Victoria's Day One in London, Part Four

Poor Ed, his foot unbelievably painful, decided to spend the afternoon at the hotel, nursing his wounds.  I set off down Piccadilly just happy to be in London, listening to the noise of the traffic, the snatches of conversation in multiple languages from passers-by, and breathing the air, diesel fumes and all. I noted, however, that most of the buses are running on green fuels now, which should help.  Just add the lorries, if you please.

Piccadilly, celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of the Queen’s 1953 Coronation
I wandered along the street, stopping at a few favorite spots.  Fortnum and Mason always is worth a visit, if only for the amusing displays, not to mention the delicious aromas.
F and M Teacup
The Elegant Doorway of F and M
Displays in Fortnum and Mason
I browsed around and tempted myself with possible purchases, but passed in favor of having manageable weights for my suitcase.  Click here to order from home.
Hatchards, Piccadilly, Est. 1797
I admit I spent at least an hour or two in Hatchards, a place I adore.  Visit by clicking here.
Capital Ideas Table, with Louise Allen’s Walking Jane Austen’s London
I was very happy to find Regency author Louise Allen’s new book Walking Jane Austen’s London on sale.  I bought it, but bypassed a few others…again considering the weight of my luggage.  But browsing in a wonderful bookshop is always rewarding in itself.

St. James and its marketplace
More browsing here, a blend of small dealers in antiques and collectibles, books, and — sorry to say — junk.  Or make that junque, since it comes from such a lovely spot.  This little market is in the church courtyard almost every day…and there is a nice coffee shop as well.  And seats.  But then Ed and his sore foot were resting up at the hotel, I hoped.  And my feet were itching for more adventures.
Ready and Willing; thank you, Mephisto!
So I consulted a little list I’d made of places I wanted to see in London that had previously escaped my attention.  Aha!  The Foundling Museum. Why not?  Ed would never want to see all those little treasures the mother’s made to identify their babes if they could return someday.  But it was something I’d always meant to see.
Foundling Museum
A short tube ride brought me close to the Museum, which you can read about here.  Below is the medallion showing three little angels, a symbol of the Foundling Hospital.
The Foundling Hospital was established by Thomas Coram (c.1688-1751), a wealthy merchant who spent a great deal of time in the American colonies where he had many business and governmental interests.  In 1739, Coram secured a royal charter to build a home for the many abandoned children in the London streets.
The Girl’s Dining Room, 1773
Mothers often brought children they were unable to care for to the hospital and left tokens with them in the hope that someday they could be reunited. The tokens are often heart-breakingly simple, made from inexpensive materials but with a lot of love and hope.

Many prominent artists and musicians were benefactors of the Foundling hospital, including William Hogarth (1697-1764)..
Thomas Coram, by William Hogarth, ©The Foundling Museum 
Painting above fireplace by George Lambert (1700-1765)
 The Foundling Museum is located in one of the original Hospital

buildings and houses rooms used by the board members and other philanthropists. Opened in 2004, it cares for and exhibits the collection of the Foundling Hospital..

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
school of Thomas Hudson

The Gerald Coke Handel Collection of Handel memorabilia can be seen and studied at the Foundling Museum as well.  Handel’s benefit concert of The Messiah in 1750 was the first of a series which brought the sum of £7,000 (equivalent today to about £500,000) to the Hospital. Handel left a score of the work to the Hospital. On the top floor of the museum,  visitors can settle into comfortable chairs and listen to Handel’s works — and other musical selections — on earphones.
Rococo Court Room
I felt a little guilty sitting in total comfort listening to magnificent music while Ed nursed his sore foot. Eventually, I walked back to the hotel and found him happily ensconced on the bed watching the BBC News Channel, his favorite if CNN is not available. He was almost ready for dinner.
Next, a train trip to Cambridge


2 thoughts on “Victoria's Day One in London, Part Four”

  1. This sounds like a perfect day, a combination of a specific visit to a museum with mooching around immersing yourself in eighteenth century London. I have read Louise Allen's book from cover to cover and it has excellent details in it for the lover of Regency London, not restricted to Jane Austen (although there is great information on JA too).

  2. You must have been out on a Tuesday, since I know that's the day for the antiques market at St. James's Church, Piccadilly. I bought an antique amethyst ring there and always try to stop in when in Town. It's fabulous and then there's Caffe Nero in the same courtyard!

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