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December 2015: London, Cardiff, Liverpool © R. Craig Collins, 2015

Some historical narritive and a few images are from Wikipedia or Google Maps

December Click the date to jump to that day's activities
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday

1:00 to Austin

4:15 check in
6:20 AUS-LHR
Arrive LHR 9:25
Arrive Saba: 11:25

Pick up train tickets
(Paddington Station)

arrange Breakfast

To Euston Station
Train to Liverpool
B 37-38

Magical Mystery Tour
Maritime Museum

Train to London
B 47-48
14 Breakfast 7:30-9:00
British Museum
Covent Garden

Aldwych Theatre 7:30
15 Breakfast 7:30-9:00
Tube>DLR>Bus 188
Emirates Air-Line


Nat'l Maritime Museum


Winter Wonderland

16 Breakfast 7:30-9:00
To Paddington Station
Train to Cardiff
D 47-48

Cardiff Castle

Cardiff Bay

Train to London
D 37-38


7:00 depart 8:15 arrive
AUS 3:45 pm
Parking 4:45

Thursday, Dec 10
At 6:20pm, we tried to check in on the British Airways site, just to find out there was an issue. We call BA, and were told it was related to the original booking going through American Airlines, and to show up a bit early to the airport, and they would sort it out.

Friday, Dec 10
Lunch at Ye Olde English Bakery, then we headed to Austin. After dropping the car at FastPark, we arrived at the Airport just to find that there was no one at the BA counter, but a fellow passenger told us they would be there about 2:45. When the counter opened for business, we were one of the first, and we finally had seat assignments.

We checked out the gate, then went back to Ray Benson’s stage to get an snack.
Austin Java $3.89
Salt Lick, BBQ tacos $4.86, $6.86
Austin Article, snacks $8.31

3:30 We noticed “Nigel” and “Basil,” and then saw “Tommo,” so of all the bands we could see at the Ray Benson stage, it was the Eggmen. John showed up shortly. What a great way to pass the time until boarding.
Eggmen Poster

5:30 We arrive at the gate, which had very little seating. As we were on the second to the last row on the 777, we knew we’d board right after the bigwigs, so we hung out near the entry point.
Boarding Pass

6:00 Boarded, and got settled in. The plane left a bit late, 6:37 instead of 6:20.

I watched Terminator for distraction, until dinner was served; we had chicken and dumplings, with great cheese, crackers, bread and butter, and Passion Fruit Posset for dessert. We both watched Bridge of Spies, and I wasted time with San Andreas.

Heathrow Airport (IATA: LHR, ICAO: EGLL) is a major international airport in west London, England Heathrow is the busiest airport in the United Kingdom, busiest airport in Europe by passenger traffic, and third busiest airport in the world by total passenger traffic In 2014, it handled a record 73 4 million passengers.

Heathrow lies 12 nautical miles (22 km; 14 mi) west of Central London, and has two parallel east–west runways along with four operational terminals on a site that covers 12 14 square kilometres (4 69 sq mi) The airport is owned and operated by Heathrow Airport Holdings, which itself is owned by FGP TopCo Limited, an international consortium led by the Spanish Ferrovial Group that includes Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec and Government of Singapore Investment Corporation Heathrow is the primary hub for British Airways and the primary operating base for Virgin Atlantic

In London
Saturday, Dec 12

9:25, we were still circling Heathrow, but after landing we made it through passport control and popped out in the Arrivals hall right on time, 10:30.

We walked up and down the line, but could not find our driver… we assumed he was padding our arrival as folks usually don’t get through that fast… but by 11:00 were getting concerned, and I was tired of walking the length of the arrivals hall trying to find our driver. We went to the information area, and one of the employees was nice enough to call the cab company, and tell them we were waiting by his station.

11:30, the driver showed up. He apologized, saying he had not been told the flight number, and was instructed to wait in the parking garage until we called!

It was very gray out, damp, and cool. On the drive in, I pulled out my iPad to test my maps… one would not work at all, but another showed us our location as we neared the hotel.

We passed through Hammersmith, and I began to recognize items and places from Google Street view, as we turned up Shepherds Bush.

We arrived at the Saba Hotel just after noon, and they told us they could check us in, but that we would be staying at a sister property, the Saba Golden Strand, just up the road. We walk over, down the flight of stairs to room 21.
Hotel Hotel stairs

The room was just large enough for the bed and a small bath with the tiniest sink we had ever seen… but it worked.

Hotel room Hotel roomHotel room

We unpacked our bags, hung up our clothes in the little wardrobe, and generally got settled in.

2:00 We walked up Shepherds Bush to Goldhawk, and turned left to get to the Goldhawk tube station… in this part of the city the trains run above ground.

About Shepherd’s Bush
Shepherds Bush

Shepherd's Bush is an area of west London in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham Although it is primarily residential in character, its focus is the shopping area of Shepherd's Bush Green, with the Westfield shopping centre lying a short distance to the north The main thoroughfares are Uxbridge Road, Goldhawk Road and Askew Road, all containing a large number of small and mostly independent shops, pubs and restaurants The Loftus Road football stadium in Shepherd's Bush is home to Queens Park Rangers F C .

The district is bounded by Hammersmith to the south, Holland Park and Notting Hill to the east, Harlesden to the north and by Acton and Chiswick to the west The area's focal point is Shepherd's Bush Green (also known as Shepherds Bush Common), an approximately 8-acre (3 2 ha) triangular area of open grass surrounded by trees and roads with shops, with Westfield at its north western apex

The Green is a hub on the local road network, with four main roads radiating from the western side of the green and three roads approaching its eastern apex, meeting at the large Holland Park Roundabout

About Hammersmith

Hammersmith is a district in west London, England, located in the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham It is bordered by Shepherds Bush to the north, Kensington to the east, Chiswick to the west, and Fulham to the south, with which it forms part of the north bank of the River Thames It is linked by Hammersmith Bridge to Barnes in the southwest The area is one of west London's key commercial and employment centres, and has for some decades been the main centre of London's Polish minority It is a major transport hub for west London, with two London Underground stations and a bus station at Hammersmith Broadway

In the early 1660s, Hammersmith's first parish church, which later became St Paul’s, was built by Sir Nicholas Crispe who ran the brickworks in Hammersmith It contained a monument to Crispe as well as a bronze bust of King Charles I by Hubert Le Sueur. In 1696 Sir Samuel Morland was buried there. The church was completely rebuilt in 1883, but the monument and bust were transferred to the new church

The Hammersmith Suspension Bridge, designed by William Tierney Clark, was built across the Thames in 1827, and rebuilt in 1893 In 1984–1985 the bridge received structural support, and between 1997 and 2000 the bridge underwent major strengthening work In 1745, two Scots, James Lee and Lewis Kennedy, established the Vineyard Nursery, over six acres devoted to landscaping plants During the next hundred and fifty years the nursery introduced many new plants to England, including fuchsia and the standard rose tree

House construction and industrial development flourished, and major industrial sites included the Osram lamp factory at Brook Green, the J Lyons factory (which at one time employed 30,000 people) and the largest municipal power station in Britain, built near the gasworks in Sands End

In addition to the cinema and pubs of King Street, leisure activity also takes place along Hammersmith's pedestrianised riverside, home to a number of pubs, rowing clubs and the riverside park Furnival Gardens Hammersmith has a municipal park Ravenscourt Park to the west of the centre.
Intersection of King Street and Queen Caroline’s Street (A 219 Shepard’s Bush becomes Hammersmith Broadway, then Queen Caroline after it passes Beadon

King Street
Going west on King Street Area

Passes Hammersmith Station

We rode down to Paddington Station to pick up our Train tickets, and to inquire about the PlusBus program. It was a bit of a hike from the Paddington Tube station on the Hammersmith and City line to the Paddington Train station, but we found the GWR ticket kiosk and picked up an enormous amount of ticket cards, reservation cards, and receipts. We were told we could pick up the PlusBus tickets when we arrived in Cardiff, so we decided to ride to Euston Station to scope it out, as that is where we would be departing from the next day. Euston Square was a few blocks from Euston Station, but we only made one wrong turn, and got the route figured out. Back to the tube station, and back toward our hotel… but this time we rode all the way to Hammersmith.

3:00 Just around the corner we saw they Hammersmith Lyric theatre, and stumbled upon the William Morris pub, right on the corner. Menu board said they had specials, so we decided to eat.
King Street King Street

We had Ham and cheese toasties, coffee and tea. £7.68
4:00 It was already dark, so we walked to Kings mall to scope the place out, then decided to hope back on the Tube and go to the Barbican Christmas Bazaar.
Barbican Barbican

After wandering a bit, we walked back to the tube station, and rode to Hammersmith, and back to the William Morris for Scones. £4.99.

William Morris William Morris William Morris William Morris William Morris
We then headed to the Tesco to buy juice for the morning. £.70.


Sunday, December 13
5:00 Up, had coffee and juice in the room.
6:50-7:00, Dark cold walk to Goldhawk
7:15 Tube to Euston Square
7:40-7:50 walk to Euston Station
Upper Crust, 2 Ham Benedicts and a vanilla latte, £9.83
8:00 Platform 1, coach B seats 37/38… no free wifi.


Crazy high tech bathroom on the train, with a sense of humor.

To Liverpool Depart Euston 8:15
Read about the areas we would be passing on the way.  

Between London and Liverpool
Edgware is a district of north West London, in the London Borough of Barnet Edgware is centred 10 miles (16 km) north-northwest of Charing Cross and has its own commercial centre Edgware has a generally suburban character, typical of the rural-urban fringe The community benefits from some elevated woodland on a high ridge marking the Hertfordshire border of gravel and sand Edgware is identified in the London Plan as one of the capital's 35 major centres In 2011, Edgware had a population of 76,056 Edgware is principally a shopping and residential area and one of the northern termini of the Northern line It has a bus garage, a shopping centre called The Broadwalk, a library, a hospital—Edgware Community Hospital, and two streams—Edgware Brook and Deans Brook, both tributaries of a small brook known as Silk Stream, which in turn merges with the River Brent at Brent Reservoir
Edgware succeeds to the identity of the ancient parish in the county of Middlesex Edgware is a Saxon name meaning Ecgi's weir Ecgi was a Saxon and the weir relates to a pond where Ecgi's people caught fish Edgeware parish formed part of Hendon Rural District from 1894 It was abolished in 1931 and formed part of the Municipal Borough of Hendon until 1965 The Romans made pottery at Brockley Hill, thought by some to be the site of Sulloniacis Canons Park, to the north-west, was developed as an estate by James Brydges, 1st Duke of Chandos and was the site of his great palace Cannons

is a town and borough in Hertfordshire, England, situated 17 miles (27 km) northwest of central London and inside the circumference of the M25 motorway; not to be confused with Watford, Northamptonshire which is 55 miles to the north
The town developed along a road running uphill from a ford of the River Colne The land belonged to St Albans Abbey until the 16th century In the 12th century the Abbey was granted a charter allowing it to hold a market here and the building of St Mary’s Church began The town grew modestly, assisted by travelers passing through to Berkhamsted Castle and the royal palace at Kings Langley A big house was built at Cassiobury in the 16th century This was partly rebuilt in the 17th century and another substantial house was built nearby at The Grove Both the Grand Junction Canal from 1798, and the London and Birmingham Railway from 1837, allowed the town to grow faster, with paper-making mills, such as John Dickinson and Co. at Croxley, influencing the development of printing in the town which continues today Two industrial scale brewers Benskins and Sedgwicks flourished in the town until their closure in the 20th century.
There is evidence of some limited prehistoric occupation around the Watford area, with a few Celtic and Roman finds, though there is no evidence of a settlement until much later. Watford stands on a low hill near the point at which the River Colne was forded by travelers along an ancient trackway from the south east (the London area) to the north west (the Midlands) – heading for the Gade valley and thence up the Bulbourne valley to a low and easily traversed section of the Chiltern Hills near Tring Watford's High Street follows the line of this route on the northern side of the ford The town was located on the first dry ground above the marshy edges of the River Colne The name Watford may have arisen from the Old English for "waet" (full of water – the area was marshy), or "wath" (hunting), and ford St Albans Abbey claimed rights to the manor of Cashio (then called "Albanestou"), which included Watford, dating from a grant by King Offa in AD 793

