St Paul’s & The Tower

St Paul’s Cathedral

I’m not entirely sure, but I think the last time I visited St. Paul’s Cathedral was in the early 1980’s rather than my last trip to the UK, which was in 1988. I know I saw Wellington’s Tomb (he’s shown mounted on his favourite horse, but they turned the statue around so that he faces the front of the church rather than his horse’s arse … true story!).

It’s in the Baroque style, but toned down for English, and English protestant, sensibilities and think Wren did a pretty good job of it … and the additional elements which have been added over the last 300 odd years are also overwhelmingly good … though the recently mounted weird modern crosses made to resemble agglomerations of trench elements on either side of the nave are, in my opinion, a bit meh! But I’m definitely not an art or architecture critic, so what do I know?

Lots of military men, mostly generals until (I think) the Crimean War when the memorial actually acknowledged everyone, not just the Officers, but the NCOs and even the Private Soldiers (not individually, mind, but as a mass … wouldn’t want the lower orders to take on airs!).

Nelson’s Tomb in the Crypt

The Tower of London

This was also much changed … had to be, obviously, to handle the increased number of tourists since 1988 … a completely new ticketing and entry area for a start.

Inside there are major changes as well. The riverside towers (the original ones, not the later additions) have been set up to show how they would have been when they were actually one of the Royal Palaces … the first ones show the internal wall and roof structures, then the wall coverings used, and, finally, several rooms have been partly set up to show what a Royal Bedchamber would have been like back in the 13th century as well as a Royal reception area with modest throne and a Private Chapel.

The Crown Jewels are impressively gaudy as usual … and I dunno whether I was just lucky or not, there was effectively no queue while I was there and it was just a steady walking pace all the way through (I guess I must have been lucky as there were winding crowd control barriers on one side of the entry, they just weren’t being used).

I didn’t see the White Tower as there are several hundred steps and my knee has been on the verge of acting up as it sometimes does when stressed … so all that climbing was a no-no.

Anyway, I had a good look at all the highlights.

The main Gate (well, the main tourist gate)
A reconstruction of one of the Tower Rooms (as a Royal Bedroom) from when the Tower itself was an actual Royal Palace. Note the sparseness of the furnishings and other items – and this was a King’s bedroom!
A reconstruction of the Royal Throne and Dais next door to the Royal Bedroom in the Royal Audience Chamber

Off to the V&A and other Kensington Museums tomorrow!

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