Tuesday, June 5, 2012

England Wrap-Up

I am so excited to share my adventures with you today! It was a whirl-wind trip, but so incredibly thrilling and enjoyable. As I had mentioned earlier, my trip was part of a travel learning course at school. Our class was titled British Images and we focused on Black British Literature and studied different identities of British people, focusing on the minorities. Black people have been intertwined drastically in the makings of this modern world through colonization and the broad ripple effects of the British Empire's influence. Many believe that Black immigrants came to England in 1948 and the years following; however Black people have been in England much longer. In fact, one of the Roman Emperors, Septimus Servus, was African born and ruled the entire Roman empire (including England)...and that was well before 1948! Our trip explored the many facets of Britain's history in regards to imperialism, colonization, the slave trade, and immigration. 


Here is the group outside of St. Paul's Cathedral. After we went up the Cathedral (yes I climbed all the way to the top) we went on a fabulous walking tour. 

Some of the group in front of the Thames River.

Being studious at the British Film Institute

The group at the Docklands Museum, we were able to visit several museums throughout London, Liverpool, and Manchester. Supplementary to our English course, we took a Museum Studies class which allowed us to analyze how effective the museums were.

We had a backstage tour of the National Theatre and saw a wonderful production of The Moon on a Rainbow Shawl that evening. We were able to see 3 other productions throughout the trip: About a Boy, Belong, and Titus. My theatre interests were definitely fulfilled!

I love art museums and was able to go to both the Tate in London and Liverpool. There were so many incredible works of art and I found some beautiful books in the gift shops. 

These are views from our walks along the Thames River as we visited the BFI and National Theatre as well as our walk throughout downtown to go to the Tate and afternoon tea. 

We walked by Parliament and I posed by the entrance the Queen uses when she visits annually. 

 Outside the gates of Buckingham Palace. There was an enormous amount of construction for the Jubilee, much more hype than the Olympics. The British sure seem to love their monarchy. Tragically, I wasn't able to see the royal family...and my plans to run off with Price Harry didn't come true. But there can always be another trip!

Yes, I made a stop at Kings Cross to fulfill my Harry Potter obsession. I didn't look hard enough to see the monument of Platform 9 3/4 with the cart running through the wall...hence, the awkward picture of me on Platform 9. 

I spent a morning visiting Piccadilly Square and walking down Regent Street. The shops weren't open yet, but I was still able to see a lot of activity and I enjoyed the flag-lined walked.

I took a walking tour of Notting Hill which was absolutely fabulous. The tour guide was great and it was fascinating to see such a beautiful area of London and learn all about its history. The homes are gorgeous and are residences to some of the biggest celebrities such as Annie Lennox and Madonna. 

The Notting Hill tour led to the Portobello Markets which I loved. The market was extraordinary filled with food, antiques, flowers, music, and plenty of people. 

In case you hadn't heard, it is the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. There was lots of excitement throughout London for the year long celebration, the biggest event taking place on June 3rd. Another huge activity happening in London this summer is the Summer Olympics; however besides this tucked away poster shop in Portobello Market, I didn't see much with the 5 rings. The Queen seems to have taken priority!

Of course I had to pop in and say hi to the British Kate Spade fans!

***My camera battery died after London, hence the lack of pictures in my following two destinations!


In 2003, Liverpool was awarded $5 billion by being the most cultural city in Europe. A lot of the money was spend on expansion efforts in the Dock area of the city. As you can see above, the dock has many modern style architecture buildings which opened in recent years as museums or convocation centers. In addition, 20% of the funds were used to build an outdoor shopping center housing restaurants and over 160 stores. Walking throughout the rest of the city, you will find historical sites such as St. John's Gardens, St. George's, the National Library, and the World Museum. A fair amount of these spaces (as well as other old buildings in the city) needed quite a strong power washing or other renovations. However, a city has to make money...and retail is usually where it can be found! I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the water and the port, it was lovely weather and it is always nice to be sea-side!

China town in Liverpool. Their sister city is Shanghai. In honor of the Millennium celebration in 2000, Shanghai gave the city this beautiful arc to thank them for their many years of friendship.

Right after our bus tour of Liverpool. Normally an incredibly cloudy and rainy city, we had sunshine during the entire trip!


Race Relations Center located at Manchester University where we studied the diverse Manchester population and went through their collection of books, essays, pamphlets, and other papers on the facets of race throughout Manchester and the rest of England. The following day we learned more about Manchester's History by visiting the city archives where we explored old photographs, prison records, and refugee data.

The outside of the Imperial War Museum. We visited several other museums during out trip including the Manchester Art Gallery which was absolutely phenomenal, one of my favorite parts of the entire trip! As you can see from the background, the weather was sunny and clear...just like in Liverpool. I was so glad I packed my sunglasses.

If you have any questions about the trip, let me know. I would be happy to answer anything for you!

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