I had this post in mind for a while, as part of the Why series on my blog. After what happened a couple of days ago, I made a slight change in my posting schedule for this post: Why I love London.
I heard about London for the first time when I was in year 2 at school and I’ve stared learning my first foreign language. We had lovely books filled with pictures with Big Ben, Westminster, Tower Bridge and Greenwich. I had a lovely teacher and it was fun. I went to London as a tourist and with work for the first time 4 years ago. I loved it. It was amazing to see Westminster, Big Ben, Thames, Somerset House, Mayfair, Greenwich. Since then I’ve been to London dozens of times and I can’t wait to go back.
I already blogged about most of the things I will mention in this post; they are in my travel section – London.
This week my husband and I went to London for the day, mainly with work. After finishing what we had planned, we went to see The Design Museum. As we arrived at the museum late, at 4.30 pm, it wasn’t enough time to see the two special exhibitions, so we saw only half of the museum.
At the first floor there are pictures taken during the building of the new Design Museum in Kensington last year. It is a really interesting display.
Designer Maker User hosts an array of almost 1000 items from the 20th and 21st centuries. I saw some fascinating objects and I’ll talk about some of them today.
I saw that Tate Modern is opened till late on Fridays & Saturdays, so we’ve decided to visit it at night. Not only that it makes it a little bit special to see, but it can be included in a busy day and it also means that going to Tate by car is easier, with cheaper parking and without the congestion charge. Tate is free, but there are fees for special exhibitions. We had only 2-3 hours to visit the museum, so there wasn’t enough time to see any of the special exhibitions this time. As usual, I’m going to show a few of my favourite exhibits.
This one was my favourite. It’s made of couscous and it’s the ancient city of Ghardaia, Algeria. The model was made by Kader Attia, a French artist with Algerian parents, in 1970. I think the idea is intriguing.
I like spiders, but that wasn’t the only thing that drawn me to this sculpture. I thought it looked soothing. Louise Bourgeois is a French artist that worked in the USA. This spider was made in 1995 and it’s one of a few spider sculptures she made. The spider is an associations with her mother, who was spending her days stitching and weaving for her family business, repairing antique tapestries. She said “The spider is a repairer. If you bash into the web of a spider, she doesn’t get mad. She weaves and she repairs it.”
At the Fashion and Textile Museum in London there is a special exhibition about the 1920s fashion. I wanted to visit the museum. The concept of the museum is quite different as there isn’t a permanent exhibition, but only temporary ones. From 23 September until 15 January next year is the 1920s JAZZ AGE Fashion & Photographs. It was very interesting to see the exhibition. I’ve read Coco Chanel’s biography a few months ago and I was excited to see the dresses on display.
Men from different backgrounds were made friends during the WWI and that changed the social status completely. More women worked for the first time. In Europe there were 38 million casualties in WWI, every family was affected by this. The end of WWI in 1918 marked the beginning of a new era. US, UK and France had a period of economic prosperity. The way women dressed changed as a result of their involvement in everyday life and tasks, while the men were at war. That asked for a freedom of movement that lead to a freedom in clothing. In US more people were living in the cities than in the countryside for the first time. Women were starting to get involved in sports and that had an impact on fashion too.
Something that I didn’t know before seeing the exhibition was how much the dresses changed during those years. The waistline was changing, the dress length was dropping from calf to ankles to go back up just below the knee in 1925.
Small changes happened even before the WWI. For example, by 1915 showing the ankle wasn’t considered scandalous like 50 years before that. The exaggerated corset from the 19th century were replaced with a more natural shape. Surprisingly, in the 1920s, some women would still use corsets, but not to emphasize their waist like before, but to make them look more boyish without curves.
The post about Kew Gardens is the last one from our trip to London this month. We have another trip to London planned for next month, so plenty of London related posts will follow. Maybe even faster if I’ll have a couple of hours more to spear on Monday, when I’m going to London with work.
Kew Palace looks lovely, although it’s a little smaller than I though. The palace is not open to the public in Winter.
One of the loveliest attraction in Kew Gardens is Palm House. It’s very hot and humid in the greenhouse and there are so many wonderful plants to see, like mango, papaya, starfruit, different types of banana palms. There is a high walkway and seeing the plants from above is beautiful, it offers a different perspective.
I mentioned I’ve been to Kensington Palace in my post about the Household Cavalry Museum. Queen Victoria was born at Kensington Palace and in front of the palace is a beautiful statue of her, designed by one of her daughters, Princess Louise. I saw this in a documentary about Victoria and I find it fascinating.
Currently, Kensington palace is the official London residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. In the 17th century, King William and Queen Mary asked Christopher Wren, the architect of St Paul’s Cathedral, to turn Nottingham House into a palace.
The Palace looks magnificent. It was quite busy, so it was hard for my husband to take pictures while trying to avoid photographing people as well.
This month we’ve been to London. We had a few work commitments, but still managed to get a little bit of time off to see The Household Cavalry Museum, Kew Gardens and Kensington Palace. Posts about Kew and the palace will follow these days.
When we arrived at The Household Cavalry Museum, the guard was changing and we managed to get a great spot, near the horses and we saw the change. It was lovely to see the horses. The guard is changed every hour and that is understandable with the amount of tourists taking pictures and petting the animals. I wanted to interact with the horses, but decided against it in the end, it was too crowded and I didn’t want to do anything that might stress them. It was nice to hear so many different languages outside, Italian, Spanish, German, English. My husband took lots of pictures from the changing of the guard, it was lovely to be so close and I want to share a few of them. There are a few pictures from the museum too.
The Household Cavalry Museum is within Horse Guards in Whitehall, central London. It dates back to 1750 and the building it is still the headquarters of the Household Division. Here, the Household Cavalry has performed the Queen’s Life Guard in a daily ceremony that has remained broadly unchanged for over 350 years.
The Household Cavalry was formed in 1661 under the order of King Charles II. At the moment, there are two regiments of the British Army – The Life Guards and the Blues and Royals. The role is to guard Her Majesty The Queen on ceremonial occasions in London and across the UK. I though it’s only for ceremonial occasions, but, in fact they are an operational regiment as well. At this time, troops from these regiments are deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not only for fighting, but they have a role in international peace keeping and humanitarian operations too.
Changing of the guard is a lovely ceremony. Two horses and their riders are leaving the stables. They are presented and then they are taking their places at the entrance through the back door. After that, the guards that finished their serving as a sentry, go back into the courtyard, dismount and guide the horses back in the stables on foot. Inside the museum there is a window into the stables and the horses can be seen while they are resting between guarding duties. It wasn’t possible to get a good picture. My husband thinks it’s because the window looked like it had a coating or film on it, to makes the windows one-way and let the horses relax without having to see all the tourists gathered around to look at them.