Day 29: Borough, Books, and Pan!

Friday, July 24, 2015
An independent study day!!
And I’m working on blog posts and sending emails.

I did have a couple of fun things planned for today though. 🙂

Firstly, I visited Borough Market. It’s the oldest open air fruit and veg markets in London and still operates Wednesday through Saturday.

Sign! (via boroughmarket.org.uk)
Sign! (via boroughmarket.org.uk)

I visited on a Friday afternoon in the rain (thankfully it’s partially covered) and the aisles still looked like this:

More like
More like “Busy Market” (via K. Emmons)

It’s busy for a good reason though! Everything… and I truly mean everything… looked and smelled delicious. Check out the Food… page to see my venison burger.

Fruitz for Dayz (via K. Emmons)
Fruitz for Dayz (via K. Emmons)

That’s only a picture of fruit! There were stalls for cheese, meat (dried and fresh), wine, oil, honey, bread, desserts… the list goes on!

I’m happy and sad that I only found this the last week before I return to the states. I can see why Londoners purchase food for only a few days at a time. The lack of preservatives (*cough* unlike America) makes  HUGE difference. I could have easily spent waaaay more than I did. My only reservations were living in a dorm room without pots and kitchen utensils.

Later in the afternoon I visited Charing Cross Road and Cecil Court where the wonderful world of old and rare books lives. Seriously, though, there are tons of little book shops in this area with some great things for cheap… or expensive.

Cecil Court... in the rain! (via K. Emmons)
Cecil Court… in the rain! (via K. Emmons)

I had to find something… much to my luggage’s horror… and I found a signed, US first edition copy of The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. I read it several years ago after picking up a copy at a Half Price Books outlet store. Now I have a first edition! And signed!

Book by Elizabeth Kostova (via Wikipedia)
Book by Elizabeth Kostova (via Wikipedia)

I like signed books… I have a couple at home. 🙂

Royal Opera House tickets and a glass of wine (via K. Emmons)
Royal Opera House tickets and a glass of wine (via K. Emmons)

Lastly, I visited the Royal Opera House to see the Welsh National Opera perform Peter Pan. Peter Pan was written by J. M. Barrie, a Scottish author, originally as a play. The performance was directed by Keith Wagner and composed by Richard Ayres with libretto by Lavinia Greenlaw.

Iestyn Morris, Rebecca Bottone, Marie Arnet, and Nicholas Sharratt in Keith Warner's production of Peter Pan (C) WNO. Photograph by Clive Barda, 2015 (via roh.org.uk)
Iestyn Morris, Rebecca Bottone, Marie Arnet, and Nicholas Sharratt in Keith Warner’s production of Peter Pan (C) WNO. Photograph by Clive Barda, 2015 (via roh.org.uk)

The production was much darker than I anticipated. The music was very dissonant with many clashing chords; the words sung didn’t rhyme like expected. Peter was sung in falcetto by a man, unlike the musical interpretations where a woman performs the part. Mr. Darling was Captain Hook and Mrs. Darling was Tiger Lily as expected. There were many grownup themes to the opera, which was wonderful to think about. It was commissioned as a part of the Welsh National Opera’s “Terrible Innocence” season… and I think that feeling was carried out perfectly.

My view from Amphitheatre B 48 (via K. Emmons)
My view from Amphitheatre Left B 48 (via K. Emmons)

Go support your local arts! It doesn’t have to be a fancy national opera house… go see the local high school drama or the community theatre. I think that the arts enhance life and give a new perspective on old stories.

On to Day 30!

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Day 28: Bletchley Park/Museum of Computing and Globe

Thursday, July 23, 2015
Today was Bletchley Park and the National Museum of Computing… as well as the Globe Theatre (more on that down the page).

Group photo of 2015 LIS class at Bletchley Park (via Dr M. Griffis)
Group photo of 2015 LIS class at Bletchley Park (via Dr M. Griffis)

I’m going to be honest with you.

I’ve visited a LOT of places this month and I’m starting to get a little bit of information overload. This post isn’t going to have a lot of technical information, because, well… I don’t understand the technical information.

I use computers.
You do too! Look at you now!
Do I understand them? Veeerry minimally.

