HERITAGE WITH MY GRANDSON 2 – BRITISH LIBRARY & MUSEUM

Arlo at the Beethoven Exhibition, British Library, March 2022

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.

British Library – note the escalator to the right

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.

Enigma Machine, British Library

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.

Plaque to Robert Owen ‘father of the Cooperative Movement’, Burton Street

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.

John Cartwright Statue Cartwright Gardens.

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).

Sleep in the Member’s Room overlooking the Great Court

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.

The Portland Vase – 15BC = 25AD Cameo Glass
Plate Cameo Glass 15BC – 25AD

STONEHENGE EXHIBITION AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM

The Nebra Disc

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.

Druids at All Hallows, by the Tower

Summer Solstice Walk, 21st June 2022.

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