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Chapter 6 B CHAPTER 6, PART B ENGLAND –AROUND LONDON JUNE 9 Henley on the Thames, Wedgwood Showrooms, Canada House, Festival Pleasure Gardens Henley on the Thames Henley on the Thames is the location of a very famous regatta. We were able to take pictures of the swans on the river there. Wedgwood London Showrooms The firm of Josiah Wedgwood and Sons was founded in the 18th century by the great Josiah Wedgwood, the father of English pottery. At the London Showrooms we visited, there was a fine museum containing many examples of Wedgwood ware of all periods. In the showrooms themselves, the modern Wedgwood dinner-services, tea-sets and vases show that England still retains its lead in pottery. We were shown around the store and on our departure Mr. John Wedgwood, a descendant of the founder, gave each of us a large mug especially designed for the Coronation itself. It was a well treasured gift to take home with us. On the tour my mother insisted I take one flannelette night dress. My Coronation mug arrived home safely because I kept it wrapped in that nightgown in the middle of my big suitcase. My mother treasured that mug for years and had it not been for that flannelette nightdress it may never have gotten home in one piece. (Kaye) (Shirley Shelest) This was a most enjoyable tour. Unfortunately, the mug that we were given as a gift from the Wedgwood Factory was broken on the way home. This year I was delighted to find a replacement in an antique store. It made me very happy as I lost my other most precious mementoes (the "set of the sails" medallion, my Weston Girls Tour pin and the silver compact from Eaton's) when a burglar ransacked our home in the mid 70's. I always look for my other lost treasures - perhaps someday I will look into a glass display case and --- there! Canada House Canada House, on the western side of Trafalgar Square, was opened by King George V in June 1925. It housed the High Commissioner and was where the central administration of Canadian Affairs in Britain was carried out. Besides the Offices of the High Commissioner, it also contained the Departments of Trade and Emigration. Each day dispatches from Buckingham Palace were taken to Canada House in a horse- drawn carriage. Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 1 Chapter 6 B We were welcomed to tea by His Excellency Norman Robertson, High Commissioner for Canada and given a brief tour. From the window of Canada House we could see Trafalgar Square and the statue of Nelson. Festival Pleasure Gardens The Festival Pleasure Gardens were opened in 1951. They were situated in Battersea Park, where Queen Mary loved to drive. The gardens themselves are gay and colourful, and include the biggest and best fun-fair in Britain. We were received by the Manager of the gardens. We went through Schweppes Grotto of The Four Elements. Outside we watched the acrobats, and went through the Royal Tribute, pictures of the Queen and the Royal Family. Then we went on the Tree-Walk, a walk in the trees. On the way to supper at the Terrace Tea Shop, we stopped to watch part of a Punch and Judy (puppet) show and after supper we listened to the Gardens Military Band. Then, free of charge, we went for rides on the Big Dipper (roller coaster), merry-go-round, swings and ghost train. We were treated to cotton candy, and then saw the giant Gargantua – the Giant, being blown up. (when blown all the way up, he stands over 40 feet high). Before leaving this wonderful fun place we were all given souvenir programmes. (Kaye) JUNE 10 Houses of Parliament, Royal Tournament, Art Lecture on “History of British Painting” Houses of Parliament The Houses Of Parliament were built in 1840-50. They were repeatedly damaged by air attack in WWII and the House of Commons was almost totally destroyed in 1941. We had a wonderful guided tour of the parliament buildings,(often called the Mother of Parliaments) including the halls, the Queen’s entrance gate and the Houses of Lords and Commons. (Do you remember when Muriel Hill caused quite a stir when she sat in the Speaker’s Chair in the House of Commons?) We also saw the wonderful clock, Big Ben. We even visited the Terrace, beside the Thames, which is only open to the parliament members. We were greeted there by Lord Montague and made to feel very welcome. (unfortunately there are so many different Lord Montagues listed on the internet, it is impossible to know which one was the parliamentarian we met on June 10, 1953. Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 2 Chapter 6 B Royal Tournament We were indeed fortunate to see the Opening Performance of the Royal Tournament at Earl’s Court, London, in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and their entourage. She sat directly opposite the arena from us and was certainly aware of our presence. This is the occasion when the British public pays its compliments to the men and women who make up the fighting forces. It was perhaps the grandest military show yet to be seen. The acts included a window ladder and rope climbing by the Royal Navy, an activity ride by the Household Cavalry, musical ride by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery, field gun display and race, motorcycles display, massed pipes and drums of the Scottish Regiments, and many, many other spectacular displays. Of course the very best of all was the Royal Canadian Mounted Police musical ride, for which we stood up and cheered the loudest. The grand finale was the massed bands and troops of all the services (colonial and dominion). (The