The National Museum of Computing has pretty much the full history of computing in their buildings. It all started in WWII when some very intelligent people wanted to beat the codes created by other very intelligent people. Every heard of The Imitation Game staring Benedict Cumberbatch?

The Imitation Game (via imdb.com)
The Imitation Game (via imdb.com)

That movie only touches on the (somewhat inaccurate) history of computers.

Now for some cool pictures of computer stuff of which I won’t tell you much…

The Colossus Computer is considered the first programmable, electronic, digital computer. It’s program is a paper tape with holes punched in it where the man on the right is. It was developed for British code breakers to help analyse the Lorenz cipher. (Read more on Wikipedia)

A working Colossus (via K. Emmons)
A working Colossus (via K. Emmons)
Colossus runs on paper ticker tape (via K. Emmons)
Colossus runs on paper ticker tape (via K. Emmons)
Colossus: all of the... transistors? (via K. Emmons)
Colossus: all of the… valves? (via K. Emmons)

The WITCH is next.
What does WITCH stand for you may ask?
It is the Wolverhampton Instrument for Teaching Computing from Harwell.

…say that five times fast…

It is the oldest functioning electronic stored program computer in the world… (Wikipedia is so helpful). It’s also very visual with lots of flashing lights which makes it perfect for school children and librarian students.

It's a WITCH! (via K. Emmons)
It’s a WITCH! (via K. Emmons)

This is just a picture of what computer memory used to look like…

That definitely won't hold 8GB (via K. Emmons)
That definitely won’t hold 8GB (via K. Emmons)

Later we casually passed by the entire evolution of personal computers. No big deal.

The evolution of personal computing (via K. Emmons)
The evolution of personal computing (via K. Emmons)

Coming back to Alan Turing, whom Benedict Cumberbatch portrayed above, there’s also a replica Bombe that Turing originally created.

Replica of Alan Turing's Bombe (via K. Emmons)
Replica of Alan Turing’s Bombe (via K. Emmons)

I also got to see my second Enigma machine of the trip… (see the first one in this post!)

Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park (via K. Emmons)
Enigma Machine at Bletchley Park (via K. Emmons)

The tour guide in Bletchley Park was fantastic. He walked us around the grounds and told us the story of what it was like here during WWII. He made it come alive. So many secrets have been revealed, but so many secrets I’m sure have been kept quiet.

Upon arrive back to London, I quickly scurried over to the Globe Theatre to watch Measure for Measure. It was a great time and I was just a groundling!

Striving for authenticity with some ale (via K. Emmons)
Striving for authenticity with some ale (via K. Emmons)
Right next to the stage (via K. Emmons)
Right next to the stage (via K. Emmons)

You get to stand right next to the stage and the actors even interact with you… if it’s a comedy. I’m sure there isn’t as much ribaldry during a tragedy play.

But seriously, groundling tickets are only £5 and you get to see a world-renowned play in a world-renowned theatre! It’s a no-brainer!

On to Day 29!

Day 27: Barbican Centre and Dickensian tour

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

We visited the Barbican Centre in the City of London borough today where the Barbican public library is located.

The Barbican Centre (via K. Emmons)
The Barbican Centre (via K. Emmons)

The library is open Monday through Saturday and is the leading lending library in the City of London. It opened in 1982, though the space was not designed as a library. It was an art center surrounded by residences in a major financial district. There are many online resources and an online catalog, but you have to be a member to access those. Anybody can join to view the materials in the library, but can’t be a member unless you regularly visit the physical library. Financial reasons…

Library is located on the 2nd floor (via K. Emmons)
Library is located on the 2nd floor (via K. Emmons)

The library has done tons of outreach, but still remains hidden. The Barbican Centre is almost a city in itself, but not everyone realizes a library lurks on the 2nd floor.

Fiction section (via K. Emmons)
Fiction section (via K. Emmons)

Above you’ll see the fiction section. To the right is the London and classic crime collections. Down to the left of this photo you’d find the children’s library (which is booming, by the way!) Behind us is the art collection and movie area. Behind me and to the left you’d find the music library.

