Just a couple of pictures to show some other features of the Horniman Museum, which I am sure you will find immensely fascinating should you decide to take the train South & visit!
This unusual & delightful pea-green Post Box is for donations towards the recent renovation of the 16 acre, award winning gardens, they also have small animals!
This is the beautiful 1894 Victorian Grade II conservatory, which used to host summertime events, like musical arrangements. I have yet to discover what this year holds, especially now the £2.3 m. garden renovation is complete!
Due to the brass monkey nature of the weather & scarcity of walkers your City of London Guide has been savouring the City’s indoor pleasures! I thought I’d share a few pictures so you could get the feel of my visitations. Sadly the effect of the weather on my digits is leading to less camera activity. On this occasion I found my battery about to run out, which impeded my creativity further!!
Let’s see what delights South London had to offer, where I swear the faint-hearted attempts at snow were due to the temperature too low for even that metereological phenomenom!
Horniman Museum Clock Tower & Frontage
Erected by Charles Harris Townsend 1901 in the English Freestyle architectural style, the building is Grade II* listed. The tower is made of Doulting stone from Somerset.
Robert Anning Bells’ “Humanity in the house of Circumstance” mural
Bell’s pastel mosaic shows the central figure of Humanity, with figures symbolising the fine arts, poetry & music. Endurance is the armed figure & kneeling are Love & Hope. Charity bears figs & wine, whilst Wisdom is white-haired. Meditation is soberly clothed & Resignation of sombre expression resting on his staff in front of the gates of Death (right). The Gates of Life are on the left.
These mosaics were put in place by a team of women on scaffold (they were used due to their nimble fingers). 117,000 pieces make up the mural & took 10 months to install (cold work!) This is in the style & manner of the Arts & Crafts Movement & is linked to a contemporary decorative work by Mary Watts & the villagers of Compton in Surrey on the cemetry chapel. Mary married G.F.Watts & they lived & worked in Compton. Both were hugely talented artists in their own rights. They were also Victorian socialists, who worked to improve the lives of the poor through involvment in the creative arts.
Beneath Bell’s mosaic is a plaque stating that the museum was gifted to the LCC (London County Council – the forerunner of the GLC -the Greater London Council, which preceded what exists now & is the GLA – Greater London Authority, though the latter is politically neutered). Referring to the LCC it says “as representing the people of London” & for their “recreation, instruction & enjoyment”. Very much in the sentiments of George & Mary Watts. Frederick John Horniman was a tea magnate & M.P. His collection of natural history & indigenous art resulted from his travels in the Middle & Far East & the Americas he opened it to the public, then had this marvellous museum built to house it.
My Vintage Bus Ticket!
Just in case you thought I was skiving & just enjoying myself on vintage buses & salivating over Victorian engineering – I am actually taking a tour this coming Sunday!
Meeting point is the City of London Information Centre. near to St. Paul’s.
As usual the tour will last approx. 2 hours & the subject covers the two massive fires London suffered during the last 300 years – The Great Fire of London 1666 & The Blitz during the Second World War 1940-41. The tour will finish at The Monument.
I look forward to seeing you there if you can make it.
My colleague Anita & I decided we were well over due for a visit to Tower Bridge & went along the other week. A fellow guide Iain works there, so it was nice to see him as well.
The actual structure is pretty amazing & we realised that each of us on our individual previous visits had omitted to go in to the “Engine Room”, which lies under the arch of the bridge close to the river. This time we went to have a look at the amazing Victorian steam driven technology that operated the hydraulics responsible for lifting the bridge. I thought I’d share some of the pictures I took of this beautiful & impressive engineering.
A handsome gasket
The nuts & bolts!