International Halifax Tattoo, staged every year in early July, is also excellent entertainment of a similar nature and if you’re ever in Halifax at that time of the year, it’s not to be missed. There are certain things that stand out in my mind as monumental. Not the least of which, was when we stood at the Royal Tournament, Prince Phillip before us and the Queen behind him. I have been a singer all my life, but when I tried to sing God Save the Queen, with my Queen standing there before me, it was impossible for me to sing, I was so overcome with emotion. (Maxine) Art Lecture on “History of British Painting” To prepare us for a visit to the National Art Gallery the following day, Sir John Rothenstein, Director and Keeper of the Tate Gallery, gave us a lecture and showed slides on the history of British painting. JUNE 11 Tate National Art Gallery, Crosby Hall, Tour of and Fashion Show at Fortnum and Mason’s store, Move to Brighton Tate National Art Gallery Our first stop of the day was at the Tate National Art Gallery, where we saw many beautiful paintings and sculptures. It displayed British art from the 1500s onwards. Presently it is a family of four art galleries showing British and international modern art as well as contemporary art. Crosby Hall We stopped for a wonderful lunch at Crosby Hall and were given a talk about the Hall by Dr. Winnifred C. Cullis. Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 3 Chapter 6 B Crosby Hall is a medieval building which has been used for a large variety of purposes. It is located on Bishopsgate Street, was once known as the Great Hall of the 15th century, and was once the home of King Richard III and of Thomas More. Dr. Cullis also introduced us to a lady who had been in the Abbey for the Coronation and we listened to her stories of pomp and ceremony surrounding the entire affair. Tour of and Fashion Show at Fortnum and Mason’s store. This store which belongs to Mr. Weston is an extremely fine store (since it was such an expensive store Miss Miriam advised us not to buy, although we were told Mr. Weston had especially lowered the prices of some inexpensive souvenirs like handkerchiefs)). There we enjoyed a fashion show of dresses and coats, and also saw some of the dresses worn at the Coronation by duchesses and by the Queen’s ladies-in-waiting. (one of the girls splurged and bought a cashmere sweater and had it sent home). We were treated to a lovely supper at the store. Then we went to the British Council Cinema where we saw “Elizabeth is Queen” after which we traveled to the railroad station and boarded a train for Brighton. It was just an hour’s trip from London to Brighton. We took up residence at the Astor Hotel there. JUNE 12 St Paul’s Cathedral, London Bridge, Tour of London Docks, Royal Opera House, Covent Gardens St. Paul’s Cathedral From Brighton we went by train to London to visit the magnificent St. Paul’s Cathedral. There we saw the famous architecture of Sir Christopher Wren and we also went up to the “Whispering Gallery”. There I felt so small in such a large beautiful place. The huge round dome was awesome to me. (Kaye) The “Whispering Gallery” runs around the interior of the Dome and is 99 feet above the Cathedral floor. It is reached by 259 steps from ground level which are free floating. (We couldn’t believe that those stairs could hold all our weight.) The Gallery gets its name because a whisper against its wall at any point is audible to a listener with their ear held to the wall at any other point around the gallery. This only works for whispered speech – normal voiced speech is not focused in this way. The cathedral was lost in the Great Fire (1665), rebuilt and completed in 1710. Two bombs hit it in World War II, one went right through the centre of the dome of the chapel. At the cathedral we were received and heartily welcomed by the Very Reverend W.R. Matthews, Dean of St. Paul’s. Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 4 Chapter 6 B London Bridge and Tour of the London Docks After a lovely lunch at Bridge House we walked across the London Bridge (built in 1886-94) to Tower Pier and a special launch where we were the guests of Right Honorable Viscount Waverly, Chairman of the Port of London Authority. We were treated to a very interesting tour of the docks. Tea was served on the launch. Royal Opera House, Covent Gardens That evening we went to Covent Gardens, the Royal Opera House, and enjoyed the most famous of ballets, “Swan Lake”. It was very lovely, the dancing was magnificent and even the scenery and backdrops were so well done as to seem real. JUNE 13 Sevenoaks Sevenoaks We visited the famous Knole House in Sevenoaks which certainly looks more like another castle than a house. It is referred to as a calendar house with 365 rooms for the days of the year, seven courtyards for the days of the week, and 52 staircases for the weeks of the year. Its beginnings are obscure. It was built in about 1281, was known at one time as the Knole of the Archbishops, and as Knole as a royal Palace. Henry VIII was known to spend little time there but did visit on one occasion. Presently (1953) it is owned by the Sackvilles, who live there. Here is yet another great example of great treasures, and wealth. After arriving back at our hotel in Brighton we had some free time to shop or get our clothes in order and to pack for the trip to France tomorrow. Some of the girls walked to the Palace Pier and on the beach. Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 5 Chapter 6 B Draft of March 23, 2009 Page 6
"Chapter 6_ Part B England –Around London"