Music Library (via K. Emmons)
Music Library (via K. Emmons)

The music library at the Barbican is the second largest public music repository in London, behind Westminster, I believe. There are hundreds of scores, theory books, magazines, periodicals, reference works, CDs, and DVDs for people to check out. The CD selection is the largest in London at 16,000 materials. Two pianos are available to use for hour-long periods. There’s even an exhibition area out front (currently being used by BBC)!

Music Library Exhibit (via K. Emmons)
Music Library Exhibit (via K. Emmons)

The state of British librarian organizations was touched on too. CILIP (Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals) is the equivalent to the ALA (American Library Association).

The head of the Barbican Library also came to speak with us for a moment. The main takeaway is for libraries to “be relevant.” It’s just that simple. Libraries, especially public institutions, should be something for everybody. She mentioned the Sieghart Report on Public Libraries as an interesting and poignant read.

Later that afternoon I went on a Dickensian Walking tour with a few of the other library students! We met at the official Charles Dickens Museum to begin the tour.

Charles Dickens Museum (via K. Emmons)
Charles Dickens Museum (via K. Emmons)

Our guide was Richard Jones who is the author of the guide book Walking Dickensian London. He’s a qualified Blue Badge tourist Guide and certainly knows his stuff!

Richard Jones, our knowledgeable guide (via K. Emmons)
Richard Jones, our knowledgeable guide (via K. Emmons)

We walked and talked for about an hour and a half and visited many sites that influenced and inspired Dickens. He was able to quote from the books, give insights into Dickens’s personal life, and brought London to life through Dickens’s eyes.

Where Dickens worked as a boy (via K. Emmons)
Where Dickens worked as a boy (via K. Emmons)

The cool part for me was seeing some of the places mentioned in Bleak Housewhich I read in an undergrad class.

Inspiration for Bleak House (via K. Emmons)
Inspiration for Bleak House (via K. Emmons)
Inspiration for Bleak House - Lincoln's Inn Old Hall (via K. Emmons)
Inspiration for Bleak House – Lincoln’s Inn Old Hall (via K. Emmons)

Excuse me, while I quote from Bleak House:
LONDON. Michaelmas Term lately over, and the Lord Chancellor sitting in Lincoln’s Inn Hall. Implacable November weather. As much mud in the streets as if the waters had but newly retired from the face of the earth…
Fog everywhere. Fog up the river, where it flows among green aits and meadows; fog down the river, where it rolls defiled among the tiers of shipping and the waterside pollutions of a great (and dirty) city…
The raw afternoon is rawest, and the dense fog is densest, and the muddy streets are muddiest near that leaden-headed old obstruction, appropriate ornament for the threshold of a leaden-headed old corporation, Temple Bar. And hard by Temple Bar, in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, at the very heart of the fog, sits the Lord High Chancellor in his High Court of Chancery.
Never can there come fog too thick, never can there come mud and mire too deep, to assort with the groping and floundering condition which this High Court of Chancery, most pestilent of hoary sinners, holds this day in the sight of heaven and earth.”

Absolutely stinging isn’t it?!

The ticket price was only £10 and well worth it for a little bit of nerding out! We walked quite a bit, but Richard took us to several spots off the busy streets where we could sit and rest for a while. I even got a teacup and saucer at the Museum! One of our group went early to have tea and cake at the Museum. You won’t be disappointed if you like Dickens and choose to visit!

On to Day 28!

Day 26: Kew Gardens

Tuesday, July 21, 2015
We visited Kew Gardens today! Like the title declares!

Kew Gardens is located roughly 10 miles west of London proper (Westminster, the Tower Bridge, and such). We took the overground train from Waterloo to Richmond, and then the underground from Richmond back to Kew Gardens. Those 10 miles took 40 minutes to complete… something amazing for one who lives in small-town Indiana.

Google Maps 2015
Google Maps 2015

Right outside of the actual gardens is the Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives building.

Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives (via K. Emmons)
Herbarium, Library, Art & Archives (via K. Emmons)

We were lucky enough to hear a presentation on Beatrix Potter in relation to Kew’s Library given by Andrew Wilcher. He knew the man, Leslie Linder, who broke Beatrix Potter’s diary code!

Background: Beatrix Potter is famously known as the author of the Peter Rabbit books.