St Alban’s
was the first major town on the old Roman road of Watling Street for travelers heading north and became the Roman city of Verulamium It is an historic market town and is now a dormitory town within the London commuter belt. The Roman city of Verulamium, second-largest town in Roman Britain after Londinium, was built alongside this in the valley of the River Ver a little nearer to the present city centre. The town was burned by Boudicca, Queen of the Iceni tribe, in 60-61 AD in her fight against Roman rule .
After the Roman withdrawal the town became the centre of the territory or region of the Anglo-Saxon Waeclingas tribe, being called Verlamchester or Wæclingacaester
The medieval town grew on the hill to the east of this around the Benedictine foundation of St Albans Abbey This is the spot where tradition has it that St Alban, the first British Christian martyr, was beheaded some time before AD 324. It was at one time the principal abbey in England and the first draft of Magna Carta was drawn up there, reflecting its political importance The Abbey Church, now St Albans Cathedral (formally the Cathedral & Abbey Church of St Alban but still known locally as The Abbey) became the parish church when it was bought by the local people in 1553, soon after the priory was dissolved in 1539 It was made a cathedral in 1877 when the City Charter was granted There is evidence that the original site was somewhat higher up the hill than the present building and there had certainly been successive abbeys before the current building was started in 1077

Hemel Hempstead
developed after the Second World War as a new town, but it has existed as a settlement since the 8th century and was granted its town charter by King Henry VIII in 1539 It is part of the district (and borough since 1984) of Dacorum and the Hemel Hempstead constituency
Remains of Roman villa farming settlements have been found at Boxmoor and Gadebridge which span the entire period of Roman Britain. A well preserved Roman burial mound is located in Highfield
The first recorded mention of the town is the grant of land at Hamaele by Offa, King of Essex, to the Saxon Bishop of London in AD 705 Hemel Hempstead on its present site is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as a vill, Hamelhamstede, with about 100 inhabitants The parish church of St Mary's was built in 1140, and is recognized as one of the finest Norman parish churches in the county The church features an unusual 200-foot-tall (61 m) spire, added in the 12th century, one of Europe's tallest. The town historically lay within the ancient Lancashire division known as a "hundred."
After the Norman conquest, Robert, Count of Mortain, the elder half-brother of William the Conqueror, was granted lands associated with Berkhamsted Castle which included Hemel Hempstead The estates passed through several hands over the next few centuries including Thomas Becket in 1162 Hemel Hempstead was in the Domesday hundred of Danais (Daneys, i e Danish) which by 1200 had been combined with the hundred of Tring to form the hundred of Dacorum, which maintained its court into the 19th century. In 1290 King John's grandson, the Earl of Cornwall, gave the manor to the religious order of the Bonhommes when he endowed the monastery at Ashridge The town remained part of the monastery's estates until the Reformation and break-up of Ashridge in 1539. In that same year, the town was granted a royal charter by Henry VIII to become a bailiwick with the right to hold a market and a fair on Corpus Christi Day .

is best known for Bletchley Park, the headquarters of Britain's World War II codebreaking organization, now home to The National Museum of Computing

Archaeological evidence of settlement in the area dates back to the Bronze Age, Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods During the Middle Ages, the town rose to national significance with the establishment of Northampton Castle, which was an occasional royal residence and regularly hosted the Parliament of England Medieval Northampton had many churches, monasteries and the University of Northampton, which were all enclosed by the town walls It was granted its first town charter by King Richard I in 1189 and its first mayor was appointed by King John in 1215 The town is also the site of two medieval battles; the Battle of Northampton (1264) and the second in 1460
Northampton's royal connection languished in the modern period; the town supported Parliament (the Roundheads) in the English Civil War, which culminated in King Charles II ordering the destruction of the town walls and most of the castle. The town also suffered the Great Fire of Northampton (1675) which destroyed most of the town It was soon rebuilt and grew rapidly with the industrial development of the 18th century

The earliest historical reference to Dunchurch was in the Domesday Book in the 11th century which mentioned a settlement called Doncerce
The core of the village has been declared a conservation area because it has many buildings of historical interest. Some of the buildings date from as far back as the 15th century are timber framed and still have traditional thatch roofs
For centuries Dunchurch was an important staging post on the coaching roads between London and Holyhead (now the A45 road) (classified as B4429 through the village) and Oxford and Leicester (now the A426 road). At one point 40 stagecoaches and the regular mail coach every day would stop at Dunchurch

Early Iron age settlement existed in the Rugby area, and a few miles outside what is now Rugby, existed a Roman settlement known as Tripontium. Rugby was originally a small Anglo-Saxon farming settlement, and was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Rocheberie Rugby obtained a charter to hold a market in 1255, and soon developed into a small country market town .
Rugby School was founded in 1567 by money left in the will of Lawrence Sheriff, a locally born grocer, who moved to London and earned his fortune Rugby School was originally intended as a school for local boys, but over time became a mostly fee-paying private school. The Lawrence Sheriff School was eventually founded in the late 19th century to carry on Sheriff's original intentions.
Rugby is most famous for the invention of rugby football, which is played throughout the world. The invention of the game is credited to William Webb Ellis whilst breaking the existing rules of a football match played in 1823 at Rugby School.
Warwick, Stratford-upon-Avon area: Worcester is the site of the final battle of the Civil War, Worcester was where Oliver Cromwell's New Model Army defeated King Charles II's Cavaliers, cementing the English Interregnum, the eleven-year period during which England and Wales became a republic. Worcester was the home of Royal Worcester Porcelain and, for much of his life, the composer Sir Edward Elgar. It houses the Lea & Perrins factory where the traditional Worcestershire Sauce is made

was the capital of England more than once in the 15th century when the seat of Government was held in Coventry. Coventry's heritage includes the Roman Fort at Baginton, Lady Godiva, St Mary's Guildhall (where kings and queens were entertained) and three cathedrals.
Coventry is located in the county of West Midlands but is historically part of Warwickshire The Romans founded a settlement in Baginton and another formed around a Saxon nunnery, founded c AD 700 by St Osburga, that was later left in ruins by King Canute's invading Danish army in 1016. Leofric, Earl of Mercia and his wife Lady Godiva built on the remains of the nunnery and founded a Benedictine monastery in 1043 dedicated to St Mary. In time, a market was established at the abbey gates and the settlement expanded.
By the 14th century, Coventry was an important centre of the cloth trade, and throughout the Middle Ages was one of the largest and most important cities in England The bishops of Lichfield were often referred to as bishops of Coventry and Lichfield, or Lichfield and Coventry (from 1102 to 1541) Coventry claimed the status of a city by ancient prescriptive usage, was granted a charter of incorporation in 1345, and in 1451 became a county in its own right.

is the largest and most populous British city outside London Birmingham as a settlement dates from the Anglo-Saxon era The city's name comes from the Old English Beormingahām, meaning the home or settlement of the Beormingas – indicating that Birmingham was established in the 6th or early 7th century as the primary settlement of an Anglian tribal grouping and region of that name.
Despite this early importance, by the time of the Domesday Book of 1086 the manor of Birmingham was one of the poorest and least populated in Warwickshire, valued at only 20 shillings, with the area of the modern city divided between the counties of Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Worcestershire. Birmingham's explosive industrial expansion started earlier than that of the textile-manufacturing towns of the North of England, and was driven by different factors. Instead of the economies of scale of a low-paid, unskilled workforce producing a single bulk commodity such as cotton or wool in large, mechanized units of production, Birmingham's industrial development was built on the adaptability and creativity of a highly paid workforce with a strong division of labor, practicing a broad variety of skilled specialist trades and producing a constantly diversifying range of products, in a highly entrepreneurial economy of small, often self-owned workshops. This led to exceptional levels of inventiveness: between 1760 and 1850 – the core years of the Industrial Revolution – Birmingham residents registered over three times as many patents as those of any other British town or city. Birmingham rose to national political prominence in the campaign for political reform in the early 19th century, with Thomas Attwood and the Birmingham Political Union bringing the country to the brink of civil war during the Days of May that preceded the passing of the Great Reform Act in 1832. Birmingham's tradition of innovation continued into the 19th century Birmingham was the terminus for both of the world's first two long-distance railway lines: the 82 mile Grand Junction Railway of 1837 and the 112 mile London and Birmingham Railway of 1838. Birmingham schoolteacher Rowland Hill invented the postage stamp and created the first modern universal postal system in 1839. Alexander Parkes invented the first man-made plastic in the Jewellery Quarter in 1855.
By the 1820s, an extensive canal system had been constructed, giving greater access to natural resources and fuel for industries.

: The city lies on the River Soar and at the edge of the National Forest It is the burial place of King Richard III. "Unlike almost every other city in the UK, Leicester has retained a remarkable record of its past in buildings that still stand today." Ancient Roman pavements and baths remain in Leicester from its early settlement as Ratae, a Roman military outpost in a region inhabited by the Celtic Corieltauvi tribe. Following the Roman withdrawal from Britain, the early medieval Ratae is shrouded in obscurity, but when the settlement was captured by the Danes it became one of five fortified towns important to the Danelaw and it appeared in the Domesday Book as "Ledecestre." Leicester is one of the oldest cities in England, with a history going back at least two millennia.
The native Iron Age settlement encountered by the Romans at the site seems to have developed in the 2nd or 1st centuries BC. Little is known about this settlement or the condition of the River Soar at this time, although roundhouses from this era have been excavated and seem to have clustered along roughly 8 hectares (20 acres) of the east bank of the Soar above its confluence with the Trent This area of the Soar was split into two channels: a main stream to the east and a narrower channel on the west, with a presumably marshy island between The settlement seems to have controlled a ford across the larger channel The later Roman name was a latinate form of the Brittonic word for "ramparts" (cf Gaelic rath & the nearby villages of Ratby and Ratcliffe), suggesting the site was an oppidum The plural form of the name suggests it was initially composed of several villages. The Celtic tribe holding the area was later recorded as the "Coritanians" but an inscription recovered in 1983 showed this to have been a corruption of the original "Corieltauvians."

, As home to Lombe's Mill, an early British factory, Derby is considered a birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. With the arrival of the railways in the 19th century, and because of its strategic central location, the city grew to become a centre of the British rail industry.
Today, Derby is an internationally renowned centre for advanced transport manufacturing, home to the world’s second largest aero-engine manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, and Derby Litchurch Lane Works—the UK's only remaining train manufacturer.

has links to the legend of Robin Hood and to the lace-making, bicycle (notably Raleigh bikes) and tobacco industries. It was granted its city charter in 1897 as part of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee celebrations. Nottingham is a tourist destination; in 2011, visitors spent over £1.5 billion - the sixth highest amount in England. Nottingham Castle was constructed in the 11th century on a sandstone outcrop by the River Leen. The Anglo-Saxon settlement developed into the English Borough of Nottingham and housed a Town Hall and Law Courts. A settlement also developed around the castle on the hill opposite and was the French borough supporting the Normans in the castle. Eventually, the space between was built on as the town grew and the Old Market Square became the focus of Nottingham several centuries later.
On the return of Richard the Lionheart from the Crusades, the Castle was occupied by supporters of Prince John, including the Sheriff of Nottingham. It was besieged by Richard and, after a sharp conflict, was captured. In the legends of Robin Hood, Nottingham Castle is the scene of the final showdown between the Sheriff and the hero outlaw.

