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Review: Florence Nightingale Museum in London

The Florence Nightingale Museum celebrates the life and work of one of the world’s most famous nurses. The museum is located within St Thomas’ Hospital near the banks of the river Thames opposite the Houses of Parliament. The Florence Nightingale Museum collection is made up of almost 3000 artefacts relating to the life, work and legacy of Florence Nightingale and attracts visitors from all over the world who want to learn more about the ‘Lady with the Lamp’.

The origins of the collection were artefacts acquired by Dame Alicia Lloyd-Still during her time as Matron of St Thomas’ Hospital in 1913-1937. The collection was first publicly displayed for the centenary of the Crimean War in 1954 at the Royal College of Surgeons in London, then again on the centenary of the Nightingale Training School for Nurses in 1960, and the 150th anniversary of Florence’s birth in 1970. The collection was transferred into the care of the Florence Nightingale Museum Trust in 1983, who then went on to open the museum on the site of the original Nightingale Training School in 1989.

Florence Nightingale is most famous for being the ‘Lady with the Lamp’ who organised the nursing of sick and wounded soldiers during the Crimean War, however the museum provides plenty of evidence of the way that Nightingale’s ideas and reforms have influenced modern healthcare.

The museum displays begins by looking at Florence’s ‘Early years’, she was born into a fairly wealthy middle-class family and soon began to show an aptitude for academic studies especially mathematics. Florence believed she had a ‘calling’ from God was destined to do something important with her life. This background gave Florence a strong sense of moral duty to help the poor and gradually began to consider that nursing may be a path to fulfil her ambitions. Paid nursing at this time had a poor reputation at this time and was generally considered a job for elderly women.

What often set Florence apart from many others was her practical approach and she read anything she could find about health and hospitals before persuading her parents to allow her to take three months’ nursing training at an hospital in Dusseldorf. When Florence was 33, she became superintendent of a hospital for ‘gentlewomen’ in Harley Street in London. However it was to be the Crimean War which would make her reputation.

The displays in the museum tell the story of how Florence was invited by the Minister of War to oversee the introduction of female nurses into the military hospitals in Turkey. With a party of 38 nurses, Florence arrived in Scutari and began to organise the hospitals to improve supplies of food, blankets and beds, as well as the general conditions and cleanliness. For centuries, soldiers were more likely to die from disease than conflict when serving overseas but little was done to deal with these issues.

By introducing the new measures at Scutari, the mortality rates declined significantly and British soldiers showed their respect for Florence by giving her the nickname ‘Lady of the Lamp’. The introduction of female nurses to the military hospitals was considered an outstanding success and Florence returned to Britain a heroine. It is this image of the ‘Lady of the Lamp’ that is ingrained in popular culture, however this overshadows her later work which many consider to be even more important. One of her greatest achievements was to transform nursing into a respectable profession for women and in 1860, she established the first professional training school for nurses, the Nightingale Training School at St Thomas’ Hospital.

For the rest of her life, she campaigned tirelessly to improve health standards, publishing over 200 books, reports and pamphlets on hospital planning and organisation. It is said that she wrote over 13000 letters as part of her campaigns and reforms. Some of the books, reports, pamphlets are included in the displays including her most famous work Notes on Nursing: What It Is and What It Is Not.

Despite often being confined to her sick bed, Florence used many of her contacts including Queen Victoria to push for reforms and used statistics to provide evidence of her arguments. Despite her ill health, Florence lived till she was 90, she died in 1910.

The museum looks at Florence Nightingale’s legacy by featuring a set of ten oil paintings by French artist Victor Tardieu, which depict a field hospital during the First World War. The lesson learned in the Crimea were applied in latter wars to save millions of soldiers from disease and death from injuries.

Visitors walking around the museum may be surprised to come across a stuffed owl and dog, Athena was Florence Nightingale’s beloved pet owl which she rescued in Athens in 1850 and used to put in the pocket of her apron. The dog is called Jack and belonged to Edith Cavell, Jack helped soldiers escape from captivity during the First World War.