(via biblioimages.penguin.co.uk)
“Once upon a time there were four little rabbits…” (via biblioimages.penguin.co.uk)

She also had an intense fascination with fungi and other plants. She drew many illustrations, consulted with botanists at Kew Gardens, and even presented a scientific paper on the germination of spores to the Linnean Society in 1897, though her theories were dismissed. Now we recognize the truth to her findings.

Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda), Beatrix Potter, 1888 (via peterrabbit.com)
Wood Blewit (Lepista nuda), Beatrix Potter, 1888 (via peterrabbit.com)
Fly Algaric (Amanita muscaria), painted by Beatrix Potter, 1897 (via peterrabbit.com, courtesy the National Trust)
Fly Algaric (Amanita muscaria), painted by Beatrix Potter, 1897 (via peterrabbit.com, courtesy the National Trust)

Beatrix Potter wrote in her journal using a completely made up language, though a simple letter for letter substitution. Leslie Linder broke this code and transcribed her journals in 1958.

A page from Beatrix Potter's journal, written in code (via scienceblogs.de)
A page from Beatrix Potter’s journal, written in code (via scienceblogs.de)

The key to cracking the code was the phrase “execution of Louis XVI in 1793.” She left XVI and 1793 in plain English for Linder to research! Isn’t that a bit of real-life spy fiction?

Spot Beatrix Potter's signature! (via K. Emmons)
Spot Beatrix Potter’s signature! (via K. Emmons)

The materials shown to us were no less amazing. Botanical texts are always popular because they often have beautifully colored illustrations. We all know that photographs weren’t available before the 19th Century, so accurately depicted plants in books were essential for identification. “If this plant looks like this picture in the book, it’s poisonous and I shouldn’t eat it! Golly gee, thanks for helping me out book!”

The oldest book in their collection shows what I like to think is a sick man in bed, either from a plant or waiting to be saved by a plant.

“Hortus Sanitatius” from 1370 (via K. Emmons)

For you Harry Potter fans… it also has an illustration of Mandrake root!

“Hortus Sanitatius” from 1370 (via K. Emmons)

The next two show great illustrations of flowering plants at all stages of growth. Photographs can only show a plant at the stage of growth when the photo is taken – drawings can show all stages!

“The natural history of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands” by Mark Catesby in 1754 (via K. Emmons)
“The rhododendrons of Sikkim-Himalaya…” by Sir Joseph Dalton Hooker, 1849-51 (via K. Emmons)

The final is just a really great representation of a title page… and it has to do with plants in America! There are only 30 copies of this book known in the world and each has a different hand-painted title page design.

“Selectarum stirpium Americanarum historia” by Nicolaus Joseph von Jacquin, 1780-81 (via K. Emmons)

So beautiful!

The Herbarium was also really interesting, though we only got to view it for a few minutes. Think of it like a library for dried plants.

Herbarium: a library of plants! (via K. Emmons)
Herbarium: a library of plants! (via K. Emmons)
How they store the plant material (via K. Emmons)
How they store the plant material (via K. Emmons)

You need an appointment to access this library though.

Of course we had to visit the actual garden area too! It was definitely a highlight and a place where you should visit if you have a free afternoon in the London area.

Montage of flowers… GO!

Magnolia (via K. Emmons)
Magnolia (via K. Emmons)
Geranium in the Mediterranean Garden (via K. Emmons)
Geranium in the Mediterranean Garden (via K. Emmons)
Something in the Mediterranean Garden (via K. Emmons)
Something in the Mediterranean Garden (via K. Emmons)

My favorites in England have got to be the roses…

Roses galore! (via K. Emmons)
Roses galore! (via K. Emmons)

It was a beautiful afternoon with perfect weather and I highly suggest going! Even the food was good!

On to Day 27!

Day 25: Back to London

Monday, July 20, 2015
Snap back to reality.
Oh there goes gravity.
Oh, there goes Rabbit, he choked…”
(Lose Yourself by Eminem)

That’s right – I started this post with Eminem… because it fits.

Glasgow Central station clock (via K. Emmons)
Glasgow Central station clock (via K. Emmons)

Time to travel back to London.

