Tuesday 30 June 2009
Highlights: Greenwich Old Royal Naval College, Jack the Ripper London Walk
Today I had an enjoyable trip up the Thames in a cruise boat, starting at Tower Hill we went right under the London Tower Bridge, past the HMS Belfast and past a pub made out of the Mayflower (the famous ship that went to the USA). If that wasn’t enough Greenwich was fantastic. The Old Royal Naval College buildings are first rate, design by Christopher Wren I suppose it had to be.
Being a Naval College there are pictures and statues of Lord Nelson everywhere but also Lord Collingwood who took over from Nelson when he was shot. The Naval museum btw has the clothes Lord Nelson was wearing when killed, blood and bullet holes included! Obviously Greenwich is famous for Greenwich Mean Time which starts at the Royal Observatory and at which heaps of tourist were taking their photos off with one leg in the eastern hemisphere and one in the western. The Observatory also has a ball that drops at precisely 1 pm each day so everyone can set there clocks. In the past captains would get a sailor to set the ships clock before going out i.e. “have you got your eye on the ball”.
Greenwich is an extremely nice village and I just walked around for hours in the heat (I got a little sunburnt actually) and after visiting the Queen’s House I caught the Docklands Light Rail (DLR) for the first time back to London. This allowed me to see newer parts of London including Canary Wharf and Millennium Dome (now called O2).
After a visit back to the flat to rest it was off once again for the Jack the Ripper walk. Here we visited the places of the five murders of prostitutes in 1888. I found it especially interesting how the London Police Force and the Metropolitan Police Force actually worked against each other, one time the Commissioner of the London Force cleaned up a message from “Jack” that the Met were going to take a photo of because the message was written on his patch! However it was very sad how women had to sell themselves and be killed in such a way. Mostly they helped “Jack” by finding a quiet spot for what they thought was an ordinary trick. The church where the prostitutes had to walk around (if they stopped they could be arrested) and the conditions of the housing were terrible. I’m not sure how much I’m against prostitution in the modern day if it really is the women making the money and controlling everything, but in the past that was not the case, they simply had only two choices, sell their bodies to strangers or starve.