The Tower Of London

Jan Leeming

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

THE TOWER OF LONDON

Date: 7th September 2014

Very dear friends from Paris had done a swap with the owners of a flat in Bermondsey and they invited me to London for the weekend.  A bit coals to Newcastle but it turned out to be a superb weekend with visits to London Institutions I rarely visit.

For a start, I've not been to the Tower for decades and have never had time to really 'do' all the sights especially with queuing to see the Crown Jewels.  Mireille booked tickets for a Sunday and we got there by 10.30 and absolutely no queuing for entry.  I must say it represented about the best £20 worth in London.  Once you are inside there are no extras and I did get to see the Crown Jewels - WOW - had no idea they were so absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous and I didn't mind standing on the travelater to view them because you can get off at the end and then start all over again.  I also learned something - in the Imperial State Crown there is a huge 'Ruby' referred to as The Black Prince's Ruby.  It is not actually a ruby but a spinel and reputed to be the largest uncut spinel in the world.

Working at Canterbury Cathedral I pass the Black Prince's rather glorious tomb every Sunday so now I have something extra to add to my commentary.  On the Internet I read that the Ruby is supposed to be unlucky so I followed up the information and found a fascinating and very informative website 

royalcentral.co.uk/blogs/the-dark-history-of-the-black-princes-ruby

If you are interested, the curse of the ruby makes very interesting reading. 

The White Tower was also fascinating though after 3 hours of sightseeing we were all beginning to get Museum fatigue.  

There are mesh replicas of all the weird and wonderful exotic species of animal which were given to various Kings and Queens and kept in the Royal Zoo.  Very sad actually to see a replica of an Elephant confined in the equivalent of a horse's stall.

The flow of poppies 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' had not really got underway but the ones we did see beginning to fill the moat made an impressive site.  The ceramic poppies  - 888,246 of them represent a British or Colonial military fatality during the 1914-1918 War and the public  are able to buy them for £25 + p&p and the proceeds support six service charities.  I did hear that only 25% of the money goes to the charities but Hey Ho - I'll buy one anyway.

Very difficult to choose my one photo for this blog and when I have time I'll put more in the gallery - but I've been saying that for months and simply haven't had the time.

Something which touched me was the amount of carefully crafted graffiti executed (what an appropriate word) by high born prisoners whilst awaiting their fate in the Beauchamp Tower.  This was done by Thomas Peverel in the 16th Century - he was a Catholic.  There' a very good site on the internet with many photos of the graffiti in the Beauchamp Tower.  Although she is now dead, I had a wonderful friend called Grisell Beauchamp whom I met because after her career as a singer with the Carl Rosa Opera Company she became a make up artist with the BBC in Bristol.  I know that she was distantly related to the Duke of Westminster and obviously her pedigree was a highly prestigious one.

THE TOWER OF LONDON

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