Thursday, July 9, 2015
We’ve gone to Greenwich! Technically it’s still a part of London, but it’s a 45 minute bus ride out there. Our LIS class took a ~30minute boat ride there, which is usually very quiet. Unfortunately, this was the day that the Underground decided to strike. HUNDREDS of people (at least around Waterloo station; probably more city-wide) were displaced. I like the way of striking here, though… the Underground workers, in their polite English way, warned everyone ahead of time that they needed to find alternative routes to get around London. So very nice of them! This strike, though, forced many people to take a boat down the river, making our ride a bit cramped. I rather enjoyed the ride still…
Our group took a picture on the steps of the Old Naval College there:
The purpose of our visit to Greenwich was the National Maritime Museum.
Inside, the museum is the Caird Library…
…which holds all the books and archives! Yay! The library is open to all who wish to use it, providing that they apply for a Reader’s Ticket which can take place the day of visiting (an easy process). Their collections are on maritime history, exploration, astronomy, the Merchant Navy, Royal Navy, crew lists, Master’s Certificates, etc. Interestingly enough, they get a lot of genealogical researchers using their materials to find information on family member’s who were at sea.
Mike and Stawell were our guides. They provided great insight into some of the special objects in the collections including A Peep at the Esquimaux (Eskimos):
The Master Mariner Certificate for Henry George Kendall in 1902:
The journal of a man who journeyed from Plymouth to London in the 17th Century (A 4 hour car trip now a days, imagine that 400 years ago by sea!):
And documents from Admiral Lord Nelson’s funeral in 1806:
We got to hear that Admiral Lord Nelson was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar by a musket ball. He was preserved in a cask of brandy (yes, brandy) in order to make the trip back to London. Once returned and autopsy complete, his body was placed in a lead-lined coffin filled with wine. The funeral was at the state-level and huge numbers of people attended – over 10,000 soldiers and other higher ranking officers. He was interred at St. Paul’s Cathedral (click on the link to see my first impression of the church).
The Caird Library space is relatively new too, having just been updated four and a half years ago. It’s more open, patrons can access the reference books easily, there’s a quiet area separate from the group area, and computers dot the room for patron usability. There are 6,000 meters of shelving for archival materials and a roughly 4,600 meters for books. 60% of the collections are actually onsite (!) with the remaining 40% split between three offsite storage facilities.
Though I think the library is sufficient enough reason to visit, the Museum and grounds surrounding the Caird are lovely too! Those areas might entice family members who don’t wish to sit in a library like you… here are a few pictures to woo them into visiting.
It’s gorgeous. Greenwich is place that I never thought I needed to visit but am now glad that I did!
(That sounds awful, doesn’t it? I really am glad that I visited!)