A Lesson in English History
It was such a glorious, sunny day. After St Paul’s Cathedral I visited the Tower of London which was not far away. Just follow the path along the river from St Paul’s up towards the Tower Bridge. The Tower of London is a world heritage site and one of the historic royal palaces. There’s a map, history and things to see and do here and even a 1000 year timeline on Facebook which are found on the Tower of London’s excellent website.
Royalty and castles are not the norm in Australia and consequently all that pomp is rather alien to us. Nevertheless, I ventured through the 13th century Middle Tower to join one of the Yeoman Warder’s tour. These are soldiers with commanding voices who live here amongst the endless throng of tourists and provide extremely informative and entertaining tours. The ravens are an integral part of the tower’s history and have their own keeper or Ravenmaster. There is an old saying that if the ravens leave the tower, the kingdom will fall. Consequently, they are well looked after, although Raven George was dismissed for eating television aerials, and Raven Grog was last seen outside an East End pub.
Besides the Medieval Palace & Traitors Gate, White Tower & Bloody Tower, Crown Jewels, Royal Mint & Fusiliers Museum, Scaffold site & Wall walks there are many interesting diversions. While walking along the walls and taking photos of the Tower Bridge I came upon some mock battles by the White Tower. Tales from the Royal Menagerie or Zoo are found in the Royal Beasts exhibition. It was a little startling to see really life like baboons sitting on top of one of the walls.
Sculptor, Kendra Haste created four sets of animal sculptures for different locations around the Tower. ‘Made from galvanised steel wire, life-size lions, baboons, a polar bear and an elephant will tell the story of the wild creatures that were kept at the Tower from around 1210. The roars and growls of the lions would have been an intimidating first impression for visitors entering the fortress.’ I found the baboons & lions, but how could I have missed a polar bear or an elephant? Sorry, but no scones.