The Florence Nightingale Museum tells the story of a remarkable woman who transformed the nursing profession in the 19th century. The museum illustrates the life of Florence Nightingale with attractive displays, full of interesting objects that show how modern healthcare was influenced by a woman who used her celebrity to save millions of lives.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets , visit the Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review – Spanish Flu: Nursing during history’s deadliest pandemic at the Florence Nightingale Museum from 21st September 2018 until 16th June 2019

The Florence Nightingale Museum presents a special exhibition that explores the devastating impact of the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago, and the role of both professional nurses in military field hospitals and ordinary women at home, in caring for victims.

Although overshadowed by the events of the First World War, the Spanish flu outbreak was a deadly influenza pandemic which struck in the autumn of 1918, just as World War I was drawing to a close. It is estimated that Spanish flu infected half a billion people worldwide and killed 50-100 million, significantly more than the war itself.

The disease did not originate in Spain but because the country was neutral in the first world war, there was not a political clampdown on news concerning the disease.

It was estimated that a quarter of the British population fell ill with Spanish flu at some point during the pandemic and about 250,000 people died. The more serious strain of the influenza was unusual because healthy young adults seemed to be particularly at risk and it created gruesome symptoms, including explosive nosebleeds and distinctive blue tinged skin caused by a lack of oxygen as their lungs filled with fluid and pus.

People became desperate and would try many alleged ‘remedies’, the exhibition includes some of these including Quinine tablets, Aspirin, Opium , Boots Eau De Cologne. Oxo and a Creosote Vaporiser.  The exhibition also includes an experimental Influenza Vaccine developed by the Royal Army Medical College which was used in a desperate attempt to combat the virus.

Such was the speed of the pandemic and with resources stretched already by the war, essential public services began to break down with hospitals being  overwhelmed with patients, and a shortage of both coffins and gravediggers meant that the bodies of victims could remain unburied for weeks. A mourning card in the exhibition relates to four children from the Baker family in Nottinghamshire who all died of influenza within the space of two weeks in 1918.

A short animated film based  on the notes of Dr Basil Hood from the St Marylebone Infirmary in this period gives some insights into the problems faced. A number of nurses died in this period in the hospital which increased the difficulties of dealing with large numbers of patients.

The exhibition explores the often neglected role of the professional nurses and ordinary women who cared for the victims in the pandemic, Florence Nightingale’s pioneering nursing work during the Crimean War revolutionised the way nurses were viewed within society. With the outbreak of World War I, thousands of women were inspired to follow in her footsteps and volunteer as nurses. It was these women that would be vital in the treatment of casualties in the war and the victims of the Spanish flu in 1918.

This fascinating small exhibition highlights some of the aspects of the Spanish flu pandemic from 100 years ago that have largely been overlooked. Even though more people died from the pandemic than were killed in the war, it was the war that grabbed all the headlines and would be honoured in ceremonies. This particular strain of flu which is similar to ‘Avian’ flu strains was poorly understood and medicines had not been developed to deal with this kind of breakout. The exhibition includes some Tamiflu capsules that were used in the 2009 Swine flu pandemic, health organisations around the world stockpiled millions of these drugs to deal with any outbreak.

The end of the war led to millions of soldiers travelling across Europe and beyond which allowed the transmission of the disease to be quicker than normally would be the case. There were cases of soldiers who had survived the horrors of the war returning home to find their wife and children had died from the pandemic. The extreme forms of the ‘flu’ led to a rise in suicides and psychological breakdowns illustrating the enormous mental strain of dealing with the pandemic.

This exhibition and the many other events that mark the centenary of the Spanish flu pandemic provide important information about how pandemic outbreaks can develop and have catastrophic consequences. It seems remarkable that the many victims of the pandemic have often been forgotten in contrast to the war dead, there are few if any memorials or plaques that remembers the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918 despite the massive loss of life.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

Spanish Flu: Nursing during history’s deadliest pandemic exhibition at the Florence Nightingale Museum – 21st September 2018 until 16th June 2019

Florence Nightingale Museum, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7EW

For more information, visit the Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Spanish Flu: Nursing during history’s deadliest pandemic exhibition at the Florence Nightingale Museum – 21st September 2018 until 16th June 2019

1918 flu in Oakland – credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

This September, the Florence Nightingale Museum will present a special exhibition that explores the devastating impact of the Spanish flu pandemic 100 years ago, and the role of both professional nurses in military field hospitals and ordinary women at home, in caring for victims.

