Friday, 24 February 2012

London break

Over the half term we visited London and as usual I managed to fit in a few military history linked visits. The principal one was the Imperial War Museum. The collections concentrate on the First and Second World Wars plus later conflicts and therefore outside my usual interests, but the galleries and exhibits are fascinating.

The scene is really set by these magnificent 15" naval guns outside the entrance. Artillery on a smaller scale can be seen outside the Tower of London

London is well known for the number and variety of commemorative statues, featuring many military figures from the past. Whilst walking near the Albert Hall I spotted this statue to Field Marshal Robert Napier who had an active career featuring in the Sikh Wars, Indian Mutiny and Abysinnian campaign.

Even unlikely venues can provide objects of interest. The Victoria and Albert Museum is best known for its art and desgn collections, but in one of the galleries I found this plaster cast of Trajan's column. It is so big that they have had to cut it in two.

Nearby are casts of the memorials to knights in the Temple Church. The casts were made in the mid 19th century and it is fortunate that they were, because Temple Church was hit during the blitz. Part of the roof collapsed and damaged the originals. These can still be seen in the restored church.

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