I shall miss Scotland.
It’s such a lovely place.
The people are wonderful.
Everything is green.
The food was fantastic. And filling. (See Food… page)

Also the lyrics above reference “Rabbit,” which I can only assume is the white rabbit from Alice in Wonderland…

I'm late! (illustration via alice-in-wonderland.net)
I’m late! (illustration via alice-in-wonderland.net)

…who is having her 150th anniversary this year!

Time to party. Madly. (illustration via alice-in-wonderland.net)
Time to party. Madly. (illustration via alice-in-wonderland.net)

It’s about making connections, people. Everything comes full circle. 🙂

Anywho. Today was a whole day of sitting in the train station and then sitting on the train. It only took about 4 hours to get back from Glasgow to London. Then I went grocery shopping. Yep. It’s an exciting life.

On to Day 26!

Day 15: Wiener Library

Friday, July 10, 2015
Fridays are beautiful days, aren’t they? It’s the end of the work week, the weekend is coming… and I get individual time to visit places in London.

Today, after running some errands in the morning, I visited the Wiener Library with some of my other classmates. Jessica Green, who now works at the library, did the British Studies Program a couple of years ago. See! There is hope after we graduate!

Entrance to the Wiener Library (via K. Emmons)
Entrance to the Wiener Library (via K. Emmons)

The Wiener Library is one of the world’s most extensive collections on the Holocaust and the Nazi era. Alfred Wiener, after whom the library is named, began collecting antisemetic materials in Germany after returning from WWI. As a Jew, Wiener and his family had to flee from Germany in 1933 to Amsterdam where Dr Wiener set up Jewish Central Information Office. His efforts and collection materials aided the British government in the fight against Nazi Germany. More on the library’s history here.

I didn’t take many pictures because our tour guides were so informative! I was too busy asking questions and writing in my notebook. 🙂

The materials in their library consist of books, photos, audio/visual tapes, manuscripts, and artefacts. We saw a coloring book for children about the Hitler Youth program, a tea bag that was used to pass secret messages (It sounded like our guide said tahnschriften, but I can’t find that in my German dictionary. Schriften means writings, or letters. Do you know what the phrase might be?), a photo album from Ludwig Norman (originally from Essen in Germany, sent to Dachau concentration camp, survived to live in London), and materials from the Alice Fink collection.

Reading Room (via Wiener Library website)
Reading Room (via Wiener Library website)

The collection is the largest on this subject in the United Kingdom and I was so glad to visit! Using the library seems to be fairly easy too: students need to bring a letter of introduction and ID, non-students need to bring ID and proof of address. Members of the library can borrow books, otherwise the collections are for reference only.

LIS classmates with Jessica (via K. Emmons phone)
LIS classmates with Jessica (via K. Emmons phone)

Thanks again, Jessica, for letting us visit!

On to Day 16!

Day 14: Dr. Samuel Johnson’s House

Thursday, July 9, 2015
Samuel Johnson keeps popping up in my life… and I’m okay with that fact.

Painting of Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds (via drjohnsonshouse.org)
Painting of Samuel Johnson by Sir Joshua Reynolds (via drjohnsonshouse.org)

I got that chance to visit one of Samuel Johnson’s houses in London after hours… aaaand have a glass of wine. It was a special event.

Me in front of Dr. Samuel Johnson's house (photo taken by Andrea Guzman)
Me in front of Dr. Samuel Johnson’s house (photo taken by Andrea Guzman)
Samuel Johnson and wine... *sigh* (via K. Emmons)
Samuel Johnson and wine… *sigh* (via K. Emmons)

The building is located at 17 Gough Square, just behind the infamous Fleet Street. It’s a four story townhouse that’s been magnificently restored by Cecil and Emilie Harmsworth for public enjoyment!

(Jim Linwood via Flickr and Wikipedia)
(Jim Linwood via Flickr and Wikipedia)

It’s a quiet retreat nestled amongst the tall, modern, business buildings of London.

The 21st Century just outside the windows (via K. Emmons)
The 21st Century just outside the windows (via K. Emmons)

The house has many artefacts on display and every level of the house is open to the public. Personally, I loved the library area which was most likely Dr. Johnson’s bedroom.

