A much brighter morning and gladly somewhat milder than yesterday. After taking a train to Victoria from Clapham Junction, the country’s busiest railway station we rode the Underground one stop to Green Park as we wished to visit the Royal Institution on Albemarle Street, just off Piccadilly.
In the basement of the Royal Institution you will find the Faraday Museum where over 200 years of Science can be explored. The theme of the Museum is experimentation and we were able to view Faraday’s magnetic laboratory displays as if it was the 1850’s. Michael Faraday was one of the most influential scientists in history researching electromagnetism and electrochemistry.
Contrasting from this we were brought up-to-date with a state-of-the-art nanotechnology laboratory. If you have an interest in science this small museum is a good place to visit, open weekdays only with free admission, details can be found here. We had hoped to take a look in the ornate lecture theatre which is usually open to visitors but during our visit it had been booked out by an outside organisation. The Royal Institution’s lecture theatre is famous for its annual Christmas Lectures being the UK’s flagship science series on television which are fascinating to watch. The Lectures were created by Michael Faraday in 1825 and he continued to present the annual series for nineteen years.
From there we strolled through Mayfair glancing in the windows of Ralph Lauren, Tiffanys etc. as we made our way to Piccadilly Circus for a reviving cup of coffee. Feeling refreshed, we were soon on our way again, this time to Bond Street Station so that we could visit Hertford House, the home of the Wallace Collection. It’s a national museum in an historic London Town house and is set in a quiet backwater overlooking Manchester Square, yet just steps away from bustling Oxford Street with its many tourists and shoppers.
Admission to the museum is free and it is open daily from 10.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. containing over 5,500 pieces of French 18th century art, porcelain, furniture, and armoury displayed in the 25 galleries of this splendid period home.
Hertford House is the former townhouse of the Seymour family, Marquesses of Hertford. The Wallace Collection was established from the private collection of the 4th Marquess of Hertford bequeathed to the nation. The collection opened to the public in 1900 and a condition of the bequest was that no item should leave the collection even for loan exhibitions elsewhere.
Leaving here, it was time for some shopping so we headed to Selfridges which is so huge that it would be quite easy to get lost in this vast retail emporium. We spent some time exploring several floors but weren’t tempted into buying anything. A few years ago a period drama ‘Mr. Selfridge’ was broadcast on ITV about the founder and its store. I really enjoyed watching this and also reading the book on which it was based ‘Shopping, Seduction and Mr. Selfridge’ by Lindy Woodhead. If you haven’t seen the television series or read the book you might be interested to look out for them as they provide an insight into early retail development and the rise and fall of it’s American founder Harry Gordon Selfridge.
We enjoyed dinner near Tower Bridge and then returned on foot to London Bridge underground station along the Thames admiring the iconic sights along the way. The end of another fun filled day in London.
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