U.K. 2013 

Day 19, Saturday

September 21, 2013


We had breakfast in our apartment…nothing gourmet! We are getting good with the Tube (Metro or underground).  

We retraced our steps from last night back to the Tower of London.   We bought our tickets and joined a tour. 

The guides are called Yeoman Warder.  The Yeoman Warder is part of a team of 34 men and one woman. To be a Yeoman Warder a person needs to have at least 22 years of military service; to have reached the rank of warrant officer; to have been awarded the long service and good conduct medal and to be between 40 and 55 years old on appointment. They have wonderful red uniforms and black hats.  They get a lot of audience participation and tell very funny stories.

 I was looking forward to seeing the Tower as I had made the model.  Everything looked just like the model or maybe it is the other way around. The model on the left is an “aerial view” . This model is known as a micro model and is the smallest model that I have made. The entire model is only 14” x 10”. The White Tower in the middle is only 2” x 2”. Click here to see another view of the model.



In the 1070s, William the Conqueror began to build a massive stone tower at the center of his London fortress. Over 1000 years later, the Tower of London still holds people from all over the world in its power and fascination. It is a World Heritage Site that welcomes over 2 million visitors a year. Countless books have been written about this magnificent structure. Historic events of London, and indeed England, occurred within its walls. In this brief account, I couldn’t possibly do the history justice.

On the back of the guidebook that I purchased is a wonderful quote by John Stow in Survey of London 1598: “This tower is a , citadel to defend or command the city; a royal palace for assemblies or treaties; a prison of state for the most dangerous offenders; the only place of coinage for all England at this time; the armoury for warlike provisions, the treasury of the ornaments and jewels of the crown; and general conserver of the most records of the king’s courts of justice at Westminster.”    

The guide took us in the Chapel Royal of St. Peter ad Vincula where Ann Boleyn and Lady Jane Gray are buried as are many other famous people, some of them were executed in the Tower. There are places in the Tower where photos are not allowed, the chapel being one. The guide had announced “no photos”. One young lady took a picture, the guide saw that she was escorted out of the chapel.

Near the chapel is a memorial to where10 executions took place. The actual site of these executions was different with a special scaffold and block prepared each time, but all took place within a few yards of each other. The memorial consists of a large glass circle with a smaller raised circle above. The names of those executed are around the edge of the circles. They include: Ann Boleyn, and the second wife of Henry VIII; Catherine Howard, Henry’s fifth wife; Lady Jane Grey, Queen for only nine days.

 Near this memorial was a raven who seemed to pose for several photos. Legend says that the kingdom and the Tower will fall if the six resident ravens ever leave the fortress.

On our own, we went through the Waterloo Barracks where the Royal Jewels are displayed. These jewels are not hidden away in a secret vault but are on full display.


The center of the entire area focuses on the White Tower , which is not only among the best preserved and the most interesting 11th century building in Europe, but since its creation by William the Conqueror has been a potent symbol of authority and nationhood.

 The White Tower has three main functions. First, it was itself a fortress, and probably considered impregnable at the time of its constructions. Secondly, it’s vast interiors must have been designed for the King’s occasional use and as the setting for major governmental and ceremonial functions. A third purpose was to serve as a permanent reminder to the new Norman nobility and the native population of the King's authority. From the 14th until the 19th century, the main use of the White Tower was as a military storehouse. From this use it emerged to the role it serves today as a museum of arms and armor. I walked up to the second floor where armor is on display. It was an amazing sight.

One of the buildings is now a café.  We went in and ate lunch sandwiches and a piece of cake. There was a huge crowd there with the same idea. After walking on the wall and exploring other buildings, we walked out to the wharf and caught a tour boat. 

It was a huge boat and it was filled.  It wasn’t a very nice day, but we wanted to take a boat ride  and we were there.  We were just in time to see the Tower Bridge opened to allow a large sailboat to come through.

Our tour boat went down the Thames, and we got off at the Westminster stop- Parliament, Big Ben, and and Westminster Abbey.  We didn’t stop in these buildings as we wanted to go to Trafalgar Square and the National Gallery of Art. 



At the National Gallery of Art was a painting of the Execution of Lady Jane Gray that Kathleen wanted to see, as well as the Supper at Emmaus by Caravaggio.  We looked at a few other amazing and beautiful paintings.   We had reservations in the museum’s café for dinner because we were going to a concert at St. Martins-in- the Fields at 7:30-which is located right across the street.  When got to the café they apologized but they had to close at 6:00 p.m. because of tests of the building’s electrical system.  They suggested several other places, so we ate at Prezzo, which is a chain of Italian restaurants.  I had spaghetti and meatballs and Kathleen had chicken carbonara.   We shared a sticky toffee pudding.

We walked across the street to St. Martin’s.  St. Martin’s , build in 1721, is famous for its musical presentations which seem to happen about every night. The churches most familiar feature is his grand Corinthian portico, whose six columns are raised on a flight of steps above the St. Martins Lane. The portico’s tympanum bears the arms of King George I who is not only the reigning monarch when the church was new, but was the churchwarden.  

  In the interior was very beautiful in a Georgian style. The east end has a large Venetian window with a new unusual glazing. The nave is wide and spacious with tall columns. The ceiling is divided into gilded hand-painted plasterwork panels. The Royal arms are prominently placed over the chancel arch.

It is a large church and every seat was taken.   We had made reservations a long time ago, and we were sitting on row two, the first and second seat from the center aisle.  We were almost in the orchestra.  There was a 25-piece orchestra and will 45 -member choir. The first half was three pieces by Hayden.  After an intermission, they presented Mozart’s Requiem.  The music was wonderful and beautiful. 

 Kathleen figured out how to get home using the Tube.  We had to change trains once, but we did fine. We had a big day and are really tired. London is a very tiring town.  It is so big and so crowded.  It is hard to walk around.  When walking across some of the streets here are hundreds of people on both sides and when the light changes both side rush towards the middle. It is like a football game. This photo was taken near the parliament earlier in the afternoon. All of the people across the street are waiting for the light to change.  An equal number of people on my side of the street will meet in the middle. The Tubes are very crowded and everyone is in a hurry.  

Tomorrow Mike and Val are going to pick us up at 10:00 and drive us south.  It is hard to believe that Monday is our last day.  

Next Page


Day 1 -Arrival in Edinburgh

Day 2 - Edinburgh

Day 3- Edinburgh to Inchcolm Abbey

Day 4 - Edinburgh to Melrose & Rosslyn

DAY 5 - Edinburgh   

DAY 6 - Edinburgh

DAY 7 - York  

DAY 8 - Durham

DAY 9 -York 

DAY 10 - Lincoln

DAY 11 -Ely  

DAY 12 - Peterborough

DAY 13 - Cambridge 

DAY 14 - Ely to Worchester  

DAY 15 - Tewkesbury and Gloucester

DAY 16 - Hereford         

DAY l7 - London   

DAY 18 - London  

DAY 19 - London   

DAY 20 - London to Guildford, Chichester, Midhurst

DAY 21 - London      OUR LAST DAY