Archaeology of the town traces its beginnings to the 1st century and the construction of a Roman fort, which became redundant and was abandoned once peace was achieved. Later an Anglian village grew up on the site; the name Chesterfield stems from the Anglo-Saxon words 'caester' (a Roman fort) and 'feld' (grazing land).
Chesterfield received its market charter in 1204 and has a moderate sized market on three days a week. The town sits on a large coalfield which formed a major part of the area's economy until the 1980s. Little evidence of the mining industry remains today.
The town's best known landmark is the Church of St Mary and All Saints, popularly known as the "Crooked Spire", which was originally constructed in the 14th-century.

Possibly inhabited by earlier peoples, Doncaster grew up at the site of a Roman fort constructed in the 1st century at a crossing of the River Don. The 2nd-century Antonine Itinerary and the early 5th-century Notitia Dignitatum (Register of Dignitaries) called this fort Danum. The first section of the road to the Doncaster fort had probably been constructed since the early 50s, while a route through the north Derbyshire hills was opened in the latter half of the 1st century, possibly by Governor Gn. Julius Agricola during the late 70s. Doncaster provided an alternative direct land route between Lincoln and York. The main route between Lincoln and York was Ermine Street, which required parties to break into smaller units to cross the Humber in boats. As this was not always practical, the Romans considered Doncaster to be an important staging post. The Roman road through Doncaster appears on two routes recorded in the Antonine Itinerary. The itinerary include the same section of road between Lincoln and York, and list three stations along the route between these two coloniae. Routes 7 and 8 (Iter VII & VIII) are entitled "the route from York to London".
Several areas of known intense archaeological interest have been identified in the town, although many—in particular St Sepulchre Gate—remain hidden under buildings. The Roman fort is believed to have been located on the site that is now covered by St George's Minster, next to the River Don. The Doncaster garrison units are named in the Register produced near the end of Roman rule in Britain: it was the home of the Crispinian Horse, presumably named because it was originally recruited from among the tribes living near Crispiana in Pannonia Superior (near present-day Zirc in western Hungary), but possibly owing to Crispus, son of Constantine the Great, being headquartered there while his father was based in nearby York. The Register names the unit as under the command of the "Duke of the Britons".
Doncaster is generally believed to be the Cair Daun listed as one of the 28 cities of Britain in the 9th-century History of the Britons traditionally attributed to Nennius. It was certainly an Anglo-Saxon burh, during which period it received its present name: "Don-" (Old English: Donne) from the Roman settlement and river and "-caster" (-ceaster) from an Old English adaptation of the Latin castra ("military camp; fort"). The settlement was mentioned in the 1003 will of Wulfric Spott. Shortly after the Norman Conquest, Nigel Fossard refortified the town and constructed Conisbrough Castle. By the time of the Domesday Book, Hexthorpe was described as having a church and two mills. The historian David Hey says that these facilities represent the settlement at Doncaster. He also suggests that the street name Frenchgate indicates that Fossard invited fellow Normans to trade in the town.
As the 13th century approached, Doncaster matured into a busy town; in 1194 King Richard I granted it national recognition with a town charter. Doncaster had a disastrous fire in 1204, from which it slowly recovered. At the time, buildings were built of wood, and open fireplaces were used for cooking and heating. Fire was a constant hazard.
In 1248 a charter was granted for Doncaster Market to be held around the Church of St Mary Magdalene, built in Norman times. In the 16th century, the church was adapted for use as the town hall. It was finally demolished in 1846.Some 750 years on, the market continues to operate, with its busy traders located both under cover, at the 19th-century 'Corn Exchange' building (1873) and in outside stalls. The Corn Exchange was extensively rebuilt in 1994 after a major fire.
During the 14th century, numerous friars arrived in Doncaster who were known for their religious enthusiasm and preaching. In 1307 the Franciscan friars (Greyfriars) arrived, and Carmelites (Whitefriars) arrived in the middle of the 14th century. In the Medieval period, other major features of the town included the Hospital of St Nicholas and the leper colony of the Hospital of St James, a moot hall, grammar school, and the five-arched stone town bridge, with a chapel dedicated to Our Lady of the Bridge. By 1334 Doncaster was the wealthiest town in southern Yorkshire and the sixth most important town in Yorkshire as a whole, even boasting its own banker. By 1379 it was recovering from the Black Death, which had reduced its population to 1,500. By 1547 its population exceeded 2,000. The town was incorporated in 1461, and its first Mayor and corporation were established.
Many of Doncaster's streets are named with the suffix 'gate'. The word 'gate' is derived from the old Danish word 'gata,' which meant street. During Medieval times, craftsmen or tradesmen with similar skills, tended to live in the same street. Baxter is an ancient word for baker; Baxtergate was the bakers' street. Historians believe that 'Frenchgate' may be named after French-speaking Normans who settled on this street.
The Medieval township of Doncaster is known to have been protected by earthen ramparts and ditches, with four substantial gates as entrances to the town. These gates were located at Hall Gate, St Mary's Bridge (old), St Sepulchre Gate, and Sunny Bar. Today the gates at Sunny Bar are commemorated by huge 'Boar Gates'; similarly, the entrance to St Sepulchre Gate is commemorated with white marble 'Roman Gates'. The boundary of the town principally extended from the River Don, along what is now Market Road, and Silver, Cleveland and Printing Office streets.

By 1296, a market had been established at what is now known as Castle Square, and Sheffield subsequently grew into a small market town. In the 14th century, Sheffield was already noted for the production of knives, as mentioned in Geoffrey Chaucer's The Canterbury Tales, and by the early 1600s it had become the main centre of cutlery manufacture in England outside of London, overseen by the Company of Cutlers in Hallamshire. From 1570 to 1584, Mary, Queen of Scots, was imprisoned in Sheffield Castle and Sheffield Manor. During the 19th century, Sheffield gained an international reputation for steel production. Many innovations were developed locally, including crucible and stainless steel, fueling an almost tenfold increase in the population in the Industrial Revolution. Sheffield received its municipal charter in 1843, becoming the City of Sheffield in 1893.

: The recorded history of Manchester began with the civilian settlement associated with the Roman fort of Mamucium, a variant of which name (Mancunium) is preserved by the city's demonym: residents are still referred to as Mancunians. The Roman fort was established in about 79 AD on a sandstone bluff near the confluence of the rivers Medlock and Irwell. It was historically a part of Lancashire, although areas of Cheshire south of the River Mersey were incorporated during the 20th century. Throughout the Middle Ages Manchester remained a manorial township but began to expand "at an astonishing rate" around the turn of the 19th century. Manchester's unplanned urbanization was brought on by a boom in textile manufacture during the Industrial Revolution, and resulted in it becoming the world's first industrialized city.
Manchester achieved city status in 1853, the first new British city for three hundred years. The Manchester Ship Canal, at the time the longest river navigation canal in the world, opened in 1894, creating the Port of Manchester and linking the city to sea, 36 miles (58 km) to the west. Its fortunes declined after the Second World War however, owing to deindustrialization, but investment spurred by the 1996 Manchester bombing led to extensive regeneration.
Today Manchester is ranked as a beta world city by the Globalization and World Cities Research Network and is consequently the highest ranked British city except for London, and its metropolitan economy is the second biggest in England.

Lichfield is a cathedral city and civil parish in Staffordshire, England One of eight civil parishes with city status in England, Lichfield is situated roughly 16 mi (26 km) north of Birmingham At the time of the 2011 Census the population was estimated at 32,219 and the wider Lichfield District at 100,700
Notable for its three-spired medieval cathedral, Lichfield was the birthplace of Samuel Johnson, the writer of the first authoritative Dictionary of the English Language The city's recorded history began when Chad of Mercia arrived to establish his Bishopric in 669 CE and the settlement grew as the ecclesiastical centre of Mercia In 2009, the Staffordshire Hoard, the largest hoard of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver metalwork, was found 5 9 km (3 7 mi) southwest of Lichfield

Stafford It is thought Stafford was founded in about 700 AD by a Mercian prince called Bertelin who, according to legend, established a hermitage on the peninsula named Betheney or Bethnei. Until recently it was thought that the remains of a wooden preaching cross from this time had been found under the remains of St Bertelin's chapel, next to the later collegiate Church of St Mary in the centre of the town. Recent re-examination of the evidence shows this was a misinterpretation – it was a tree trunk coffin placed centrally in the first, timber, chapel at around the time Æthelflæd founded the burh, in 913 AD. The tree trunk coffin may have been placed there as an object of commemoration or veneration of St Bertelin.
Stoke-on-Trent is polycentric, having been formed by a federation of six towns in the early 20th century. It took its name from Stoke-upon-Trent, where the town hall and the railway station are located. Hanley is the primary commercial centre. The four other towns are Burslem, Tunstall, Longton and Fenton.

is the home of the pottery industry in England and is commonly known as the Potteries. Since the 17th century, the area has been almost exclusively known for its industrial-scale pottery manufacturing. Companies such as Royal Doulton, Dudson Ltd, Spode (founded by Josiah Spode), Wedgwood (founded by Josiah Wedgwood), Minton (founded by Thomas Minton) and Baker & Co. (founded by William Baker) were established and based there. The local abundance of coal and clay suitable for earthenware production led to the early (initially limited) development of the local pottery industry. The construction of the Trent and Mersey Canal (completed in 1777) enabled the import of china clay from Cornwall together with other materials and facilitated the production of creamware and bone china.

