National Maritime & London Transport Museums

After some eye problems (nothing serious, just old age exacerbated by cataract surgery) which took two visits to St Thomas’s Hospital (one from around 00:15 to 03:30 on Friday morning and a second from 09:15 to around 12:00 later that day) to sort out I was buggered and spent the rest of the day catching up on missed sleep and then doing some laundry.

So it wasn’t until Saturday that I was off to the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich … and the joys of the London Transport version of ‘trackwork’ which meant I had to pay more and take more time to get there than I would normally have had to.

The weather was sunny/cloudy/gloomy in turns but since I was expecting to spend several hours inside that was moot … the whole place has changed (31 years!) inside and the collections (or those parts on display, are now much more thematic … one area, for example, covered the development of early modern trade (including the slave trade) in the Atlantic, another looked at European colonialism in the Pacific (and was extremely politically correct) and, likewise, the section on Antarctica was so flavoured.

Nothing really outstanding … a steam engine from a Thames Harbour tug and a British water speed record holder from the 1930’s were the biggest items.

After several hours I headed (again by a circuitous route) to Covent Garden and the London Transport Museum. I am not sure whether it was even on the same exact spot as it was back in 1988 … as it is now several times the size it was then spread over several levels (in 88 it was all on the one level, more or less). Everything from the earliest Horse Drawn carriages and trams through steam jobbies, river transport and some early(ish) motor buses and trains as well as more recent buses … the trains are obviously too big to fit in the space, even expanded as it is.

Then a fight with moderately horrid crowds on the Tube to get back to the Hotel and repack everything that needed to be packed as Sunday is the day I check out and head to Heathrow to pick up my car rental and head … anywhere out of London!

Phil

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