Monday, October 15, 2012

A Day with the Bard, and without Aldgate

Once we returned from the coast, John and I were on our own for two days before flying back home. On Monday, we finally made it to Shakespeare’s Globe, a reconstruction of Shakespeare’s Globe Theater, across the Thames and close to its original site. Then we spent some time wandering around the neighborhood before going back to the hotel to rest up before meeting Neal’s friend M at a tapas restaurant.

The reconstruction was the brain child of Sam Wanamaker, an American actor and director who later said if he realized how long it was going to take to accomplish, he probably never would have started. There were no performances going on while we were there but we did get to take a tour and of course, take pictures.

The Theater


Stage, and stalls


Detail of stage canopy



Several times when we were sightseeing along the south bank of the Thames, we found it easier to get back to the hotel by walking across the nearest bridge and wending our way to Leadenhall and then to Aldgate High Street, which intersects Commercial at the corner where our hotel sat, than taking the tube. 

Southwark Cathedral

The Shards, under construction

Leadenhall Market

Leadenhall Market

That meant walking along Aldgate past St. Botolph Without Aldgate, otherwise known as Aldgate Church. I’ve read enough (bad) historical fiction to know that “without” in this context means “outside of”, but it puzzled my husband. “St. Botolph Without Aldgate? What do they mean ‘without Aldgate’?” I explained that they meant “outside of Aldgate” and opined that Aldgate probably was an actual gate at one time. According to Wikipedia, it was.

Aldgate was the eastern-most gateway through London Wall leading from the City of London to Whitechapel and the East End of London.

I have to admit, though, “St. Botolph Without Aldgate” does sound like a laundry detergent updated to remove some pesky, environmentally hazardous chemical. “Whites not white enough? Try St. Botolph, now without Aldgate.” We never went in the church, but I did take a few pictures outside.

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