Monday, July 11, 2011

Greenwich, England

Our library science group left London to tour Greenwich today. Just to mix things up a bit, we took a boat from the London Eye Pier to the Greenwich Pier. It just so happened that the ticket salesperson sold me a two-way ticket. It was fun taking this sort of water taxi and seeing both banks of the Thames up to and back from Greenwich.

Once in Greenwich we walked through the University of Greenwich campus and made it over to the Stephen Lawrence Gallery. This art gallery was established in the year 2000 under some pretty sad circumstances. Possibly you had read about the racially motivated hate crime several years ago where two black youths were severely beaten by a group of white teenagers. One of the black boys, Stephen, died and his mother, Dori Lawrence, at the time was a student at the university. Later she worked at the university and she and the university community created this gallery in Stephen’s honor. It is open to the community and is a celebration of different cultures, personal expression, and as a memorial to Stephen and his love for art.

The current exhibit is entitled Uncaught Hares: Painting and Sculpture at Greenwich Studios: 1974-1994. The artists during this time period were heavily influenced by Abstract Expressionism such as that produced by Jackson Pollock, and Mark Rothko. Although it’s not my favorite style of art, I do like the paintings by Marilyn Hallam Short Story from Max, Clyde Hopkins Ron’s Trippy Craft, and Patrick Jones Circle. There is a 1972 film on this art movement in Greenwich’s Docklands at this site

At twelve o’clock noon we broke for lunch and were to reconvene at two in the afternoon. The group left the campus for lunch in the nearby town. Dr. Welsh pointed out where we were to meet at two, so I had lunch at a restaurant called Le Menu. While I ate a Croquet Monsieur, I read through The Greenwich Visitor, a local rag, and learned about The Fan Museum and the well renowned Greenwich Market both unfortunately closed on Mondays. After lunch I stopped by a nautical shop and picked up some useful items for Robert.

At ten minutes to two I was waiting and looking for the group at the predetermined location. I thought that I saw Dr. Welsh in the distance on two separate occasions. At two o’clock I was getting rather concerned about where the group was and if I misunderstood the time or place. By ten after two I went to the National Maritime Museum at the information desk to see if I could locate the group. Simon at the desk made a few phone calls and had no leads, so by two thirty I gave up hope of finding Dr. Welsh and the group. So at this point I backtracked again to the rendez-vous spot, went inside the Information Center and Greenwich Museum for a look around. Then I decided to take advantage of being in Greenwich, and I went the National Maritime Museum exhibits.

While at the Maritime Museum, I went through three exhibit areas. The first one was the Explorers exhibit on the ground floor. It had an exhibit showing a map and the goods traded from around the world. Apparently back when peppercorns were rare you could use them as currency to acquire other goods.

Two floors up there was an exhibit of other explorers and the nautical equipment that was used for navigation. Captain Cook and his three voyages was highlighted, especially his third voyage when he was up in Vancouver looking for the Northwest Passage and met his end in Hawaii. There were numerous types of maps ranging from a Polynesian map out of woven material that represented ocean currents and shells that represented islands, a map from an atlas made in Genoa showing the Mediterranean, and maps depicting Africa.

On the floor beneath this exhibit was one dedicated to the slave- trade. There was a comprehensive map depicting the Atlantic Exchange, showing the goods coming from and going to North America, the Caribbean, Europe and Africa. Also, there were a lot of materials displayed showing what led to the eventual abolition of slavery under the reign of King George III.

Feeling pretty tired at this point, I decided to return to London by boat. So, although I didn’t have the same experience as the group did on their tour, at least the day trip to Greenwich wasn’t a total loss.

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