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The Tower of London

Year 1 & 2 visit the Tower of London

On Tuesday we visited the Tower of London. We arrived early to school and set-off up the A3. Our bus driver was called Paul and he drove us along the South Bank so we could see all the sights of London along the River Thames. We saw the Houses of Parliament, the Elizabeth Tower which houses Big Ben, the London Eye, The Shard, The Gherkin, St Paul’s Cathedral and London Bridge. Then it was time to cross the river and we actually got to drive across Tower Bridge with its six blue arches and finally we could see the Tower of London. It was an incredible sight.

When we arrived, Mrs Child went to check-in and we were all given red wrist bands to wear. We walked around the west wall alongside the river to the drawbridge entrance. As we walked along, we passed Traitor’s Gate. Traitor’s Gate is where Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard were brought into the tower to be beheaded for treason. The gate was a dark, frightening entrance full of murky, green water. Some people had thrown coins in hoping that perhaps it was a wishing well!

Next, it was time for lunch. We ate our lunch in the Fusilier’s Barracks, we were starving after our sightseeing tour!

After lunch we went across the Salt Tower Courtyard to The White Tower. This is the oldest part of the Tower of London. It is next to a ruined Roman wall which is the earliest part, the wall was actually part of the original Londinium wall. William the Conqueror built The White Tower in 1070. When we are Mrs Child’s age, the Tower will be 1,000 years old! We walked up the steps and saw an enormous display of King’s armour. Most of it had belonged to King Henry VIII. We saw the Line of Kings painting and the portrait of Samuel Pepys. It was funny to think we were walking where Samuel Pepys once did!

Soon after it was time to visit the Crown Jewels. While we were waiting in the queue Mrs Child told us about Thomas Blood who tried to steal the jewels. He made friends with the guard and gave him lots of wine. When the guard fell asleep he stole the jewels. He didn’t get very far and was soon caught by the Beefeaters. However, he gave his daughter to the Prince to marry which let him off going to prison.

The door to the Crown Jewels was the largest, thickest steel door I have every seen. It was like walking into a safe. There was a guard in every room! It was quite dark in the Jewel House making the jewels shine and glisten. We saw the state trumpets, the orb and sceptre, the swords of coronation and the coronation spoon which is 800 years old. There were lots and lots of large gold plates and goblets which had been very highly polished. Next we travelled along a travellator passed the crowns. Our favourite one was the Imperial State Crown which has 2,868 diamonds in it!

After the Jewel House we climbed the battlements so we could see over London. We could see the Gherkin and the Shard from everywhere we looked! On top of the wall were five monkeys. These represented the animals that used to live at the Tower. King Henry III even had an elephant given to him as a present! Soon the Tower had too many animals and they were sent to Regent’s Park which was the first London Zoo. There was even a polar bear at the Tower of London who was given to the King as a present from the King of Norway, the bear used to catch fish in the Thames.

As we came down from the battlements we could see the Beefeaters. We went and had a chat and asked them questions about the Tower. We also saw an unkindness of ravens on Tower Green and the soldiers changing their positions in their sentry boxes. From where we stood we could see Tower Green, this is wear royalty and important people were beheaded. If you weren’t so important you would be beheaded on Tower Hill outside the walls, where everybody could watch! Yuk!

Next it was time for our workshop. We were met in the Salt Tower Courtyard by Henry who was dressed up like Samuel Pepys. He took us to a hidden room in The White Tower where we pretended to be flames spreading across London. He was very impressed with all our knowledge about the Great Fire of London and we loved telling him!

For our last stop of the day we walked along to Mint Street which is behind the west wall of the Tower. Once upon a time, Mint Street was the home of the Royal Mint where the coins were made. We saw the coin presses and the sheets of gold, silver and copper that the coins were made from. In the seventeen hundreds, the Kingdom ran out of gold and so we had to use Spanish sovereigns and stamp a tiny picture of the King on top of it!

And then it was time to travel home. We were exhausted! As we drove back we saw The Monument which is the statue dedicated to the Great Fire of London, this is near to Pudding Lane where the fire started. We also saw the Walkie Talkie building. As we were in London, Mrs Child brought Mary Poppins for us to watch on the way home, it was great seeing all the places we had seen for real today.

Yesterday we found a long black feather on the playground. We think it may belong to a raven, let’s hope the raven hasn't stowed away on the bus back to Sheet. The ravens must stay at the Tower or the Tower and Kingdom will fall!