Influenza – credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

Although overshadowed by the events of the First World War, the Spanish flu outbreak was a deadly influenza pandemic which struck in the autumn of 1918, just as World War I was drawing to a close. It is estimated that Spanish flu infected half a billion people worldwide and killed 50-100 million, significantly more than the war itself.

The pandemic was unusual because healthy young adults seemed to be particularly at risk and it created gruesome symptoms, including explosive nosebleeds and distinctive blue tinged skin caused by a lack of oxygen as their lungs filled with fluid and pus.

Demonstration at Red Cross Emergency Ambulance Station in Washington DC – credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

With resources stretched already by the war, the scale of the pandemic was so vast, that essential public services broke down across the globe, hospitals were overwhelmed with patients, and a shortage of both coffins and gravediggers meant that the bodies of victims could remain unburied for weeks.

Influenza – credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

Against this background, the exhibition explores the often neglected role of the professional nurses and ordinary women who cared for the victims.

It was Florence Nightingale’s pioneering nursing work during the Crimean War that revolutionised the way nurses were viewed within society. With the outbreak of World War I, thousands of women were inspired to follow in her footsteps and volunteer as nurses. It was these women that would be vital in the treatment of casualties in the war and the victims of the Spanish flu in 1918.

 Berkeley, California. Open air Barber Shop during influenza epidemic – credit Wikimedia Creative Commons

The ‘Spanish Flu’ exhibition has been developed to six key themes through a variety of interpretation, interactives, films and object displays. These themes are:

The global impact and spread of the pandemic

What it was like to have Spanish flu and the unusual treatments and remedies used in a desperate attempt to combat the virus  

The impact of Spanish flu on everyday life

The experiences of both volunteer and professional nurses during the pandemic 

Spanish flu in popular culture and famous victims

The contemporary relevance of the 1918 pandemic

The exhibition will be supported by a diverse events programme, a free downloadable resource pack for schools, and a ‘pop up’ touring exhibition which will enable audiences beyond London to see core and digital content.

Spanish Flu: Nursing during history’s deadliest pandemic exhibition at the Florence Nightingale Museum – 21st September 2018 until 16th June 2019

Florence Nightingale Museum, 2 Lambeth Palace Road, Lambeth, London SE1 7EW

For more information, visit the Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

Exhibition Review – Charles Dickens: Man of Science at the Charles Dickens Museum from 24th May to 11th November 2018

The Charles Dickens Museum presents a new exhibition entitled Charles Dickens: Man of Science that challenges the long held belief that Dickens had little interest in science.

The misconception about Dickens and science can be traced back to writer George Henry Lewes who when he saw Dickens’s library at Doughty Street in 1839, he declared him ‘completely outside philosophy, science, and the higher literature’.

However by drawing on his novels, journalism, letters and exchanges with friends, the exhibition illustrates that Dickens saw science as a potential force for good especially regarding curing disease and creating a cleaner and more healthy environment.

The exhibition reveals Dickens links to some of the greatest scientists and reformers of the day including Michael Faraday, Charles Darwin, Ada Lovelace, Mary Anning, Florence Nightingale and many more.

A little known aspect of Dickens is that his acute observations were sometimes used by the medical profession to aid diagnosis. A small wax figure of the ‘fat boy’ in Pickwick Papers is a reminder that his work was used by doctors in the 1950s when they were looking at why obese people sleep more than normal.

Dickens was fascinated by optical technologies and the exhibition features his telescope and a magic lantern. 

Although Dickens was believer in mesmerism or animal magnetism, he did not believe in Spiritualism and would often join with others to expose tricks used by those who wished to exploit the ‘vulnerable’. The exhibition includes a version of Pepper’s ghost which uses glass to create the illusion of a ghost. John Henry Pepper was a professor at The Royal Polytechnic Institute where he saw in 1862, inventor Henry Dircks Phantasmagoria which was an optical illusion to make a ghost appear on-stage. Pepper realized that the method could be used to incorporate into existing theatres. Pepper first showed the effect during a scene of Charles Dickens’s The Haunted Man, to great success.

