Monday, June 24, 2013

The Tower of London

I finally had a chance to work on "Souvenir" again.  I'm really pleased with the colors I chose for this stitch.

Now I need a "Souvenir de Angleterre" to stitch.
If there was one, it might have the iconic Tower of London on it.

We ride the Docklands Light Rail to Tower Gateway frequently.  That requires a short walk to Tower Hill to transfer to the Underground.  So this is a view we've seen many times already.

The famous White Tower was constructed in the 1070's.  An impressive fortress that backed up the might and power of William the Conqueror. 

William is not the only ruler who has left his mark on the Tower complex. There has been construction and renovation for the last thousand years. The drainpipes for example, have the cypher of Queen Victoria!

Famously, the Tower was used as a prison from its beginnings through WWII. Some of the graffiti left on the walls is tragic in nature.

The Royal Mint worked in the Tower from the 13th century until 1968.
In the reign of Henry VII, a coin called a sovereign was issued with the value of a pound.  It took 240 silver pennies to equal one sovereign.  

I think duty here must be worse even that Buckingham Palace.  The Tower complex has so many tourists, it has a Disneyland-like atmosphere.

I started thinking of the employees as 'Cast Members'.

Nonetheless, they appear to be able to ignore the tourists, and go about their business with honor and dignity. 

In 2005 this sculpture of a pillow with the indented shape of a head was installed at the site of Tower Executions.  It is very well done as it engages the observer to move to place of quiet and reflection.

The famous ravens.
The group of ravens at the Tower is comprised at least seven individuals (six are required, with a seventh in reserve). The presence of the ravens is traditionally believed to protect the Crown and the Tower; superstition holds that "If the Tower of London ravens are lost or fly away, the Crown will fall and Britain with it." 

There were a few other birds out and about as well. 

150 people live within the Tower walls.

I think it would be a most interesting place to live.

This is my favorite group of buildings.

Isn't this little house squashed between two larger, taller houses precious?

London seems to be a city where old and new connect and clash and collide.

I think no matter its bloody history, there is something more harmonious and pleasing about the very old.  Don't you? 


Vickie said...

I love the very old. I had never heard of the raven superstition.

cucki said...

I love it too..strange superstition about ravens but interesting.
Love x

Ann at Beadlework. said...

I'm not a fan of the tower Beth, there's just something about it that I don't like. I think ravens have a really cheeky quality about them - a bit like crows in that way. The thing about the ravens used to be in lots of story books when I was young, I found it fascinating.

Mouse said...

knew about the ravens ... love the shots you got of them and all the wonderful types of houses there .. would love to see inside the squished one .... and just love old buildings and castles :) love mouse xxxxx

Margaret said...

So coooooool!!!!! I want to go there someday. I love the pic of the little house crammed in among the bigger ones.

Barb said...

I definitely like the old things!! How interesting about the Ravens, I had never heard that story. Souvenir is looking good. I will check back on previous blogs to see the name of that blue color. Very Pretty!

Annette-California said...

Good progress on Souvenir! I never tire seeing castles:) love Annette

Bev C said...

Hello Beth,

I am having a great time reading about your travels each day. Love the photo's of places I know I will never get to.

Beautiful stitching too.

Happy days.

Marlene Jones said...

Love your photo's, my hubby was a Welsh Guard and had duties around the Tower, they were not allowed to make eye contact with the crowds, this was a few years ago, so it might have changed. He says it was very tiring.

Chris said...


Giovanna said...

I'm so enjoying your attention for details - like all the different birds. I went to the Tower as a kid about 40 years ago - there was just a stone in the ground to mark the site of the Executions, if I remember correctly, and quite honestly I liked it better that way :-)

Athena at Minervas Garden said...

I love the blue doors in the stone walls, and hearing about the ravens--I had no idea.

Mary said...

I knew about the ravens, did you see the Crown Jewels,they are spectacular. Love the blue doors too.

Maggee said...

Somehow, I had a different picture in my mind of what that Tower would look like! Entirely different! The little house stuck between the bigger ones reminded me of that movie 'Batteries Not Included'... Again, marvelous tours and pictures! Hugs!