What’s happened this year and what have I not shared with you?
I’ve continued my trips to sites of historical interest, although maybe not as many as previous years and have even started a blog post or two! However, earlier this year I took a week off my blog – a nice little break… that was extended to a month – that became 8 months!
Why didn’t I post on my blog? At the end of last year I changed jobs, and 1) this job came with a combined course that started in the first week of January, 2) this job doesn’t take me all over the country like my previous role, which afforded me copious amounts of historical inspiration and evening writing time with only hotel TV to watch and 3) I’ve really enjoyed reading novels!
As I now sleep in my own bed at night, as opposed to hotels three to four nights a week, I also have to cook for my family and fit in an exercise routine too, its a hard life!
27th December 2018
- Westminster Abbey: photography is not allowed inside the Abbey, so only exterior snaps were taken, yet I had still intended to write about its history, I just didn’t get around to doing it!
- Kensington Palace: to see the exhibition, Diana: Her Fashion Story for the second time, as it was entering its last weeks. The Victoria Revealed exhibition had only a week left to run and I was eager to catch that. I was so optimistic of my future blogging schedule I purchased an Historic Royal Palaces annual membership so that I could visit their other sites over the coming year. (I’ve made full use of it.)
28th December 2018
- Windsor Castle: this was a freebie thanks to my visit back in May for the run-up to the royal wedding. You can visit again within a calendar year for free if you get your ticket stamped on the day. I took advantage of this to see the wedding outfits of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, along with Prince George and Princess Charlotte’s page boy and bridesmaid outfits. I did post about this here.
- Leasowe Castle: this is now a hotel. I spent the night there and took some fabulous shots of it lit up at night. It was built in 1593 by the 5th Earl of Derby. It has a fascinating past and even held German prisoners for a short time during WWI.
- Kensington Palace: it was back to KP to see the outfits from the film The Favourite and another (last) glimpse of Diana’s Dresses.
- Blue Plaque: dedicated to John Donne ‘Poet and Dean of St Paul’s’ – yup, failed to post about this blue plaque spotted on a walk along a Surrey canal.
- Strawberry Hill House: I almost forgot to turn up for this, never mind write a blog post! I was an hour and a half late to meet my friends! Not sure I’ll live that one down.
- The spot where John Everett Millais painted Ophelia: this is within walking distance from my house (maybe 10-15 minutes?). I did not know this place existed so close to home and yet a blog post about Millais’ wife, Effie Gray, has been on my to-do list for ages! Epic fail!
- Castello di Sestola: HistorianRuby was on her travels again! I travelled to Italy and was taken on a trip to Mount Cimone. At the top of a hill – a bit of a hike, there is a castle that dates to the 15th century (although it is believed that was built on the site of an earlier fortress). It houses a museum (that was closed at the time of my visit), but it was still lovely to walk around and photograph the amazing views from within its walls.
- Church and Convent of the Capuchin Fathers: this was in San Marino. I love a wander around an old church. This dates from 1593, although was restored during the 19th and 20th centuries.
- Museo Della Tortura: I went to a torture museum! This did house some replicas, and that always bothers me slightly as I do like authenticity in museums. Yet in historic houses, for example, I accept replicas on occasion as part of the narrative of the house. A lot of what they display here is actually quite disturbing, indeed, upstairs houses an exhibition on man’s cruelty to fellow men, such as native American scalping, along with photographs and graphic descriptions of body modifications, some of those being tribal. Which again, left a funny taste in my mouth, as it was objectifying individuals. Although, it could be argued that it was a serious anthropological display of carefully curated objects and photographs. However, it did give me shelter from the blistering 38 degrees heat outside – which was just a tad too warm to be hiking up a mountain, albeit popping in and out of shops along the way.
- Kensington Palace: back to KP for my third trip since buying my membership! This was to concentrate fully on Queen Victoria. As 2019 celebrates the 200th anniversary of Victoria’s birth, there are two special exhibitions comprising of Victoria’s belongings at KP. Victoria: Woman and Crown and Victoria: A Royal Childhood. The Woman and Crown exhibition, in particular, excited me as there were plenty of examples of Victoria’s clothing to gawp at. And I did!
- The Churchyard of Luss: blog post pending (again). Spoiler alert! It has a Viking grave!
- Hampton Court Palace: I posted about the Georgian Story that can be found here. This was a quickie visit, that my HRP annual membership and its locality affords me. It was a visit I’d promised myself all year long but only managed in August. This has been a very busy year.
- The Tower of London: another use of my HRP annual pass – that’s five visits to HRP sites so far this year. Post(s) pending? We’ll have to wait and see! I visited St Thomas’ Tower, the Bloody Tower and the Chapel of St Peter ad Vincula. All three worthy of their own page on HistorianRuby! And includes an exciting new discovery in the Bloody Tower!
Reflecting on what I have not posted this year reminds of those that got away from 2018’s busy blog schedule!
Edinburgh castle – I did a very brief post on that, more was to follow and never did! The post on F.W. Paine Funeral Director, a local undertaker, that has a fascinating museum inside one of their sites. Their archives is an untapped resource and records show a massive increase in burials at the time of the Spanish Flu epidemic, just as WWI ended.
There was also going to be a write-up of my visit to Cobham Mill during the heritage open days in September and a post about Stafford House in the grounds of Greystoke Castle, where we stayed a night on a trip heading north to Scotland (owned by the Howard family). I’ve had a thing about staying somewhere castellated since then!
Marble Hill House, along with its former occupant, King George II’s mistress, was another that got away. And guess what? The mistress was Henrietta Howard! Yes, of the same family! The following week it was suggested I visit a museum that’s 30 minutes drive from me – it had links to the Howard family, too! I’ve still not been there . . .
And there I leave you with a quick explanation as to what I’ve been up to during my blogging hiatus. I will try to keep up some sort of schedule, but I only promised a week off in January and look what happened!
By for now, HistorianRuby x