Street Art at Brick Lane

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Tuesday 6th February – fifth meeting of 2018

Today we were true to our title of Walking Group as we went on a walk around Brick Lane in East London to view the paintings dotted around the area. Brick Lane is famous for its many curry houses and its fabulous street art.

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We met at Charing Cross and again with some train delays it was a little later than planned.  Tuesday seems to be a bad day on the trains! We then walked to Embankment and got District line to Aldgate East.  Here it is a short walk to Brick Lane.  We passed Whitechapel Art Gallery and we went for a drink as it was very cold.  A lovely cafe here and we sat warmed up and had a drink.  Here tea cost £2.50p but was very nice and came in an individual tea pot which gave two cups of tea – so good value.

From here we walked to Brick Lane and as it was so cold we all had some type of head-gear on, be it hood or hat and scarves and gloves were worn.  The street art is dotted around the area not only in Brick Lane itself but on many of the side streets.  They are of all subjects. Abstract, modern, classic, cartoon all very brightly coloured and range in size from small door paintings to complete wall being covered.

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The smell of curry even at 11 o’clock in the morning certainly was strong and cafes and restaurants from all of Asia could be seen. A very busy area with people hurrying about their busy.  We passed Christ Church Primary School, a Church of England school which is steeped in history with links to a range of cultural traditions. Brick Lane is in the heart of a truly diverse and vibrant community.

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The art work was wonderful to look and we stopped a while to watch an artist who was creating a large painting on a wall of a sumo wrestler. Fascinating to watch as it is all done with spray paint cans of wonderful colours.

After our fascinating walk we went back to the station and trains home. A very different day for us but good to be walking in the sunshine albeit cold!!

 

 

 

 

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Temple of Mithras

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Tuesday 30th January – fourth meeting of 2018

Today we visited London Mithraeum Bloomberg Space where the Roman Temple of Mithras has been returned to the location of its discovery in the heart of the City of London.

We met at Cannon Street station but the trains were running late so the early arrivals of us went into the Wetherspoon The Sir John Hawkshaw pub on the station concourse and waited for the late arrivals. Here we had a drink and tea cost £1.35p and not refillable so not on the top of the list!

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We then crossed the road to London Mithraeum Bloomberg where we booked into the free exhibition. The space at the beginning has a large installation Another View from Nowhen by Isabel Nolan which consists of a vibrant, hand-tufted 19.45 metre long tapestry The Barely Perceptive Vibration of Everything and a large open-form, painted steel sculpture, Blind to the Rays of the Returning Sun.

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Also in this area is a very large glass fronted cabinet with many exhibits which have been discovered on the site in recent years 2010-2014. More than 14,000 individual artefacts were excavated dating from Roman times. The cabinet holds much pottery, sandals, brooches, hair ornaments, pins, and all information is available to read or from the iPad that we were given. The use of modern technology is wonderful and good that it is being introduced and I must add that we managed very well to work it and found it extremely useful.

All this is on the ground floor and then we walked down descending in time as the staircase had dates marking historic moments in London’s history until AD 410 to a  mezzanine gallery area.  At this level you can discover all about Mithras and the cult that built around him.

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After a short while we were allowed to go into the Temple. This area was very atmospheric and had good lighting, sound, mist and voices effects. The temple ruins are amazing and are set out as they were when they were first discovered in 1954 and the show gives a good explanation of how the cult operated. After the show we walked around to look at the stone work and lay out.

This was a really good exhibition and gives a really good insight to life in the City of London in Roman times.

From here we went back to Cannon Street station for our trains home.

Horniman Museum

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Tuesday 23rd January – 3rd meeting of 2018

A meeting today at London Bridge and then overground train to Forest Hill station. As we came out of the station we noticed a Wetherspoon pub, The Capitol so decided to have a drink as although it was dry and bright it was very cold. The Capitol is an old cinema and many of the features of the picture house have been kept. The bar is positioned where the screen would have been and the upstairs houses more table and chairs. A very nice atmosphere and here a cup of tea was 95 pence and refillable making it the best value tea so far this year!

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From here we caught a 159 bus for just one stop (but it was uphill) and then we were at the Horniman Museum which is set in beautiful gardens. This is a wonderful free Museum very good for children and in fact there were lots of children on school trips busy with work sheet and many of different projects.