is not mentioned in the Domesday Book, as it grew up around the 12th century castle, but it must have rapidly become a place of importance because a charter, known only through a reference in another charter to Preston, was given to the town by Henry II in 1173. The new castle was built to supersede an older fortress at Chesterton about 2 miles (3 km) to the north, the ruins of which were visible up to the end of the 16th century.
In 1235 Henry III constituted it a free borough, granting a guild merchant and other privileges. In 1251 he leased it at fee-farm to the burgesses. In 1265 Newcastle was granted by the Crown to Simon de Montfort, and subsequently to Edmund Crouchback, through whom it passed to Henry IV. In John Leland's time the castle had disappeared "save one great Toure".
Newcastle did not feature much in the English Civil War, save a Royalist plundering. However, it was the hometown of Major General Thomas Harrison a Cromwellian army officer and leader of the Fifth Monarchy Men.
Crewe is perhaps best known as a large railway junction and home to Crewe Works, for many years a major railway engineering facility for manufacturing and overhauling locomotives. From 1946 until 2002 it was also the home of Rolls-Royce motor car production. The Pyms Lane factory on the west of the town now produces Bentley motor cars exclusively.
Northwich is a town and civil parish in the unitary authority of Cheshire West and Chester and the ceremonial county of Cheshire, England. It lies in the heart of the Cheshire Plain, at the confluence of the rivers Weaver and Dane. Northwich has been named as one of the best places to live in the United Kingdom according to The Sunday Times in 2014.
The area around Northwich has been exploited for its salt pans since Roman times, when the settlement was known as Condate. The town has been severely affected by salt mining, and subsidence has historically been a significant problem. The existence of Northwich in the early medieval period is shown by its record in the Domesday Book.
Runcorn was a small, isolated village until the coming of the Industrial Revolution. It was a health resort in the late 18th. Towards the end of the 18th century, a port began to develop on the south bank of the River Mersey. During the 19th century, industries developed the manufacture of soap and alkali, quarrying, shipbuilding, engineering and tanning. Widnis is on the northern bank, across the River Mersey where the estuary narrows to form the Runcorn Gap.
Birkenhead is along the west bank of the River Mersey, opposite the city of Liverpool. Bootle , formerly known as Bootle-cum-Linacre, is north of Liverpool, it’s economy has been centered on the docks, taking over that role from Liverpool.
Liverpool is in Merseyside, England. A borough from 1207 and a city from 1880. Liverpool is in the south west of the historic county of Lancashire in North West England, on the eastern side of the Mersey Estuary. The town historically lay within the ancient Lancashire division of West Derby known as a "hundred."
King John's letters patent of 1207 announced the foundation of the borough of Liverpool, but by the middle of the 16th century the population was still only around 500. The original street plan of Liverpool is said to have been designed by King John near the same time it was granted a royal charter, making it a borough. The original seven streets were laid out in an H shape: Bank Street (now Water Street), Castle Street, Chapel Street, Dale Street, Juggler Street (now High Street), Moor Street (now Tithebarn Street) and Whiteacre Street (now Old Hall Street).
In the 17th century there was slow progress in trade and population growth. Battles for the town were waged during the English Civil War, including an eighteen-day siege in 1644. In 1699 Liverpool was made a parish by Act of Parliament, that same year its first slave ship, Liverpool Merchant, set sail for Africa. As trade from the West Indies surpassed that of Ireland and Europe, and as the River Dee silted up, Liverpool began to grow. The first commercial wet dock was built in Liverpool in 1715. Substantial profits from the slave trade helped the town to prosper and rapidly grow, although several prominent local men, including William Rathbone, William Roscoe and Edward Rushton, were at the forefront of the abolitionist movement.
Liverpool was the port of registry of the ocean liner RMS Titanic, and many other Cunard and White Star ocean liners such as the RMS Lusitania, Queen Mary, and Olympic. The words Titanic, Liverpool could be seen on the stern of the ship that sank in April 1912 with the loss of 1,517 lives (including numerous Liverpudlians). A Memorial to the Engine Room Heroes of the Titanic is located on the city's waterfront. Liverpool's status as a port city has contributed to its diverse population. The city is also home to the oldest Black African community in the country and the oldest Chinese community in Europe.
During the Second World War there were 80 air-raids on Merseyside, killing 2,500 people and causing damage to the metropolitan area. Significant rebuilding followed the war, but the portions of the city's heritage that survived German bombing could not withstand urban renewal.
Natives of Liverpool are referred to as Liverpudlians (from a long-standing jocular alteration of 'Liverpool' to 'Liverpuddle') and colloquially as "Scousers", a reference to "scouse", a form of stew. The word "Scouse" has also become synonymous with the Liverpool accent and dialect.
Tourism forms a significant part of the city's modern economy. Labelled the "World Capital City of Pop" by Guinness World Records, the popularity of The Beatles, and other groups from the Merseybeat era and later, contributes to Liverpool's status as a tourist destination. Several areas of Liverpool city centre were granted World Heritage Site status by UNESCO in 2004. The Liverpool Maritime Mercantile City includes the Pier Head, Albert Dock, and William Brown Street. Liverpool is also the home of two Premier League football clubs, Liverpool and Everton. Matches between the two are known as the Merseyside derby.

In Liverpool
After arriving at Lime Street Station, we got a map and walked to the Mersey, passing Christmas stalls, two bands, and Queen Victoria’s memorial. Once past the pedestrian shopping area, we could see a line of very unique buildings, starting with the Royal Liver Building, to the Albert Docks.
Liverpool walk Liverpool walk Liverpool walk Liverpool walk

Liverpool walk Liverpool walk
The Albert Docks house the Tate Museum, Merseyside Maritime Museum, and a lot of condos, shops, and restaurants. The south side of the Albert Docks houses the Atlantic Courtyard, which includes the “Beatle’s Story” and the “Magical Mystery Tour.”

We circled the Atlantic Courtyard, and finally found the Magical Mystery Tour office, and picked up our tickets. We wandered a bit, and then got in line for the bus, near a barge that looked suspiciously like a yellow submarine.
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour

12:30 We boarded the bus and met Ray the driver ( a musician who had performed with Pete Best internationally), and Chris Johnson (the kid brother of the lead singer of Frankie goes to Hollywood), our guide.
Magical Mystery Tour

Once on board, we headed past Ringo’s birthplace, now an area set to be demolished but on hold because of Ringo’s connection. Near there was the Empress pub, which is near his boyhood home, and on the cover of his first solo album, “Sentimental Journey.” Then we headed to Penny Lane, and drove the length from a park area, to the neighborhood with the Bank, Fire Station, roundabout, and Barber.
Magical Mystery Tour

From there, if was off to see George Harrison’s boyhood home, which did not have indoor facilites when he was there. It is on Arnold Grove, a name George used as an alias when checking into hotels later.
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour
Then it was off to the Orphanage and home for unwed mother’s behind John Lennon’s boyhood home, Strawberry Fields… where we stopped an the gate.
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour

Now we were off to John Lennon’s Aunts home for a drive by, on the way to Paul McCartney’s childhood home.
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour

We drove by St. Peter’s Church where John Lennon first met Paul McCartney, and in whose graveyard lays one Elinor Rigby. We also got a great view of both the Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals…
Magical Mystery Tour Magical Mystery Tour

We then swung by the Liverpool Institure of Performing Arts, LIPA; McCartney bought the the two side by side high schools he and John Lennon had attended and sunk some money in the bring them back to use.
Cavern Quarter Cavern Quarter
Cavern Quarter Cavern Quarter

2:30 After the tour ended, we were dropped near the Cavern Club. We went down and listened to some music, and got Cavern Club Souveniers, £5.95.
Liverpool cardLiverpool card

3:00 We found a Gregg’s and had Potato and Meat Pasties, and then Cookies. £6.19. This place also had an interesting toilet.

Liverpool map

Liverpool map
3:30 We had some time, so it was back to the Albert Docks to visit the Merseyside Maritime Museum… outside were lit up tall ships and a giant anchor, inside they had great displays the Lusitania, WW I and WWII, and the Titanic.
Magical Mystery Tour Albert Dock
Albert Dock Albert Dock
Merseyside Maritime Museum Merseyside Maritime Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum Merseyside Maritime Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum Merseyside Maritime Museum
Merseyside Maritime Museum Merseyside Maritime Museum

4:30 It was time to head back to the train station, but there were a bunch of great Christmas lights on the way.

Liverpool lights Liverpool lights
Liverpool lights Liverpool lights
Liverpool lights Liverpool lights

Stopped and picked up some snacks for the train ride back at Boots, £2.50.
Liverpool to London

8:15 arrive at Euston station, walked to Euston Square and got to the train to Hammersmith… as there were still a lot of things we had not yet tried, we ate at the William Morris, tomato/cheese Panninis and a BLT Baugette, with coffee and hot chocolate, and hot fudge cake for dessert. £11.33
At the hotel, it was almost like a sauna… that radiator made for a long, hot, sleepless night.

Monday, December 14
We opened the window to cool off, and by 8:15 we hit the breakfast room. Fresh cooked scrambled eggs, beans, toast, coffee, tea, and juice.
Breakfast area
Breakfast area Breakfast area

Took the Central line to Tottenham Court, and walked to the British Museum.

History of the British Museum

The British Museum is a museum dedicated to human history, art, and culture, located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection, numbering some 8 million works, is among the largest and most comprehensive in existence and originates from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1881. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin.

Until 1997, the British Museum housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee, except for loan exhibitions.

Sir Hans Sloane, founder of the British Museum
Although today principally a museum of cultural art objects and antiquities, the British Museum was founded as a "universal museum". Its foundations lie in the will of the Irish-born British physician and naturalist Sir Hans Sloane (1660–1753). During the course of his lifetime Sloane gathered an enviable collection of curiosities and, not wishing to see his collection broken up after death, he bequeathed it to King George II, for the nation, for the princely sum of £20,000.

At that time, Sloane's collection consisted of around 71,000 objects of all kinds including some 40,000 printed books, 7,000 manuscripts, extensive natural history specimens including 337 volumes of dried plants, prints and drawings including those by Albrecht Dürer and antiquities from Sudan, Egypt, Greece, Rome, the Ancient Near and Far East and the Americas.

Foundation (1753)
On 7 June 1753, King George II gave his formal assent to the Act of Parliament which established the British Museum. The British Museum Act 1753 also added two other libraries to the Sloane collection, namely the Cottonian Library, assembled by Sir Robert Cotton, dated back to Elizabethan times and the Harleian library, the collection of the Earls of Oxford. They were joined in 1757 by the Royal Library, assembled by various British monarchs. Together these four "foundation collections" included many of the most treasured books now in the British Library including the Lindisfarne Gospels and the sole surviving copy of Beowulf.

Montagu House, c. 1715
The British Museum was the first of a new kind of museum – national, belonging to neither church nor king, freely open to the public and aiming to collect everything. Sloane's collection, while including a vast miscellany of objects, tended to reflect his scientific interests. The addition of the Cotton and Harley manuscripts introduced a literary and antiquarian element and meant that the British Museum now became both national museum and library.

Cabinet of curiosities (1753–78)
The body of trustees decided on a converted 17th-century mansion, Montagu House, as a location for the museum, which it bought from the Montagu family for £20,000. The Trustees rejected Buckingham House, on the site now occupied by Buckingham Palace, on the grounds of cost and the unsuitability of its location.

With the acquisition of Montagu House the first exhibition galleries and reading room for scholars opened on 15 January 1759. In 1757 King George II gave the Old Royal Library and with it the right to a copy of every book published in the country, thereby ensuring that the Museum's library would expand indefinitely. During the few years after its foundation the British Museum received several further gifts, including the Thomason Collection of Civil War Tracts and David Garrick's library of 1,000 printed plays. The predominance of natural history, books and manuscripts began to lessen when in 1772 the Museum acquired for £8,400 its first significant antiquities in Sir William Hamilton's "first" collection of Greek vases.

Indolence and energy (1778–1800)
From 1778 a display of objects from the South Seas brought back from the round-the-world voyages of Captain James Cook and the travels of other explorers fascinated visitors with a glimpse of previously unknown lands. The bequest of a collection of books, engraved gems, coins, prints and drawings by Clayton Mordaunt Cracherode in 1800 did much to raise the Museum's reputation; but Montagu House became increasingly crowded and decrepit and it was apparent that it would be unable to cope with further expansion.

The museum’s first notable addition towards its collection of antiquities, since its foundation, was by Sir William Hamilton (1730–1803), British Ambassador to Naples, who sold his collection of Greek and Roman artefacts to the museum in 1784 together with a number of other antiquities and natural history specimens. A list of donations to the Museum, dated 31 January 1784 refers to the Hamilton bequest of a "Colossal Foot of an Apollo in Marble". It was one of two antiquities of Hamilton's collection drawn for him by Francesco Progenie, a pupil of Pietro Fabris, who also contributed a number of drawings of Mount Vesuvius sent by Hamilton to the Royal Society in London.

