Colchester YAC visit Roman Londinium
I won my Nikon Coolpix L30 camera in YAC's “Worms Eye View” photogrpahy competition last summer. I thought I would write about our trip to London’s Roman past in November 2014. All the pictures with this blog were taken with the camera I won!
After a bus journey, we arrived at the Museum of London and got an introduction by Caroline McDonald, the curator of the Roman exhibit of the museum. We were told that at first we could look at anything that we wanted in the museum.
Having walked around some of the exhibits we had lunch and in the afternoon we met Caroline again. She showed us a map of London from the Roman times with all the sights that we would be seeing.
Surprises beneath a car park
Caroline led us down to an underground car park. We went through a door, and as if by magic, the ruins of the West Gate of the Roman fort in Londinium appeared before us! We were allowed to walk through the gaps in the walls but we were forbidden to step on the walls themselves. You could see how worn the bricks were in the doorway. The strange thing is that not many people know the walls are actually there as they are hidden from public view. We then walked up to street level and passed a Roman wall designed to protect Londinium.
After our experience of these ruins, we walked about 10 minutes to the Guildhall Art Gallery. Under the gallery we saw the ruins of the Roman Amphitheatre. It was huge. We saw the drainage system which has miraculously survived. Two long walls stood in front of us when we entered the room. Only the lower parts have survived. The exhibit was enhanced by projected seating and modelled wrestlers. On the outside of the Art Gallery a large stone circle showed us where the theatre originally was.
A hidden Roman bathhouse
Later we took the coach to 101 Lower Thames Street. On the outside it looked like a shiny office block but when you entered it was similar to an abandoned house. Plaster was falling off, the ceiling was battered and scaffolding was being stored. We went down a staircase to the basement where the Roman bathhouse awaited us. It was quite small and had an unusual design. In a bathhouse first you go in the steam room, then the warm room, then the cold pool. In this bathhouse you got changed in the same room as the cold pool, which meant that you had to walk past the steam and warm rooms. The under floor heating has somehow survived in almost perfect condition.
Thank you to all the Leaders from Colchester YAC who made this trip so memorable, and to YAC HQ for the wonderful camera which I took the pictures with!
Blog by Bandi Cserep, Colchester YAC member
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