Saturday, 15 January 2011

Inside the Clink

I took a day out of dissertation today to go for a little bit of sight seeing in London. With nothing going on it town at the moment- exhibitions all seem to be finishing and it only seems shopping is in full swing- we  dropped into 'The clink prison' museum to re-read what i had vaguely remembered from my visit two years ago; this time i bought the guide so i wouldn't feel the need to visit again anytime soon. A couple of my favourite facts from the museum are:

- Women that were bought into the Clink that had children often would never leave, and neither would the children
-A way of escaping imprisonment and hanging was to accept a prostitutes hand in marriage- although often the prisoner would refuse.
- A method of proving innocence in the middle ages by fire would be: holding a burning rod whilst walking over hot coals- if you gained wounds on your hands and feet you were guilty, if not you were innocent. The classic method by Water: You are thrown in a river, if you float you are guilty, if you sink and die you are innocent.
- Women were not honorable enough to be executed with their heads on the block- only Anne Boleyn was this lucky- although, women could often be privileged with the death of being torn apart by two horses riding away from each other.
- The cells in the Clink were twice the size of those that we have in England now, and at the time they were described as 'The size of a room any man could bare to live in without going mad'.

Lots more amazing facts if you visit the museum!
-Click to visit the Clink Website-

I'm not sure how to explain this too much in terms of my practise- although i did seek enjoyment in the manikins in the museum- one in some stocks- another one begging- to be honest they didn't really need to be there, there was no demonstration by manikin that needed to be explained. There was also a fantastic audio sequence in the museum of someone screaming followed by someone pleading not to be killed. You could also try on all of the torture equipment; ball and chain, iron boot etc.
For a museum of such cruel content it was actually quite fun!

After the clink, we popped over to St Paul's cathedral. I've never been inside before, so i was quite excited- It is after all one of London's prize possessions. It was quite a strange experience, but one where you get that sense of whenever you go into a large touristy church; It's as if everyone that walks in becomes deeply religious all of a sudden. Everyone wants to light a candle, despite needing a reason, it just looks fun and they are on holiday. It was also very crowded. Also everyone was sat down for a service- but behind the rope of where the 'real service' would take place- not very hospitable to its guests, it made you feel very lowly. It was grand though- The painted ceiling was amazing, and all of the gilded detail in-bedded in pretty much everything in the cathedral. I also really enjoyed the doors that are about 14 meters high (Why would you ever need doors that tall?!).
In Paris, the Notre Dame cathedral didn't make me feel lowly- you were welcomed in, tours only cost 2 Euros and you could go anywhere- even on the roof! This is why i am in two minds about St Paul's, structurally it is beautiful, but i think its ethos puts a bit of a downer on its main purpose, i suppose that's typical of London tourist attractions though.

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