Cruising the Danube from the Black Sea to the North Sea
April-May 2023: Day 3

London: The V&A and Hammersmith


Today was Friday - Easter Good Friday - so we assumed many places would be shut. But it appeared that the Victoria and Albert Museum would be open so off we went early. Walked along Cromwell Road towards the museum and came across a long queue of people whom we assumed were waiting to enter the V&A. But not so, we were a block out in our navigation. The queue was for the Natural History Museum - school half term break PLUS special dinosaur exhibit equals massive queue. We sidestepped that mess and found the V&A almost empty.


After our long flight from Auckland to Heathrow via Singapore the only glitch was at Heathrow when the new eGate would not read our passports (or many others as well). We took the Underground and soon settled into our (cheapish) hotel in Earls Court, one of the Premier Inn chain. Comfortable for our purposes but we started off by being given a room that was still occupied. Fortunately the occupants were out when we burst in. We also found the room was over the train line but this did not disturb us.

Singapore Air into Heathrow
Premier Inn, Kensington
The view from our window over the train lines

The Victoria and Albert Museum

The V&A occupies a large block in Cromwell Road. It is a magnificent building and holds an even more magnificent collection of "stuff" - furniture, clothing, ceramics etc. if fact anything relating to culture and civilisation not covered by natural history, the British Museum or art galleries. You can spend days here, but we spent the morning looking at furniture, ceramics and "Britain 1700-1850".

. .
The Victoria and Albert Museum
Building across the road - home of the first V&A Director. Sir Henry Cole.
A water clock
In minature
Small girl in large cabinet
Ooh! Teapots!
And Roman Emperors
What's a goat doing in here?
Or a bed?
This gallery contains plaster casts and major art works, originally obtained to allow British designers access to such works.
Across the courtyard to the café
Fresh scone with cream and jam (jam on top of course!)

The Lower Mall, Hammersmith

This might appear to be an odd place to visit in London, but in fact it played a vital part in the family history. The Reverend Dr Daniel Keith took out the "copyhold" (i.e. lease) on a large building that had recently been built on the banks of the Thames. Here he established a residential school for the sons of the well-to-do in London, under the patronage of the Duke of Kent, Queen Victoria's father. Dr Keith named the building "Kent House" a name it retains today. But the school was not long established when he and two of his children contracted Scarlet Fever and died. They were buried at the nearby church of St Pauls.

The Lower Mall entrance beside the Hammersmith Bridge
Looking back along the Lower Mall
Kent House on left
Kent House
Looking down the Thames from Kent House
Digby Mansions where a descendant of Rev Keith later lived.
St Pauls Hammersmith, where Rev Daniel Keith was buried in 1811

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Last updated: 30 May 2023