Thursday, May 19, 2016

War, Wounds, and Works of Art

A day in London may include:
  • A viewing of the Horse Guards Parade corral
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Observing the House of Commons in Parliament
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • Westminster Abbey
  • The Royal Mews
  • The Queen's Gallery
  • Buckingham Palace
Here is where the Trooping of the Colour occurs which takes place during the Queen's formal birthday celebration in June. All monarchs celebrate a birthday in June, regardless of their actual birth date.
The Court where the Trooping of the Colour occurs

Telephone booth and the Elizabeth Tower (containing Big Ben)

After a short walk through Parliament Street, we arrived at the War Rooms.

Professor Wolfe leads the class into the Churchill War Rooms

Winston Churchill proved to be a very interesting leader through his role as Prime Minister of England. One of his famous traits was being strong willed. He proved this during WW II when he waited until an air raid struck his home at 10 Downing Street to move operations underground. He insisted on maintaining a united front to show the world that England would keep calm and carry on. He appointed himself Minister of Defense shortly after becoming Prime Minister because he wished to direct the war efforts personally. He began meeting his war cabinet underground only after 10 Downing Street was bombed. The underground war rooms provided space to work, eat, and sleep.

                 The Main War Room              Hannah enjoys the Churchill Museum

Erika studies Winston Churchill's
 secretary's office

Churchill's favorite pasttime was painting.

"Just to paint is great fun … Try it if you have not done so – before you die." - Churchill

The original door from 10 Downing St. before it was bombed.

 He had special areas to contact his allies such as Roosevelt who he claimed to be the best American friend that Britain ever had. Churchill gave 4 war time speeches from his bedroom in the underground work space which were directly broadcast to another room and sent to British Broadcasting Company headquarters. 

Churchill's private phone room, disguised as a bathroom

Churchill's private dining room

Mrs. Churchill's private room

Hitler graffiti drawn on one of the maps as a joke in the war rooms by a cabinet member

Churchill's private kitchen

Churchill was accustomed to a certain elegance because of his aristocratic upbringing, so he was served culinary meals from his private cook.

The Map Room

Churchill's private room

Churchill's success is recognized world wide and he is remembered for being incredibly devoted to serving his nation, this is seen as he continued as a Member of Parliament until 6 months before his 90th birthday which would ultimately be his last.

Next the HUM 1915 class had a special treat as we were able to sit in and observe Members of Parliament in action as debates were held in the House of Commons. We saw different representatives speak on important issues involving infrastructure such as roads, railways, and building projects. It was very informative and we enjoyed seeing the different representatives speak on behalf of their constituents and make sure their needs were heard.  

Group picture at Parliament

Parliament, once known as the Palace of Westminster

Group picture outside of Parliament

The next stop on the class's busy day was The Florence Nightingale Museum. Nightingale had a strong desire to serve others. She fought against opposition from many, including her family, to educate herself in the field that she believed to be an art, nursing. She is noted for her service to the wounded during the Crimean War. Through these experiences, Nightingale wished to improve the unsanitary conditions in the health care facilities of the times. She did so by encouraging ventilation and flushing sewer systems. Because of her the nature of her work, her dedication, and nightly checks on the soldiers gave her the name "Lady with the lamp". After the Crimean War she aimed to set up training for other aspiring nurses, she founded Nightingale Training School at St. Thomas's Hospital in 1860. She died at the age of 90, her family declined the offer of her burial at Westminster Abbey and she was buried at St. Margaret's Church in East Wellow, Hampshire. 

Bust of Florence Nightingale

Florence Nightingale's medicine chest

Florence Nightingale's lantern

 A special exhibit in the museum was dedicated to J.M. Barrie's Peter Pan from its conception as a book to it's Disney movie. The reason that this classic tale relates to Miss Nightingale is that Barrie had a portion of the proceeds from his book/play/movie rights go to Great Ormond St. Children's Hospital.

One of the first editions of Peter Pan by J.M.Barrie

Brittany and Corissa in front of the Nightingale Museum

Brittany is a nursing major and Corissa is a Human Services major, so it was an awesome opportunity for them to study someone who so heavily influenced both fields.

 Westminster Abbey has seen it's fair share of royalty. It has been the location for every coronation since 1066, contains a shrine for St. Edward the Confessor, holds the tombs for many royals, and has been the site of 16 royal weddings. Some of the people highlighted in this course that are buried here are 
  • King William and Queen Mary 
  • Elizabeth I 
  • Mary I 
  • Mary Queen of Scots 
  • Oliver Cromwell

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey, Main Entrance

The next stop on today's 8.5 mile journey was the Royal Mews. This is home of the Royal Horses. The Diamond Jubilee Stage Coach made it's debut at the State opening of Parliament in 2014. If you look closely on the roof of the coach there is an imperial crown. This is carved from special oak remaining from Lord Nelson's HMS Victory. Around the gold roof decoration of the coach are the English Rose, Scottish Thistle, Irish Flax, and the Welsh Leek, this represents all the areas under Great Britain. The inside of the coach also contains many artifacts. 

The Diamond Jubilee Carriage at the Royal Mews

The Gold State Coach at the Royal Mews

Sir David Wilkie was an artist featured through much of the Queen's Gallery current exhibition. Queen Victoria commissioned him for this painting, but was not pleased with his historical inaccuracy since she was actually wearing black at her first meeting, in mourning for her uncle. Wilkie's meant to put Victoria in an admirable light as she was set apart by the color of her dress and distance from the table. 

"The First Council of Queen Victoria" by Sir David Wilkie

Below is a painting of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh, which we saw when we stayed there. This picture shows the street as it was in the 19th century.  The building on the right is the remains of the Weigh House, a 14th century building used to weigh butter and cheese, in order to make room for George IV's procession to Edinburgh Castle.

"View of the High Street Edinburgh and the Lawn Market" by Alexander Nasmyth

The Queen's Gallery

Buckingham Palace


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