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Don't lose your head, it's just the Tower of London!

sunny 19 °C

"Who comes there?", "The keys.", "Whose keys?", "Queen Elizabeth's keys.", "Pass Queen Elizabeth's Keys. All's well.", "God preserve Queen Elizabeth.", "Amen!" - The ceremony of the keys conducted each night at 10pm at the Tower of London

Cultural moment

The English were a brutal group. Not only were they vicious in battle and war but they were also incredibly thorough and brutal when they felt they had been wronged. The public and private executions at the tower were an example of this - often done with no trial, no evidence and sometimes no guilt! After being beheaded the heads were then displayed on spikes on the Bridge to discourage any other wrong doing!! Some unlucky prisoners (such as William Wallace) were hung, drawn and quartered for their crimes against the throne - and the removing of the heart was done while the prisoner was still alive!

Perhaps the best example of the British thirst for revenge is the story of Thomas Cromwell - he overthrew King Charles I (and executed him) to take charge of the country. When Cromwell died he was buried in Westminster Abbey but when Charles II was brought back to the throne he had Cromwell dug up and then hung, drawn and quartered for his Treason against his father.

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Wow moment

The Tower of London has had many uses; a fortress, a zoo, the royal mint, a royal residence but most interestingly a prison. Only the most important people were held (and sometimes executed) at a private execution at the Tower. These included Henry VIII's second and fifth wives, Queen Anne Boleyn and Catherine Howard. In fact poor falsely accused Anne Boleyn had both her coronation and execution at the Tower of London! The prisoners were always brought in from the river through 'Traitors Gate'.

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The tower is also home to the ravens. Legend has it that failing to keep ravens at the Tower of London will mean the great White Tower will crumble and a terrible disaster shall befall England. The legend says there needs to be 6 ravens so they keep 8 at the tower just in case, they have also clipped the wings of the raven - just to be safe!

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Although London bridge is the more well known bridge, it is actually Tower Bridge that is the most spectacular. The brightly coloured bridge mean it can be spotted from many parts of London, and an elevator ride to the top gives you views down the river in both directions.

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What we learnt today

The London Bridge experience is terrifying!! I'm still not really sure what the historical or educational benefits of this tourist attraction were. There were small snippets of information on London gory history, but with only very tenuous links to the London bridge! Part 2 of the 'experience' was just room after room of everyone's worst nightmares - blood streaked walls, zombies grabbing at you, chainsaw massacres, squeezing through small spaces, people jumping out at you and hissing and screaming, heads dangling from the ceiling and a scary circus. Needless to say, it wasn't one of the most pleasurable experiences I've ever had, but Mark seemed to enjoy it! (No photos inside allowed)

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Posted by travellinglise 09:38 Archived in England Tagged london tower_of_london tower_bridge

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