April 03, 2008

Goutham in London

Our niece's friend Goutham stayed with us for a few days on his first trip to London. Our first stop was to the Borough Market to admire all the food stalls and find something to pack for lunch. Then we set off for the Old Operating Theatre Museum and Herb Garrett. This oldest surviving operating theatre in the country, dating from 1822, was rediscovered in 1957 and is currently being restored. Until ether and chloroform were introduced in 1847, surgeons depended on opiates and alcohol but mostly on swift technique (amputations in less than a minute). The patients in this operating theatre were women and poor. The herb garrett (attic) was used for storing herbs and now serves as a museum for victorian medical implements.

We then walked to the Brahma Tea and Coffee museum founded by a former planter and trader, Edward Brahma. This museum covers the history of tea including the East India Company, smuggling, Boston tea party, opium trading and the introduction of teabags. I photographed the largest teapot in the world as well as one of the many teapot collections. There was also a lot of information about the history of coffee.

We took a quick look around the Tate Modern and ate our lunch outside overlooking St. Paul's Cathedral.

While I went home to feed Banjo, Goutham took a London Original Walks tour of Westminster and many of the traditional sights. His tour ended at the Churchill Museum and Cabinet War Rooms. We all reconvened at the Mall Galleries for the 196th Annual Exhibition fo the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours. There, we got to view work-in-progress and techniques of many of the finest water colour painters in the UK.

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