Thursday, December 18, 2008

Off to the Tower - 6 December 2008

Skating rink in the moatSaturday was a perfect crisp winter’s day for exploring London. We followed a walk that took us along many new (to us) narrow passageways in the City of London. It was easy to visualise these winding lanes in Dickens’s day.

A Yeoman Warder (Beefeater)Following this, we visited the Tower of London, using a ‘Palace Pass’ we purchased and which gives unlimited entry for one year to 5 royal sites, including the Tower.

New memorial at the execution siteThe history this site has seen is amazing, and a new sculpture remembers those few who were executed within its walls; most were taken from the Tower and publicly executed on nearby Tower Hill. Only if you were particularly controversial were you executed “behind closed doors.”

The White TowerThe White Tower is now used for displays of historical weapons, and the Crown Jewels are housed very securely in another building in this 18-acre site.

As we left for the day, the raven master was encouraging the ravens inside their cages for the night. Gun carriage wheelThese are ‘royal’ birds, and lead pampered, although restricted, lives as their wings are clipped to prevent them flying over the walls. According to the legend, the kingdom will fall if the ravens ever leave the Tower.

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