Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bodleian Library

Today we visited the Bodleian Library in Oxford. Oxford is a very pretty place. All the places we have visited so far are just beautiful. The Bodleian Library was first opened to scholars in 1602. It was created by Duke Humfrey but he died in 1488 before it was completed. He donated about 281 manuscripts to the library but Edward VI removed the Duke's manuscripts and had them burned and only thirteen remain. Thomas Bodleian was a Diplomat, who may have been a spy, he retired from the job after his wife and father died. Bodleian donated a large amount of money to the Oxford University library. In 1610 he made an agreement to have one of every book published sent to the library. All the first editions of Shakespeare's sonnets are at the Bodleian Library. The oldest manuscript in the Bodleian Library is from the year 527 B.C. of an Egyptian marriage contract written on papyrus. We learned that this library was also a chained library up until the eighteenth century. This library is using the Colon catalogue but is in the process of changing to the Library of Congress cataloguing system. This library is the first national library. Bodleian wanted it to be a public library but it is not. (This picture is from

Victoria and Albert Museum

On Wednesday afternoon, after the library tour, my friends and I walked around the Victoria and Albert Museum. It, like all other museums, was very interesting. We walked around until closing time and took pictures like good little tourists. :) We saw an exhibit on silver, for example, silver tea pots and serving sets and statues made of silver, very pretty and shiny! We also saw a mosaic of Christ from the 4th Century A.D. There was also a section of the museum that had a fashion section. It had a display about the fashions from the early seventeenth century until the present time. It was really cool to see how fashion has changed so much for men and women. There was also an exhibit that displayed jewelry. It was absolutely gorgeous! I wanted to take most of it home with me, but I do not want to be arrested! :) I really liked this museum, mainly because of the jewelry exhibit, but the rest of the museum was great too! (This image is retrieved from

National Art Library

Wednesday, we took a tour of the National Art Library. It is a reference library only, the books may not be checked out. It is a neat library, it has one of every art book that is published, and like many other libraries in the London area, they are running out of room. That is not a good thing because it is hard to find more space for these materials. The Art Library receives it's funding from the Victoria and Albert Museum. In order to access the materials from the library, one has to become a member of the library. It is quick and easy and has to be done even if the patron only wants to use the library one time. The Art Library has about 250 manuscript items. It holds three of Shakespeare's first folios and one of these is very nearly complete. There are also quite a few books from Charles Dickens and some that were a rough draft that he marked through and wrote corrections in. Those were from their fascinating rare collection. I was very interested in those books, I wanted to take them home and read them, if only! The holdings of the library fall into two categories: General Collections and Special Collections. The general collections include books on art, architecture and books that are decorated on the outside. The special collections are the books like the Dickens books and the Shakespeare folios. My class is so lucky to be able to partake in these tours and get special behind the scenes look at the libraries we visit. (This picture was obtained from

Shopping, Declined!

On Tuesday, my friends and I wanted to go shopping after the British Museum. We decided to go to Oxford Street and shop over there. We were having a great time, until I got declined. It was not awesome. I had went by the Carphone Warehouse earlier and bought a replacement phone, long story, and after that we went shopping. Everything was going great until I wanted to purchase some items with my debit card and it got declined. I was very upset, turns out the bank thought my purchase at the Carphone Warehouse was a fraudulent purchase, uh no, I did it, I promise. So that was dramatic, but I did get it straightened out, so everything is A-ok now. Very happy they fixed it. I'm glad they're looking out for me, but it's a little frightening when you know you have money and then all of a sudden they tell you declined, not fun at all. All in all it was a very interesting day! (This picture is from

British Museum

Tuesday, we went to the British Museum. We did not have an appointment there but we did go around the museum and look around. I love museums, they just have so much wonderful stuff to see! At the British Museum, we did not go to the Reading Room that we had hoped to go see because they are remodeling it, so it will be closed for two years. However, that did not stop us from seeing some really great stuff. On one floor, there was the Rosetta Stone, it was bigger than I thought it would be. We also got to see mummies which I thought was cool because I have never seen one before, t.v. does not count! We got to see a room dedicated to Asia and another for Africa, Europe and China. It was a really great museum, if you get to go admission is free! We also got to take a picture of King's Cross Station at 9 3/4. That was fun to get to take a picture there, the wall has a cart stuck in it to look like it is passing through, it's very neat. (This picture is provided by

Curry and Brick Lane!