This fascinating small exhibition illustrates that far from having no interest in science, Dickens used many of the latest scientific developments in his writing. Dickens had an extraordinary ability to observe some of smallest details of everyday life, but also saw the bigger picture. Whilst pointing out some of the human cost of the rapid industrialisation of the 19th century, Dickens had some faith that medical advances and scientific knowledge could have some beneficial benefits if practical uses could be found.

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The  Charles Dickens: Man of Science exhibition runs from 24 May – 11 November 2018 at the Charles Dickens Museum and is included in the admission ticket to the museum.

Visitors to the exhibition can also explore the Charles Dickens Museum at 48 Doughty Street, Bloomsbury, the London Townhouse into which Charles Dickens moved with his family in 1837. The Charles Dickens Museum holds the world’s most comprehensive collection of Dickens-related material, including the desk at which he wrote Great Expectations. 

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Charles Dickens Museum website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

A Short Guide to St Paul’s Cathedral

St Paul’s Cathedral occupies a special place in the English identity especially in the Second World War when it managed to survive the Blitz and became a symbol of resistance.

There has been a Cathedral on this site since AD 604, The present Cathedral built in a English baroque style by famous architect Sir Christopher Wren is at least the fourth to have stood on the site. It was built between 1675 and 1710, after its predecessor was destroyed in the Great Fire of London.

St Paul’s Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral, the seat of the Bishop of London and the mother church of the Diocese of London. The cathedral has been at the centre of many famous events including the funerals of Lord Nelson, the Duke of Wellington, Sir Winston Churchill and Margaret Thatcher; Jubilee celebrations for Queen Victoria; peace services marking the end of the First and Second World Wars; and the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer.

At 365 feet (111 m) high, it was the tallest building in London for many centuries and its dome is among the highest in the world.

St Paul’s has a large number of memorials and artworks including William Holman Hunt’s copy of his painting The Light of the World, in the north choir aisle is a sculpture of the Madonna and Child by Henry Moore, carved in 1943. The largest monument in the cathedral is the memorial to the Duke of Wellington. The tomb of Horatio, Lord Nelson is located in the crypt, next to that of Wellington. At the eastern end of the crypt is the Chapel of the Order of the British Empire, instigated in 1917, and designed by Lord Mottistone.There are many other memorials commemorating the British military, including several lists of servicemen who died in action, the most recent being the Gulf War.

Also remembered are Florence Nightingale, J. M. W. Turner, Hubert Parry, Samuel Johnson, Lawrence of Arabia and Sir Alexander Fleming as well as clergy and residents of the local parish. There are lists of the Bishops and cathedral Deans for the last thousand years. One of the most remarkable sculptures is that of the Dean and poet, John Donne.

St Paul’s Cathedral is a busy church with three or four services every day, including Matins, Eucharist and Evening Prayer or Evensong. In addition, the Cathedral has many special services associated with the City of London, its corporation, guilds and institutions. The cathedral, as the largest church in London, also has a role in many state functions such as the service celebrating the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. The cathedral is generally open daily to tourists, and has a regular program of organ recitals and other performances.

The price of admission includes entry to the Cathedral floor, crypt and the three galleries in the dome. Admission also includes multimedia guides and guided tours (for individuals and family visitors, subject to guide availability on the day).

Sightseeing opening hours – Monday to Saturday

8.30am  Doors open for sightseeing
9.30am  Galleries open to visitors
4pm  Last tickets
4.15pm  Last entry to galleries
4.30pm  Doors close for sightseeing
Most visitors spend in the region of 1.5 – 2 hours inside St Paul’s.
On Sunday the Cathedral is open for worship only.

Filming and photography is not allowed inside the Cathedral, but is permitted on the external galleries, without tripods, on a non-commercial basis.

Special services or events may occasionally close all, or part, of the Cathedral.

For more information or book tickets, visit the St Paul’s Cathedral website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Book Review : Cairo to Constantinople (Royal Collection Trust)

ciaro book

This book written by Sophie Gordon accompanies the exhibition ‘Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East’ at The Queen’s Gallery and is based on the leading British photographer Francis Bedford’s Photographs of the Middle East. In 1862, Francis Bedford was commissioned by Queen Victoria to accompany her son and heir, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) , on a four-month tour around the Middle East. Bedford became the first photographer to travel on a royal tour, documenting the  tour  though Egypt, Palestine and the Holy Land, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Greece where as well as visiting many of historic sites, the Prince also met rulers, politicians and other notable figures.