What better place to aspire to be artsy? (via K. Emmons)
What better place to aspire to take artsy photos? (via K. Emmons)

The library is open to public users! It includes many books and pamphlets related to the work of Dr. Johnson including modern editions. There are several first editions of Johnson’s Dictionary (eep!) as well as manuscripts owned by James Boswell. They even have an online cataloge! I spoke with the curator for a few minutes in order to ask a couple of questions (and get my glass of wine) and was happily surprised to find out that researchers can use the materials by appointment! Visit their website to find out more information. It’s a great house and I wish the best for those taking care of it…

They have materials displayed that Johnson most likely referenced in writing his Dictionary:

Universal Etymological English Dictionary (eleventh edition) by Nathaniel Bailey, 1745 (via K. Emmons)
Universal Etymological English Dictionary (eleventh edition) by Nathaniel Bailey, 1745 (via K. Emmons)
New World of English words (first edition revised by John Kersey) by Edward Phillips, 1706 (via K. Emmons)
New World of English Words (first edition revised by John Kersey) by Edward Phillips, 1706 (via K. Emmons)

Seriously. Visit this library

I even got to check out a facsimile of Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language. You might even say I had fun doing so… 🙂 Here are some of my favorite entries:

“FOPDOODLE… A fool; an insignificant wretch” (photo via K. Emmons)
“JIGGUMBOB… A tinket; a knick-knack; a flight contrivance in machinery” (photo via K. Emmons)
“To MAFFLE… To stammer” (photo via K. Emmons)
“NERVE… The organs of sensation passing from the brain to all parts of the body.” (photo via K. Emmons)
“OATS… A grain, which in England is generally given to horses, but in Scotland supports the people.” (photo via K. Emmons)

Other favorites are “BARD – A poet” and “LEXICOGRAPHER – A writer of dictionaries; a harmless drudge, that busies himself in tracing the original and detailing the signification of words.” He was a man that had a sense of humor… obviously.

Samuel Johnson popped up in my life at the beginning of college, when I accidentally signed up for “Late 18th Century English Literature” class thinking it would be about the 1800s. Nice move, Kelsey. There, instead of reading Jane Austen like I imagined, we read The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole, The School for Scandal by Sheridan, The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, The Man of Feeling by Henry Mackenzie, The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman by Laurence Sterne, and several great essays by Samuel Johnson and James Boswell. This began my awareness of Dr. Johnson. More recently I read The Professor and The Madman by Simon Winchester about the making of the Oxford English Dictionary; again, Samuel Johnson was brought up for his work with the dictionary (which he largely compiled in THIS house). He’s an amazing figure in the history of English Literature and I hope you get to learn more about him!

Once more, go check out Dr Johnson’s House homepage and support their wonderful efforts! You can donate money, sponsor a print for conservation work, purchase something from their shop, or use their collection materials!

-Other links-
Dr. Johnson’s House homepage

Dr Johnson’s House on Facebook
Dr Johnson’s House on Twitter (@drjohnsonshouse)

On to Day 15!

Day 14: Greenwich

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…

Greenwich Pier after the boat ride (via K. Emmons)
Greenwich Pier after the boat ride (via K. Emmons)

Our group took a picture on the steps of the Old Naval College there:

Old Naval College in Greenwich (via T. Welsh)
Old Naval College in Greenwich (via T. Welsh)

The purpose of our visit to Greenwich was the National Maritime Museum.

National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (via K. Emmons)
National Maritime Museum in Greenwich (via K. Emmons)

Inside, the museum is the Caird Library

Caird Library in National Maritime Museum (via K. Emmons)
Caird Library in National Maritime Museum (via K. Emmons)

…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):

1825 children's book (via K. Emmons)
1825 children’s book (via K. Emmons)

The Master Mariner Certificate for Henry George Kendall in 1902:

Henry George Kendall certificate (via K. Emmons)
Henry George Kendall certificate (via K. Emmons)

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!):

17th Century journal (via K. Emmons)
17th Century journal (via K. Emmons)

And documents from Admiral Lord Nelson’s funeral in 1806:

Admiral Lord Nelson, killed at the Battle of Trafalgar (via K. Emmons)
Admiral Lord Nelson, killed at the Battle of Trafalgar (via K. Emmons)

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.