Growth and change (1800–25)
In the early 19th century the foundations for the extensive collection of sculpture began to be laid and Greek, Roman and Egyptian artefacts dominated the antiquities displays. After the defeat of the French campaign in the Battle of the Nile, in 1801, the British Museum acquired more Egyptian sculptures and in 1802 King George III presented the Rosetta Stone – key to the deciphering of hieroglyphs. Gifts and purchases from Henry Salt, British consul general in Egypt, beginning with the Colossal bust of Ramesses II in 1818, laid the foundations of the collection of Egyptian Monumental Sculpture. Many Greek sculptures followed, notably the first purpose-built exhibition space, the Charles Towneley collection, much of it Roman Sculpture, in 1805. In 1806, Thomas Bruce, 7th Earl of Elgin, ambassador to the Ottoman Empire from 1799 to 1803 removed the large collection of marble sculptures from the Parthenon, on the Acropolis in Athens and transferred them to the UK. In 1816 these masterpieces of western art, were acquired by The British Museum by Act of Parliament and deposited in the museum thereafter. The collections were supplemented by the Bassae frieze from Phigaleia, Greece in 1815. The Ancient Near Eastern collection also had its beginnings in 1825 with the purchase of Assyrian and Babylonian antiquities from the widow of Claudius James Rich.

In 1802 a Buildings Committee was set up to plan for expansion of the museum, and further highlighted by the donation in 1822 of the King's Library, personal library of King George III's, comprising 65,000 volumes, 19,000 pamphlets, maps, charts and topographical drawings. The neoclassical architect, Sir Robert Smirke, was asked to draw up plans for an eastern extension to the Museum "... for the reception of the Royal Library, and a Picture Gallery over it ..." and put forward plans for today's quadrangular building, much of which can be seen today. The dilapidated Old Montagu House was demolished and work on the King's Library Gallery began in 1823. The extension, the East Wing, was completed by 1831. However, following the founding of the National Gallery, London in 1824,[e] the proposed Picture Gallery was no longer needed, and the space on the upper floor was given over to the Natural history collections.
The Museum became a construction site as Sir Robert Smirke's grand neo-classical building gradually arose. The King's Library, on the ground floor of the East Wing, was handed over in 1827, and was described as one of the finest rooms in London. Although it was not fully open to the general public until 1857, special openings were arranged during The Great Exhibition of 1851. In spite of dirt and disruption the collections grew, outpacing the new building.

In 1840 the Museum became involved in its first overseas excavations, Charles Fellows's expedition to Xanthos, in Asia Minor, whence came remains of the tombs of the rulers of ancient Lycia, among them the Nereid and Payava monuments. In 1857 Charles Newton was to discover the 4th-century BC Mausoleum of Halikarnassos, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. In the 1840s and 1850s the Museum supported excavations in Assyria by A.H. Layard and others at sites such as Nimrud and Nineveh. Of particular interest to curators was the eventual discovery of Ashurbanipal's great library of cuneiform tablets, which helped to make the Museum a focus for Assyrian studies.

Sir Thomas Grenville (1755–1846), a Trustee of The British Museum from 1830, assembled a fine library of 20,240 volumes, which he left to the Museum in his will. The books arrived in January 1847 in twenty-one horse-drawn vans. The only vacant space for this large library was a room originally intended for manuscripts, between the Front Entrance Hall and the Manuscript Saloon. The books remained here until the British Library moved to St Pancras in 1998.

Collecting from the wider world (1850–75)
The opening of the forecourt in 1852 marked the completion of Robert Smirke's 1823 plan, but already adjustments were having to be made to cope with the unforeseen growth of the collections. Infill galleries were constructed for Assyrian sculptures and Sydney Smirke's Round Reading Room, with space for a million books, opened in 1857. Because of continued pressure on space the decision was taken to move natural history to a new building in South Kensington, which would later become the British Museum (Natural History).

Roughly contemporary with the construction of the new building was the career of a man sometimes called the "second founder" of the British Museum, the Italian librarian Anthony Panizzi. Under his supervision, the British Museum Library (now part of the British Library) quintupled in size and became a well-organised institution worthy of being called a national library, the largest library in the world after the National Library of Paris. The quadrangle at the centre of Smirke's design proved to be a waste of valuable space and was filled at Panizzi's request by a circular Reading Room of cast iron, designed by Smirke's brother, Sydney Smirke.

Until the mid-19th century, the Museum's collections were relatively circumscribed but, in 1851, with the appointment to the staff of Augustus Wollaston Franks to curate the collections, the Museum began for the first time to collect British and European medieval antiquities, prehistory, branching out into Asia and diversifying its holdings of ethnography. A real coup for the museum was the purchase in 1867, over French objections, of the Duke of Blacas's wide-ranging and valuable collection of antiquities. Overseas excavations continued and John Turtle Wood discovered the remains of the 4th century BC Temple of Artemis at Ephesos, another Wonder of the Ancient World.

Scholarship and legacies (1875–1900)
Display case of Renaissance metalware from the Waddesdon Bequest, 2014
The natural history collections were an integral part of the British Museum until their removal to the new British Museum (Natural History), now the Natural History Museum, in 1887. With the departure and the completion of the new White Wing (fronting Montague Street) in 1884, more space was available for antiquities and ethnography and the library could further expand. This was a time of innovation as electric lighting was introduced in the Reading Room and exhibition galleries.

The William Burges collection of armoury was bequeathed to the museum in 1881. In 1882 the Museum was involved in the establishment of the independent Egypt Exploration Fund (now Society) the first British body to carry out research in Egypt. A bequest from Miss Emma Turner in 1892 financed excavations in Cyprus. In 1897 the death of the great collector and curator, A.W. Franks, was followed by an immense bequest of 3,300 finger rings, 153 drinking vessels, 512 pieces of continental porcelain, 1,500 netsuke, 850 inro, over 30,000 bookplates and miscellaneous items of jewellery and plate, among them the Oxus Treasure.

In 1898 Baron Ferdinand de Rothschild bequeathed the Waddesdon Bequest, the glittering contents from his New Smoking Room at Waddesdon Manor. This consisted of almost 300 pieces of objets d'art et de vertu which included exquisite examples of jewellery, plate, enamel, carvings, glass and maiolica, among them the Holy Thorn Reliquary, probably created in the 1390s in Paris for John, Duke of Berry. The collection was in the tradition of a schatzkammer or treasure house such as those formed by the Renaissance princes of Europe. Baron Ferdinand's will was most specific, and failure to observe the terms would make it void, the collection should be placed in a special room to be called the Waddesdon Bequest Room separate and apart from the other contents of the Museum and thenceforth for ever thereafter, keep the same in such room or in some other room to be substituted for it. These terms are still observed, and the collection occupies room 45, although it will move to new quarters in 2015.

New century, new building (1900–25)
By the last years of the 19th century, The British Museum's collections had increased so much that the Museum building was no longer big enough for them. In 1895 the trustees purchased the 69 houses surrounding the Museum with the intention of demolishing them and building around the West, North and East sides of the Museum. The first stage was the construction of the northern wing beginning 1906.

All the while, the collections kept growing. Emil Torday collected in Central Africa, Aurel Stein in Central Asia, D.G. Hogarth, Leonard Woolley and T. E. Lawrence excavated at Carchemish. Around this time, the American collector and philanthropist J Pierpont Morgan donated a substantial number of objects to the museum, including William Greenwell's collection of prehistoric artefacts from across Europe which he had purchased for £10,000 in 1908. Morgan had also acquired a major part of Sir John Evans's coin collection, which was later sold to the museum by his son John Pierpont Morgan Junior in 1915. In 1918, because of the threat of wartime bombing, some objects were evacuated to a Postal Tube Railway at Holborn, the National Library of Wales (Aberystwyth) and a country house near Malvern. On the return of antiquities from wartime storage in 1919 some objects were found to have deteriorated. A temporary conservation laboratory was set up in May 1920 and became a permanent department in 1931. It is today the oldest in continuous existence.

Disruption and reconstruction (1925–50)
New mezzanine floors were constructed and book stacks rebuilt in an attempt to cope with the flood of books. In 1931 the art dealer Sir Joseph Duveen offered funds to build a gallery for the Parthenon sculptures. Designed by the American architect John Russell Pope, it was completed in 1938. The appearance of the exhibition galleries began to change as dark Victorian reds gave way to modern pastel shades. However, in August 1939, due to the imminence of war and the likelihood of air-raids the Parthenon Sculptures along with Museum's most valued collections were dispersed to secure basements, country house, Aldwych tube station, the National Library of Wales and a quarry. The evacuation was timely, for in 1940 the Duveen Gallery was severely damaged by bombing.The Museum continued to collect from all countries and all centuries: among the most spectacular additions were the 2600 BC Mesopotamian treasure from Ur, discovered during Leonard Woolley's 1922–34 excavations. Gold, silver and garnet grave goods from the Anglo-Saxon ship burial at Sutton Hoo (1939) and late Roman silver tableware from Mildenhall, Suffolk (1946). The immediate post-war years were taken up with the return of the collections from protection and the restoration of the museum after the Blitz. Work also began on restoring the damaged Duveen Gallery.

A new public face (1950–75)
In 1953 the Museum celebrated its bicentenary. Many changes followed: the first full-time in house designer and publications officer were appointed in 1964, A Friends organisation was set up in 1968, an Education Service established in 1970 and publishing house in 1973. In 1963 a new Act of Parliament introduced administrative reforms. It became easier to lend objects, the constitution of the Board of Trustees changed and the Natural History Museum became fully independent. By 1959 the Coins and Medals office suite, completely destroyed during the war, was rebuilt and re-opened, attention turned towards the gallery work with new tastes in design leading to the remodelling of Robert Smirke's Classical and Near Eastern galleries. In 1962 the Duveen Gallery was finally restored and the Parthenon Sculptures were moved back into it, once again at the heart of the museum.

By the 1970s the Museum was again expanding. More services for the public were introduced; visitor numbers soared, with the temporary exhibition "Treasures of Tutankhamun" in 1972, attracting 1,694,117 visitors, the most successful in British history. In the same year the Act of Parliament establishing the British Library was passed, separating the collection of manuscripts and printed books from the British Museum. This left the Museum with antiquities; coins, medals and paper money; prints & drawings; and ethnography. A pressing problem was finding space for additions to the library which now required an extra 11⁄4 miles of shelving each year. The Government suggested a site at St Pancras for the new British Library but the books did not leave the museum until 1997.

The Great Court emerges (1975–2000)
The departure of the British Library to a new site at St Pancras, finally achieved in 1998, provided the space needed for the books. It also created the opportunity to redevelop the vacant space in Robert Smirke's 19th-century central quadrangle into the Queen Elizabeth II Great Court – the largest covered square in Europe – which opened in 2000. The ethnography collections, which had been housed in the short-lived Museum of Mankind at 6 Burlington Gardens from 1970, were returned to new purpose-built galleries in the museum in 2000.

The Museum again readjusted its collecting policies as interest in "modern" objects: prints, drawings, medals and the decorative arts reawakened. Ethnographical fieldwork was carried out in places as diverse as New Guinea, Madagascar, Romania, Guatemala and Indonesia and there were excavations in the Near East, Egypt, Sudan and the UK. The Weston Gallery of Roman Britain, opened in 1997, displayed a number of recently discovered hoards which demonstrated the richness of what had been considered an unimportant part of the Roman Empire. The Museum turned increasingly towards private funds for buildings, acquisitions and other purposes.

