Monday, July 9, 2012

National Maritime Museum

Image from the Royal River exhibit page.
While I do love the tube, I think ferries are definitely the stylish way to travel around London. The day we went to the National Maritime Museum, we took a very pleasant ferry ride west down the Thames river towards the Royal Borough of Greenwich, which is a charming area.

Since the library was closed for the Olympics, we visited the The Royal River: Power, Pageantry and the Thames exhibit instead. The exhibit highlights the great importance of the Thames in the history and life of London and Londoners. The exhibit features sections on the importance of the Thames in trading, the use of the Thames in pageantry, from royal entrances to the famous livery company parades, the 18th century revolution in city life as the importance of recreation and outdoor space came to be recognized.

The Royal Barge being rowed down the
Thames the day before opening ceremonies.
Amazingly, the river was still the dumping ground for the city's refuse until the mid-19th century, when the city began building a massive new sewer system to transport the waste from the city, bypassing the Thames all together.

On a personal note, some of my classmates and I went to watch the Olympic torch row down the Thames on the Royal Barge the day before the opening ceremonies, which hundreds of people gathered on the shore line to watch it pass. Maybe this event will be featured in a future Thames exhibit. It's awesome to think that you are witnessing history.

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