The gardens... oooh! (via
The gardens… oooh! (via Greenwich Park)
The Royal Observatory with Prime Meridian... ahh! (via Greenwich Park)
The Royal Observatory… ahh! (via Greenwich Park)
The 0 degree of the world! (via Greenwich Park)
The 0 degree of the world! (via Greenwich Park)

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!)

The next post will be on visiting Dr. Samuel Johnson’s house!
On to Day 15!

Day 13: Magna Carta and Maughan Library

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A few of us elected to see the Magna Carta exhibit at the British Library. I mean, it is a piece of parchment that’s 800 years old… that’s pretty cool.

Exhibit at the British Library (via K. Emmons)
Exhibit at the British Library (via K. Emmons)

Photos were not allowed inside the exhibit… but guess who does have photos that you can view from the comfort of your home?! THE BRITISH LIBRARY! There’ll you’ll be able to cruise through the photos and read all about how the Magna Carta influenced today’s laws.

A run down in Kelsey terms: King John, 1199-1216, was basically a sucky monarch. He killed people, lied to people, thought he was above the law… the whole nine yards. The Magna Carta was drafted in 1215 by the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to make peace between King John and some upset (read “rebel”) nobility. It promised church rights, protection from illegal imprisonment, swift justice, limited payments to the Crown, etc. It’s been modified and reviewed several times in the last 800 years, but was the basis for many modern day laws including the American constitution! (source Wikipedia) Yay!

My favorite tidbit from the exhibition? To entice the US into participating in WWII, England offered the Magna Carta (then stranded in New York after a World’s Fair exhibition) to America as a gift…. *cough* bribe. Check out an NPR article here.

I had a lot of time on my hands after viewing the exhibit, so I popped in the Edgar Wallace pub just off the Strand for lunch. It’s a great, traditional pub with good food and drink.

The LIS class visited the Maughan Library at King’s College as well as the Foyle Special Collections Library there later in the afternoon.

Maughan Library (via K. Emmons)
Maughan Library (via K. Emmons)

The librarians were kind enough to bring out several of their treasures for our viewing pleasure!

Foyle Special Collections (via K. Emmons)
Foyle Special Collections (via K. Emmons)

Get ready for a stream of old book images!!

Herbal and Animal encyclopedia of sorts (via K. Emmons)
Herbal and Animal encyclopedia of sorts (via K. Emmons)

Here is a book published in 1491 detailing plants and animals found in the known world… it’s the last published before the discovery of the Americas.

History of Bethlem
History of Bethlem “Bedlam” Hospital (via K. Emmons)

Above is a short history of Bethlem Hospital… better known as Bedlam.

Benjamin Franklin signed copy (via K. Emmons)
Benjamin Franklin signed copy (via K. Emmons)

You’ll see Benjamin Franklin’s signature on The Charters of the Province of Pensilvania…

Common Sense by Thomas Paine (via K. Emmons)
Common Sense by Thomas Paine (via K. Emmons)

Here is a bound copy of Thomas Paine’s Common Sense…

Image of smallpox vaccination (via K. Emmons)
Image of smallpox inoculation (via K. Emmons)

Above is an impression made of smallpox inoculation…

Allen Ginsberg signed copy (via K. Emmons)
Allen Ginsberg signed copy (via K. Emmons)

Allen Ginsberg was a lecture at King’s College and this a signed copy of his poetry…

Nazi propaganda (via K. Emmons)
Nazi propaganda (via K. Emmons)

And lastly, this is Nazi propaganda. The Nazis had a Jewish artist create scenes of an idyllic concentration camp to show the Red Cross how “well” everyone was being treated. I found this image of a butchery most haunting…

King’s College has some great material and I hope to be in contact with them soon about my research paper! It’s an academic library that was around during World War II. They had to have been affected by the war, especially since they were located in downtown London. Bombings definitely took place in this area. How were they affected? Did they lose any materials? Were materials sent elsewhere? Did the library remain open during the War? How did being a university library affect them financially during the war? Did alumni help rebuild the collections if necessary?

On to Day 14!

Day 12: Stratford-Upon-Avon

Tuesday, July 7, 2015
I LOVE ENGLISH TOWNS.

