Director’s Diary: What is now proved was once only imagined

Each day this week there have been craft activities for Easter in the upper gallery and the museum has been full of children looking for Easter eggs and building bridges. Sometimes building Easter eggs and looking for bridges!Through the holiday weekend, visitors on our heritage boat trips were treated to excellent views of the Tall Ships moored at the World Heritage Site across the river at Greenwich. This is the ceremonial start for a race held to mark the 150th anniversary of the Canadian Confederation. Very similar to this Canaletto view, but there was more sail this weekend.

When Marc Brunel was fundraising he described his Thames Tunnel as le pont sous la tamise (the bridge under the Thames) because nobody would invest in anything as crazy as a tunnel under a river. So I greatly enjoyed reading this week about plans for the world’s first ship tunnel in Norway or as I like to call it le navire sous la montagne. The proposed short cut will avoid some dangerous seas in the north. Where will this end I wonder? A cruise liner always has a gymnasium, but how much more interesting (and environmentally sound) to have passengers lying on their backs, on the top deck, and leg it through like on the canals. Next month Norwegian Cruise Liners have asked me to lecture on their ships, and this might be the time to tell them about my new idea…

I shall also talk about Brunel and the first ship with a double hull and the railway driven by atmospheric pressure and the Great Western from London to New York (via Bristol) and the ship that was too big for the Suez Canal but laid a cable across the ocean. Last year, on my lecture tour with the English Speaking Union, I traveIled on a bridge made for aeroplanes, which seems an odd idea. But this year I shall be crossing the Atlantic west to east – the easy way – aided by prevailing winds and currents. Oh – and by engines! Brunel has proved ships can carry enough fuel without sinking! What is now proved was once only imagined  William Blake (1757 – 1827).

This week Ed Bucknall’s Private View in our Cafe Gallery was well supported and many of the miniatures were sold. Especially the ones with sails on I notice, but I may be obsessing.

Next week we have two visits from City & Village, as part of Museum in Docklands exhibition on the archaeology of Crossrail. I am lecturing at Lincoln’s Inn Fields on Friday, and on Saturday the wonderful Tricity Vogue returns stately as a galleon and under full canvas, with her own special brand of cabaret. A few tickets left here. Plain sailing. But not plane sailing.
Details below:

Easter Sunday 16th April
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Monday 17th April
10.40 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Tuesday 18th April
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Wednesday 19th April
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
18.15 riverside walk from Bermondsey tube offered in partnership with London Walks

Thursday 20th April
10.00 Design Team & Architects meeting
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
11.30 City & Village Tours

Friday 21st April
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
11.30 City & Village Tours
12.10 Robert’s lecture at Royal College Radiologists, 63 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
17.30 Cocktails with The League: Oxford & Cambridge MBA

Saturday 22nd April
10.40 heritage boat trip from Embankment tube offered in partnership with London Walks
13.30 lunch at the Tunnel Club, Mayflower pub upper room
17.30 Cocktails & Cabaret with Tricity Vogue

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