Wednesday, 6 April 2016

A Good Bit of Glazing

In the mode of those American and Japanese tourists who seem to be able to fit both Stonehenge and Stratford upon Avon into a day, Louis and I decided to 'do' Greenwich yesterday.  However the National Maritime Museum turned out to be so glorious that it was the only place that we toured.  The other attractions in this incredible part of London will have to wait for another visit.

This isn't just a place for old salty sea dogs and maritime types. For instance there's plenty for kids to do including a simulator that's used to train ferry captains.  The kid before Lou having a go didn't pass muster and managed to embed their ship into the bank of a river before even leaving port!  There's stuff for us chaps and chappesses with arty dispositions too.  I turned a corner and Wowzer!  It was as if my breath had been stolen from me. I'd  come  across this dome of  Memorial Glass.  It was designed by John Dudley Forsyth and was installed in the original Baltic Exchange in the City of London to commemorate the lives of sixty of their members who lost their lives in World War I.     Then in 1992 a bomb  planted by  the Provisional IRA destroyed the building and the majority of glass panels.   The Baltic Exchange itself could not be saved.  In its place stands 'The Gherkin'.  However  thankfully some good people had the wherewithal to salvage as much of the glass as possible and  undertake the lengthy restoration.  It was so worth it!
I wonder if, in their newer home, the dome and windows from the building representing Justice, Trade, Fortitude, Hope and Truth can be appreciated more fully as they can be experienced at such close proximity.    When standing under the dome sections I was moved in so many ways, by beauty,  the exquisite craftsmanship of the original artists and the restorers and the reminder of tragic loss on all sorts of levels  brought by war and terrorism.  The imagery is of strong people. I'm reminded that good can re-emerge after tragedy and suffering.  It's comforting to realise that.

The memorial glass is tucked away at the back of the first floor in the museum.  The blurb on the website invites visitors to take a quiet moment in this space.  I felt incredibly privileged to have the space to myself yet it seems that this is an exhibit that should be on people's must see list and a spot that is much more widely visited. 

12 comments:

  1. I love going into London and do so quite frequently as its only 25 mins on the train. However I have never visited the national maritime museum or Greenwich for that matter. I think it's time to put that right those glass panels look amazing but I guess you have to be there to appreciate them and feel the atmosphere they generate. Greenwich is now on my growing list of places in the UK to visit

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  2. We are also only 25 mins by train from London, and have never been to Greenwich, though it is somewhere I would love to visit. Today we are having a rare day "in town", and we shall have a " London Walks" guided tour of the Tower, afternoon tea on the river and going to see " Phantom" in the evening. If you haven't been on any of the "London Walks" , they are superb.

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    1. There's so much to do in London. I have a renewed love affair at the place. x

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  3. Gorgeous windows...one to add to the list!
    Arilx

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    1. We'll be visiting London together weekly at this rate! x

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  4. We are just a couple of miles downstream of Greenwich - always a favourite place to visit. Not sure how long you are staying with your relatives, but this Sunday here we have the next Steam Up day at the Crossness Beam Engine House. We first started visiting in the 80's when it was a rusty neglected mess - the volunteers have done an amazing job.
    http://www.crossness.org.uk
    (Site shows opening times etc)

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    1. Darn, I'd forgotten! Our train station is now closed most weekends as they are track laying as we are to be the terminus of Crossrail.

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    2. Would have been great but we are now back in Devon.

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  5. I went to the Maritime Museum in February, my first visit. I had thought it would be dull but was so surprised and really enjoyed the afternoon.

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    1. I would return and perhaps watch the video accompanying the huge Turner painting all the way through x

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  6. The glass looks really impressive! I will have to visit, it sounds fantastic!

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