Stratford-Upon-Avon and Oxford have reinforced the fact that I am not, in fact, a city girl. London is great! Don’t get me wrong. All the little shops, and food places, and museums, and libraries, and cultural epicenters are fantastic… but a girl needs her space, you know? I need wide open areas to roam free where the deer and the antelope play.

Okay. Maybe not antelope… but you get the point!

Idyllic Stratford-Upon-Avon (via Visit Stratford-Upon-Avon)
Idyllic Stratford-Upon-Avon (via Visit Stratford-Upon-Avon)

Stratford-Upon-Avon happens to be the supposed birthplace and actual resting place of one, William Shakespeare. *choral ahhs*

Title page of the First Folio, 1623 (via Wikipedia)
Title page of the First Folio, 1623 (via Wikipedia)

I’ll be honest, my photos aren’t spectacular. I’m no professional photographer, so I’m supplementing the post with exhibitions of those who are. Professional, that is.

A few of my friends and I ate lunch at the Rose & Crown pub – I finally tried bangers and mash! Go check out my food post to see pictures. It was delicious!

Rose & Crown pub (via K. Emmons)
Rose & Crown pub (via K. Emmons)

We then set off for Shakespeare’s childhood home.

Shakespeare's childhood home (via K. Emmons)
Shakespeare’s childhood home (via K. Emmons)

Voila! It’s not actually known if Shakespeare was born here, but it is widely theorized. There’s just no proof, is all.

And look! Right next door is a Carnegie Library!

Carnegie public library in Stratford-Upon-Avon (via K. Emmons)
Carnegie public library in Stratford-Upon-Avon (via K. Emmons)

Is it only librarians that get all excited about libraries? No? Good!!

Andrew Carnegie was a blessedly wonderful human being. Besides being a Scot, he made his money in the American steel industry – as in, a LOT of money. He then proceeded to give away 90% of that wealth to philanthropic causes including local libraries. Ever heard of Carnegie Hall in New York City? How about Carnegie Mellon University in Pennsylvania? Yeaah… they’re named after him.

Being the good English literature loving folk that we are, my group and I also visited Shakespeare’s resting place. He’s located across town inside the Holy Trinity Church.

The home where Shakespeare lies (via K. Emmons)
The home where Shakespeare lies (via K. Emmons)

The people we met inside that church were so incredibly sweet! There is a small fee, but it goes to the church. Shakespeare can be found up front next to his wife, Anne Hathaway. (Not the modern day Anne Hathaway, mind you. The 17th Century woman.)

Obviously, as librarians, we enjoyed seeing the archival entries for his baptism and burial.

Baptised in 1564 (via K. Emmons)
Baptised in 1564 (via K. Emmons)
Buried in 1616 (via K. Emmons
Buried in 1616 (via K. Emmons

In the afternoon we also took it upon ourselves to go upon the Avon via boat. It was quaint and relaxing, though I didn’t get great photos.

Theaters from the Avon (via K. Emmons)
Theaters from the Avon (via K. Emmons)

The “Fourteas” Tearoom is the cutest tearoom I’ve yet to see! It’s set up as the 1940s during WWII, complete with menus that look like ration cards!

Fourteas! Get it?! (via K. Emmons)
Fourteas! Get it?! (via K. Emmons)
Rationing isn't usually adorable... (via K. Emmons)
Rationing isn’t usually adorable… (via K. Emmons)

Again, head on over to the food post to see the adorable tea and scones!

Our professors surprised us with tickets to see the Royal Shakespeare Company perform The Merchant of Venice.

Royal Shakespeare Company! (via K. Emmons)
Royal Shakespeare Company! (via K. Emmons)

I’ve actually read The Merchant of Venice, but have never seen it performed.

The stage before the production began (via K. Emmons)
The stage before the production began (via K. Emmons)

It was incredible, I thought! I will let you know that some of the theater students had different views, so I am merely one opinion. I still loved the professional company’s interpretation, though. It held modern twists, but that just allowed me to see it through a new perspective. It’s an interpretation. I could hear the actors acting with their voice as well as see it through their actions. Bravo, I say, to the RSC!

On to Day 13!