London Vacation, final photo dump

Final selection of my London photos……note the word MY!

Quite a few grammatical errors in yesterday’s posting, sorry, what can I say it’s been a while 😀 . Fourth posting this week and today’s has a lighter and fluffier tone………………then again how can you ‘sugar coat’ human Slavery? You cannot!

I haven’t asked my mother’s permission if I can keep sharing her image on my WordPress with strangers, hmm probably I should with two caveats, one this sharp-as lovely woman has no comprehension as to what Blogging actually is (neither do I!) Two, I wouldn’t wish her to read some of the other Postings here…….say no more!

This photo below was taken on our family’s vacation in the vicinity of London Docks, more precisely Canary Wharf the financial heart of London and for NO apparent reason we see a bronze bicycle on the side of a road ridden by a cast bronze dog and cat with one spare seat! Yeh I know?

Well without without being asked she climbs aboard………………I’ll miss her one day 😦 .

(How did we research back in the days before Google and Wikipedia?)

The Southern English County of Wiltshire next………………………………………..

A. Shepherdson 2021

London Vacation Day 2, Slavery Exhibition

Day 2 – Docklands Museum also in Greenwich click here

All photos taken by me within the Exhibition.

Reading Part 1 (again with my photos) may help a little with background to this posting, lol saves me repeating myself again!

‘Is it not strange to think, that they who ought to be considered the most learned and civilized people in the world, that they should carry on a traffic of the most barbarous cruelty and injustice….are become so dissolute to think slavery, robbery and murder no crime?’

Honestly speaking, apart from watching American movies (love Tarantino’s Django Unchained) sadly my knowledge of African Slavery, Plantation life in North America, sugar/tobacco production in the The West Indies WAS very sketchy before today, in my defense American history wasn’t taught in British schools, so understandably I knew very little and probably the reason I found the Slavery Exhibition at The Docklands Museum captivating.

Most Brits will be aware of the notorious and disreputable ‘West India’ also ‘East India’ Companies, their ships crisscrossing the oceans from Docklands creating an Empire, plundering the world’s treasure as their own in the name of The Crown, HOWEVER I had been unaware (should have been) ‘Great’ Britain supplied the shipping for the transport of African Slaves, many hundreds over three Centuries!

Thames Docklands has a truly disreputable past, Slavery Empire and Colonialism all inextricably entwined.

Maritime trading allowed European nations to impose European rule across Africa, established colonies as their own. This contributed to an assault on African identities, and from the early 1600s onwards London merchants were importing increasing amounts of gold and ivory, sugar tea, tobacco and silk. 500 years ago little was known about Africa, a little knowledge came from the writings of Portuguese travelers in the 1500s, but often those mixed truth with fantasy.

Legends of fabulous cities of gold mines hidden in the heart of Africa and mythical tales of black people replaced real knowledge. This, in turn led to a dismissal of African cultures, and as Africa became the principal source of human Slaves for the new world of the Americas, perhaps Britain’s ignorance fed racism which, in turn, came to justify brutal exploitation.

Ottobah Cugoano, Narrative of the Enslavement of Africans of Africa, 1787.

(Below) Portrait of George Hibbert a highly successful ‘West India’ merchant and slave owner owning a large number of Plantations in Jamaica. An MP (no less) and leading member of the ‘West India Merchants and Planters’, he played a key role in the defense of the Slave trade.

In the parliamentary debate on abolition, Hibbert argued “that a greater number of acts of cruelty occurred each week in London than a month in Jamaica”.

In 1834 his family received £31,120 compensation for 1,618 Slaves.

Britain is finally coming to terms with Colonial Slavery, marble statues have been removed, cultural institutions renamed, business paying compensation for centuries old crimes…………..oh how distinguished George looks in oil and canvass, sadly there are many many more! Now should they be removed from Art Galleries? Rewrite our history?

(Below) The names of enslaved men, women and children are listed here. Children were put to work from the age of seven. Those too old to do heavy work managed the livestock, collected animal fodder or nursed the sick…..says so on the plaque.

(Below) Painting titled ‘The Island of Fort William Estate with Part of River Roaring, 1778’.

(Below and clockwise) Sugar Cane harvest, Preparing the ground, Selling Sugar, Use of Sugar in confectionary, Use of Sugar in tea, Skimming the Sugar, Boiling the Sugar.

(Below) During the 1700s Britain was the leading slave-trading nation, A half of all Africans transported across the Atlantic into slavery were carried in British ships.

(Below) Once boiled, the sugar crystallized a thick liquid called molasses, ‘cakes’ later exported to Bristol, Liverpool and Thames Docklands.

1. Earthenware sugarloaf mould 1670.
2. Earthenware molasses 1600s.
3. Plantation token 1688. During reign of King James II the price of Tin collapsed. To help recue owners of mines in Britain from financial ruin the government began mining Tin coins for use in Plantation currencies.
4. Machete, 1880.The machete also known in the Caribbean as a ‘cutlass’ was both a tool and an instrument of punishment.

(Below) In 1783, the packet ship Antelope was wrecked on the Pellew Islands in the East Indies. The crew were befriended by the local islanders who helped them them build a new vessel in return for help in conquering rival islands. When the crew sailed away they were accompanied by the 19 year old Prince Lee Boo, who lived in London until his death 13 months later. Lee Boo’s well intentioned yet patronising treatment in England was a form of exploitation.

………………………and of course The Docklands Museum contains so much more treasure and historical document. 🙂 Go visit if you have the opportunity……………and it’s free of charge!

A. Shepherdson 2021

London Vacation Day 2, Docklands Museum, Slavery…….

Day One click here

Oh My God where to begin sharing Docklands history in one short Blog? (All photos taken by me).

