Today we travelled on the Docklands Light Railway to Greenwich. The most interesting aspect of the DLR is that the trains are driver-less! Greenwich is the site of the Old Royal Naval College and the Royal Observatory. Unfortunately, it was a very misty day - we couldn't even see the far side of the River Thames when we first arrived!
The buildings were designed by Sir Christopher Wren. The dome on the left is the Chapel of St.Peter and St.Paul and, on the right, the Painted Hall. Unfortunately, the Painted Hall was closed for restoration works.
The chapel is considered to be one of the finest examples of neoclassical design in the country.
The rather "busy" painting behind the altar is by Benjamin West (1738-1820). It depicts St Paul miraculously surviving a viper's bite when he was shipwrecked at Malta.
Part of the ceiling of the chapel
The organ was built by Samuel Green (1740-96), the leading organ builder of his day. It was completed at a cost of £1000 in 1798. It has three manuals. The Spanish mahogany case, designed by William Newton, cost a further £500.
In order to visit the Royal Observatory, it is necessary to climb a very steep hill in Greenwich Park. I "captured" this grey squirrel on the way.
One of the things to do at the observatory is to stand on the "prime meridian" (longitude 0).
Satoshi operating a sextant.
The four clocks above were all designed by John Harrison who devoted much of his life to solving the problem of reliably finding longitude while at sea.
Looking back towards the Naval College from the observatory. It is very difficult to see the domes! The building in the centre is The Queen's House which is now an art gallery (photos of some of the paintings can be seen below).
This view of a staircase in The Queen's House (from the bottom looking up) is quite famous.
Queen Elizabeth I, painted in 1590
King Henry VII, painted in 1505
King Edward VI
Both the above paintings were painted by George Stubbs in 1772. A pretty good effort considering he had only sketches and dried skins for inspiration. These are the first paintings ever of a kangaroo and a dingo. There is an interesting article about a failed attempt to get the paintings to Australia here.
This table globe was created by Schissler and Neuwaldt in 1597 in Augsberg.
As with many other famous paintings, it was wonderful to view this famous portrait of Captain Cook painted by Nathaniel Dance in 1776 just before Cook's final voyage to Tahiti.
The Queen's House has been restored in recent years - it's looking great!
The "Cutty Sark" bedecked with Christmas lights.
As we were leaving, the mist lifted and we could see the other side of the River Thames!
On the way back, we went on the Emirate's Air Line (a cable car) which crosses the River Thames. It was a bit eerie being so high up!
After a quick dinner at McDonald's, we went to the musical "Aladdin". This was an excellent production with wonderful costumes and very fast scene changes. The singing and choreography were great as were the special effects. The genie (played by Trevor Dion Nicholas) was definitely the star of the show. We couldn't believe the amount of energy expended by the cast during the performance - amazing! A look at the trailer will give you a good idea!