Sunday, 13 February 2011

5+ new London places #2 and #3

New London place #2 in my challenge was one of the ones I had planned from the start, as I'd already booked a spot on a scavenger hunt organised by the London Transport Museum's Collection & You team around Croydon, celebrating the extension of the Overground line to that part of the world. Croydon is about as far south as you can go while still being in London, and although it has a bit of a reputation for being a concrete jungle, there was a surprising amount of history around to explore - no shortage of Victorian civic pride, for one thing! (If the Clocktower - now home to the Croydon Museum, arts centre, library, cafe, etc etc - wasn't enough, check out the water works!)

The scavenger hunt itself was a lot of fun - and the rain held off, thank goodness. Kudos to the clue-setters for a set of cryptic clues that were impenetrable at first, but which made immediate sense as soon as you saw the thing referred to, even though no one on our team knew Croydon at all! As well as solving the clues, there were bonus points for photos of tram stops, and of pubs - Croydon is not short of pubs: I think we got about 30, but the winning team had found 10 more!

If you're interested, you can find my photos here, and the scavenger hunt's group pool here.


For place #3, I took advantage of a visit that one of my colleagues in the Law program set up to join students on a tour of The Mansion House. I've admired the outside often enough, but never had the chance to see inside before. (Unfortunately, photography is not permitted inside, so this is as much of an illustration as I can muster.) I'm very grateful for the opportunity, because it's a stunning building inside - as might be expected for the official residence of the Lord Mayor of London; opulent but elegant. I wish I'd remembered to ask our guide about accessibility in the most recent renovations (1990s), though, as it's very much still a working building hosting thousands of guests over each year's events.

As I was across the road, and on a day off, I also took the chance to dive into the Bank of England museum, which I've never visited before thanks to it's opening hours. I'm fairly familiar with the development of the building itself, but seeing the history of the notes and coins and their designs laid out was fascinating - it's such a ubiquitous part of daily life, but one you hardly ever think about.

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