Friday, 14 August 2009

Tuesday, August 4

Our rainy day in London began with our final class meeting. What a great class this has been in every way! The course work has been interesting and stimulating, and my classmates have been delightful. Under Dr. Welsh's tutelage we have had experiences that would gladden the heart of any librarian. I think I can safely speak for all of the class and say that we all feel lucky to have had such a wonderful and truly once in a lifetime experience.

After class I boarded the Thames Clipper to take me to Greenwich. It was fun to see London from the Thames and gain a new perspective on the city. After about 40 minutes we docked in Greenwich and I headed to the National Maritime Museum Library. This facility is beautifully outfitted and is filled with all things maritime. A quick perusal of the shelves revealed that anything a scholar of the seas would need could be found here. Much like the Shakespeare Library in Stratford, the Maritime Library uses a unique classification system since the vast majority of the collection (if categorized according to Dewey or LC) would primarily fall under the same shelf numbers, which would negate the value of that classification system . The friendly and helpful librarians had a selection of treasures from their collection for me to view. It was gratifying to see The Principles of Mr Harrison's time-keeper after having read about Harrison's struggles with clockmaking in the book Longitude. The librarian brought out two archival cases that were filled with small, wooden-bound books about the Royal George. These tiny books recounted the story of the loss of the ship while in harbor in 1782 and were bound in wood that was recovered from the wreck.

I explored the grounds a bit and then trekked up the hill to visit the Royal Observatory. It was quite a workout, but well worth it. The Flamsteed House was designed Christopher Wren and houses an original octagonal paneled room designed by Wren. The house is full of items relating to astronomy, navigation and clocks and all were well-displayed in a thoughtful manner. I also took a moment to stand on the Meridian line and have one foot in each hemisphere. I look forward to visiting Greenwich again and seeing more of this lovely town. Many of the attractions were closed for renovation (including the Cutty Sark) and I hope to see them in their renewed glory at a later date.

My photo from the observatory

The boat ride back was a nice change from the noise and crowds of the Tube and especially handy since the pier was close to Stamford Street! As I walked back to the dorm I noticed even more street performers on the Queen's Walk, each performing something unusual for the coins tossed into the hat .

After dinner we headed to the West End to Shaftesbury Avenue for a performance of the musical Avenue Q. It was fun, funny and a bit on the naughty side! Piccadilly Circus was bustling as we made our way home on the Tube after a fun-filled day in London!

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