Dickinson College Humanities Program in Norwich

Looking Back on London

September 15th, 2009 · No Comments

As our time here in London comes to an end, I find myself needing to reflect on a few more aspects of London in my blogs. So this is my overview of London blog. It’s to touch upon the parts of London I either left out of previous blogs or the parts that I found to be my favorites. Also, I am hoping to cover assigned blog topics that I had not included in previous blogs.
To begin with I want to discuss the War Cabinet Rooms. I cannot believe I did not mention the War Cabinet Rooms in an earlier post. The presentation of the Cabinet Rooms was impeccable. I found myself very content to wander through the maze of the preserved Cabinet Rooms. Moreover, it guided the viewers through the rooms in such a way that it conveyed the detailed organization of the rooms and their role in World War II. I particularly enjoyed how there was emphasis placed on not only the role of the rooms in World War II London, but also how it was a representation of the determination of the British people. It provides a look into one of the most turbulent times in British and particularly London’s history. And it does not fail to reveal the main actors and issues of the time. For me, it achieved this through creating a museum based on the preserved and restored War Cabinet Rooms. The other museums of London were beneficial to walk through, but the only one where I felt there was respect not only behalf of the museum but on the behalf of the visitors was in the War Cabinet Rooms. Other museums I witnessed a horrifying lack of respect to the exhibits and artifacts. The worst incident o f disrespect happened in the British Museum. Visitors were touching the sculptures and taking vulgar tourist pictures with the mummies. It was embarrassing to witness.
Respect is something that I realize I find in the parts of London I liked the most. The theatre for instance inspires a great amount of respect, not only in the appearance of the actual theatres but through the performances. In all, excepting one, the performances we saw in London, I was inspired by the respect seen in the appearance of the theatres and in the sincerity of the actors’ performances. Each theatre I had the chance to enter was beautiful, even the Disney version of the Globe. All were inspiring to enter and be in for a performance. Luckily nearly all the performances I saw lived up to their settings, obviously I am excluding Blood Brothers from this. As I have said in earlier blogs, the respect the British have for theatre is remarkable. They have made it almost an innate part of their daily lives, at least here in London. This respect is something I have not had a chance to observe back home, at least not in such a widespread manner. Personally, the performance that was the best was Arcadia. It was a beautiful performance of an inspired script. And the Duke of York Theatre was a simple but beautiful setting for the performance. Also, I felt privileged to be in that audience, there was no instance of disrespect in the audience or even boredom. In comparison, Blood Brothers and its audience, myself included, was just awful. The musical was poorly performed and as such the audience was unable to settle in and enjoy. Fortunately though, one bad experience with London’s theatre did not put me off at all, instead it just makes me wish to ensure that the next performance I attend will be of better quality.
Another inspiring part of London are the churches. They are numerous and each uniquely beautiful. Initially, I had issues separating them in my mind; all were striking and imposing, especially St. Paul’s and Westminster. Over the weeks we have been here I have found myself differentiating between these churches and finding favorites. I must admit I have love for the grand architecture and history of the churches like Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral. It was an amazing opportunity to tour both of those churches and learn more of their histories. As I explored London on my own, I found that even the smallest churches here have long, intricate histories. I cannot say if I have a favorite church or even a preferred type of church in London. I guess I could answer more definitively if I had attended a service or two during our time here. Thus far though, I would say that my favorites have been ones where we have either toured or listened to concerts.
London as a whole has been a unique experience. It is one that ended too quickly now that I look back on it. Though, I look forward to the break from the city. This means I can return here in a few weeks or months and compare my experiences from now to the ones I will have in the future.

Tags: Kimberly