Absolutely impossible but I’ll share with you photos taken on day 2 of our family’s London Vacation.

Docklands, situated at the mouth of the River Thames is very close to Greenwich Royal Observatory also the Emirates Cable Car and mirrors London’s history through the centuries, they are intrinsically entwined, from Bronze age discovered artifacts excavated from the area, to Roman settlements this small area of land divided by the Thames Estuary has a history like no other place on earth………………………

…………….a Bold claim indeed, but as a visit to The Docklands Museum situated in a preserved West India Company warehouse revealed, for centuries Britain a seafaring industrial powerhouse plundered ‘booty’ from across the Globe all returning through the Port of London. Troops sailed from here to fight wars in far away lands such as the Crimea, South African Boer War, two World Wars, and a disturbing fact I’d either forgotten or simply not realised, Ships bound for Africa transported Slaves to the West Indies, later retuning with crystalized Sugar, Tobacco (the Cotton went to Liverpool feeding Lancashire cotton Mills). In the days prior to containerization trucks and cargo planes, ships sailing from Docklands created an Empire, later servicing ‘her’ Colonies.

Below The Docks Museum, I recommend you visit this wonderful resource if you have the opportunity, both educational and also brilliantly presented Docklands was the highlight of my stay in London.

(Below) Recreated shop fronts from the eighteenth century, you peer through the windows to gaze and wonder at businesses of the time, pubs, animal emporiums, Dockside offices.

Today in the Twenty First Century, Apple, Chinese Tech Companies, Tesla……. are the World’s industrial powerhouses, great wealth is generated, politicians bow to their every desire and whim, well just so as you know, the direct descendants/equivalents would be Britain’s ‘West India’ also ‘East India’ Companies see below.

London’s wealth paid for many buildings of note also Royal Palaces…………………… I ask you this, if the construction of Buckingham Palace was paid from the profits of Slavery, seriously does the Queen have compensation to pay?

Wandering around the museum you’re first introduced presented to Docklands Bronze Age also Roman history, history both my Brother and I knew a little of…………………HOWEVER naively we forgotten, or simply not realised (we’re both white skinned), London Docks has a grim awful disgusting charge sheet of shame, ships sailed from Quaysides Wharfs and Piers named Canada Water, Royal Victoria Docks……………………… many sailing to Ports in Africa to transport enslaved Africans to the Americas and Caribbean, later returning laden with Tobacco and Sugar, a shameful past indeed!

A. Shepherdson 2021

Vacation in London day 1 – Hyde Park and Greenwich

I haven’t written on WordPress for many months (read a lot though), well if you didn’t catch yesterday’s introduction (don’t bother lol) I’ve just returned home after a week’s vacation with extended family, we visited many varied places around Southern England and as you do took many photos………….so I thought why not share a selection over the coming days.

You’re all busy people so I’ll try and keep the text brief.

Day 1 began with a train ride into Central London enjoying a 2 night stay at a Hotel close to Hyde Park Corner, 4 stars it was and possibly the highlight for my two nieces, beautifully clean rooms and a wet room shower to die for!

Below my mother feeding Parakeets in Hyde Park, the unusual story goes and quite true btw, several pet Parakeets escaped from someone’s London home later establishing a breeding colony in the Park, and tame enough to take food from tourists hands.

Hyde Park is home to many varied and famous works of art like this Henry Moore sculpture, apparently depicting human boned hips I think? Notice a live Heron sitting on top………reveals how large it actually is.

(Below) More Hyde Park wildlife and ALL comfortable with human company bearing food!

With Hyde Park done, our small group travelled an Underground train (several) to the Borough of Greenwich close to the mouth of the River Thames. Back in the day 2012 a cable car was erected to span the Thames connecting the Olympic village with London’s financial district at Canary Wharf………………you know shiny glass tower blocks owned by scamming Merchant Banks.

Emirates Cable Cars suspended beneath the sky, with a backdrop of tower blocks in London’s financial district.

(Above) Canary Wharf again, the two ‘gondola’s’ hanging from crane jibs are in fact restaurant tables! No thank you.

(Above) Greenwich a large expanse of disused industrial land is still being developed today, you’ll know this area as London’s East End heavily blitzed by Hitler’s carpet bombing in WW2.

(Above) Way back in 2012 the Millennium Dome was built at huge expense as the centre piece of London’s Olympics, then as continually happens, the Games over NO ONE knew what to do with it! Consequently after many years vacant, the Borough Council converted ‘The Dome’ into the O2 Arena now used for Pop concerts pre Covid.

(Below) The Royal Observatory at Greenwich is the home of time and space, the Prime Meridian and Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and situated on a hill in Greenwich park………………………….also a Covid testing station.

A. Shepherdson 2021

Been a while

Back in the day I blogged on average every 3 days, and as of this year I very seldom do?

As for the reasons why I’m absent from ‘blogging thoughts photos and life’ all I’ll add is I’m fit and healthy, received 2 AstraZeneca covid-19 vaccinations and surviving this pandemic chaos the best I can……….. absent yes, but in my defense consume blogs penned by middle aged women every single day, 🙂 oooh they can be such enlightening stimulating hilarious reading and am TRULY addicted!

So Andrew why today’s posting?

Thanks for asking 🙂 , well I won’t be sharing my many opinions (I’ll spare you those) and swiftly getting to the point, I’ve just returned from a week’s vacation with a Smart Phone memory overflowing with photographs, and you know how it is, you either share them with somebody because they’re gonna get deleted in 3 months time anyway.

All I have to do now is upload them into a Blog fast running out of media memory! See you either tonight or tomorrow and all this week.

A. Shepherdson 2021