The British Museum today
Today the museum no longer houses collections of natural history, and the books and manuscripts it once held now form part of the independent British Library. The Museum nevertheless preserves its universality in its collections of artefacts representing the cultures of the world, ancient and modern. The original 1753 collection has grown to over thirteen million objects at the British Museum, 70 million at the Natural History Museum and 150 million at the British Library.

The Round Reading Room, which was designed by the architect Sydney Smirke, opened in 1857. For almost 150 years researchers came here to consult the Museum's vast library. The Reading Room closed in 1997 when the national library (the British Library) moved to a new building at St Pancras.

With the bookstacks in the central courtyard of the museum empty, the process of demolition for Lord Foster's glass-roofed Great Court could begin. The Great Court, opened in 2000, while undoubtedly improving circulation around the museum, was criticised for having a lack of exhibition space at a time when the museum was in serious financial difficulties and many galleries were closed to the public. At the same time the African collections that had been temporarily housed in 6 Burlington Gardens were given a new gallery in the North Wing funded by the Sainsbury family – with the donation valued at £25 million.

As part of its very large website, the museum has the largest online database of objects in the collection of any museum in the world, with 2,000,000 individual object entries, 650,000 of them illustrated, online at the start of 2012. There is also a "Highlights" database with longer entries on over 4,000 objects, and several specialised online research catalogues and online journals (all free to access).

10:30, arrive at the back door, by the Lions. Proceed to the cloak room to drop off our coats and my backpack. £4.50
British Museum British Museum

Purchase the combo British Museum Top Ten and British Museum Map, £2.00
British Museum British Museum
British Museum
British MuseumBritish Museum

British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
Rosetta Stone
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
We began by going from numbered room to numbered room, starting of course in Room number 1, the Englightenment. Very soon we were looking at the Rosetta Stone, now in a big open case… much better than the closed case it used to be in where you could only see one side. The museum is laid out chaotically; while Egypt or Greece may have many items close by, they sometime were on three different floors, or out of chronological order, probably due to trying to keep various collections in tact.

After finishing the 1st level, we went to the café for potatoes, pizza, & lemon cake. £14.05

We did the upper levels, following room order until we got to the very top, where we did two parallel halls first, then did the remaining ring. We finished in about 4.5 hours, not counting the lunch break.

British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum
British Museum British Museum

We visited the gift shop, and got a few souveniers £1.60
British Museum British Museum

3:30 Left the museum, and took the Tube to Covent Garden.

Covent Garden Covent Garden
Covent Garden Covent Garden

3:30 Left the museum, and took the Tube to Covent Garden.

After watching the Juggles show and a String Quartet, we headed back to the Hotel. Tip for Buskers £.68???
5:00 Dinner at Brook Green Café, Fish and Chips, Shepherds Pie £14.40
Sheperd's Pie, Fish and Chips

6:30 Tube to Covent Garden, and walked to the Aldwych Theatre, to see “Beautiful, the Carol King Story.” Great staging, musicians, performers… fantastic music, even from seats K 1-2… second to last row.

Aldwych Theatre
The Aldwych Theatre is a West End theatre, its seating capacity is 1,200 on three levels.

The theatre was built as a pair with the Waldorf Theatre now known as the Novello Theatre, both being designed by W.G.R. Sprague. Funded by Seymour Hicks, in association with the American impresario Charles Frohman, and built by Walter Wallis of Balham. The ornate decorations were in the Georgian style. The theatre was constructed in newly built Aldwych.

The Aldwych theatre opened on 23 December 1905, from 1923 to 1933, the theatre was the home of the series of twelve farces, known as The Aldwych farces. Later, Vivien Leigh, who later won an Academy Award for the film version, appeared in a 1949 London production of A Streetcar Named Desire at the Aldwych, which was directed by her husband, Laurence Olivier.

On 15 December 1960, it was announced that the Royal Shakespeare Company of Stratford-upon-Avon was to base its London productions in the Aldwych Theatre, and the company stayed for over 20 years.

Aldwych Theatre Aldwych Theatre Aldwych Theatre Aldwych Theatre

10:00 Retrace steps to Hammersmith area, buy cookies at Tesco. £.89
10:50 arrive at hotel, snack on cookies. Open window, and we both have a great sleep.

Tuesday, December 15
8:15 Egg and toast breakfast, as we planned our day
Took the Central Line Tube from Shepherd’s Bush Green to Bank, then switched to the Docklands Light Railway to Cutty Sark, then the 188 bus to North Greenwich station.
Greenwich Greenwich

Purchased the Discovery experience: a non-stop round-trip, an on-board video, entrance to Emirates Aviation Experience and a souvenir guide. £16.80
Emirates Air-Line Cable Car Emirates Air-Line Cable Car
Emirates Air-Line Cable Car Emirates Air-Line Cable Car
Emirates Air-Line Cable Car Emirates Air-Line Cable Car
                                                                                                                 O2 Panorama
   the Royal Docks Terminal, next to the Crystal                                    ▼.Looking toward London City airport The Crystal
Emirates Air-Line Cable Car Emirates Air-Line Cable Car
Emirates Air-Line Cable Car

Emirates Air-Line Cable Car Emirates Air-Line Cable Car
An interesting sculpture near the North Greenwich station

Susann in the Flight Simulator
Emirates Air-Line Aviation Experience Emirates Air-Line Aviation Experience
Emirates Air-Line Aviation Experience Emirates Air-Line Aviation Experience

Aside from the simulator, there was an interesting full size display on jet engines, baggage handling, and interactive panels. We took the 188 bus back to Greenwich and went to the Royal Maritime Museum.
Maritime Museum Maritime Museum

Maritime Museum Maritime Museum
Maritime Museum Maritime Museum

Diane would have loved the dog figurehead
Maritime Museum

Watches and telescope in the East India Company exhibit.
Maritime Museum
The second leve housed the stern of a sailing ship, the Great Map, the East India Company, and naval artifacts.
Maritime Museum Maritime Museum

2:00 BBQ Chicken Panninis with chips, tea and coffee at the Gate Clock pub £ 7.98

2:45 DLR to Bank to Kensington to Westminster

3:15, Emerged from the tube in Westminster, and walked around a bit. The tower of Big Ben in Parliament was just across the way.
We walked to the Thames and could see the London Eye, as we crossed the road and walked around Parliament.
Could not get in; armed guards about and a TV crew set up, so something was going on. Walked by Westminster Abbey, before heading back to the Tube station, to head to Hyde Park.
Westminster Westminster Westminster

4:00 Walk to Winter Wonderland We walked around the park… it was just like Tivoli Gardens with the giant spinning seats at the top of a tower, and the rides and light. It was already getting dark, and the rain was picking up, but it was neat to walk around past the ice skaters, the christmas stalls, the restaurants with bands, and the rides
.Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland
Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland
The tower rides above, a singing moose below
Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland

In the Bavarisan section, competing bands
Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland Winter Wonderland

Wednesday, December 16
7:00 Coffee in room, grabbed juice in the breakfast room, then back to prep for our trip.
8:30 To Paddington, but the train was forced to stop just past Royal Oak… thought about walking, but the train started back and we got to Paddington at 9:00
Paddington Paddington

9:35 Boarded the Great Western train 10:15 tried to check in for BA flight, but to no avail. Saw the sun for about 12 seconds. Read about the area as we went.  
Train to Cardiff

Between London and Cardiff
Wembley is an area of northwest London, England, and part of the London Borough of Brent. It is home to the famous Wembley Stadium and Wembley Arena.

The village of Wembley grew up on the hill by the clearing with the Harrow Road south of it. Much of the surrounding area remained wooded. In 1547 there were but six houses in Wembley. Though small, it was one of the wealthiest parts of Harrow. At the dissolution of the monasteries in 1543, the manor of Wembley fell to Richard Andrews and Leonard Chamberlayne, who sold it to Richard Page, Esq., of Harrow on the Hill, the same year.
The Page family continued as lords of the manor of Wembley for several centuries.

There was a mill on Wembley Hill by 1673. In 1837, the London and Birmingham Railway (now part of the West Coast Main Line) was opened from London Euston through Wembley to Hemel Hempstead, and completed to Birmingham the following year. Wembley formed a separate civil parish from 1894 and was incorporated as a municipal borough in 1937. In 1965, the area merged with the Municipal Borough of Willesden to create the London Borough of Brent, and has since formed part of Greater London.


Slough, historically part of Buckinghamshire, is a town in Berkshire, England, is bisected by the A4 and the Great Western Main Line. Slough is the most ethnically diverse outside London in the United Kingdom. The first recorded uses of the name occur as Slo in 1196, Sloo in 1336, and Le Slowe, Slowe or Slow in 1437. The Domesday Survey of 1086 refers to Upton, and a wood for 200 pigs, worth £15. During the 13th century, King Henry III had a palace at Cippenham. Parts of Upton Court were built in 1325, while St Mary the Virgin Church in Langley was probably built in the late 11th or early 12th century, and now Slough has 96 listed buildings.From the mid-17th century, stagecoaches began to pass through Slough and Salt Hill, which became locations for the second stage to change horses on the journey out from London. By 1838 saw the opening of the Great Western Railway. In 1849, a branch line was completed from Slough railway station to Windsor, for the Queen's convenience.

Windsor is a town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead in Berkshire, England. It is widely known as the site of Windsor Castle, one of the official residences of the British Royal Family.The town is situated west of Charing Cross, immediately south of the River Thames, which forms its boundary with Eton. The village of Old Windsor, just over 2 miles (3 km) to the south, predates New Windsor, what is now called Windsor, by around 300 years. Settled some years before 1070 when William the Conqueror had a timber motte and bailey castle constructed is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. From the 11th century the site's link with King Edward the Confessor is documented, and by the late 12th century the royal household enlarged the castle in 1110.

King Henry married his second wife at Windsor Castle in 1121, after the White Ship disaster. The settlement at Old Windsor largely transferred to New Windsor during the 12th century, although substantial planning and setting out of the new town (including the parish church, marketplace, bridge, hermitage and leper hospital) did not take place until c. 1170, under Henry II, following the civil war of Stephen's reign. At about the same time, the present upper ward of the castle was rebuilt in stone. Windsor Bridge is the earliest bridge on the Thames between Staines and Reading, built at a time when bridge building was rare; it was first documented in 1191, but had probably been built, according to the Pipe rolls, in 1173. It played an important part in the national road system, linking London with Reading and Winchester, but also, by diverting traffic into the new town, it underpinned the success of its fledgling economy.

The town of New Windsor, as an ancient demesne of the Crown, was a privileged settlement from the start, apparently having the rights of a 'free borough', for which other towns had to pay substantial fees to the king. It had a merchant guild (known by the 14th century as the Fraternity or brotherhood of the Holy Trinity) from the early 13th century and, under royal patronage, was made the chief town of the county in 1277, as part of its grant of royal borough status by Edward I's charter. Somewhat unusually, this charter gave no new rights or privileges to Windsor but probably codified the rights which it had enjoyed for many years. Windsor's position as chief town of Berkshire was short-lived, however, as people found it difficult to reach. Wallingford took over this position in the early 14th century. As a self-governing town Windsor enjoyed a number of freedoms unavailable to other towns, including the right to hold its own borough court, the right of membership (or 'freedom') and some financial independence.

