Museum of Water (At Somerset House)


Photo via Museum of Water website

Any excuse for a visit to Somerset House!

Spotted in their regular eMail, something called the Museum of Water. Sounded interesting but to be honest I had  little idea what it might contain. It was to be held in the underground spaces at Somerset House; also known as the Lightwells & Deadhouse, which I had not visited before. I also noted that when the month long event started, the Lightwells were flooded with water from the Thames. Which would have been something special to see.

I thought I knew my way round Somerset House & how to access the lightwells. Apparently not as I wandered about for several minutes before locating the exhibit, the entrance hidden deep into the light wells & the exhibit itself right under the middle of the vast courtyard.

The Lightwells


The Lightwells have various alcoves & cupboards contained in the walls of the Deadhouse. In one of them :-

Katherine Corcoran Photo via Katherine Corcoran

It turned out that the exhibition is more of an “installation” created & curated by Amy Sharrocks celebrating our various uses of water, now & in the past.

First sight of the installation, in the atmospheric Deadhouse, which snakes East-West under the courtyard.


On each side there are small alcoves which one could easily imagine as cells in some kind of Medieval prison. Most,  if not all contained some additional parts of the exhibit  The figure at the far end is silhouetted against a freezer containing some preserved snowballs, which I gather have, sadly become lost, as the freezer was inadvertently turned off.

The old “galvanised” tubs were there for a reason. The courtyard fountains were in full use & the odd drip from the ceiling was real. At the far end the Deadhouse turns right, then left, running along a middle section, before  turning in the opposing directions & exiting under  the Western side of the courtyard.

It was the middle section which was the heart of the exhibit as it contained a large proportion of the several hundred donations of various types of water, each with its own back story all carefully displayed, & annotated with charming little handwritten labels.


There were several display shelves/cases such as that shown above. Much prettier in real life than it appears in the photograph, & the other ones perhaps more so, but did not lend to great pictures. A young lady was in attendance to answer any questions & describe the various exhibits. I think this was Amy Sharrocks herself & from what I heard whilst “lurking at the back of the room”, she spoke enthusiastically & entertainingly, & dealt easily with some spirited heckling from a toddler in a push chair.

The final section, was probably the one I liked best.


Here, there was a display of bottles in a period setting & various other artefacts. There was also a visitors book (lots of positive comments) & on the left in the picture a visitor can be seen at a desk writing their “excuses” for not bringing a donation & what they would have brought had they done so! These A4 sheets were then displayed in an adjacent alcove for others to peruse. Personally, I neither properly realised donations were wanted, nor thought about it beforehand. This I regret as I later came up with a couple of acceptable ideas. It was also a shame that I had less than an hour to properly study the installation, as by the time I had to leave I’d gained the feel of it all & begun to like it quite a bit. There was not time to obtain “samples” & donate them before the exhibit closed at Somerset House & I believe it is next showing in Denmark  & then returns to the UK in Darlington. I hope it does return to London in the future, maybe even back at Somerset House where the underground space so suited it. Also I would like to make a contribution.

Overall, surprisingly enjoyable & great kudos to Amy Sharrocks for putting it all together.


Tower Bridge Exhibition


Recently discovered, somewhat by chance, that the World famous Tower Bridge hosts an exhibition showing how it was constructed & also giving access to the original steam engine room in the base of the Southern Tower.

As a Londoner the bridge holds a special status for me & on the run-in to London Bridge Station I always try to catch a glimpse of it from the train, although the clear view of the 1960′s seems to have been at least partially eclipsed, by some rather unattractive buildings. Two major parts of the exhibition are housed in the upper walkways, & despite not being very good with heights I decided to give it a go.

So I booked a ticket on line (at a small discount). & the day arrived bright but not overly warm & I managed to get there by mid afternoon; despite Southern Trains…

The exhibition entrance is in the base of the North Tower from where a lift takes you straight to the top of the Tower. The lift attendant gave a brief talk on what we could expect to see & the flow of the exhibition. Although they were keen to point out that the tour was “unguided” & there were no time constraints.

In the top of the North Tower there was a brief video presentation, describing the conception of the bridge. Actors played the parts of the designers & Queen Victoria, & it was quite entertaining. Then it was out to the East upper walkway giving great views of the river in the direction of St Katherines’s dock. The East walkway contains an exhibition featuring bridges of the World but it was very easy to be distracted by the views.


Inside the walkway;


At the far end you return via the South tower  along the West walkway where the views are equally spectacular as you look down on the Tower of London on one side of the River, but are intimated by The Shard to the other.


The West walkway contains (currently) an exhibition of iconic images from the 1960′s. Although I must point out that Pat Macnee & Diana Rigg were not the original Avengers as stated, Macnee having 2 previous partners in Ian Hendry & Honor Blackman.  Points for pedantry please…… :P

However, from the walkways one descends about halfway down the North Tower, via the stairwells, where there is a small display of photo’s & an information desk (with some souvenirs).  This part of the tour needs improving a bit in my view.

From there the lift takes you back to ground level where there is a bit of a walk to the base of the South Tower & then down steps to the original steam engine rooms. It was interesting to see how the hydraulic (steam) pressure was generated to lift the vast bascules. Quite a feat of engineering & beautifully preserved & restored.


Lastly there was another brief video showing the bridge in operation, very interesting, but I still want to see the actual bridge open, which, despite a number of river visits down the years, I have still not seen.

Exiting the exhib. of course requires negotiating the gift shop. Reasonably well stocked & not just with the usual London themed items. Prices were quite reasonable too, particularly compared with other nearby attractions.

All in all, good value & an interesting visit, worth the 8 GBP on line cost for the great views alone.

Good news?

Originally posted on A Former F1 Doc Writes:

As my mom always said, “You make your bed, you gotta sleep in it”. So even though I was sure I’d written my last post having anything to do directly with the Michael Schumacher tragedy, I just want to answer the hundreds of questions I’ve already gotten as to the import of todays statement.

1) It is obviously good news that Michael has left the hospital. Because of the length of time since Michael’s injury, and of the specific role of an Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in supporting and monitoring the function of the body’s major systems, it’s almost certain that Michael has not simply been discharged from the ICU to a rehab, without having “transitioned” by a stay on the regular wards. I have never seen a head injury patient with a 5 month ICU admission be transferred directly to a rehab facility . . . but anything’s possible. 


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Not MotorSport at the Palace 2014

Having been thwarted in my attempts to reach this year’s meeting on the Bank Holiday Monday by a minor domestic crisis & three different transport fails, I have no new photo’s. to display.

So I will pick a favourite from each of the four preceding years to make up for it. & look forward hopefully to next year, which if the proposed development goes ahead as it stands, may be the last if the exclusivity zone demanded by the developers is allowed. Whatever one’s views about the site of the old Crystal Palace the extent of the exclusivity zone is not acceptable.


Maserati Monza Special




Surtees TS19B F5000





Ford GT40 Replica




1959 AC Single Seater


Michael – five months on

Originally posted on A Former F1 Doc Writes:

First of all, I want to thank you all for your comments and questions since last week. We’ve got lots to talk about – today it’ll be a bit about Michael Schumacher’s situation, but I’m also going to be writing about the fascinating duel between Lewis and Nico . . . AND continue the series about trackside medical intervention.

I’m also looking at starting a video blog, as a way to better interact with you all. This will probably be through a YouTube channel; one of the things I want to do there is answer your questions in a more comfortable format. (If you’ve got questions you want answered, send them here to comments, and I’ll get to them once the v-log is up and running.

Tons of you have asked about Michael’s current status. Obviously I have no direct information. And I’m STILL considering that if there were good news to…

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