On Monday a few girls and I went to Brick Lane. It is a very interesting place to go. We ate at a place called The Nazrul. It is a Tandoori and Balti restaurant. It is so good. I had never tried that kind of food before, so I decided to eat some prawn curry. It was so delicious. If you are ever on Brick Lane, check that place out, it's worth it. After we went to The Nazrul, we went shopping, well, the other girls did, but I just browsed. There are a lot of cool vintage shops down that way. Some clothes were really awesome looking and others, not so much, like, if that fashion died, it was for a reason. :) Like I said though, some of the clothes were great, nice shoes, purses, hats. It was a really fun day. Go to Brick Lane sometime and do some shopping and eat some curry! (This picture provided by

Caird Library

to catalogue their books. They also follow the MARC and Monday we went to the Caird Library in the Greewich Maritime Museum. It is one of the largest, if not the largest, maritime libraries in the world. This library includes such materials as maps, charts, astronomy materials and naval architecture materials. Patrons cannot access the libraries' database system from home all this must be done in their library. Patrons must also be over the age of sixteen to use the library facilities. This library was founded in 1937, and they are currently working on a new facility that should be open in 2011 or 2012. The Caird Library holds over 100,000 modern books, 8,000 rare books and 20,000 periodicals. The librarians use Mimsy XGACRII rules as well. The library is named after Sir James Caird (1864-1954). He was a Scottish shipowner and the Museum's principal benefactor. The tour guides, Mike and Renee, showed us the rare books and other materials that are housed in the Caird Library. Renee showed us some rare small books in the collection which have wooden covers. They were so neat to look at. The wood for the books were made from a ship that had sank, and they detail the cause of the demise of the ship. Mike told us that the books on ships were often thrown overboard so that enemy ships could not get valuable information. I thought that was sad, understandable, but sad. Mike also showed us a journal by Edward Hodges Cree that was typed out and illustrated with water color paintings that he drew about the different people and cultures from every port that he visited. This library also houses the oldest maps from the 14th century. If you decide to go visit the Caird Library, be warned that it is only open for three days out of the week due to renovations. (This picture was retrieved from

Sunday, 19 July 2009


Today we went to Stonehenge and Winchester. Stonehenge is really big and now I know why everyone wants to see it so badly. It is enourmous, it also makes you wonder how they put the stones on top of the ones that are standing upright! I wanted to go behind the ropes, but I don't think I would agree with jail time, lol. It was really fun to see all the people taking funny pictures in front of the stones. It was very windy and it rained, so if you go, take a raincoat and a jacket! After that, we went to Winchester and walked around the Winchester Cathedral. It was very large and beautiful. There was so much to look at. Jane Austen is buried there and there is a window that was donated in her memory. The Winchester Bible is also there, but we did not get to look at it because it was locked up. We went to Jane Austens' house and took a picture of the front of it, she only lived there six weeks before she died. We also got to see a small portion of ruins from a castle. "King Arthur's Round Table", is hanging on the wall of the Great Hall. It names all of the knights on the edge of the table. There is also a statue of Queen Victoria on her throne. The town of Winchester was very impressive with so many awe inspiring places to visit. (This picture is found at


