Robert Milligan once reigned supreme outside the Museum of London in Docklands as a representative of the West Indies merchants who proudly set up the West Indies docks. Now he has been removed from his prestigious position and acquired by the Museum of London. Their Docklands Museum can be seen behind the statue in this sketch. According to a statement by the Museums Association he will be ‘fully contextualised’ in the museum. The docks were set up to to maximise profits from the slave driven sugar plantations in the West Indies. Milligan was the Deputy Chairman of the project.
The museum has an excellent display on the slave trade.
Sorry for gap in posts as I’m recovering from surgery following an accident whereby a taxi driver opened his door and knocked me off my push bike so typing one handed and dealing with images is quite difficult at present. Please adopt the ‘Dutch Reach’ when opening car doors and be careful.
Now is the time to make that Nettle Soup. According to William Coles in Adam in Eden (1657) it will ‘consume the Phlegmatic superfluities in the body of man, that the coldness and moistness of the winter have left behind.’ He also suggest that it is said that the juice of the roots mixed with ale and beer and given to one who is suspected of losing her maidenhead ‘if it remain with her she is a maid, but if she spew it forth she is not’.
The Egyptians used them to treat lower back pain, the hardy Romans used it to keep themselves warm. Some suggest it is useful for treating enlarged prostate, and for lowing blood pressure and generally very rich in all things good for you. Just don’t eat them raw! The suggested benefits of eating Nettles are listed on this web site. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/stinging-nettle
I often walk past Crosswall; a street in the east of the City of London that cuts right across the line of the Roman and Medieval City Wall from Aldgate to the Thames at the Tower of London. Several sections of the wall are still standing in this section – in Cooper’s Row and Tower Gardens behind Tower Hill Tube station, but this is the only Roman Bastion on display.
I, briefly, worked on the site in Crosswall that uncovered this Bastion. It was in the 1970’s in an excavation led by John Maloney. I remember, particularly, the entertaining tea breaks which John led. At the end of the excavation the developers decided to keep the remains and put them on display. This is quite unusual sadly. I visited the remains once or twice or my guided walks and always mention them but it never seemed an absolute necessity to visit probably because the display was not so inspiring or difficult to access. I can’t remember in fact how accessible the remains were.
A couple of months ago I found myself in Vine Street and was surprised to see the bastion through a clear plate glass window. This week I went again for a proper look and was really pleased to see what a great job has been made of the redisplay. The building that was put up after our excavation has been pulled down and a modern new glass building stands in its stead. When I visited they were hoovering it and preparing the display – not yet having put in the information in the information holders, but obviously soon to be launched to the world.
Now you can see the Chalk Bastion foundations and also a good section of the Roman City Wall. But not only from one side but both inside and outside the City. The Wall was built around 200 AD, the Bastion was added in the late Roman Period in the late 4th Century. Romans used them to place a catapult called a Balista. The Crosswall excavation was, I think, the first modern (post 1970s) excavation of a Bastion. You can find it between Crutched Friars and Vine Street north of Crosswall.
So, having finished a walk around Chaucer’s London for a mother and her two very bright home educated children. I had to walk back over London Bridge and through the City to Aldgate where Chaucer used to live (and where I had parked my bike).
I took a couple of short cuts which I don’t usually take although often in and around this area. St Mary in Lovat Lane was open so I went in to find this amazing relief.
The panel beside it suggests its a sculpture of hope. Well yes, of sorts, if by hope you mean, facing your maker. It represents scenes from the end of days from the Book of Revelation. Jesus stands on a skull, trampling upon Satan, and below the heavenly clouds the Archangels, direct the newly risen from the coffins and graveyards to the Day of Judgement.
I then went past St Margaret Pattens, another Wren Church and was delighted to see a little display on pattens – overshoes worn to keep shoes clean. My ancestor was a beadle for the Patten makers.
For our next outing we went to the British Library but Arlo didn’t like the Beethoven exhibition. It was too dark and nothing to surreptitiously climb on. He definitely does not like dark exhibitions which is a shame because it seems to be the design idea of the moment. The Nero and the Stonehenge exhibitions were also dark spaces working on creating atmospheric views using bright colours, spot lighting and spectacular objects. But it doesn’t work for a 20 month old.
Nor did the largely text based Paul McCartney’s Lyrics exhibition attract a second of his attention. ‘Paul who?’ he seemed to be saying as we stumped past to the very quiet sound of ‘Hey Jude’.
What he did like was the escalators. We went up and down, and up and down, and then onto the second set where we repeated the repeat.
And down and back again, and no time to see the enigma machine. We ate in the upstairs Restaurant which is a really pleasant place to spend a lunch time.
Time for him to have a sleep so we walked to the British Museum through Bloomsbury without much sign that he he would nod off. But we found a couple of interesting revolutionaries of the 19th Century en-route.
Then to Cartwright Gardens named after John Cartwright, called ‘the Father of Reform’. He had quite an amazing life. He refused to serve in the Navy as he would not fight against the American Colonists in the War of Independence. He supported reform of Parliament, universal suffrage, annual Parliaments and secret ballots.
The milk soon did its job and Arlo was asleep, so I took him to the Member’s Room for a cup of tea while he slept. I could keep an eye on the book trolley selling my book! (just behind Arlo’s head).
When he woke we whizzed around the third Floor but Arlo was reluctant to leave his buggy because it was much more crowded than our last visit when he was able to run free around the galleries which he loved. So, I could look at some old favourites like the Portland Vase. This by the way was smashed into hundreds of pieces and very beautifully restored. In 1848 a drunken visitor threw a sculpture into the case and smashed the vase. It was restored but 37 pieces were separated and, by luck, survived until 1988 when the vase was reunited with the pieces and expertly restored.
What an Exhibition! The BM has pulled together an international array of treasures from the Stonehenge era. It is stunning , the objects are amazing. Stonehenge itself is there in the labels but it is not at the forefront – the objects are left to speak for themselves. The labels are there to give some details and some context but they never dominate.
It is beautifully lit and mounted, and really a triumph. I will go back again to see how the labels and information tell their stories and report back at greater length.