The book’s introduction is written by John McCarthy, the well-known journalist with extensive experience of the region. He puts the visit into historical context by suggesting the area was the scene of instability and conflict for thousands of years.  He remarks ” empires of Sumer, Assyria, Egypt, Persia, Greece and Rome achieved dizzying peaks of political and cultural achievements and then sank beneath sand and dust.”  It is also an area where the great religious philosophies of Judaism, Christian and Islam were born and gathered millions of followers. In the decade before the tour, European powers had supported the fading Ottoman Empire against the Russian Empire and were looking to gain more power in the region. The British Empire in particular were keen to advance their claims  often under the guise of protecting Christians in the region. McCarthy makes the point that Bedford’s photographs of the Holy Land in particular were very popular to an audience in Britain, well versed in Bible Stories.

In the first chapter written by Sophie Gordon, there is a closer look at the man behind the photographs. Francis Bedford was born in London, his father was an architect and Francis seemed to be following in his father’s profession until he developed a taste for drawing and creating lithographs. His success in this area led him into the relatively new medium of photography, gradually he gained a reputation for paying great attention to detail, accuracy and patience. These were essential skills in the often pioneering development of photography and when his work was exhibited in the many photograph exhibitions, he soon became a well-known and respected figure admired by his peers. In 1857, Bedford received a major boost to his career when he received a commission from Queen Victoria to photographs places associated with Prince Albert’s childhood. This and a subsequent commission for the Queen  were so well received that when plans for the 1862 tour were made, Bedford was the obvious choice as the tour photographer.

In the second chapter written by Badr El Hage,  the tour is considered in detail.  Badr El Hage suggests the European powers 19th century rediscovery of the Holy Land  and the region had led to plans to gain more power to secure important trading routes. The influx of hundreds of travellers to the region amongst them artists, military men, diplomats, scientists and missionaries in the early 19th century led a to large number of books related to the region and the ancient civilizations. This led to a small but steady flow of tourists and pilgrims to the area.  However the tour of 1862 was not a normal tourist excursion this was a Royal Tour which although classed informal was organised with the idea of the future ‘King’  should have access to sites normally out of bounds of the normal tourist. Bedford benefitted greatly due to his parties status,  being allowed access to locations never photographed before.

In the third chapter, Alessandro Nasini considers another aspect of the tour that of the Prince of Wales as a collector of Antiquities.  Like many visitors to the region, the Prince bought some tourist souvenirs, however his royal status led to series of privileges that enabled him to purchase items at a very low price and receiving many valuable items as gifts. The Prince’s appearance at a number of archaeological digs in Egypt gives the impression of treasure hunting rather than serious scientific endeavours, however many of these items found their way into the Royal Collection including a pair of mummies that have since disappeared .

The next section of the book is taken up by Francis Bedford’s photographs which are often accompanied  by excerpts from the Prince’s journal related to the photographs. It follows the tour in chronological order, so it begins sailing down from Venice with a few stops along the way. Bedford takes his first photograph at Spalatro (Split) in Croatia, unusually he takes a couple of group photographs of local inhabitants in Durazzo (Albania) before climbing the citadel at Corfu to take panoramic pictures of the harbour with a large number of ships at anchor. For all the considerable interest in these photographs, the impression is given with the subject matter that Bedford was trying out his equipment for the greater challenges ahead.

Using the wet collodion photographic process it was always going to be difficult keeping his equipment safe and clean, the sand, dust and heat would have undoubtedly taxed Bedford’s technical skills. However it is the clarity and detail of the many photographs of the Egyptian ruins that highlight that Bedford was more than up to the task taking a large number of exceptional pictures. Bedford’s panoramic views of Cairo provide some alternative to ruins  and offers views of a city still tied to the past.

From Egypt, the tour progressed to the Holy Land and to many  landscapes that had changed little since biblical times. The tour headed first to Jerusalem and many of the holy sites, (most notably the Dome of the Rock and Temple Mount at which Bedford became the first photographer to be allowed access to take pictures), from there a number of key biblical locations were visited and photographed.  The Holy Land offered a number of different challenges to Bedford, rather than ruins, it was the landscapes of the region that tested his skills.

