Mike in Finland

Sunday, 5 September 2010

London Sights Part 1

From time to time I´m going to post short reviews of interesting places and sights in London. My plan is to select places that may not be so well known to overseas visitors to London. I know that there are quite a few Finns who read this blog and maybe there are readers from other countries, too, so hopefully there will be useful information for these readers if they are planning a trip to London. I won´t post anything about the famous sights like Buckingham Palace and the British Museum because everyone is well aware of these places. Instead I´ll seek out locations that may not be familiar to people who don´t know London so well.

Here´s the first place, the John Soanes museum. It´s one of my favourite places to visit in London. John Soanes was an architect, born in 1753, and this museum is actually the house which he lived in. He totally redesigned the interior and filled it with collections of art works, archeological collections and many other objects. The museum is interesting for the collections it contains and also for the way the house has been designed to fit so much into a relatively small place. A good example is his `art gallery´, a small room about 4m. x 4m. Each wall, covered with paintings, is actually a wooden panel, hinged at one side, which can be unhooked, swung through 90 degrees and hooked to the adjacent wall, thereby presenting what had previously been its reverse side which is also covered with paintings. In this way he obtained double the amount of wall space. You aren´t allowed to swing the wall panels round yourself, but if you ask the attendant he or she will demonstrate the system for you.

Sir John Soane was an interesting person himself. He was the son of a bricklayer, so he wasn´t from a wealthy family. He eventually became professor of architecture at the Royal Academy and designed the Bank of England building.

The museum is located at 13, Lincoln´s Inn Fields and it is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10 a.m. till 5 p.m. and entrance is free. The nearest underground station is Holborn. The museum has a website at
where you can find a map and other information.

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