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Tuesday 4th October – 35th meeting of 2016

Back on track with our plans today, five of us met at Charing Cross to revisit The John Soames Museum. We have viewed the museum before but many years ago so a revisit was due.

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There was trouble with the underground at Charing Cross so we decided to walk. Quite a way but as we call ourselves a walking group it made sense!!

Straight up the Strand where we went into Frankie and Bennie’s for a coffee and toast. After this we carried on walking into Fleet Street and with warm sunny weather it was very pleasant. We were so busy chatting as we walked we missed the alleyway to take us into Lincolns’ Inn Field. After some time we had to back track on ourselves which made it quite a long walk! We finally arrived at the Museum. All our bags etc had to be put into clear plastic bags on entry, I guess so that none of the exhibits got damaged as the museum is jam-packed with exhibits!

We went in through a different door than last time and were told that a major programme of restoration had just been completed making more rooms and exhibits open for the public to view. Entry is free.

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Sir John Soames was an architect 1753-1837 and his most famous buildings are Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery. He was also an avid collector of artworks, sculpture, furniture and artefacts. He bought 12 Lincoln Inn’s Field and started living and storing his collection in it. As time went on he acquired numbers 13 and 14 and demolished and rebuilt them in order to live and house his massive collection.

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The start of the tour was the kitchen area from here we wound our way upstairs through rooms filled with exhibits and then into the living area. The picture library was amazing with works by Hogarth, Turner and Canaletto. The paintings covered floor to ceiling and were set on large walls which can be opened to show more paintings. The whole house is cramped packed with sculptures in every single inch of room available.

The house is as it was when Soames died because in 1822 he acquired an Act of Parliament which stated that his house and collection would be preserved in its entirety for the future.

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This is a fascinating Museum. Full of intriguing objects. I found it mind-boggling that one man could amass so many objects in his lifetime.

Well worth a second visit for us. From here we walked back to Charing Cross and our trains home and pleased to say that we took the correct route back which was very very quick!!

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