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Friday, May 14, 2010

The South Kensington Museums

Today after class my friends and I went on a walk through South Kensington. This is where a number of the museums are located. We walked past the Victoria and Albert museum - on one side there are pock marks from the blitz of World War II still there in the stone of the building (see picture at right).

After walking down the road for a ways we came upon the Hyde Park Chapel, where we attended church a couple of weeks ago (see picture at left). This building is actually where the term "cultural hall" originated. Because of zoning laws they couldn't call it a gym or social hall, so they created a new name for it. Now the church uses the term in all its buildings!

Just to the left of the chapel is a little street called Prince's Gate Mews. You see lots of mews around here, and I finally learned what a mews is - it used to designate an area that was used for stabling horses and carriages.

We walked down the mews and found a church. It was Oratory of St. Philip Neri, a Roman Catholic church in the baroque style (see picture at right). We went inside and looked around for a bit - it was lavishly decorated. There were representations of the four evangelists on the ceiling, beautifully painted. It was quite an impressive building. I wish I could have taken pictures.

After the church we came across the statue of Cardinal Newman (see picture at right), the author of one of my favorite hymns "Lead Kindly Light." He is the namesake of Newman Clubs operated by the Catholic church near universities, like LDS Institutes.

We passed the entrance of the Victoria and Albert Museum, a place I am desperately wanting to explore but have not been able to yet (see picture at right). Right now they have a Grace Kelly exhibit that I am longing to see. I've heard it's a wonderful museum and I plan on going back there, along with the Science and Natural History museums we encountered on our walk. The museums have such amazing facades and amazing exhibits inside. I am constantly amazed that there are so many museums and so much history here. There is so much to see! I have had the chance to explore the Natural History Museum a bit. It's built on the site of the International Exhibition of 1862 and has the most varied and in-depth exhibits on practically every area of natural history you could imagine.

We passed the Baden-Powell House. Lord Baden-Powell founded the Boy Scout movement. We also later passed what used to be his home (see picture at left). The Baden-Powell House is basically the scouting headquarters of the world. My dad and brothers would have appreciated it more than I did, I think.

We came upon the back of the Royal Albert Hall, which I actually liked better than the front of it. There is yet another Albert Memorial stationed here. This building is where many musical events take place, as well as ballets and political events. I believe the ballet Swan Lake is currently showing here, which I am interested to see (I've never seen a ballet before).

We finished up our walk with a trip to Hyde Park Gate, a street on which many famous people have lived, such as Charles Dickens, Lord Baden-Powell (mentioned and pictured earlier), and my personal favorite, Winston Churchill (see picture of his house to left). We walked home through Kensington Gardens, which is always a beautiful walk. It's amazing to me that all of this is so easily accessible to me. A 20 minute walk here gets me more history than a 20 minute drive could back home :)

1 comment:

  1. So fun to see what you're up to Jen! Thanks for doing this awesome blog. Aw, memories...
    I love London!!