Stratford-Upon-Avon was a quaint little town in which the birthplace of William Shakespeare remains. There is also a library and a theatre company in that town. The Shakespeare library was formed in 1847 by the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust. This library is the place to go to find information about Shakespeare, his family, his plays and just about anything you might need to know about him. The library houses the first folio of William Shakespeare's plays. We were told on our tour around the library that there was a portrait of Shakespeare found recently. There are thousands of archival records found in the vaults of the library. The library is in the process of entering their material into a database to help patrons find resources with more ease. The librarians were very friendly and helpful. The library does not recieve money from the government for their services so any donations from patrons are welcome. The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust also takes care of four other homes relating to Shakespeare and his family and the town of Stratford-Upon-Avon. Stratford-Upon-Avon is also home to the Royal Shakespeare Company. That night we went to see the Shakespeare play "As You Like It." It was extremely good! The actors did a fantastic job! If ever there was a Shakespeare play to go see in Stratford, that is it! It was very interesting and I would definitely go back if I have the chance. (This picture was retrieved from

Dover Castle

On Saturday the British Studies Program went on a day trip to Dover and Canterbury. It was really beautiful. I had a blast, the only bad thing about the trip to Dover was that we couldn't go in the castle. :( It was otherwise very cool. The White Cliffs are so awesome! I was a little sad that we couldn't stay longer at the castle. The trip to Canterbury was just as fun though. Two of my friends and I ate a restaurant named The Parrot. It was very good, if you're ever down that way check it out. After that we just walked around and took in the scenery. There was a river walk by what was called a river, but it looked like a stream to me. It was very quiet and peaceful though. I had so much fun on that trip, I did not want to leave! (This picture is acquired from

Thursday, 16 July 2009

British Library

Today our class visited the British Library. Our tour guide for the day was Stephen Sandford. He was friendly and knowledgeable. He took us on a behind the scenes tour of the Library. This library has four underground rooms that house an extreme number of books. The British Library used to be in the same building as the British Museum, but in 1997 it moved near St. Pancras Railway Station. It houses one-hundred and fifty million books and other materials. King George III donated his library of sixty-five thousand books to the British Library. They are on display behind fire proof glass and the lights are fiber optic lights so that they will not be damaged, you can look at the books at this library but these items may not be checked out. This collection even boasts Ancient Egyptian writings on papyrus. They also house the world's largest book called the Klencke Atlas. I was shocked when he told us how many materials were housed in their collections. We also got to go on a tour at the preservation studio. I do not envy the people who have this job. I'm glad they do it, but it is very hard work. I enjoyed this tour very much. (This photo was retrieved from

Fortnum and Mason

My friends and I went to Fortnum and Mason in Piccadilly earlier this week. I really liked the atmosphere of the place. The food is wonderful and the tea and scones are fabulous. (If you decide to visit Fortnum and Mason, have the scones, they are very worth every pence!) Our waiter was pretty cute too! :) We had an excellent time that day. We also went to look around a shop called Zara. There are some pretty nice things there if anyone is interested in going there. (This logo was acquired at

Museum of London

On Wednesday, our class went to the Museum of London located in the Barbican. Our tour was lead by a man named Jon Cotton. He is a nice man who is very interested in the pre-history of London. He gave us some information on the museum before we got started and it was very interesting. When we got into the museum itself, there was so much cool stuff to see! There are exhibits on early tools used by the people of this area. There are animal skulls of early animals as well. Further into the museum there is an exhibit about the Great Fire of London in 1666. That one was probably my favorite because it was very informative; I did not realize that the fire destroyed as much land as it did. It was extremely devastating for London at that time. There was a video that chronicled the devastation and how the fire started. Also, after the fire, the people of London decided to sell fire insurance. Before the fire, people did not have this insurance so they had to pay to have their homes rebuilt. There were not very many homes rebuilt the year after the fire. Also after the fire, the people were required to douse their fires with water before they went to bed. In the other parts of the museum, there is an exhibit about the Romans and how they influenced early London. There is also a part of the Roman wall that is outside of the museum, it is amazing how long it has been standing there! (This photo was retrieved from

Avenue Q!

