Monday, July 30, 2012

The Tower Of London Is Really Creepy

Raven, Tower of London 2011 Photo by Melanie Taylor
My daughter and I visited England a year ago. We're both English majors, so it was too cool. British Museum, National Art Gallery, Stratford Upon Avon, and lots of Shakespeare. But I must tell you about the Tower of London. It is really creepy.

Bridge and Tower sans Olympic rings.
Roman built walls.
The Tower grounds are green and lovely, like a park. Being from SoCal, I am ecstatic to walk where the Romans did. We do not have such a thing back home.
The true Tower is about 1,000 years old--I think William the Conqueror and pals built it up.

Lots of stairs.
Ye olde water closet (display only.)

Lots of stairs to climb in the towers. I would say like Quasi Modo, but he was French. In the pic to the right, the ancient commode's 'contributions' went straight down hundreds of feet to the River Thames. This toilet was from the Royal Rooms, so maybe Henry II sat here.

Windows of the Condemned.
Real Crime Scene of Torture.
We have a clear awareness of English history in
the States, thanks to HBO and the Tudors (no, not the Game of Thrones, that's fantasy; although the Tudors seems pretty fantastical, too.) The Tower of London has a really creepy vibe. It was used for executions up to the middle of the last century. It does seem odd to me that the Crown Jewels (and Olympics medals) are housed within feet of ancient torture chambers.
And we can tour the terrors like it is Disneyland.

Tower of London Chapel
It impressed me that real people such as St. Thomas More (A Man for All Seasons) and Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard-- and even my distant great grandmother, who unfortunately was the mother of the Archbishop of Canterbury Henry VIII was angry with--it struck me that they most likely prayed in this chapel knowing they would soon come to the finality of their faith. Perhaps the condemned sought  peace of mind here before they were executed. Sir Walter Raleigh, too.

Henry VIII's Armor
Executioner's Axe
I thought it interesting the choice of artifacts on display. Lots of knightwear (not p.j.s., ha, forgive the pun.) Weapons and implements of torture.
Henry the VIII's armor had a very generous-sized cod piece, probably trying to match his ego.

All the Kings' horses, literally
Mounted Bobbies.
This horsey section was my favorite (seeing the Crown jewels just made me think of starving Irish and Indians during the Victorian Age. I know we Americans aren't perfect, but I couldn't help thinking about it.) These are replicas of each King's famous mounts. They each had a dramatic story. Their descendants were on duty with the Bobbies.

Raven at Tower of London, Judy Moon at
This is an artist's interpretation of my pic of the raven, done by my high school friend Judy. She is a wonderful talent, and I think it very special to have her do this. If you like it, you can buy a copy on Etsy.

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