the tower…

Finally tackled the last major London icon on my list – the Tower of London. Strolled over Tower Bridge on the way to get the bus at London Bridge too.

The ToL was more odd in experiential stakes than I’d anticipated. The prime attraction of course was the Crown Jewels, deservedly with capital first letters. After braving the fire hazard of 4 rooms of queuing you can finally get up close. Quickly it’s apparent the royal family are obscenely wealthy and you’re looking at the iconic representations of that wealth within a place where thousands have been incarcerated and murdered solely in order to continue their lineage and power. All at £16.50 per adult tourist. And why do they still need tax funded allowances? Hmm? OK OK the place is run by an independent charity blah blah blah. Still.

A nice man in a cute uniform (not in a sexy way) explained how every 15 years the velvet in the crowns is replaced – at £440 per square meter. And the ermine lining the lower edges is replaced regularly too. The little brown or black dots amidst the white fur (about 20 per crown) is taken from just one place on the animal – the tip of the tail. That’s quite a few departed souls for the Queen’s head to be a little more comfortable once each November…

Rant over. Here’s some photos I liked. And some carvings by prisoners that hit home are further down too.

Apparently they can see out. They’d be useless in a fight.

Charles Bailly carved on 10th April 1571: ‘Wise men ought circumspectly to see what they do, to examine before they speake, to prove before they take in hand, to beware whose company they use and, above all things, to whom they trust.’

William Tyrrell in 1541: ‘Since fortune has chosen that my hope should go to the wind to complain, I wish the time were destroyed; my planet being ever sad and ungracious.’

Robert Bainbridge in 1586: ‘The patient shall conquer.’

G. Gyfford on 8th August 1586: ‘Grief is Overcome by Patience.’

G. G. in 1586: ‘An evil conscience makes men afraid even when safe.’

Richard Blount on 9th July 1553: ‘To whom you tell the secret you give liberty.’

This bus is going over Tower Bridge towards the Tower of London and the back says ‘London brings back hanging!’. I have no idea what it’s advertising but it surely comes in the poor taste category.

Signal flags on H.M.S. Belfast.

Indian with bright red dye job.

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