Sunday, 8 March 2009


Whilst I've got a few minutes spare I thought I'd post up those pictures of Kensington .They vaguely follow the route we took away from the hotel toward our ultimate goal ; The Natural History Museum , where we anticipated spending most of Saturday prior to the Winter Bear Fest next day - to the eager delight of a certain 12 year old !

First stop was this unique street name - interesting because "Kensington Gore" was the trademarked name of fake blood in the film and theatre industry . The true reason for the place name lies in the obscure meaning of "gore" ; as a narrow or triangular piece of land (makes sense it's a narrow street) but gloriously appropriated to denote the red , splashy stuff without which productions like "Titus Andronicus" would be , um , less gory .

Next is the beautifully decorated College of Organists - easily missed down a side street , right along from the Royal College of Art .

And so we came to The Albert Memorial on the opposite side of the road .It was fantastic to see the wonderful Spring sunlight illuminating the gilded spires . Quite topical in film too what with "The Young Victoria" doing the rounds . I like the description of it as an example of "high Victorian gothic extravaganza" . Apparently it is 176 feet tall and took 10 years to complete (in 1875) and cost £120,000. There are 187 carved figures in the bottom frieze and Victoria herself approved the design ; maybe it lessened a little of the devastation she felt on losing Albert , aged 42 , from typhoid fever . I remember seeing that thick black crepe mourning dress ; wide as it was high , in the Bath museum of fashion - she wore only black after becoming a widow which suggests she could never overcome her deep sorrow . Poor lady .

The Albert Hall ; which was opened in 1871 . It can accommodate 1000 performers in the Orchestra and an audience of 8000 people.

We definitely didn't want to miss capturing this elegant equipage on film , standing in traffic on Kensington High Street . Ashley held on until the driver had finally put away his mobile phone !

And so to The Natural History museum :-

I was slightly disappointed for a few reasons ; we didn't know you'd have to queue up inside separately for the world famous exhibition of dinosaur skeletons (something to go straight to next time :0) and I would have loved to go in to what should be a thought provoking inner exhibition all about Darwin . However at £7 per person a little pricey ; likewise the exhibition of wildlife photography ( also £7 each)
I expected to see case after case of jam-packed in specimens , but in common with every other museum the content appears to have been "dumbed down" I'm personally not half as keen on the huge-poster-here , look-one-fact , lift-this-flap , interactive style of presenting their wares . Tellingly the bird room was like a blast from the past with infinite numbers of variations on bird wings , feet , tail feathers - little yellowing cards with a wealth of information and all the more engrossing for it !

This was my highlight of the day : If you've ever seen Nick Baker's Weird Creatures on the telly you'll know that the only place he successfully filmed a Pink Fairy Armadillo was in the N.H.M .... it was stuffed . They are are that rare to sight in the wild . Here it is ; now given a starring role in his very own cabinet . About the length of your hand , and just the most enchanting little beastie !

I shall look forward to visiting him again in September ....

T.T.F.N Ruth x


The Victorian Parlor said...

The pictures are amazing! I am a huge fan of Queen Victoria so your tour of the buildings in Kensington are a real treat for me. I have never been to England but hope some day to visit. Thank you for taking me on this wonderful tour-everything is so beautiful:) I also love the little armadillo at the end:)

Matilda said...

Totally brilliant!! I took forward to more and more and more..........

Ruth said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed them :0)
It was such a wonderful day (weather wise) it felt great to be visiting our capital city , and delighting in the sites !

TinyBear said...

Hey Ruth.
I have awarded you. Pop over to my blog to see.
Hugs, Tina
ps. Love those photos from London. I´m so looking forward to September (and June to).