agreement granting the hospital to the Corporation of London.
This is the main public entrance to the hospital, the King Henry VIII gate. The statue above the gate is the only remaining statue of him in London.

Whereas all hospitals will have a chapel, St Barts is the only hospital to have a parish church within its grounds. St Bartholomew-the-Less has a 15th Cent tower and vestry. It was very difficult to photograph as I couldn't get back far enough.

Inside is this early 20th cent stained glass window of a nurse.

This is the 18th Cent square created by James Gibbs. Overlooking the square in the hospital's historic North wing is St Bart's Museum.

Displayed in the museum are copies of Rahere's grant of 1137 and the 1546 agreement between Henry VIII and the City of London.
This is an original document from 1331 bearing  the new seal of the hospital.

This is the hospital ledger from 1726
Ledgers were kept by the hospital from 1547 as a record of the money received and paid out. This page shows the annual salaries paid to staff. You can't help admiring that beautiful handwriting.

Other displays include surgical instruments like this case of amputation equipment.It is believed that this case belonged to the founder of the medical school John Abernethy(1764-1831). Before
 anaesthetics, the speed of operation was very important to minimise not only the pain but the loss of blood.
There are also audio tapes describing how the lives of doctors and nurses have changed over the centuries. It is a small but very interesting museum with lots of snippets of information that grab your attention.
'No women, including sisters, were allowed in the men's ward after 7 o'clock. Any patients who swore, blasphemed, were disobedient or refused to go to bed were punished in the stocks after one warning.'

At the back of the museum is the Grand Staircase leading to the Grand Hall. (This is not accessible to the public but the staircase can be seen through the doorway.) The governors wanted to have a spectacular entrance and considered inviting a Venetian artist to decorate the walls. However, William Hogarth (1697-1764) heard of their intentions and offered his services for free. He was well known for his paintings at the time and his generous offer was not to be missed. The two vast paintings were completed between 1734-37.

Just outside the museum is a collection box for the poor. It looks Victorian but I haven't been able to confirm the date. If you are in the Smithfield part of London then have a look at this small museum. Admission is free although donations are always welcome.
Sharing with Our World Tuesday

Friday, 26 May 2017


Description Candle Light.JPGIt has been difficult to think of anything other than the tragic loss of life in Manchester this week. Brought up in Manchester and having Mum in a nursing home there, I am a regular visitor to the City. It is a very different place to London where I now live. The difference is in the people and community. It is a friendly, welcoming city where everyone speaks to everyone else. It is incomprehensible that anyone could do this to their fellow human beings.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Above the Underground - Greenford

Now I am home after my various trips it is time to continue with my 'Above the Underground' challenge. With just 5 stations left to visit on the Central line I am determined to complete this line in the next couple of months. If you want to read about the 45th station I've just visited click here

Monday, 15 May 2017

Design Museum (London Museum #29)

The Design Museum at Shad Thames closed in June 2016 and moved to its new location in Kensington High Street in Nov 2016. Its new home is the former Commonwealth Institute in Holland Park. I was very keen to see how this building, which was opened in 1962,  had been remodelled to accommodate the Design Museum. I visited The Commonwealth Institute in the early 70s. It contained a permanent exhibition about the nations of the Commonwealth and information about how the Commonwealth operated. My impressions of the building remained with me as a huge space that was difficult to fill.

The building had become derelict in recent years due to the enormous cost of extensive modernisation and it was eventually sold in 2002. Major funding contributions from Arts Council England, the Heritage Lottery Fund and Sir Terence Comran meant that the building would be saved and brought to life again. It also means that for the first time access to the Design Museum will be free. It has taken four years to complete the work giving the Design Museum three times more exhibition space as well as more areas to extend its learning programme. So come inside and see what you think.

As you enter the building you are confronted by this large open space giving you glimpses of the roof.

There are balconies overlooking the foyer.

A large stairway takes you up to the galleries.

Before entering the main gallery there is a display of everyday objects nominated by members of the public because they are important or special in some way.

Some things are here because they do their job well; some because they are beautiful and others carry special personal memories. All the objects were instantly recognisable.

Other items that caught my eye included this piece of felt. This is what's left after tennis balls have been cut out.

Televisions and radios.

Portable audio systems including the Sony Walkman and the ipod.

With my interest in the Underground then this map has to be my favourite design.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Dales Way Day 7 Burneside to Bowness-on-Windermere.

This is our 7th and last day of walking. Paul only just made it back across the road for the obligatory, morning group photo.

Trying to find somewhere to balance the camera and then get back to the group has become a daily challenge for the two of us. My camera had worked first time. This was Paul's second attempt.

The local weather forecast had predicted a very chill and wet day so we were wrapped up and ready to face whatever the weather had in store for us.

Despite the forecast we started walking under a blue sky although much colder than on previous days but that doesn't matter when you are walking. We saw the better side of the village today. This is St Oswald's church but look at the sign on the pavement.

I have never seen a church used as a post office before but what a good idea to make use of the church when there are no services on.

This rather impressive building is The Bryce Institute. Built in 1867 with money provided by John Bryce. He moved to  the village in the 1850s to manage James Cropper's expanding paper mills but he also took an interest in the welfare of the workforce. Although he died before the completion of the hall, it fulfilled all his wishes. It was built with a library, reading room, billiards hall and a large hall. In 1918 it was used as a village bath house where for 3d (old pence) you could have a warm bath. The price included a clean towel and soap. Priority was given to those workers coming off their shift at the paper mill. Nowadays it is used as a meeting place for many local groups including James Cropper plc.

We left the village walking by the road admiring the spring flowers until we reached a path taking us to continue our walk by the River Kent.

Cowan Head weir and fish pass.

On the other side of the river was an old tractor. I hope it wasn't going to be left there to rot.

The apartments on the bank of the river used to be a paper mill back in 1750. Now they are luxury apartments including a leisure centre and a 9 hole golf course.

An old stone barn which isn't currently being used. No doubt it will be sold for conversion into a luxury home for someone.

There were a few ducks on this part of the river but this pair caught my eye as I think they were goosanders which I had been told lived along here.

It was a walk of just 10 miles today so plenty of time to enjoy our surroundings. We had long since left the Yorkshire National park and entered the Lake District National Park. The undulating landscape would eventually become more rugged as the Lakeland fells get closer but I for one was glad this walk didn't take us over the mountains. My legs were feeling tired after yesterday's 16+ miles.

The most surprising gate we opened!

As the Lake District mountains became clearer we knew our walk was coming to an end.

The end of the walk was a slate bench facing the way we had come. We linked arms and walked to it together.

One last timed photo to finish yet another fun filled memorable walk.

We could now see Windermere as we walked down the hill into Bowness.

We even received an official certificate from a local chain of shops, Hawkshead (which donates money to a charity for each certificate they give out).

A short walk to the shore of the Lake and then it was something to eat in a local tea shop before checking in to our hotel for the night.
It was a good feeling to know we had all completed the walk with everyone in good health and remarkably blister free.

Thank-you to gentleman Jim who led the way without a map or gizmo, just an expert signpost spotter and gate opener.

Thank-you Paul for your expert map reading and your happy demeanor no matter how much ribbing you had to take from me.

Thank-you to Tim, our gizmo man, who kept a check on our mileage as well as having responsibility for closing all the gates behind us.

A huge thank-you to Steve for organising the trip and arranging the accommodation and many apologies for never listening when you were reading the guide book to us!

And finally a very special thank-you to Tina for being a terrific room mate.

It was a beautiful walk and I look forward to next year and meeting up again for another long distance walk.