Lucy goes around the world in 88 days: Days 63 & 64

Day 63: Friday 29th August
Today is our last day in Stoke on Trent in the Midlands of England. We spent the day getting ready for travelling to Europe and I spent some of the day catching up on the blog posts. Miss Hannaford is really going to miss Stoke on Trent- she has made so many fantastic discoveries at the museum but we are both looking forward to new adventures in Europe and we are also starting to look forward to returning home.

Day 64: Saturday 30th August
Today Miss Hannaford and I travelled by train back to London for the last time on this trip. We are only in London for 1 night before we fly to Venice tomorrow. Since we had one last afternoon in London, Miss Hannaford and I went to visit the sights we hadn’t quite gotten to yet. The first place we visited was Cleopatra’s Needle, a real sandstone Egyptian obelisk from Egypt. The obelisk is flanked by 2 big bronze sphinxes and all the park benches either side of the obelisk also have female sphinxes on the ends of each bench.

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After visiting Cleopatra’s Needle our next stop was Paddington Station. This is another place Miss Hannaford has always wanted to visit since she was a child because another of her favourite story books and also one of her favourite children’s tv programs as a little girl was The Adventures of Paddington Bear. Paddington Bear got his name because he was found at Paddington Station wearing a hat and dufflecoat which had the label- “Please look after this bear- Thankyou.” Miss Hannaford’s first ever glove puppet of Paddington Bear came from Paddington Station- she was age 6 and she still has that puppet!

So I had my photo with Paddington Bear in the Paddington Bear shop.

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Our next and last activity here in the United Kingdom was to go and visit the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street. Sherlock Holmes is a fictious famous detective who with his friend Dr Watson would solve crimes in Victorian England using science, logic and the famous phrase- “it’s elementary my dear..(name)…..”. This museum has been created to match the home of Sherlock Holmes exactly as it is described in the books by Arthur Conan Doyle. Miss Hannaford’s favourite story is the Hound of the Baskervilles but she prefers the movies made from the stories starring Basil Rathbone as she grew up watching them with her mother every Sunday afternoon when she was a small child.

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Miss Hannaford and I have both really enjoyed our visit to the United Kingdom and our next stop is Italy!

– Lucy

Lucy goes around the World in 88 days: Day 60 to 62

Day 60: Tuesday 26th August
Miss Hannaford kept working on her research at the Wedgwood archive today. She discovered some really interesting secrets of how different ceramic companies used to make moulds of antique vases and then make clay copies of those vases. It means that the early ceramic companies like Wedgwood copied vases using moulding and casting almost like they used a photocopier to make exact copies.

Day 61: Wednesday 27th August
Today Miss Hannaford was still researching in the Wedgwood archive but when she took a break, we went to the ‘have a go studio’ and the staff there had prepared a special surprise for her. She was given the opportunity to put an Egyptian decoration on a Wedgwood pot! The pot will be later fired in the kiln and sent to Miss Hannaford in the mail.

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When Miss Hannaford finished making her pot, we were given the opportunity to watch one of the Wedgwood craftsmen use a lathe to carve chopstick rests out of a rod of clay.

Day 62: Thursday 28th August
Today was Miss Hannaford’s last day at the Wedgwood Museum. She was given the very rare privilege of seeing behind the scenes at the museum at some of the oldest and rarest pieces of Wedgwood including several pieces that were early experiments for the pieces Miss Hannaford now has in her collection.

After the tour, Miss Hannaford had the opportunity to try another kind of Wedgwood decorating- using transfer pictures printed on a special plastic that will stick onto the pottery when it is fired in the kiln. All dinner plates and cups that have the exactly the same picture on them are decorated using this special plastic. Here is a picture of the old way the image was put onto plates before the invention of the plastic. The paper backing would be soaked off once the picture was on the plate.

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Here is the Elephant Miss Hannaford decorated- the colours will change a bit once it is fired in the kiln and the yellow plastic burns away.

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Miss Hannaford has learnt so much at the Wedgwood Museum archive that it is going to take some time to sort all the details out before she can finish her writing and research for her book.