Also on Tuesday, a friend I met in this class, Chai, went with me to see the play Avenue Q. We were able to get a discount on it because we are students (yay for discounts!). It was extremely funny, definitely adult material. It is a play involving the misadventures of puppets. It was making fun of another show about puppets, I shall call no names! :) I laughed the entire time at this play, totally riotous! The play is located in Picadilly Circus. It was a packed out show, too. If anyone has the chance to go see a play (and you are over the age of at least 18, my own opinion anyway), I would say go see it! (This photo was retrieved from

The Barbican Library

On Tuesday, we visited the Barbican Center in The City of London. It is an amazing place with flats (apartments for those who are not familiar with that term), restaurants, cinemas, libraries, schools, a museum, and much much more! It is a square mile "city" in the city of London. The construction of the Barbican was started in 1971, but the Barbican Center did not open until 1982. The Barbican was first built by the Romans who came to England. It was built for protection against invaders. The Barbican Library is a lending library in the city. This particular library has three different sections, an adult section, a children's section, and a music section. (It has been told that Orlando Bloom has visited this library!) The library is on the second floor of the Barbican Center. The children's section that I visited is small but very interesting. The librarian that talked with us said that children receive book packets from birth to age five; the packets are called "Book Start". I thought that was a great idea to help the children become interested in reading. Every child receives one of these packets. The packet has two books and other items inside for the children. They also have different events for the children of the Barbican. The children can participate in crafts, have a picnic and listen to a storyteller. That was a really interesting day. The children's librarian at the Barbican Center is Amanda Owens, and she is a fantastic lady. I hope one day to be an awesome librarian like that! (This picture was retrieved from

Monday, 13 July 2009

St. Paul's Cathedral

We were lucky enough to go on a tour of St. Paul's Cathedral library today with a man named Joe Wisdom. A very fitting name for a wise and friendly gentleman. St. Paul's Cathedral is a very beautiful place. We went up the winding staircase that is featured in the Harry Potter films. (It was a long way up with 97 steps!) We we allowed to see a room filled with several different scale models and drawings of what St. Paul's Cathedral could have looked like before the version we have now. The scale model we got to look at looked like a version of the Vatican. St Paul's is not a Catholic church so they changed it to look different from that so there would be no conflicts. There was also a pulpit dating from about the year 1802 that had been carried up from the sanctuary. It was very beautifully carved. Next we went to see the library, it wasn't very large, but it was so nice. It had high ceilings that Mr. Wisdom said allowed for your ideas to float and flourish, but if the ceiling was low it would keep your ideas from flourishing. He told us that the library uses volunteers from the church to clean the library and restore books. He also told us that the temperature must stay relatively stable so as not to damage the books or artifacts in the library. The books could have a bad chemical reaction to serious fluctuation in the temperature. The book of Psalms is the oldest book in the collection dating back to the thirteenth century. That is amazing to have a manuscript that old! Also, no two early books are the same, sometimes the bindings are different on them, or they will have writing in them from the previous owners. Mr. Wisdom told us that there are twenty thousand bibliographic volumes with thirteen thousand and five hundred physical volumes in this library. Most of the books in the collection are written in Latin, but there are some Bibles written in polyglot text. Also, the books in the library were conserved by the Heritage Volunteer group of a Member Society of the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies. Our class got to see things most people don't get to see so it was an amazing experience and I feel very lucky to be on this trip! (This picture was acquired at

London Alive!

Hi everyone! My name is Kendra and I am in London for a month with the study abroad program. It has been really great so far. I love this place! I went on a tour called London Alive and we got to walk all over the city. We went past Big Ben and got to hear the chimes. We went past the London Eye, it's huge! We also got to see the outside of Westminster Abbey. It's very beautiful. I also got to see the changing of the guards, but I didn't get to take any pictures because my batteries died in my camera. But I'm going to go back to get some, hopefully soon. We also got a history lesson about London that was very interesting; some things I knew already and some things were totally shocking. I attended a service at St. Paul's Cathedral yesterday, it was worth getting out of bed for! The music was so beautiful, I wish I could sing like that! I almost backed out of going on this trip, but I am so glad I didn't! It's totally worth it! (This picture was acquired from