Well, I survived my trip to London! My heart sank as the train rushed toward Paddington, but I kept my cool – even though I was drowning in a sea of rushing commuters. Why do they all run, are they always late? Perhaps they should get up earlier [wink]
I discovered the escalators have an invisible dividing line down the middle; ‘standers’ to the right and ‘walkers/runners’ to the left – am I the only one who remembers ‘don’t walk or run on escalators’?
And I was particularly intrigued by one girl on the Underground who had a piercing inside her ear – wow that must’ve hurt!
And don’t tell me I’m the only person these days who checks out anyone with a knapsack!
So, handled the Underground and finally found my way to Main Building; being me and a map reader, I went the long way round (not complaining, it all adds to my exercise regime!)
But I was embarrassed on arrival and sought the help of the guard. Twas only a minor embarrassment but he was very kind.
You see, since getting off the train at Paddington, across London on the Bakerloo and half way around Westminster – I had been carrying an empty coffee cup. There are no bins in London. I asked the nice young man in the Underground ‘no, miss, we don’t have any bins on the Underground’. I hunted around Embankment and kept an eagle eye out all the way to the office. No bins! I asked the guard at the office ‘no, miss, we don’t have a bin’ I looked a little worried, thinking I would be forever attached to the cardboard cup, and he said in a fatherly tone ‘but give it to me, and I’ll see to it’. I gratefully relinquished my hold on the now way too familiar cup.
Another thing that caught my attention was our fire alarm muster point. Most people have ‘car park’, ‘outside South Door’ - our Main Building have ‘the statue of Bartle Frere’ – our immediate response was 'the statue of WHO???' Immediately I woke up this morning I googled old Bartle, turns out he and his family are heroes……
George Frere (1774 - 1854) came to Twyford House after his wife, Elizabeth Raper, inherited the grand Queen Anne mansion and estate from her grandfather John Raper. He was a founder and sometime President of the Law Society (c. 1836) and his 6th child Bartle John Laurie Frere, born in 1814, himself became President in 1867/68. When his father died in 1854 Bartle J.L. Frere financed and organised the complete renovation of the fabric of the St. James, as a memorial to his father. Through his London connections he employed Lewis Vulliamy (of Regent Street fame) as the architect and Sir Gilbert Scott to design some of the furnishings. In 1892, following an occasion when he had to send a friend all the way to Cambridge for treatment, he conceived the idea of a hospital for Bishop's Stortford. After his death, his wife Adelaide Frere and family completed the fund raising. His nephew, Eustace Frere, was the architect and Rye Street Hospital was opened in January 1895.
Bartle J.L. Frere's grandson, Bartle Laurie Stuart Frere was born in 1896 the eldest child of Laurie and Maud Frere. Following his education at Eton he was expected to join the family law firm at Lincolns Inn. In 1915, before he had finished his education, he enlisted as a Lieutenant in the 4th Batt. Bedfordshire Regiment went to France and was killed November 1916 at Beaumont Hamel. An oration delivered at his memorial service at Thorley church gives a flavour of this young man. It contains references to 'a strong character for a boy so young …….. infectious sense of humour …… quick witted …… life and soul of any gathering. He had a fine singing voice, a true ear and glorious lungs but it was the rich humour of his personality that made his comic singing what it was'.
Many references can be found for the most honoured of the Bartle Freres, Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere (1815 - 1884). Following a long and distinguished career in the Indian Civil Service, he was created a Baronet in 1876. In 1872 he had successfully negotiated the abolition of the slave trade with the Sultan of Zanzibar. In 1877 he was appointed to be the Governor of the Cape Province, South Africa to implement the policy of confederation. To this end he provoked a war with the Zulu tribes, the first battle of which in 1879 ended in a disastrous defeat for the British army. Despite eventually winning the trust of the Boer element of the proposed confederation he was recalled to London in 1880. Sadly he died of a chill in 1884 and was buried in St. Paul's Cathedral. In 1888 Edward Prince of Wales unveiled a statue to him in the Victoria Embankment Gardens Whitehall Extesnion that was paid for by public subscription. Here is dear old Sir Henry:
I escaped the building at lunchtime and checked out Old Man Thames and the London Eye (about as near as you’re going to get me to it!). I also dodged the telly people. It’s weird seeing reporters, cameras and big fluffy booms in real life - apparently Mr Putin was in town to thank the Brits.
Finally struggled back across town in the height of the evening rushhour, collapsed on my train home and began texting people, mad with relief I was out of the city - and, as ever, vowing never to return.