The Museum was opened in Victorian times by Frederick John Horniman when he opened his house to the public to view his collections.

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We went into the Natural History gallery showing all animals, tigers,  ostriches, monkeys, rats, very many species of birds, insects, to name a few.  All exhibits were taxidermist models and dated back to Victorian times. The centre piece in this room was the Horniman Walrus. This stunning figure is a favourite with children and adults alike.The upper floor of this gallery has exhibits of all types of insects and shows the development and life expectancy. Lots of information clearly shown. There was a very large clock on display with fabulous carvings and figures displayed in the case. We waited about five minutes to hear it chime on the hour but were really disappointed as there was just one gong which was not very loud or impressive.

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The Museum has a very good music gallery, aquarium and Butterfly House and is of interest to children and adults alike. It is a very friendly atmosphere and lots of exhibits can be handled.

After our visit we split up as some ladies took the bus to Victoria and others walked back to the station (as it was downhill it was not a problem) to take our trains home after a very pleasant morning.

 

 

 

 

What a Morning!!

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Tuesday 16th January – second meeting of 2018

Today we were meeting up to go to our annual visit to the Wildlife Photography Exhibition at the Natural History Museum which we always enjoy.  Unfortunately the trains were all running late and when they did arrive it was a slow journey due to a signal failure, broken down train and someone on the line – so not a good start to the day.  The tube by contrast was running fine and after getting to South Kensington it was a short walk through to the Museum where we were directed to the side entrance to join a small queue waiting to get in.

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After all this we decided a coffee was needed and made that our first port of call.  Our second was the ‘ladies’ but on the way detoured to see the Blue Whale skeleton which has taken the place of Dippy the Dinosaur in the front hall.  We thought it was hanging too high up and was not as visually impressive as Dippy but I’m sure it will grow on us.

We made our way to the Exhibition and bought tickets and split up to view the photos – really beautiful with a  wide range of subjects and we all had our favourites and our normal disagreement with the judges as to who should have won prizes.

Our viewing was interrupted by an alarm message telling us to evacuate the building immediately which everyone did but it took a long while for all the crowds including many school children to get to an exit.  Everyone was impressively calm and moving along downstairs and outside where we waited a while but most of us left and went home as no-one could give how long we would be outside waiting. Luckily the trains were running better now.

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Two of our group remained to wait to be readmitted which was within half a hour fortunately as the schoolchildren were outside without their coats as they had been left in the cloakrooms at the start of their visit.

Apparently someone had pushed the fire alarm – accidently or otherwise – and it all automatically results in a total evacuation of staff and visitors.  It was amazing how many people were in the museum!

We didn’t have a complete view of the photos but had a good browse and I’m sure we will be back again next year with a better journey and viewing!!

 

Welcome to 2018!!

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Tuesday 9th January – first meeting of 2018

Happy New Year to all. Today our first meeting of the new year was at The Greyhound in Bromley to plan the weeks ahead – so the first of our A.G.M.s for 2018!

It was a breakfast meeting so once we were all together we ordered for food and drink. The drink turned out to be a bit of a mission. The Greyhound is a Wetherspoon’s pub and have installed a machine for all hot drinks that is operated by customers. This was quite a challenge not only for us but other customers which was hilarious and amounted to quite a lot of coffee flowing everywhere! Luckily no one was hurt and no harm done. Once paid for you can refill your cup as many times as you like for the cost of £1.20. We all agreed that was such great value. This gave me the idea to compare prices at our many coffee stops and see at the end of the year which comes out the best!

The food was served very quickly and enjoyed by us all. We had a good old natter about our Christmas and New Year activities and got down to the business of the day. We always seem to come up with some good ideas as to where to go and what to do. Amongst our planned visits we have booked a visit to the Poppy factory where the British Legion make all the poppies, Wildlife Photographic Exhibition, Post Office Museum, a couple of visits to Victoria and Albert Museum for some special exhibitions and Roman Ruins. Dates planned until mid March and all dates are subject to be change!!

After a very pleasant and productive morning we went our separate ways home and of course a visit to the shops couldn’t be missed!!