Family Outing – Tower of London (14.2.2022)

From the Arrangement of Single-Buttons on the Coat – This Soldier is a Member of the Grenadier Guards Regiment!

As part of the ongoing education of our two daughters – and given that the Covid-19 crisis is starting to abate (after two-years of being stuck in our flat) – we resumed our ‘progressive’ family outings with a day-trip from Sutton (in South London) to the ‘Tower of London’ (situated in East London). I suspect the ‘Crown Jewels’ kept at the Tower are not genuine (for security reasons) and that the room they are exhibited – in is not a genuine bank vault. Whatever the case, the general public is not permitted to film or photograph when traversing through the displays. Therefore, we can only feature the outside of the building with patrolling soldiers.

Map of the Tower of London

We decided to catch the 1022hrs Thameslink train from West Sutton Station – which is about a 10-15 minute walk from our house (although to save time, we took the car, also preparing for the return journey when we are usually exhausted from walking around all day)! As matters transpired, we got to the Station around 945hrs – and managed to catch a ‘late’ train which arrived around 950hrs. This meant we would have plenty of time to walk from the Tower Hill Tube Station (situated on the District and Circle Lines) to the Tower itself when we reached our destination.

A St Valentine’s Day Trip to the Tower of London on a Mainline Train!
The Family Together!
During Off-Peak Times We Can Ride in First-Class Seats!
The Workers Will Prevail!
We Think This is a Racist Sticker on the Door of the Thameslink Train.
Me ‘Liberating’ Black Friars Tube Station!
The ‘Crew’ Sat On Black Friars Station!
Mei-An (Left), Kai-Lin (Centre) & Gee (Right) – My Comrades!
We Have Made it too the Tower!
British Lions Greet Us at the Door!
Tower Hill Station – Where the Adventure Begins!
Happy Days Are Here Again!
See Below
See Above
The View of Tower Bridge As We Head to the Tower!
View of the Exterior of the Tower
Heading into the Tower of London! This is Byward Tower!
Byward Tower Seems to Be Palatial!
Perhaps a Room for a High-Ranking Prisoner!
For Some – Prison Life was Luxurious!
The Three Lions of England!
Stained Glass,,,
The Tower Complex is Full of Corridors!
We Climbed Steps and Entered Towers!
View of Tower Bridge from Within the Tower!
At Key Points we ‘Liberated’ the Tower from Bourgeois Control!
Medieval Cross-Bow and ‘Bolt’ or ‘Arrow’ – Ready to Fire!
Two Beauties!
We Shall Over-Come!
We Record and Catalogue Everything!
Metal Helmet for Medieval Soldiers!
The View from Above!
Traitor’s Gate – the Beginning of the End for Countless Individuals!
Prisoners Would Arrive By Secure Boat and Enter this ‘Gate’…
Prisoners Would Walk-Up These Steps to Meet Their Doom…
The ‘Infamous’ Traitor’s Gate! When Gaoler Collected the Prisoner – If the Axe-Blade was Facing the Inmate it Meant ‘Death’ – But If Facing Away It Meant Indefinite ‘Imprisonment!
Ravens Have Been At the Tower Since 1888!
The Raven Enclosure!
The Wing-Feathers are ‘Clipped’ So the Ravens Cannot ‘Fly’ Away.
The Ravens Clustered Around the Imprisonment Tower!
The Ravens Are Very Sociable!
The White Tower
Tower Green With Guard on Duty to the Right of the Bloody Tower!
Guarding a Cluster of Houses
My Commentary on the Bloody Tower After a Down-Pour!
Sir Walter Raleigh was Held at the Tower for 17-years!
Sir Walter Raleigh; Study Situated in the Bloody Tower!
Sir Walter Raleigh’s Study – Special Edition!
The ‘Brood’ Watching A Documentary in the Bloody Tower!
Standing To Attention!
Which Way Next? We Think the ‘Imprisonment Tower’!
Museum of the Royal Fusiliers!
Beefeater Posses With the Brood!
Excellent Photograph Taken by Mei-An!

2 comments

  1. Ben Robinson’s book entitled ‘England’s Villages: An Extraordinary Journey Through Time’ – covers a vast array of architectural history from the Stone Age onwards in the UK – including Roman Forts and Norman Castles. I believe he says the Normans built the castles themselves – and very quickly by all accounts – including one near to where they landed prior to the Battle of Hastings. I think only their craftsman and soldiers possessed the ability – at least at first (the Normans also had to keep their building abilities as secret as possible to prevent counter-strategies). What strikes me about all of this (and I am sure enslaved British were involved somewhere), is how the Vikings who settled in France developed this form of highly effective defensive building – when Vikings in general did not. The Celtic frontal assault delivered with full force and concentrated will-power – would literally ‘run-out’ of steam as the slopes leading up to the walls were encountered! A castle could be built right in the middle of enemy territory and nothing effective could be done about it! These served as centre of power which projected outward in all directions until the castles were ‘joined-up’ around the country with roads and other governing infrastructure. I think the imperial French attempted this idea in Bien Dien Phu in North Vietnam during 1954 – replacing stone ramparts with trenches and sandbags (not to mention the bodies of their soldiers) – but the North Vietnamese Army did possess the ability to do something about it! The French made too many of the wrong kind of assumptions. Their ‘castle’ was porous and the North Vietnamese found the gaps!

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  2. Very nice images and videos. I love ravens.

    Castles were a raw symbol of power and conquest in Norman England, and I would assume the lower orders of the Englishry were pressed into slave labour to help build them.

    Thoughts on the relationship between architecture and political power:

    When a big building is needed, whether it is a stone pyramid, a castle, cathedral, bridge or skyscraper, this requires some sort of social ideological system of conformity based on a mixture of compulsion and rewards because nobody would be willing to do it voluntarily. This may seem to be stating the obvious, but building a castle or pyramid or skyscraper is not an essential social outcome. It is, rather, a function of something non-essential.

    It struck me how these buildings still have soldiers sentried and marching around – but now this is for the benefit of tourists, surely. The real personal security is provided by specialist police officers and building security is provided technologically, I would assume, and by the simple expedient of secure locks on doors and what not. I assume that when the Queen is ensconced at Balmoral Castle, she doesn’t have soldiers in funny red suits and fur hats marching up and down the driveway, just in case. Nevertheless, perhaps some of the tourists who walk round these various buildings think that the sentries are actually there to guard the Queen and other royals and important people, as well as valuable effects such as painting, jewellery, antique furniture, weaponry and the Crown Jewels? Probably some of the soldiers really think that is what they are there for. Rather, I see it as theatre, but it is a form of theatre that is in sync with the physical surroundings: the castle itself is a sort of vestigial theatrical pretence that somehow survived the discovery of gunpowder.

    However, some theatre serves a purpose – crowns and coronets, flags, wigs in court and what not.

    It’s interesting how we develop an amused affinity for things that are actually great symbols of cruelty and savagery. You rightly gave your children an interesting and enjoyable history lesson, but some tourists will vacantly wander around these places, picnic there and think how nice it is and how lovely the buildings are, not stopping to think about what they symbolised. I blame it on the Victorians: they invented leisure and tourism. A serious people, but seriously unserious as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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