The development of the castle under Edward III, between 1350–68, was the largest secular building project in England of the Middle Ages, and many Windsor people worked on this project, again bringing great wealth to the town. Although the Black Death in 1348 had reduced some towns' populations by up to 50%, in Windsor the building projects of Edward III brought money to the town, and possibly its population doubled: this was a 'boom' time for the local economy. People came to the town from every part of the country, and from continental Europe. The poet Geoffrey Chaucer held the honorific post of 'Clerk of the Works' at Windsor Castle in 1391.

The development of the castle continued in the late 15th century with the rebuilding of St George's Chapel. With this Windsor became a major pilgrimage destination, particularly for Londoners. Pilgrims came to touch the royal shrine of the murdered Henry VI, the fragment of the True Cross and other important relics. Visits to the chapel were probably combined with a visit to the important nearby Marian shrine and college at Eton, founded by Henry VI in 1440, and dedicated to the Assumption; which is now better known as Eton College.

Most accounts of Windsor in the 16th and 17th centuries talk of its poverty, badly made streets and poor housing. Shakespeare's play The Merry Wives of Windsor is set in Windsor and contains many references to parts of the town and the surrounding countryside. Shakespeare must have walked the town's streets, near the castle and river, much as people still do. The play may have been written in the Garter Inn, opposite the Castle, but this was destroyed by fire in the late 17th century. The long-standing – and famous – courtesan of king Charles II, Nell Gwyn, was given a house on St Albans Street: Burford House (now part of the Royal Mews). Her residence in this house, as far as it is possible to tell, was brief. Only one of her letters addressed from Burford House survives: it was probably intended as a legacy for her illegitimate son, the Earl of Burford, later the Duke of St Albans.

Windsor was garrisoned by Colonel Venn during the English Civil War. Later it became the home of the New Model Army when Venn had left the castle in 1645. Despite its royal dependence, like many commercial centres, Windsor was a Parliamentarian town. Charles I was buried without ceremony in St George's Chapel after his execution at Whitehall in 1649.

In 1778, there was a resumption of the royal presence, with George III at the Queen's Lodge and, from 1804, at the castle. This started a period of new development in Windsor.

Maidenhead is a large affluent town and unparished area in the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, in Berkshire, England. It lies south of the River Thames.
In 1280, a bridge was erected across the river to replace a ferry in what was then the hamlet of South Ellington. The Great West Road to Reading, Gloucester and Bristol was diverted over the new bridge – previously it kept to the north bank and crossed the Thames by ford at Cookham—and medieval Maidenhead grew up around it. Within a few years a wharf was constructed next to the bridge and the South Ellington name was dropped with the area becoming known as Maidenhythe (literally meaning "new wharf"). The earliest record of this name change is in the Bray Court manorial rolls of 1296. The bridge led to the growth of Maidenhead: a stopping point for coaches on the journeys between London and Bath and the High Street became populated with inns. The current Maidenhead Bridge, a local landmark, dates from 1777 and was built at a cost of £19,000.

King Charles I met his children for the last time before his execution in 1649 at the Greyhound Inn on the High Street, the site of which is now a branch of the NatWest Bank. A plaque commemorates their meeting.

When the Great Western Railway came to the town, it began to expand. Muddy roads were replaced and public services were installed. The High Street began to change again and substantial Victorian red brick architecture began to appear throughout the town. Maidenhead became its own entity in 1894, being split from the civil parishes of both Bray and Cookham.

Reading is a large town in the ceremonial county of Berkshire, England. It was an important centre in the medieval period, as the site of Reading Abbey, a monastery with strong royal connections. The town was seriously affected by the English Civil War, with a major siege and loss of trade, and played a pivotal role in the Revolution of 1688, with that revolution's only significant military action fought on the streets of the town. The 19th century saw the coming of the Great Western Railway and the development of the town's brewing, baking and seed growing businesses.

The first evidence for Reading as a settlement dates from the 8th century. By 1525, Reading was the largest town in Berkshire, and tax returns show that Reading was the 10th largest town in England when measured by taxable wealth. By 1611, it had a population of over 5000 and had grown rich on its trade in cloth. The 18th century saw the beginning of a major iron works in the town and the growth of the brewing trade for which Reading was to become famous.

Oxford is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate examples of every English architectural period since the arrival of the Saxons.

Oxford was first settled in Saxon times and was initially known as "Oxenaforda", meaning "Ford of the Oxen". It began with the establishment of a river crossing for oxen around AD 900. In the 10th century, Oxford became an important military frontier town between the kingdoms of Mercia and Wessex and was on several occasions raided by Danes.

Oxford was heavily damaged during the Norman Invasion of 1066. Following the conquest, the town was assigned to a governor, Robert D'Oyly, who ordered the construction of Oxford Castle to confirm Norman authority over the area. The castle has never been used for military purposes and its remains survive to this day.

The University of Oxford is first mentioned in 12th century records. Some of the colleges at Oxford were supported by the Church in the hope of reconciling Greek philosophy and Christian theology.

Oxford's prestige was enhanced by its charter granted by King Henry II, granting its citizens the same privileges and exemptions as those enjoyed by the capital of the kingdom. Parliaments were often held in the city during the 13th century. The Provisions of Oxford were instigated by a group of barons led by Simon de Montfort; these documents are often regarded as England's first written constitution.

Richard I of England (reigned 6 July 1189 – 6 April 1199) and John, King of England (reigned 6 April 1199 – 19 October 1216) the sons of Henry II of England, were both born at Beaumont Palace in Oxford. A plaque in Beaumont Street commemorates these events.

Nearby Marlborough boasts the second widest high street in Britain. The earliest sign of human habitation is a 62 feet (19 m) high prehistoric tumulus to date from about 2400 BC. Further evidence of human occupation comes from the discovery of the Marlborough Bucket, an Iron Age burial bucket, with decorations of human heads and animals on sheet bronze, now on display at the Wiltshire Heritage Museum in Devizes. Roman remains and coins have been found two miles to the east of Marlborough, at Mildenhall (Cunetio). A later Saxon settlement grew up around The Green and two early river crossings were made at Isbury Lane and Stonebridge Lane.

Legend has it that the Mound is the burial site of Merlin and that the name of the town, Marlborough comes from Merlin's Barrow. On John Speed's map of Wiltshire (1611), the town's name is recorded as Marlinges boroe. The town's motto is Ubi nunc sapientis ossa Merlini - Where now are the bones of wise Merlin. More plausibly, the town's name probably derives from the medieval term for chalky ground "marl" – thus "town on chalk".

In 1067 William the Conqueror assumed control of the Marlborough area and set about building a wooden motte and bailey castle, sited on the prehistoric mound. This was completed in around 1100. Stone was used to strengthen the castle in around 1175. The first written record of Marlborough dates from the Domesday Book in 1087. William also established a mint in Marlborough, which coined the William I and the early William II silver pennies. The coins display the name of the town as Maerlebi or Maerleber.

Marlborough Castle became a Royal residence, and Henry I observed Easter here in 1110. Henry II stayed at Marlborough Castle in talks with the King of Scotland. His son, Richard I (Coeur de Lion) gave the castle to his brother John, in 1186. King John was married here and spent time in Marlborough. He even established a Treasury.

Later Henry III was also married here and held Parliament here, in 1267, when the Statute of Marlborough was passed (this gave rights and privileges to small land owners and limited the right of the King to take possession of land). This seven-hundred-year-old law states that no-one shall seize his neighbour's goods for alleged wrong without permission of the Court. Apart from Charters, it is the oldest statute in English law which has not yet been repealed.

The castle fell into disrepair by the end of the 14th century but remained Crown property. Edward VI then passed it to the Seymour family, his mother's relatives. In 1498 Thomas Wolsey was ordained priest in (the now redundant) St Peter's church. He later rose to become a cardinal and Lord Chancellor.

In 1642 Marlborough's peace was shattered by the English Civil War. The Seymours held the Castle for the King but the town was for Parliament. With his headquarters in nearby Oxford, King Charles had to deal with Marlborough.

On 28 April 1653 the Great Fire of Marlborough lead to the high street being widened and is often claimed to be the widest in England (though the actual widest is in Stockton-on-Tees). Fire swept through the Town again in 1679 and again in 1690. This time, an Act of Parliament was passed "to prohibit the covering of houses and other buildings with thatch in the Town of Marlborough".

Swindon is a large town within the Borough of Swindon and ceremonial county of Wiltshire.

Swindon railway station is on the line from London Paddington to Bristol, residents of Swindon are known as Swindonians, and Swindon is home to the Bodleian Library's book depository, which contains 153 miles (246 km) of bookshelves.

The original Anglo-Saxon settlement of Swindon sat in a defensible position atop a limestone hill. It is referred to in the Domesday Book as Suindune, believed to be derived from the Old English words "swine" and "dun" meaning "pig hill" or possibly Sweyn's hill, where Sweyn is a personal name.

Swindon was a small market town, mainly for barter trade, until roughly 1848. The Industrial Revolution was responsible for an acceleration of Swindon's growth. It started with the construction of the Wilts and Berks Canal in 1810 and the North Wilts Canal in 1819. The canals brought trade to the area and Swindon's population started to grow.

Between 1841 and 1842, Isambard Kingdom Brunel's Swindon Works was built for the repair and maintenance of locomotives on the Great Western Railway (GWR). The GWR built a small railway village to house some of its workers. The Steam Railway Museum and English Heritage, including the English Heritage Archive, now occupy part of the old works. In the village were the GWR Medical Fund Clinic at Park House and its hospital, both on Faringdon Road, and the 1892 health centre in Milton Road – which housed clinics, a pharmacy, laundries, baths, Turkish baths and swimming pools – was almost opposite.

From 1871, GWR workers had a small amount deducted from their weekly pay and put into a healthcare fund – its doctors could prescribe them or their family members free medicines or send them for medical treatment. In 1878 the fund began providing artificial limbs made by craftsmen from the carriage and wagon works, and nine years later opened its first dental surgery. In his first few months in post the dentist extracted more than 2000 teeth. From the opening in 1892 of the Health Centre, a doctor could also prescribe a haircut or even a bath. The cradle-to-grave extent of this service was later used as a blueprint for the NHS.

Wootten Bassett was created by Henry VI, and elected two Members of Parliament (MPs) to the House of Commons from 1447 until 1832, when the rotten borough was abolished by the Great Reform Act.

Nearby Chippenham is a historic market town in Wiltshire, England, 13 miles (21 km) east of Bath and 96 miles (154 km) west of London.

The town was established on a crossing of the River Avon and some form of settlement is believed to have existed there since before Roman times. It was a royal villa, and probably a royal hunting lodge, under Alfred the Great.

The town continued to grow when the Great Western Railway arrived in 1841. The town is now a commuter town.

Nearby Bath is a town set in the rolling countryside of southwest England, known for its natural hot springs and 18th-century Georgian architecture. The museum at the site of its original Roman Baths includes The Great Bath, statues and a temple; the facility’s Pump Room serves a popular afternoon tea.

Bristol is England's sixth and the United Kingdom's eighth most populous city, and people from the city are known as Bristolians.

Iron Age hill forts and Roman villas were built in the area around the confluence of the Rivers Frome and Avon, and it became known as Brycgstow (Old English "the place at the bridge") around the beginning of the 11th century. Bristol received a royal charter in 1155 and was part of Gloucestershire until 1373, when it became a county. From the 13th to the 18th century, Bristol was among the top three English cities after London (with York and Norwich) in tax receipts, though Bristol was eclipsed by the rapid rise of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham during the Industrial Revolution. It borders the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire, with the historic cities of Bath and Gloucester to the southeast and northeast, respectively.

