On Saturday 28 November 2015 a group of Newington’s Big History Ambassadors went on a day trip to the Tower of London with artist in residence Nova and People United’s Becky. Becky shares their stories from the day…
We met at Ramsgate Train station and caught the 9am train to Kings Cross St Pancras. Christina had recently been to a watercolour class and it wasn’t long before she started to unpack a travel size kit of watercolours, postcards and paintbrushes to teach myself and Tracey a simple two colour technique for a landscape painting which kept us occupied for the rest of the journey!
We arrived at Tower Hill and enjoyed coffee and pastries outside the Tower of London. Nova set the group a quick warm up challenge- to draw the outline of the buildings without looking down at the paper.
Once inside the Tower of London we headed straight to see the Crown Jewels. Walking through rooms painted in deep royal purple, rich emerald green and dark prussian blue we watched projected films and animations about Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation. Inside the Jewel House Christina chatted to the Jewel House Warden and discovered some interesting stories about the symbolism of the shapes and arrangements of the crowns. Including the secret shipment of the Cullinan I diamond sent by ordinary post while a heavily guarded ship carried a fake diamond as a decoy.
Sam’s highlight of the day: “When we went through to see the jewels I found out that the fur on the crown was from an animal called an ermine. When it is winter the animals fur turns white but the tip of the tail is brown or black (depending if it is male or female) this is used to make the fur patterns on the bottom of the crown.”
Christina’s highlight of the day: “Talking to Siobhan, a Jewel House Warden, about the Crown Jewels significance and symbolism. Especially how the orb, cross and bird represent the world, god and religion”
Over lunch we ate burgers and chatted about our own personal treasures, for nearly everyone it was our families and friends that were most valuable to us.
In the afternoon we walked the tower wall and read stories about the castle’s history including the menagerie of animals and tales of torture. The group spoke to a Yeoman Warder and of course asked for a photo.
Photo: Becky Vincer
Photo: Tracey Norton
On our way home as the group walked through the train station Sam noticed a man carrying a large gift. Cara recited the story to me: “Acts of kindness happen everywhere, when you least expect it from strangers. Sam was given three Toblerones by a gentleman carrying a 2kg box of them to the Eurostar! It put a smile on all of our faces. And then, just afterwards, at Pret we were given a free hot chocolate. Small things can mean a lot.”
Photo: Tracey Norton
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The Best of Us project has been funded by: