Thursday, 5 May 2016

We Were Off To London,

to Tower Hill tube station,

so no prizes for guessing where we are going!

to the ticket office,

but first a few pictures of the outside,

of the tower,

from the outside,

the ticket office,

and we were on our way,

first some sentry duty for Diana,

then across the moat,

which of course is now dry,

into the Byward Tower,

and we are now inside,

we followed the road parallel to the River Thames, pausing at Traitors Gate,

under the arch,

into the road that is beside the White Tower,

where we will be visiting later,

we made our way across the courtyard,

towards the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers' Regimental Headquarters and the Officers' Mess,

past the rear of the White Tower,

as we were going to see the Crown Jewels, unfortunately photographs are not allowed, I guess for security reasons, in case someone tries to do a Captain/Colonel

out into the courtyard again,

and into,

the Fusiliers Museum,
where we spent some time looking at the exhibits,

back into the courtyard,

where I had to have a pose for the camera,

and this is where we will be going later,

protected by an armed guard, 

this is the spot,

where many meet their end, it is thought that this is where the original site of the chopping block was,

in the corner of the square there is a small alleyway, what stories it could tell!

also in this square,

there is the Beauchamp Tower,

the view from the first floor,

it was here that high class prisoners were kept, awaiting trial or execution, there are many pieces of graffiti on the walls of the building that they left, the hoi polloi were in much more basic surroundings,

we started back towards the river,

Tower Bridge in the back ground,

we were going to a place where prisoners never wished to go,

the torture chamber,

where we were greeted by the rack, essentially ropes were tied to your hands and feet at each end of the machine, with practiced skill the operator would slowly pull your arms and legs from your body, until ultimately your arm and leg joints parted, the pain was considered to be the worst imaginable, hence the phrase, 'he/she was racked with pain',

going to the other extreme, instead of stretching the Scavenger's Daughter compressed the victims body, until ribs and breastbone would crack and the spine could be dislocated, it has even been recorded that sometimes the compression was so great that blood would gush from the nose and ears of the victim,

moving outside we passed a display of cannons,

and passed the rear of the tower,

as we made our way to see the ravens, the birds, not the pop group,

near to their enclosures,

is the gift shop, that has a great screen to let you try a crown,

down the steps,

and into the White Tower we go,

there is a wooden staircase that gives access to the building,

Diana had a look at many of the paintings on display,

we then entered the armory,

where there was so much to see,

it was amazing to think that all of this could be made, 

without what we would call modem tools and equipment,

Diana was surprised by the size and apparent weight of a lance,

also in the armory there were exhibits of different types of amour like this one from Japan,

and guns, this one decorated by a London jeweler,

this one from America,

I hate to say it but I have forgotten where this gold platted weapon was made,

in the next room there were two items of torture,

gibbet and a scold's bridle,

Diana then became a part of a political cartoon,

downstairs to the basement,

where there was a display of cannons,

many of which were the spoils of war,

like this one, a 24 pound bronze cannon,

captured at Vigo, Spain in 1719,

also on display were hand held guns of prodigious size,

the tower also proofed weapons, or at least the equivalent of the times, some did not make the grade,

we then took a stroll to the battlements past the green,

and to the portcullis,

and into some of the royal rooms,

which had been returned to their original state,

there was a private chapel,

with this inscription on the floor,

stained glass windows facing the River Thames,

one of the panels,

and a throne also in the same building,

we continued our walk along the battlements,

looking back to the wooden staircase that gives entrance to the White Tower,

a look across the river as Diana takes a selfie,

to the Shard

we continued our walk,

our tour nearly over,

as we went into the Lanthorn Tower,

emerging we were at the end of one of the building, where two reliefs had been made,

but unfortunately there was no description of what they commemorated,

looking down there was the private quarters of the workers at the tower,

not the place to live if you believe in ghosts!

then I spotted a second black telephone box, the first one that I had ever seen in my life is in the first picture of this post, now here is the second, but why are they black? the answer is that the red boxes are owned by BT British Telecom, other companies may use call boxes under the condition that they are not painted red,

the Royal Standard weather vane atop the tower,

we made our way to the footpath by the river,

looking back to the White Tower,

and across to Tower Bridge,

and the Shard and H.M.S. Belfast,

so into Dead Man's Hole we went,

up to the bridge,

for a couple of pictures,

some one has called in with a very nice super yacht I guess you would call it,

we then realized we were on the wrong side of the bridge for the tour so we crossed back to this side,

we had arrived early in the morning, by now as we looked back to the tower it was packed with tourists,

Diana was looking at the tower,

next a quick pose,

a final look at the tower and the strange looking building on the left, we entered the Tower Bridge Exhibition,

and we were then into the base of the bridge and then we took a lift to the top walkway, there was a exhibition of memorabilia from items of the age that the bridge was built,

plus a black and white film show of the bridge and it's surrounding from the early 1900s

everywhere you looked,

there were massive iron beams studded with rivets,

on to the top walkway,

with impressive views of the river,

then the scary bit,

some of the floor was made of glass,

and on the right the mop of a lady cleaning it,

I was not going near it,

Diana tried a tentative footstep, but that was it,

we crossed to the other side of the bridge, looking up to the top of the spire,

to look along the River Thames upstream of the bridge, on the north,

and south bank,

back into the bridge,

and flying the flag, a small word to anyone that flies the flag, there is a right and wrong way up, imagine that at the end Diana is holding there is the flag pole, the broad stripe is at the top, which is correct, now if the flag pole was at my end of the flag with the narrow stripe at the top, the flag would be upside down, so many times at events people have put the flag upside down, now they know!

included in the ticket price a trip to the lifting mechanism,

follow the blue line on the pavement, past the splash plate the stops people peeing in the corner,

the blue line turns right just before this buskers pitch, 

and we are into the boiler room,

there are 4 boilers in all,

two each for both of the steam engines,

one of the steam engines,

turns slowly,

the crank revolving,

just for show,

the engines are no longer used to lift the roadway,

Diana strikes the pose,

the second engine is stationary but illuminated, with coloured lights,

the engines when in use pumps water, 

to these huge accumulators,

which in turn drives,

these two machines that have a small cog turning to raise and lower each bascule, if you like to read more about the bridge and how in May 1997, Bill Clinton's motorcade became separated from Tony Blair's when the bridge opened, have a look here,

we now made our way towards where we were having lunch on the south side of the river,

a quick pose,

and a look at that strange looking building on the north side,

a last picture of the bridge,

and we were into the Horiman at Hays

we were last here 5 or 6 years ago, so repeat business for them!

we both shared a potted crab for a starter,

Diana chose a chicken hunter with bacon and cheese,

a beef and pale ale pie for myself,


we then cut through this thoroughfare,

with its fantastical boat in the center of it,

we bought a few things from one of the souvenir stalls,

and made our way to London Bridge station,

where we were surprised to see a Hotel Chocolate outlet,

we had a 30 minute wait for the train, so a coffee whilst we waited,

and a pint at O'Neil's when we arrived at Beckenham,

walking past the gate house at the entrance to Beckenham Place Park the wisteria was really coming out in flower, arriving at Steve and Kai's home we had a pork chop and chips with vegetables for our evening meal then feet up for a evening film and we were off to bed.

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