Thursday, 16 July 2009

Wednesday, July 15

Our day started with a Tube ride to the Museum of London located in the City of London, close to St. Paul's. Mr. Jon Cotton, a specialist in Prehistoric London, spoke to our group for about an hour on the history of the city, life before the influence of the Romans, the importance of the Thames, and much more. We then toured a wonderful exhibition of "London before London" which traced the evolution of the prehistoric settlers in this region. The artifacts were well displayed and arranged in an order that made the evolutionary aspect easy to discern and understand. One of the most interesting exhibits was the 5000+ year old skeleton which had been unearthed in the Thames valley region. The skeletal remains were displayed along with an amazing facial reconstruction. Mr. Cotton spoke about putting a "face" on history in order to make it more real and less abstract. That concept is certainly borne out in this instance.

We continued to tour the exhibits and viewed everything that was on display covering the history of the city until 1666 and the Great Fire of London. The remainder of the museum is under renovation so we were unable to view anything past that date.

Several of us walked down to the Barbican for a delicious lunch then off to the Cabinet War Rooms in Westminster. I had visited this site in years gone by and was anxious to spend time there during this trip. One nice surprise awaited in that the exhibit has been enlarged and in 2003 an entire section devoted to the life of Winston Churchill was opened. One sees photos, hears speeches, views clothing and other ephemera from the life of Churchill. An interesting new feature was an interactive timeline detailing events from the life of Churchill both before and after he became a public figure.

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