Sunday, 24 April 2011

London part 1

I went to London last week to do research for my history MA at two V&A Archives: Blythe House and the Royal Institute of British Architects and also at the National Portrait Gallery.

It was so sunny the whole time I was there. I did think a bit about maybe I would like to move there when I finish my MA, but then I almost decided I don't think I want to.  I am a bit of a country mouse really...and felt quite happy to go home at the end of my trip!

Day 1
On my first day I went to the Royal College of Art Library which was not what I had thought it would be at all.  For some reason I imagined it being very grand and it was actually a little scruffy and very normal. The staff were really lovely and the library was much quieter than mine so I managed to get on with my work easily.

After that I went to the National Portrait Gallery Archives. I didn't get to go look at the Gallery itself as I didn't have time.  The Archive section of the Gallery is housed seperately, just to the side of the National Portrait Gallery and again the staff were lovely, and it was all very professional and well run. (I didn't find it quite so fascinating as the eerie Blythe House I went to the next day though...) Although the NPG Archives is obviously predominantly about the portraits, I was actually looking at their photography collections.  The problem about my course is I get very very sidetracked wanting to know about the stories and romances of the people involved in the nineteenth century (everyone seemed to live such interesting lives - take the Pre-Raphaelites for example!) and there are dozens of photographs in the NPG that I could spend weeks looking at.  It isn't really very useful to me in terms of writing academic essays for my course though!

Day 2

Blythe House Archives, Kensington

I spent the most of my time at the Blythe House Archives.  The building itself was fascinating and very spooky and eerie.  You have to speak on an intercom to be let into a concrete courtyard at the back of the huge main building, and then follow signs around the building to a small reception where you are given a swipe card.  Then you make your way down a few corridors with directions to the Blythe House Reading Room.  Compared to the V&A Blythe House was quite dusty and dated, and didn't have the professional finish that the V&A has but this made it more interesting - for example the walls are covered with old posters from the V&A from throughout the twentieth century advertising exhibtions for 50p!  I also really need to stop being distracted by what other people are looking at when I am there...!

I've been reading about Blythe House's history since I got back and have found out the whole building is blacked out to preserve the objects stored there, from the Science Museum, the British Museum, and the V&A.  Just imagine all of the weird and wonderful objects crammed in there! I found myself trying to peer out of various windows and down corridors to try and see things, but everything was very quiet and hidden away.  So intriguing!  

In the evening my cousin and I went to Soho where I tried my first Hummingbird Bakery cupcake - red velvet.  Very tasty!  After that we went out for dinner at Mildred's vegetarian restaurant in Soho.  

(Photo found online)

I did enjoy my meal, I had a Burrito and Becky had their sweet potato curry, but it wasn't anything special really although I had a lovely time catching up with Becky.  (Nowhere near as good as a meal cooked by Tom though!) I don't know anything about eating out in London obviously as I don't live there but the one other vegetarian place I have eaten in Soho, last November, was AMAZING.  I would 100% recommend this place - Vita Organic (especially to veggies obviously). It was probably one of my favourite ever meals.  You just go up to the counter and get scoop fulls of all sorts of various dishes... each one delicious. 

(Photo found online)

Anyways I will update about Day 3 & 4 tomorrow because I am off to eat golden Easter bunnies and laze around sleepily now!

1 comment:

  1. Ohhh Vitaorganic is my favourite place to eat in London :D