They are BACK!

Do you remember my blog post which I featured the City of London Police Museum? They are reopening their door from 7th November again! It will be relocated to Guildhall Library, a stone’s throw from the original location on Wood Street and it will have more exhibits in a larger place. I would love to visit there as soon as they open to the public. However, I will have to wait until Bella has made a complete recovery as she still needs a frequent pee trip…

Bella plays a peekaboo!

Stitches on her elbow will be removed next Monday. I’m sure she can hardly wait for it…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

City of London Police Museum

I discovered this museum by chance earlier last year. I was running errands around City of London and came across it accidentally. The museum was located within the building of City of London Police Headquarters on Wood Street. The admission to the place was normally by appointment only. However, it must have been one of my lucky days and I was allowed to enter without it because a curator for the museum was happen to be on site that afternoon.

Police Headquarters on Wood Street EC2…

A folly stands in the middle of the street and I’m still regretting about forgetting to ask what it was for. At the entrance, I was told to wait until the curator became available as she was looking after a group of students then. After waiting at the reception for about 10 minutes, she came with a big smile on her face and invited me into the museum…

Behind the closed door, I found a very small museum. It was a breathtakingly tiny space packed with so many exhibits! And there is no image to convey how confined the space was because my iPhone camera could not be drawn back any further.

Basically, this museum exhibits artefacts which describe the history of City of London Police from its conception at the beginning of the Victorian era to the present time.

This is the very first uniform which the officers wore as they started policing the City of London…

In 1839, the City of London Police Act was passed and the police force, which was to be independent from the Metropolitan Police, was born. Prior to 1839, policing of the City did exist. The task was given to sheriffs to organise security and order. Crowd control during protests and riots was delegated to military force.

Let’s take a close look of the uniform…

The navy blue coat resembled a military uniform but not overtly so. The authority who designed the uniform was aware that policing by the army was not very popular amongst the general public because their appearance and demeanour was feared and resented. The new police force was to be the guardian of law and order, not the agent of oppressor. Therefore, the uniform would have to be respectable without being too intimidating. Unfortunately, the first uniform was too inconspicuous during a particular riot and as a result, one officer was killed by a mob, being mistaken as a member of the rival gang.

Victorian police mag-shots…

A police mascot tabby…

The distinctive design of the head gears worn by City of London Police is directly inspired by the helmet worn by the Roman soldiers who occupied the same location from 50 – 400AD.

This is a rattle which the officers used to carry. The instrument made a loud noise when it was swung so fellow officers in the vicinity could be alerted. It looked pretty weighty and might have been a bit cumbersome when pursuing criminals on foot? Issuing of the whistle must have been much appreciated by the officers…

A newspaper with the front cover, reporting the murder of a police officer…

This weekly was reporting about Jack the Ripper, the most famous cold case…

Next to the newspaper, there were photos of the serial killer’s victims taken by the coroner. One of the photos clearly showed how she was disembowelled and it made a rather nauseating sight. The curator of the museum asked me if I could refrain from taking a photo of this particular image as a mark of respect to the victim and I wholeheartedly agreed with her.
We all know that Jack the Ripper was never caught and the crime remained unsolved. However, the investigation into the case did help to develop a new way of crime-solving, forensics. For the first time, the police approached the analysis of the case by reconstructing the crime scenes and the evidence left by the killer. Even though they failed to catch him, the process had contributed to modernise the police investigation.

Weapons confiscated by the police…

From straightforward weapons – knives, daggers, swords, hummers, knucklebusters, to more unusual arms – a comb, an iron and a sock stuffed with a rock! Scary…

Here were tools for burglars…

These were batons and staffs…

The object in the top image contained a rolled up paper issued by the magistrate which would give an officer who carried it the authority to arrest a person. The officer would have to tap the suspect’s shoulder with it prior to the arrest, apparently.

Police IDs…

Police call box…

Whistles and medals…

The police outfit during WWII…

A silk scarf with instructions for how to bandage…

Old police switchboard…

A police horse saddle…

Epoulets showing the police ranks…

Ceremonial uniforms…

Award plaques…

The sixties police recruitment leaflets…

The way two female officers looking at their male colleague in front was so hilarious!

Even though the size of the museum was minuscule, the place was packed with so many interesting exhibits and I was throughly entertained.

Do you know what they are called? Are they police badges?

By the way, the museum is closed until October this year. They are in the process of being relocated to new accommodation. Let’s hope they will have a bigger space and with even more exhibits…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Saturday Lunch @ Charlotte Street W1

Even though the amount of grass pollens in the air was at its highest, Hubbie, Mr.B and I decided to have a leisurely lunch on Charlotte Street last Saturday.

We waited for Hubbie on tha pavement while he brought a car out of the underground car park. It was rather breezy and Mr.B looked like as if he was being blow-dried…

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We parked our car near Hubbie’s office and walked towards Charlotte Street.
BT Tower was standing tall against the sky decorated with wispy clouds like an Olympic torch…

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We found a table at Côte.
Mr.B was excited to be greeted with a basket of bread…

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Across the street, I saw Josephine’s Filipino Restaurant

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Come to think of it, I never had any cuisine from Philippine and am very intrigued.
I suggested Hubbie if we could have a go at the place one evening. However spice-shy Hubbie suggested that I should look for an alternative dining companion… *RAT*

We tucked in steak and French fries. The sirloin was slightly overdone which I found rather regrettable…

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To accompany the steak, we shared tomato, shallot & basil salad…

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Then, we rounded up our meal with apple tart with ice cream…

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After lunch, we strolled to Park Camera off Oxford Street to buy a tripod.
Mr.B waited patiently in the carrier while Hubbie pondered which one to buy…

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Being ever so workaholic, Hubbie couldn’t help checking his inbox while Mr.B looked up to him quizzically.

‘What are you looking at?’

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Charlotte Street glows in the mellow afternoon sun…

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On our way back to the car, we came across Pollock’s Toy Museum on Scala Street…

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The museum has been a place which I was meant to visit for years but not yet done so. I must must come back to it very soon…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

Mishap In Ueno

Eek, it’s coming down out there!! I can’t remember exactly how long we have been putting up with this miserable weather. But it’s been an awfully long time. Only last Sunday, I saw le ciel bleu. A blue sky was such a rare commodity nowadays. And I already feel like it happened months ago already.
As I sipped latte at the Photographers’ Gallery cafe, I wondered how my poor mum was coping with her share of the present adverse weather in Japan. At the moment, central & northern Japan is buried under the snow. The amount of snowfall is unprecedented and the mayhem it has caused already affecting the daily lives of millions of people in the region.
Oh how I wish if I were there to do all the Yukikaki (雪かき) – shovelling snow – she has to do! She has to sweat over this lonely thankless battle against heavy wet snow 3 times a day so she can keep a footpath open for a postman. Please, please, Captain Kirk, could I borrow your Transporter?
During our Skype call this morning, she reported that the shelves of her local supermarket were now almost bare because no delivery could get through to them. Sensing my concern, she assured me that she had a plenty of food in stock therefore no need to worry. I hope this extreme condition will cease soon and give mum her normal life back.

By looking at the photo now, I can’t believe it was only a month ago…

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The sun was shining in Tokyo. It wasn’t particularly warm but the air was dry and calm.

A panda bear greeted us…

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Why a panda in Ueno?
Because there is a zoo in Ueno Park and a pair of pandas there is undoubtedly the best crowd-puller of the zoo. I remember visiting the zoo to see Lan Lan & Kan Kan, a very first panda couple in Japan, as a child. Their enclosure was very popular and no one was allowed to stop and stare. As zoo keepers with loud-speakers urged us to keep on moving, I tiptoes & craned my neck to get a glimpse of the precious beasts. Then, I was rather unimpressed by finding the bears behind a sound-proofed glazing, in afternoon kip with their bellies up and motionless.

We didn’t have any rigid literary during our holiday in Tokyo. However, we wanted to do something cultural together so decided to see the Monet exhibition at Kokuritsu Seiyō Bijutsukan (国立西洋美術館) – National Museum of Western Art…

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For any architectural groupie, visiting this museum will be a delight because the building was designed by Le Corbusier.
After WWII, a huge Western art collection accumulated by a shipbuilding tycoon, Mr.Matsukata in pre-war Europe, was requested to be returned to France by the Allies. Through a lengthy negotiation between the French government and the Japanese counterpart over 6 years, the collection was finally granted to remain in Japan, provided a museum specifically designed for Western art was to be built and the collection was to be exhibited there. The project was seen as a symbol of resumption of diplomatic ties between France and Japan, therefore, the design of the museum was trusted to Le Corbusier who was the most prominent architect of the 20th century.

We were super excited about the exhibition and couldn’t walk any faster. Then, we noticed something wasn’t quite right…

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The gate was firmly shut.
‘Is it closed today…?! Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!’
Apparently, they were closed on every Monday. In UK, galleries & museums were to close only on Xmas Day, Boxing Day & New Year Day. So I assumed it was the same in Japan. Poor mum was crestfallen. Sorry mum, I should have checked their homepage…

Kaori by Kaori Okumura

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