The Tower of London is quite truthfully not as imposing as I expected it to be. I suppose that’s because I’m looking at it through a modern lens, and it’s no longer the tallest building for miles .. nevertheless it was impressive!
On the way to the Tower we passed by the Roman Wall – incredible to think of London as a Roman city, but it was! There is so much history in this city, and that’s one of the things I like most. I love to walk in the footsteps of history and imagine what it must have been like for people years and years ago. In certain places, it feels like I stepped out of 2017 and into a Charles Dickens novel, the streets are so wonderfully preserved. When I went to the Tower, I was reminded of the Marshalsea Debtor’s Prison from Little Dorrit, because it was the first other prison to come to mind. After the description in Dickens’ work, I expected to really experience the feelings of depression, claustrophobia, hopelessness, desertion, and fear, among others, that one might expect from a prison – even if I was a few hundred years removed from it. But I did not – it was absolutely transformed into a modern tourist attraction.
Since I’m learning about Public Relations in this course, I was aware of the projected image of the current Tower of London. It was fascinating to notice that even though for centuries, the reputation of the Tower was that of a terribly gruesome, horror-inspiring prison and torture chamber, there was very little mention of those times gone by. It’s not that I sought out the grisly, gory topics for fun, but for a cultural experience, to better understand what really happened on the stones I was standing on. But it was tame, and the significance of the horror felt diminished.
I did, however, enjoy the Crown Jewels. They are housed in a special exhibition, safely secured in glass cases, with perfect lighting to allow the gems to best catch the light. (photos were not allowed, but I have wonderful images in my mind’s eye) I’ve been compared to a Magpie several times in my life, because I am so attracted to anything that sparkles and glints silver or gold. So it’s no wonder that the Crown Jewels were the highlight of my visit 😉 It’s hard to imagine actual humans wearing the luxurious and immense crowns, carrying the scepters and orbs, because the concept of royalty is so removed from my complete comprehension. It’s close to my awareness, because I know that the hierarchy exists. And I have my mother to thank for introducing me to the glorious world of English aristocracy and royalty – I still remember the first time she showed me an elegant scene from Pride and Prejudice where the Bennet girls meet the Bingley girls – but to say that I completely understand and can wrap my mind around royalty, especially when I’m in a country that still upholds it, would be false.
But the Jewels were a wondrous sight to behold, and I am grateful to have seen them. I am grateful for all the experiences I have had so far, and I’m excited for what’s to come.