Showing posts with label Brunel Museum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Brunel Museum. Show all posts

Friday, 23 January 2015

Five on Friday: Please take the stairs

Taking five minutes to enjoy five things...

1. Stairs invite us in.

Like into Dr Johnson's House,

up the stairwell,

 into his attic where facsimiles of his dictionary await your perusal.

2. Stairs can lead us down.

Into the First World War tunnels at Vimy Ridge,
in France but a National Historic Site of Canada.

Fourteen miles of tunnels leading to the front line,

built by Welsh miners for Canadian troops.

3. Sometimes it is necessary to make temporary arrangements.

Awaiting new stairs at the Brunel Museum.

The only way in and out of Brunel's underground chamber.

You can see where the stairs used to be,

helpfully illustrated on souvenir cups.

4. Stairs provide convenient places to hang portraits

Going left up the stairs to the Hunterian Museum at the Royal College of Surgeons,
you are introduced to past presidents.

Not gowned up (surgically speaking), but wearing RCS ties.

As the fashions for portraiture, ties and gowns have changed,
fortunately so have surgical instruments.
Doubt Professor Peter Morris here, ever had to work with the chicken bone or razor shell
that we had just seen in the Hunterian Museum.

5. Some stairs are best approached with caution

 Down the hatch on HMS Belfast.

Always face the ladder and best wear trousers.

Perhaps head to the Shell Room below the water-line.

Ladders and hatches on HMS Belfast accessing all nine decks.

I am joining in with Amy with Five on Friday,
taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.
Please visit the other bloggers who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.

Friday, 26 December 2014

Five on Friday: Christmas drink anyone?

Taking five minutes to enjoy five things...

Christmas drink anyone?
I offer you...

at The fan Museum, Greenwich.

on HMS Belfast,
issued daily, 'Up Spirits'.

on the roof of the Brunel Museum.
You'll have to wait until the summer, served by Midnight Apothecary.

Gather round the table for a cuppa in the Second World War
at the Imperial War Museum, London.
Served in the Allpress family's model home
in the Family in Wartime gallery.

Or share your favourite tipple with a friend,
a Viking horn cup each from
The British Museum,
Sutton Hoo Gallery.

I am joining in with Amy with Five on Friday, taking five minutes from our day to enjoy five things.
Please visit the five others who are also blogging about Five on Friday this week.

Want to know more about The Fan Museum, HMS Belfast,
the Brunel Museum and Vikings at the British Museum?
Click on the links below to read my previous posts about them.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Brunel Museum

Babysitter booked, we headed here for a night out.
"A museum for a night out?"
I had it all planned, a perfect night out, appealing to civil engineer and museologist alike.
The perfect blend.

And it was...

We were welcomed with signs.

Road signs...

Heritage signs....

And refreshment signs...

With a Lavender Bees Knees in hand, we were invited into the underground chamber,
into the shaft that Brunel built in Rotherhithe to access the
"oldest tunnel in the oldest underground in the world, under the Thames."
That tunnel, since 2010, is now part of the London Overground,
and we could hear trains passing through underneath our feet.

Access into the tunnel was tricky.
Before you stooped through the 4ft high door,
you had to climb over a wall with small rungs set into it.
But our guide was on hand with top health and safety advice,
"Stoop low but believe! Left hand, right foot, spin, one, two, three, down."

Then descend into the chamber, "half the size of Shakespeare's Globe."

On the walls you can see reminders of times gone by.

Those grooves in the wall were where the stairs once were.
"See those two people in silhouette halfway down, that's where we are now."

Photographic evidence that the door really was small.

The story of the Thames tunnel includes...
This southern pedestrian entrance to the tunnel was built using the world's first caisson.
The tunnel was designed to take cargo under a very busy Thames,
accommodating around 3,000 ships every day,
but they ran out of money to build the shafts needed for the horse-and-carts.

...fundraising and marketing.
With only the pedestrian access finished,
they opened the tunnel as a visitor attraction to fundraise for the next stage of the build.

For the public in 1843, the idea of walking through a tunnel under the Thames was,
"science fiction, like walking on the moon."
Only those who had the nerve to pass under the Thames did so,
and bought souvenirs to prove that they had actually
been there and done that! 

 ... and years of manual labour.
Men in Brunel's Cutting Shield, each excavating in their own area by hand,
inching under the River Thames with short-handled spades.

This was all Marc's idea you know, he was the brains behind it,
his son Isambard was the resident engineer.

Back to our night out...

The Brunel Museum have created a beautiful roof-top garden on top of the shaft.

Which is open every Saturday evening during the summer.

For cocktails made using herbs from the garden

 With live music.

 And a fire to sit beside and have the finer points of engineering explained to you.
"They built that caisson above ground and by digging away underneath,
they gradually sank it."
I have to admit, I am impressed.

Pioneering engineering, museum, cocktails, garden, live music, history, food, marshmallows, stories of drowning, banquets, world's firsts and souvenir hunting.
What's not to love?
A great night out,
here in Rotherhithe, South East London.

The Brunel Museum is open every day
and has regular special events and late night openings.

As this dual-layer peep show shows,
the Brunel Museum tells the story of father and son, Marc and Isambard Kingdom Brunel,
who saw a busy River Thames...
...and set out to cross it by tunnelling underneath.

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