Crystal Place Museum

Actually, Crystal Palace was a massive exhibition cum amusement park in the 19th and early 20th century. Originally, it was located in Hyde Park, London, for about 6 months and attracted around 6 million visitors and was relocated to Sydenham Hill in South West London. The Crystal Palace building was a mammoth glass and iron structure with two majestic towers on either side of the building.  In 1936, the entire structure was razed out by fire. Now, the Crystal Palace Museum holds the remnants of the glorious past.

Camera was allowed only in the entrance room and luckily, there were some interesting pictures and information, including this structural outline of the Crystal Palace.

Railway promotional material...

There were some interesting comments by the elite on this exhibition and here is a few that captured my interest:

  • The park is desecrated by the greatest trash, the greatest fraud, the greatest imposition ever attempted to be palmed upon the people of this country. Col.Sibthorp. MP. 4th June 1850
  • Whether the show will ever be of any use to anybody may be questioned, but of this I am certain nothing can be more successful. The Duke of Wellington May 7th 1851
  • I find I am 'used up' by the exhibition, I don't say there's nothing in it, there's too much. I have only been twice, so many things bewilder one. Charles Dickens, 17th August 1851

Looks like there has been mixed reaction on the entertainment and show business right from those days.

The exhibition displayed the courts of various countries and here is a depiction of a grand Indian Court:

Well, there were some paintings and photographs that captured the fun and entertainment of those days. The first "flying machine" concept was depicted there and it was merely a children's merry go round that we find in any parks. But, the picture had beautifully captured the excitement of the people who were flying on it, as it was their first true off the ground experience.

Above all, what attracted me the most was the passion for preserving the past glories. Now, I understand why only caucasians visit the forlorn museums and archeological sites in India. How often do we try to do this kind of things at home, in India? We too have a very rich heritage, but it is sad that we do not consider spending or learning about our past, which helps us to understand our roots and also appreciate the present day conveniences.


Wandering Alone

For quite some time, I wanted to go to the Crystal Palace Museum, which was a nearby attraction from Croydon. As usual, I tried to read up online, but there was little information on that. So, I decided to go there and see it for myself. Even in Malaysia I have never dared to venture out on my own, but now in UK since am all by myself I decided to explore alone. Well, every time I can't expect my friends to tag along where ever I wish to go.

Without any hustle I reached the location. Once inside, I was trying to figure out the museum location from the map and started walking in the direction, which I assumed to be right.

I went towards the sprawling lawns...

After walking for a while, I saw the children playing in the fields, and I had fresh pangs of loneliness. In the distance I saw this communication tower.

The headless statue reminded me of 'Headless Nick' of Harry Potter!

Majestic Sphinx...

Still, unable to find my way, I gave up my pride and approached a family who were relaxing under a tree to ask for directions. Immediately, the gentleman told that he was heading towards the museum to kill his time and asked me to follow him. Without second thoughts I followed, but when he turned towards the thick wooded path, suddenly I was thinking what kind of madness I am doing by just following some stranger! Luckily, within moments I saw the clearing and the old museum building:) The museum was small and deserted...

As this post is lengthy, I have split the museum details in the next post.



Also take-away available including Kids, drinks and ice creams...

Where do you think I came across this mind-boggling tag? Of course, on the name board of a tea shop called Little Britain Restaurant in Eastbourne suburb in Sussex!

On top of this, it was a fully licensed place, meaning alcohol is served. Still wondering, how could anyone miss this gross mistake?  Or, is it just another marketing gimmick?


Verbal Communication

Lately, am alone in a new country, where every experience is new and am in a situation where survival of the fittest is very true. So, am constantly on the lookout for ways to excel and stand out in the crowd.

I have been thinking why is there so much difference in the way we talk and the way we write? I guess I am not alone in this kind of dilemma. How often do we take effort to apply any strategy in speaking (verbal communications)? Most of the conversations tend to be reactive instead of pro-active, that is why people tend to face conflicts and arguments.

What would happen if we try to apply writing strategy when we speak? Am sure it would result in better and improved overall communications. In fact, conversations should be a lot simpler than writing, because, primarily the "audience" is in front of you, where as in written form of communication, you have an extra step of identifying your "audience" and you cannot even gauge the reactions of the reader.

Let me list down some of the writing tactics that I follow:

1. Analyze the topic and gather information
2. Come up with clear picture of what is required to write
3. Write a draft and revise
4. Get a feedback from appropriate resources, if necessary

Well, coming back to conversations, most often I have observed that we tend to listen and answer without giving a second thought. We forget that in this form of communication, often we don't have a chance to revise. Further, many fail to get a feedback. To overcome this issue, you can take simple steps that would go a long way in making "successful conversations":

1. Listen carefully
2. Try to give direct answer
3. If you are not sure of what is asked, instead of giving an answer, you should try to phrase the question in your own words and confirm with the other person.
4. After answering, instead of keeping quite try to get feedback by asking "have I answered your question?" or "is this what you were expecting"

By asking this kind of simple questions, you would have a chance to understand if you have really had a successful conversation, which goes a long way in building strong communication skills.


Obelisk on the Banks of Thames

I came to know about Cleopatra's Needle (Egyptian obelisk) when we were planning our London sightseeing. But, as this attraction was out of our planned routes, I couldn't get a chance to see it. However, an unexpected chance came by when I went to attend the W-Tech 2009 event

Obelisk is an ancient Egyptian pillar made of red granite with rectangular base tapering to a pyramidal top. These pillars depict religious hieroglyphics.

The inscription at the base of the obelisk says that the Pharaoh Thothmes III erected it in Heliopolis, (Sun City, which is one of the oldest Egyptian cities) around 1500 BC. Two centuries later Rameses added lateral inscriptions. During the Greek Dynasty, in the 18th year of Augustus Caesar, this obelisk was moved to Alexandria, The Royal city of Cleopatra.

From Alexandria, it was brought to England in 1878 as a token of celebration for the victory over Napoleon in 1815. I just can't see the connection as to what an Egyptian obelisk has to do over an English victory! It was sad to learn that even in those days tax payers' money was spent on bringing this kind of treasures from afar.

It is believed that the two sphinxes facing each other guard the obelisk.

Luckily, I was in good company when I was roaming here. From what I understand, the obelisk at the Embankment, London has a twin in New York. Wish to visit the twin as well:)

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