Visit to London, 18-20 May 2005
Ten members started their visit to London with a guided tour of St. Paul's Cathedral. Our Guide, Eileen Woods, is one of our members as well as an experienced St. Paul's Guide. We were able to see fascinating parts of the Cathedral which are not accessible to the general public, including the Library and the wooden Model which Sir Christopher Wren had made to help the builders to visualise the intended result of his design. We also saw the two stones from Herod's Temple which were donated to the Cathedral by a Victorian archaeologist, and a Memorial which was sculpted by Princess Louise, one of Queen Victoria's daughters.
Then we went to the Crypt, and after seeing several famous tombs and memorials, we gathered at Randolph Caldecott's Memorial where the Cathedral's Treasurer, Canon Buckler, led us in prayer.
The party then divided: some to attend Choral Evensong in the Cathedral, while the majority went (after much-needed refreshment) on a short walk to Cheapside, to see the point at which (according to Caldecott's pictures) John Gilpin's family got into their Carriage before John Gilpin set off on his immortalised Ride. Our party entered their own Carriage at the same point: compare the two...
On its wall is a memorial to John Milton, who was born in nearby Bread Street in 1608.
We went on to dinner at the Lutyens Restaurant in Jurys Hotel, Great Russell Street, WC1. The building was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens as a Hostel for the Young Women's Christian Association and opened in 1930. It is now a Listed Building, and has been thoughtfully refurbished by the Jurys Hotel chain.
On Thursday 19th May, we visited the Print Room at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and saw several of Randolph Caldecott's Sketch Books. We were able to photograph his works for our personal research use but, sadly, not for reproduction on this website.
In the afternoon, we visited Leighton House, home of Frederic, Lord Leighton (1830-1896), Randolph's contemporary and friend, whose tomb is just beside Randolph's Memorial in the Crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral. Here we saw the decorative tops of columns designed by Randolph - but again, we did not have permission to photograph them for reproduction here. (If you click on "Leighton House", one of the columns is just visible on the right-hand edge of their picture.) Nonetheless, a memorable tour: thanks, Secretary Kenn, for all your work in organising it - and to Barbara our Research Officer for finding out who to contact.