Moving onto Syria and Lebanon, the tour takes in the ancient past with visits to Crusader castles and the recent past with visits to Hasbaya and Rushaya, scenes of severe fighting and massacres between the Maronite Christians and Druze Muslims in 1860. When arriving in Damascus, the photographs of the ruined Christian quarter showed the conflict had even reached the major city of Syria. Also in Damascus, Bedford undertakes a rare portrait of the Algerian exile ‘Abd al Qadir who was celebrated in Britain for his role in protecting a number of Christians in the conflict .

After Lebanon and Tripoli, the tour travelled to the centre of the Ottoman Empire, Constantinople where they were received with great hospitality by the Sultan. Bedford climbed to the top of the Seraskier Tower to take panoramic views of the city and joined a few members of the tour to make a pilgrimage to Scutari to the memorial to the soldiers who had died in the Crimean war  and to the military barracks that served as a hospital which was made famous by Florence Nightingale’s exploits. The tour then visited  Athens and  Rhodes before making their way back home.

In considering Bedford’s photographs of the tour, it is important to recognise that the photographic media was still relatively young and the wet collodion method he used was labour intensive, each plate had a long process of chemical actions. The method did produce beautifully detailed print in studio conditions but for Bedford to produce similar effects  in the field under trying conditions was exceptional.
But as the book illustrates this is only part of the story, Bedford in his photographs was recording a world that in a generation would change forever. In the era before mass tourism and industrialisation, Bedford records locations that had changed little in thousands of years and creates an important early photographic record of the area. Almost incidentally , the pictures of local inhabitants are of real interest, but they tend to be treated like bit part players in some massive historical sets, however group photographs of the tour members and attendants and the occasional portrait still give real insights.

When Bedford returned to England and staged an exhibition of the photographs of the tour, the British Journal of Photography suggested that it was ‘ Perhaps the most important photographic exhibition that has hitherto been placed before the public.’

This beautifully illustrated, well designed and often intriguing book  is a fine testament to the skill of one of the finest photographers in the 19th century and an extraordinary detailed record of a Royal tour that illustrates that although much of the tour was concerned in visiting ruins that chart the rise and fall of ancient empires, the visit was taken in the context of a declining Ottoman Empire and the future ambitions of some of the European empires most notably Britain. This book is fascinating on many levels and with 256 pages and 200 illustrations is exceptional value for money for those who are interested in the 19th century Middle East and early photography.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the book or buy a copy, visit the Royal Collection shop here

The exhibition ‘Cairo to Constantinople: Early Photographs of the Middle East’, at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, 31 October 2014 – 22 February 2015.

 London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January, we attract thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
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Great London Shops – Floris

floris

Location – Floris, 89 Jermyn Street, SW1

Floris is one the oldest English retailer of toiletries and perfumes, it origins lie in the same shop it occupies today. Back in 1730 the shop was opened by Juan Famenias Floris, a native of the Island of Menorca but who left his home to make his fortune in England. When he opened his shop it was as a barber and combmaker.
However he also developed a number of fragrances and soon became a favourite amongst the generally wealthy partons of St James.
The shop gained Royal recognition with a Royal Warrant in 1820 and collected many more over the years. Built on the foundations of quality and service the shop attracted the rich and famous in the 19th century including Florence Nightingale, Mary Shelley and the great dandy of Piccadilly Beau Brummell.

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Trading out of the original shop even the large mahogany counter still used in the store has historical presence being  purchased directly from the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace in Hyde Park in 1851.

Floris have created bespoke perfumes and fragrances from the early days of the shop, and up to 1970s  all the fragrances were made up to order downstairs below the shop in Jermyn Street. However now, all the shops fragrances and products are made in their factory in Devon.

The shop offers a range of products geared to the individual rather than mass production and this makes the shop very popular amongst the discerning shopper.

One of the quaint traditions the shop carries on is that it gives change to the customer on a velvet pad; it was considered vulgar in the 18th Century to touch another’s hand.

Still a family business, Floris is more than a shop it is a little piece of history, it can probably be said it is the oldest Perfume shop in the world still open for business.

For more information visit the Floris  website here