Day 1: British Library

Mum at British Library in London

Directly we deposited our things at Bankside House, Luther and I departed for a brief visit to the British Library, reputed to house writs of fame and import.

Pressed for time, we only visited the display of ancient texts, but as far as I cared, there might be nothing else in the library.  We saw the Lindisfarne gospels and some very old versions of New Testament scripture dating as far back as the 3rd century AD.  There was also a respectable collection of writ from other faiths: the Bhagavad Gita and the Koran, to name two.

The Lindisfarne gospels are an illuminated manuscript .  Being in the presence of the gospels was my primary attraction to the British Library because of my interest in pre-Viking age British history.  The sacking of the priory at Lindisfarne (AD 793) is commonly accepted as the beginning of the (first) Viking Age in Britain.  The gospels aforementioned were produced about a hundred years before that by Eadfrith, who became bishop of Lindisfarne in AD 698.

We also saw writings and musical notiation from the very hands of revered authors, poets, and musicians of the last few centuries, including Jane Austen, Emily Brontë, Wordsworth, and Mozart.

I only interacted with three employees at the library and one worker at the food kiosk without.  All four were foreign, which isn’t remarkable, but it is some substance for my surprise at the great deal of immigration in London.

Our visit was curtailed because we had arranged to meet the others at the famed Globe Theatre for a production of Anne Boleyn, a 2010 play penned by Howard Brenton.  More on that in the next installment.

En route to the Globe, Luther and I picked up some quick lunch at a kiosk in a train station.  The fare was better than any other we saw about us, but alas, it was no competition for some good country pub commons.


Image of Lindisfarne Gospels is in the public domain and comes from wikimedia commons {{PD-US}} (commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:LindisfarneFol27rIncipitMatt.jpg).

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2 Responses to Day 1: British Library

  1. Luther says:

    Aptly put.

    In addition to being the best food we had in London and some of the worst food we had on our trip, the meal you note above was rather odd. It included tennis-ball sized orbs of meat-bread wrapped around hard-boiled eggs and served cold, which surprise the sensibilities both by its odd design and its remarkable blandness of flavor. I do recall finding the lasagna-like dish and the pork pie both to be excellent, though I think Markham disagreed on the matter of the pie. I was not favorably impressed by the sausage roll and so little impressed by the other items I cannot even recall what (or if) they were.

    Naturally, the people we encountered at the eatery were also foreign.

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