Day 41: Thursday 7th August
Today was a quiet day after all the excitement yesterday. Miss Hannaford and I caught the bus into Hanley- the nearest small town to the hotel and we looked at some local shops and found a bakery to buy some English pastries for our lunch and afternoon tea. The rest of the day, Miss Hannaford spent working on her research, looking at all the online catalogues for the Wedgwood archive, working out which documents she wanted to see first at the Wedgwood archive next week.
Day 42: Friday 8th August
We didn’t have time last Monday to go into the actual Wedgwood Museum so we caught the bus back to Wedgwood and spent most of the day in the museum. Miss Hannaford was really excited in that she saw several pieces of Egyptian style Wedgwood that she had only ever seen in books. She was surprised at either how small they were or that they were much bigger than she ever thought. She even found pieces in the museum that she never knew existed which was really exciting for Miss Hannaford.
We did enjoy a very nice afternoon tea in the restaurant at Wedgwood. You get to drink Wedgwood tea using real Wedgwood China!
Today Miss Hannaford and I went on a day trip back to London to visit the British Museum again. This time Miss Hannaford wanted to see the Egyptian and Ancient Greece sections of the museum. Miss Hannaford loves everything to do with Ancient Egypt!
The Egyptian Halls are always really busy with lots of people so Miss Hannaford decided to start by visiting the Ancient Greek starting with the Parthenon Marbles. The Parthenon is the famous Greek temple of Athena in Athens, Greece. Lord Elgin had the marble decorations on the Parthenon cut off by using hand tools and he took them out of Greece to the British Museum. Greece at the time had been invaded by the Turks and they gave Elgin permission to remove the marble sculpture but now the people of Greece want their sculptures back so the ‘marbles’ have become a serious argument for many decades between the British and Greek governments. The sculptures on display came from the ends of the roof of the Parthenon and from one side just below the roof line.
The room in which the marbles are kept is exactly the same size as the real Parthenon and the marbles are arranged as they would have appeared on the Parthenon but at eye level rather than at the top of the temple.
The next place Miss Hannaford visited was the Egyptian Hall where all the big stone sculptures are kept. Miss Hannaford’s favourite sculpture was a huge stone scarab made of granite and a piece of the beard from the Great Sphinx of Giza!
On the upper levels of the British Museum is where all the famous Mummy’s are kept as well as their grave goods including the very famous papyrus of the book of the dead. This was the first 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle Miss Hannaford completed as a young girl. Miss Hannaford also wanted to see the famous wall painting “Hunting in the Marshes”.
The last thing Miss Hannaford wanted to see was a bronze statue of a youth known at the museum by the nickname ‘Charlie’. When he was first discovered, archaeologists thought he was a statue of a god but later they found out that he held a room lamp off his missing arm so the poor statue started out as being treated as a god then he got demoted to furniture!
The last poto of the day was this panorama of the Great Court of the British Museum. Miss Hannaford hopes to come back here one day on her next trip to England!
Day 38: Monday 4th August
Today Miss Hannaford and I travelled from Stoke on Trent to Barlaston which is 90 minutes away by bus. Barlaston is where the Wedgwood factory and museum is located. Miss Hannaford collects a very special egyptian style Wedgwood that she is writing a book about so she needs to spend lots of time here at the factory and museum researching Wedgwood and hopefully talking to the people who made the Wedgwood she collects.
While she was at the factory part of the site, Miss Hannaford got to make her own special piece of Wedgwood. The staff give you a blank pot and show you how to put on raised decorations around the pot. The pot will then be fired in a kiln to make it as hard as stone. Miss Hannaford applied a special border around her pot and on each side a little raised picture of Peter Rabbit from her favourite children’s book the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter.
The rest of the time we were at the factory, Miss Hannaford and I went on the factory tour and we got to see how the real Wedgwood is made including the very expensive Wedgwood that is covered in lots of real gold!
Day 39: Tuesday 5th August
Today we travelled into Stoke on Trent to the local historical museum. The museum is made up of 3 parts- A pottery museum, A local history museum and a museum for the Staffordshire Hoard- the largest discovery of Anglo- Saxon gold ever found!
The dark ages in England is called the Dark Ages as there is very little written evidence to tell us how people lived. The hoard shows how people made beautiful objects and some of the objects have pictures on them. We know that England was broken up into little kingdoms each with their own chief or King and they lived in wooden buildings. The museum recreated one of the King’s great halls to show visitors how people lived.
In another part of the museum, there is a display of all the local animals of Staffordshire, the county (not country) that Stoke on Trent is part of. The display reminded us of the exhibits we saw at the Natural History Museum in New York.
In the ceramics section of the museum, Miss Hannaford did find some wonderful examples of the Egyptian Style Wedgwood she is researching.
So it has been a really interesting few days!
Day 36: Saturday 2nd August
Today was another travelling day except this time we were not travelling by plane. Today we caught the train to Stoke on Trent in the Midlands of England. It took 90 minutes to travel from London to Stoke on Trent.
The best thing about long distance trains in England is that many seats have a really good table in front of them with power points so you can recharge your phone and in our case- Miss Hannaford’s ipad so we could keep writing our blog posts!
Day 37: Sunday 3rd of August
Since Miss Hannaford is visiting Stoke on Trent to do research starting tomorrow at the Wedgwood Ceramic factory, it was important that she spent the day, re-reading the research she has done so far so she could ask for documents that related to her research. I spent the day quietly resting after all the excitement of the past week!