June 4, 2010 by jessperriam
Hi. My name is Jess Perriam and I am a history nerd.
If you were in London, what would be the first tourist attraction you would hit up?
Buckingham Palace? Big Ben? London Eye?
If you’re Jess, you hit up the Cabinet War Rooms and Churchill Museum.
I told you I was a nerd.
If that wasn’t enough, I then took the Tube to the Imperial War Museum.
I find history, especially Second World War history fascinating.
But five storeys of war, war and even more war?
Far too intense. Especially when you have exhibitions such as Children at War – an exhibit that describes the experiences of British children during World War Two. They were often evacuated to the countryside, but some even made it to Australia. Call it jetlag, call it what you will but I was getting weepy at the thought of young children having to have gas masks at the ready just in case of an air raid.
They even had a “Talk to a child evacuee” section of the exhibit where I spoke with Graeme, an older man from Birmingham whose school was bombed during the war. I told him that I felt rather overwhelmed and he reassured me that it wasn’t a bad time in his life; rather than being fearful, he thought of it as a Boys’ Own Adventure, much like many boys at the time did. He proudly told me how he sold litters of kittens to donate money towards the war effort. He showed me a receipt made out to the mother cat, thanking her for her contribution.
I then went to the Ministry of Food exhibit, which deals with rationing and the big movement for women to grow their own food to lessen the need to import food. That was actually rather heartening to look at, and fascinating too.
Then there was the trip to the Lower Ground level to check out the World War One section. Big mistake.
I clearly must have been getting cranky. I wanted to yell at someone when I saw the section about the Western Front – with no mention of the ANZACs. Gallipoli was brushed over, but thankfully it acknowledged the poor judgement of the British military head honchos. I could have looked at the concentration camp section, which normally I would have jumped at. But I just wasn’t in the mood for more war.
So it was back in the direction of South Kensington. Just enough time to head to the Victoria and Albert Museum. It was massive. I just stared at the entrance hall and wanted to scream, “But my feet hurt!” like a little child. The museum is full of sculpture, art, fashion and photography. I didn’t go through the whole museum but I did see the fashion section. It’s interesting to notice that some clothes never go out of fashion. Others however, you wonder how they ever became fashionable.
History is a good thing. In smaller doses I suspect.
Oh and here’s my touristy snap in Trafalgar Square: