Heath Robinson Museum

Nov 4, 2016 by

A short walk from Pinner Station on the Metropolitan Line, through a park with some lovely mature trees and a lake, you will find the newly re-opened and expanded Heath Robinson Museum. (Free with National Art Pass.) Like most people, I was aware of William Heath Robinson, through the phrase, ‘it’s a bit Heath Robinson,’ to denote something which has been put together in an unorthodox and elaborate way. Until today. The museum contains examples from the series of ‘How to’ books, written by KRG Browne, with hilarious illustrations by Heath Robinson, watercolour paintings and much much more, showing what a versatile and talented artist he was.  Heath Robinson’s autobiography is entitled ‘My Line of Life, ‘ and the permanent exhibition tells the story of his career and the very different styles of illustrating...

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Vancouver, what more can I say?...

Jul 31, 2016 by

Looking to explore further afield, when my son got the chance to work in Vancouver, I began to plan my visit straight away. I would recommend booking your flight early. I tried playing a game, by waiting for the price to drop around a magic date. When it did drop, I dithered and then it went back up again. I ended up booking a flight with Air Transat, a Canadian budget airline.  If you like a lot to eat, it’s a good idea to bring some extras, but I was fine with the free stuff, which was snacks and drinks, including a glass of wine and seconds were offered, when there was food left over. So all in all, not a bad choice of airline. Except for my case arriving home three days after me....

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Darwin, Down and Downe

Jul 31, 2016 by

 If you’re travelling to Down House, home of Charles Darwin on public transport, you need to know that buses to Downe are very infrequent, by which I mean every 90 minutes Monday to Saturday and not at all on Sunday. I discovered this when I had just missed one. I had a nice 80 minutes at Orpington Station,  chatting to bus drivers and reading my book, but it didn’t make for good progress. It’s a 25 minute ride to Down House from Orpington, with various Hail and Ride sections along the way, so once out of the town, you make speedy progress into the countryside. Shortly after Downe village you need to ring the bell and tell the driver you want to get off at Down House. I think most people must travel by...

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Bethlem Museum of the Mind

Dec 13, 2015 by

In my experience, people find it hard to talk about mental health. A visit to Bethlem’s Museum of the Mind might help start that conversation.  Enlarged and reopened in 2015, the museum is situated within the large grounds of the Bethlem Hospital, a 15 minute walk from Eden Park Station (trains from London Bridge, every 30 minutes.) On your way, you can see how many different Art Deco features you can spot on the 1930s houses you pass. There are three parts to the Museum. On the ground floor there is a gallery of art created by people with mental health problems, often for sale. The first floor has a temporary exhibition space, which is changed three times a year and the main, permanent exhibition. A timeline curves around the head of the staircase...

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A Day out in Bexleyheath

Oct 9, 2015 by

  I picked a glorious day to explore two remarkable houses outside London. Trains run to Bexleyheath frequently from several London stations, and the journey takes 30 to 40 minutes. Danson House is the farthest from the station, about a 20 minute walk and is set in beautiful grounds which include a large lake, English Garden and many amenities for local people. Built in 1766 with money acquired from the slave trade, Danson House was designed by Robert Taylor. Passing through many hands and falling into decay, it was rescued by English Heritage and lovingly restored in 1995. It is now managed by the Bexley Heritage Trust. Watercolour paintings created by a  former resident,  Sarah Johnston were used to help the team when bringing the house back to its former glory. If you need an...

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Ben Uri Gallery

Jan 5, 2015 by

In my quest to check out some of the smaller museums and galleries of the capital, I was delighted to discover the Ben Uri Art Museum which is located just off Abbey Road in St John’s Wood. On two floors, the gallery is a perfect size, giving the visitor the chance to really look at the paintings, without feeling overwhelmed by the task ahead! I was the only visitor and received a very friendly welcome. The museum is free but invites donations to help it continue. The current exhibition is: Refiguring the 50s and has work from five artists; Joan Eardley, Sheila Fell, Eva Frankfurther, Josef Herman and LS Lowry. They have quite distinct styles but all the pictures on display have a common theme of working people. A book is available and the exhibition provides enough detail...

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