Bristol's prosperity has been linked with the sea since its earliest days. It was the base for the early voyages of exploration to the New World: on a ship out of Bristol in 1497 John Cabot was the first European since the Vikings to land in North America; and in 1499 William Weston, a Bristol merchant, was the first Englishman to lead an exploration to North America.

Nearby Gloucester is a city, district and county town of Gloucestershire in the South West region of England, andd lies close to the Welsh border on the River Severn, approximately 32 miles north-east of Bristol, and 45 miles south-southwest of Birmingham. A cathedral city, capital of its county which was built on a flat spot of land, Gloucester is situated on the River Severn and the Bristol and Birmingham Railway.
Gloucester was founded in AD 97 by the Romans under Emperor Nerva as Colonia Glevum Nervensis, and was granted its first charter in 1155 by King Henry II.


Entering Wales, Passing through Newport
Newport, Wales Newport, Wales
Newport, Wales Newport, Wales

Wales, Cymru in Welsh, is a country that is part of the United Kingdom and the island of Great Britain, bordered by England to its east, the Irish Sea to its north and west, and the Bristol Channel to its south.

Welsh national identity emerged among the Celtic Britons after the Roman withdrawal from Britain in the 5th century, and Wales is regarded as one of the modern Celtic nations. Llywelyn ap Gruffudd's death in 1282 marked the completion of Edward I of England's conquest of Wales, though Owain Glyndŵr briefly restored independence to what was to become modern Wales, in the early 15th century. The whole of Wales was annexed by England and incorporated within the English legal system under the Laws in Wales Acts 1535–1542.

Newport is a cathedral and university city and unitary authority area in south east Wales. It is located on the River Usk close to its confluence with the Severn estuary, approximately 12 miles northeast of Cardiff. Newport has been a port since medieval times, when a castle was built by the Normans. The town outgrew the earlier Roman town of Caerleon, immediately upstream, and gained its first charter in 1314. Until the rise of Cardiff from the 1850s, Newport was Wales' largest coal-exporting port.

Cardiff is the capital and largest city in Wales and the tenth largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country's chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales.

Archaeological evidence from sites in and around Cardiff—the St Lythans burial chamber, the Tinkinswood burial chamber, the Cae'rarfau Chambered Tomb, Creigiau, and the Gwern y Cleppa Long Barrow, near Coedkernew, Newport —shows that people had settled in the area by at least around 6,000 years before present (BP), during the early Neolithic; about 1,500 years before either Stonehenge or the Great Pyramid of Giza was completed.

A group of five Bronze Age tumuli is at the summit of The Garth, within the county's northern boundary. Four Iron Age hill fort and enclosure sites have been identified within Cardiff's present-day county boundaries, including Caerau Hillfort, an enclosed area of 5.1 hectares.

Until the Roman conquest of Britain, Cardiff was part of the territory of the Silures – a Celtic British tribe that flourished in the Iron Age. The 3.2-hectare (8-acre) fort established by the Romans near the mouth of the River Taff in 75 AD, in what would become the north western boundary of the centre of Cardiff, was built over an extensive settlement that had been established by the Silures in the 50s AD. The fort was one of a series of military outposts associated with Isca Augusta (Caerleon) that acted as border defences. The fort may have been abandoned in the early 2nd century as the area had been subdued. However, by this time a civilian settlement, or vicus, was established. It was likely made up of traders who made a living from the fort, ex-soldiers and their families. A Roman villa has been discovered. Contemporary with the Saxon Shore Forts of the 3rd and 4th centuries, a stone fortress was established at Cardiff. Similar to the shore forts, the fortress was built to protect Britannia from raiders. Coins from the reign of Gratian indicate that Cardiff was inhabited until at least the 4th century; the fort was abandoned towards the end of the 4th century, as the last Roman legions left the province of Britannia with Magnus Maximus.

Little is known about the fort and civilian settlement in the period between the Roman departure from Britain and the Norman Conquest. The settlement probably shrank in size and may even have been abandoned. In the absence of Roman rule, Wales was divided into small kingdoms; early on, Meurig ap Tewdrig emerged as the local king in Glywysing (which later became Glamorgan). The area passed through his family until the advent of the Normans in the 11th century.

In 1081 William I, King of England, began work on the castle keep within the walls of the old Roman fort. Cardiff Castle has been at the heart of the city ever since. The castle was substantially altered and extended during the Victorian period by John Crichton-Stuart, 3rd Marquess of Bute, and the architect William Burges. Original Roman work can, however, still be distinguished in the wall facings. Henry II travelled through Cardiff on his journey to Ireland. In 1404 Owain Glyndŵr burned Cardiff and took Cardiff Castle.

In 1536, the Act of Union between England and Wales led to the creation of the shire of Glamorgan, and Cardiff was made the county town. In 1581, Elizabeth I granted Cardiff its first royal charter.

In 1793, John Crichton-Stuart, 2nd Marquess of Bute was born. He would spend his life building the Cardiff docks and would later be called "the creator of modern Cardiff".
King Edward VII granted Cardiff city status on 28 October 1905, and in subsequent years an increasing number of national institutions were located in the city, including the National Museum of Wales, Welsh National War Memorial, and the University of Wales Registry Building.

The city was proclaimed capital city of Wales on 20 December 1955.

In Cardiff
11:47 After arriving in the station, we went to the ticket office and bought our PlusBus bus passes for the day. £6.95
There was construction around the station, sow we walked behind the Stadium, and approached the castle from the West.
Cardiff CastleCardiff Castle
Cardiff Castle

Near the castle we found the Seasons Café, which boasted of the best Welsh food in town. While we chose not to have the Faggots (a pork product) and Peas, at the Seasons we did have latte, tea, Welsh Rare bit, and Sticky Toffee pudding for dessert. £16.95

Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff
Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff
Seasons, Cardiff
Seasons, Cardiff
Seasons, Cardiff

Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff
Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff

We then walked across the street to the Castle.
Seasons, Cardiff Seasons, Cardiff

Castle Grounds
The original motte and bailey castle was built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd-century Roman fort. The castle was commissioned by either William the Conqueror or by Robert Fitzhamon, and formed the heart of the medieval town of Cardiff and the Marcher Lord territory of Glamorgan. In the 12th century the castle began to be rebuilt in stone, probably by Robert of Gloucester, with a shell keep and substantial defensive walls being erected. Further work was conducted by Richard de Clare in the second half of the 13th century. Cardiff Castle was repeatedly involved in the conflicts between the Anglo-Normans and the Welsh, being attacked several times in the 12th century, and stormed in 1404 during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr.

After being held by the de Clare and Despenser families for several centuries the castle was acquired by Richard de Beauchamp in 1423. Richard conducted extensive work at the castle, founding the main range on the west side of the castle, dominated by a tall, octagonal tower. Following the Wars of the Roses the status of the castle as a Marcher territory was revoked and its military significance began to decline. The Herbert family took over the property in 1550, remodelling parts of the main range and carrying out construction work in the outer bailey, then occupied by Cardiff's Shire Hall and other buildings. During the English Civil War Cardiff Castle was initially taken by Parliamentary force, but was regained by Royalist supporters in 1645. When fighting broke out again in 1648, a Royalist army attacked Cardiff in a bid to regain the castle, leading to the battle of St Fagans just outside the city. Cardiff Castle escaped potential destruction by Parliament after the war and was instead garrisoned to protect against a possible Scottish invasion.

In the mid-18th century, Cardiff Castle passed into the hands of the Marquesses of Bute. John Stuart, the first Marquess, employed Capability Brown and Henry Holland to renovate the main range, turning it into a Georgian mansion, and to landscape the castle grounds, demolishing many of the older medieval buildings and walls. During the first half of the 19th century the family became extremely wealthy as a result of the growth of the coal industry in Glamorgan. The third Marquess, John Crichton-Stuart, used this wealth to back an extensive programme of renovations under William Burges. Burges remodelled the castle in a Gothic revival style, lavishing money and attention on the main range. The resulting interior designs are considered to be amongst "the most magnificent that the gothic revival ever achieved". The grounds were re-landscaped and, following the discovery of the old Roman remains, reconstructed walls and a gatehouse in a Roman style were incorporated into the castle design. Extensive landscaped parks were built around the outside of the castle.

In the early 20th century the fourth Marquess inherited the castle and construction work continued into the 1920s. The Bute lands and commercial interests around Cardiff were sold off or nationalised during the period until, by the time of the Second World War, little was left except the castle. During the war, extensive air raid shelters were built in the castle walls, able to hold up to 1,800 people. When the Marquess died in 1947, the castle was given to the city of Cardiff.

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We saw the roman walls, and bought souveniers at the castle shop, £9.08
and at the shop across the street, £4.95
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Cardiff CasteCardiff Bus
The bus stop, looking back toward the gift shop.

3:00 We waited for about 15 minutes for the No. 6 bus to Cardiff bay, and along the way got to see a lot of the town.
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Dr. Who Experience, near the Norwegian church. There were no tours available, but we were able to walk around a bit, and visit the Dr. Who gift shop. £5.39

We then went back to the bus stop, and looked at the bay, and Norewegian church, which was closed.
Cardiff, Norwegian Church Cardiff Bay
The Norwegian Church was built in 1868 between the East and West Docks on land donated by the Marquis of Bute, to serve the religious needs of Norwegian
sailors and expatriates.

4:00 On the way back to the train station, we passed the Wales Millennium Centre is an arts center. Inscribed on the front of the dome, above the main entrance, are two poetic lines, written by Welsh poet Gwyneth Lewis in the Welsh and English languages. The lettering is formed by windows in the upstairs bar areas and is internally illuminated at night.

Cardiff Bay

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As we got to the train station, we could see an interesting brewery, Brains.

4:55 After finding our platform, we discovered our train was delayed by a stoppage up the line, and by the blocked platform.
5:00 Boarded the train… was slow to Newport.
7:15 Things picked up and we arrived in Paddington only about 15 minutes late. Caught the tube to Hammersmith, and went one last time to the William Morris.
7:45 William Morris, Jacket Potatoes £7.58
Stopped at Tesco for snack for the plane. £1.89
9:15 Cookies and packing. 


Thursday, December 17

Up way too early to finish packing.
7:00 Taxi driver picked us up right on time.

7:45 Heathrow, found we had been bumped from oversold flight to Dallas. Were given vouchers so we had brownies and hot drinks at Caffe Nero.
9:15 Got our boarding passes on a direct flight to Austin.

Cleared security after a delay on the machines. Made our way to the Gate 10 area… actually five or 6 gates.

10:10 Posted our specific gate, sat near the entry point.

10:30 After bigwigs, boarded bus to aircraft.
After long bus ride, we got our seats, the last two on the plane. 39 J and K… the only two seat seating.
Boarding Pass


Wasted time watching Fantastic 41 and Jurassic World, but we both loved the NEW Graham Norton show… almost made up for not getting to see a show live.

Penne pasta for dinner, and again great cheese, crackers, with good bread and Irish butter, and a Chocolate Salted Caramel pudding.

Over Ungava Bay, we had a great view of ice floes.
Ungava Bay Ungava Bay

About 2:00, we had a snack box with a great chicken salad sandwich, and scones with clotted cream.

Book Cover
Landed a few minutes late, but easily made it through the electronic passport control.4:05 We were surprised by seeing Gracie at the arrivals hall; she had recently returned from Minneapolis.
Picked up the car, and had dinner at Javis Tex-Mex.
6:30 Dropped off Gracie, and headed home the back way, as the freeway was closed.
8:00 arrived home. What a great trip.