Monday, September 15, 2008

DAY 11

I thought we'd start the week off with a bang and hit up the Tower of London, a place I had been dying to see. The construction of the tower began in 1070 by William the Conqueror and was completed under Richard the 2nd in the late 1300s. It was incredibly dark inside a lot of the towers and thus my photos turned out extremely blurry.

Entering through the Byward tower:
I'm always curious about the places we're not supposed to go.....

Looking up at the Bell Tower

Lots of little men in costumes...

Looking down Water Lane, where Edward the 1st pushed the river Thames back to build:

St Thomas's Tower - the defensive gate tower, underneath is Traitors gate, where all the poor prisoners made their entrance. Anne Boleyn arrived here after she had been accused of treason.

Mmmm green gungy water... good thing Cinds didn't come.. she would've ended up in it! : )

Heading up into the Medival Palace (which includes St Thomas's Tower, the Wakefield Tower and the Lanthorn Tower).

St.Thomas's Tower: Edward the 1st dined and entertained his company in this room.

Some old wallpaper, didn't notice the big red blob until I put these on my computer.. hmm could it be bloooood??

Not sure what this adjoining room is...

Peeking out at the Tower Bridge

Edward the 1st's bedchamber, recreated of course.

Into the Wakefield Tower, Henry the 3rd's lodgings between 1220 and 1240. Henry the 4th was imprisoned in this tower in 1471 and murdered in it's chapel. Ooh the history!

The site of Henry's murder...

And onto the Lanthorn Tower

A good view of the White Tower from the "Wall Walk" enroute to Lanthorn Tower.

Checking things out below

Looking back at St. Thomas's

Right, Lanthorn Tower. This was built as part of Henry the 3rd's Queen's lodgings. Inside the tower it was basically a large display of objects that "help tell the story of life in the Medival Palace" like toys, some peculiar chess piece, buttons/pins (?), etc.

The peculiar chess piece.... interesting shape...

The new armouries

We've come along way on this Wall Walk device...

Many prisoners etched their names or other graffiti into the walls where they were imprisoned. Henry Walpole was a priest who was imprisoned in the Salt Tower before being returned to York for trial. He died shortly after in the worst possible way imaginable.

Next, the Broad Arrow Tower

The Broad Arrow Tower used to be connected to the government department which was responsible for royal supplies - aka - the wardrobe. Giovanni Battista Castiglione, Princess Elizabeth's italian tutor was imprisoned here by Mary the 1st, as was Sir Everard Digby, one of the Gunpowder Plot conspirators who tried to blow up Parliament in 1605.

Testing out a Broad Arrow

The "Casemates" where some of the Yeoman Warders and their families currently live. I bet they see a lot of royal ghosts.

Inside the Constable Tower, which is pretty tiny and uneventful. This wall mural details the missing armoury and states if we have seen any to report it immediately.

Here's a sad fellow, on the Wall Walk leading to the Martin Tower, where the Crown Jewels were kept from 1669 - 1841. Now it contains the Crowns and Diamonds exhibition, so we were not allowed to take pics... too bad!!

A slight glimpse at the tight/steep staircases inside the towers.

Here's a better look:

I took this pic quickly before I had to put my camera away.

Looking up at the Waterloo Barracks

The Waterloo Barracks houses the crown jewels and lots and lots of gold items: robes, coronation spoons, swords, sceptres, trumpets, plates, goblets and an orb. Lots of crowns in here, they sort of all look the same though.

A Yeoman Warder (aka Beefeater) guarding the Barracks

The Queen's House, somewhere not accessible to the public... it is believed that Henry the 8th built this for Queen Anne and she was imprisoned here just before she was beheaded at the Tower Green. Legend has it that she makes an appearance in front of the house every once in awhile... spoooky!

Chapel Royal of St. Peter and Vincula, where most of those who died on Tower Hill and 6/7 executed on Tower Green were buried. Apparently Queen Anne sometimes walks down the aisles inside the church! We weren't allowed in because we weren't in a group : (

Not sure what this building is.

A memorial for those executed

Inside the Beauchamp Tower, where prisoners were apparently squeezed in anywhere and their graffiti is all over the walls.

Just because I was interested in the whole Boleyn sister story, I took a snapshot of this bit of info.

Some elaborate graffiti

The long list of prisoners whose graffiti are inscribed in the walls of the Beauchamp Tower

Upstairs in the tower

The Bloody Tower, which was named under the assumption this was the location of the murders of the Princes Edward the 5th and Richard of Shrewsbury by their uncle, Richard the 3rd in the 1600s. In 1647, the skeletons of the boys were found hidden under a staircase leading to the Chapel of St. John in the White Tower. It was originally called the Garden Tower, a comfortable residence to Sir Walter Ralegh when he was imprisoned.
A recreation of Sir Walter Ralegh's home where he wrote History of the World.

Taking a glance around inside the walls

All that remains of the Wardrobe Tower

A royal canon!

The leftovers of a roman wall.

Time to climb the stairs into the White Tower, the oldest part of the Tower of London. They guess it was completed in 1100. This was in one of the enclaves on the way up.

From the 14th to the 19th century, the White Tower was used as a military storehouse, which is how they have set it up today.

Interesting display of ponies and their armoured men.

That can't be too comfortable...

A very blurry shot of all the King's heads. Mum tells me we're related to the dude on the left above the severely bearded fellow.

The largest armor and smallest armor every made. Apparently the tall one is 7'4.

St Johns Chapel - which is one of the most complete examples of Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical architecture in England.

The chapel was basically used as a storage room for most of it's life and then as a record depository... what a waste!
Not allowed to enter into the strange purple light...

A nice display that I didn't really pay much attention to.

A mini version of the Tower to show it's design.

What is with the eerie purple lights???

Another no-no zone

Big armoury display room

Ahh not beer sadly, but gunpowder galore!

Me and the big dude behind me.

An interactive area

Coins... in all honesty, not sure why they were there, just thought it'd be a cool pic.

More canons!!

On the way out of the Tower

The old roman wall

One last look at the White Tower

Saving the best for last.. the lower Wakefield Tower, chamber of tortures!

The displays expand on the ways prisoners were tortured, which they maintain didn't happen as often as one might think at the Tower. The Rack (below) was used to stretch a person beyond their body's capability.

Here they fold you into a pretzel and crush you in that position, lovely!

Back in Water Lane on our way to exit the Tower.

Back through Byward Tower

Peeping down Mint St. another spot where Yeoman live..
Loads of people waiting inside the entrance for their tour to begin.

Not sure if there was some sort of catapulting demo happening or what was going on here...

I stopped to chat with a friendly Yeoman (and should have had my picture taken with him!) before leaving the Tower behind.

The tower looks so massive from the outside, but really it's not that large once you're within it's walls.

After working up quite an appetite on our exploration, we hopped on the tube over the Leicester Square, the centre of vegan/veggie restos. I had heard mixed reviews of Mildreds (, but it looked nice (and full) so we went in. I feasted upon vegan tostadas and sweet potato fries, which were verrrrry scrumptious. I would definitely go back!

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