After leaving the very hot Natural History Museum we were now out-side in the cool rain for the short 100m or so walk to the entrance of the Science Museum. It’s a very understated entrance with a simple sign announcing Science Museum, although there is a carved stone sign highlighted in gold high above the door.
The entrance is that protrusion just beyond the people in the left of the photo and the good news was that there were no queues (this photo was taken after our visit when the rain had cleared up.)
The moment we walked in through the door and into the lobby we looked at each other and said almost in unison “isn’t it cool in here”. To our delight there were no crowds, yes it was busy but not overly so.
We headed through the entrance hall and into the Energy Hall and along to The James Watt and Our World exhibit.
Above the ticket booth for the IMAX Theatre and simulators etc was this big loop suspended from the ceiling which can be seen in the previous photo (seen as a silver vertical line above the “Tickets” sign).
Here’s a closer view.This display is in the shape of a “p”, the leg of the “p” is horizontal and butts up against the wall. It appears to shoot a burst of white light down the leg which then spins around the loop before breaking down into readable text.
We didn’t have enough time to hang around and note how many different messages were displayed. It certainly was eye catching but not that easy to read from ground level.
We now moved on past the booths and onto the steam engines.I just love steam engines, especially the big ones and in particular Beam Engines. I have a small collection of Steam Engines myself including my favourite a Stuart Beam Engine. With a quick peek back the other way towards the pistons. I think what fascinates me most about the engines is that such a large engine can be so smooth and so quiet, a great advantage of not being an internal combustion engine.
Due to the relentless march of time we moved on into the Exploring Space section where one of the first exhibits was an example of the British Black Arrow rocket serial No R4 (see link for more details) I had vague memories of this rocket and it’s links with the test firing pad at High Down near the Needles on the Isle of Wight. It was great to see a piece of British space technology from the past although the serial No R4 may be a clue to it’s short lived past.
A glance at an information board next to this rocket motor (below left) really caught my eye V-2, I’ve heard so much of the V-1 and V-2’s from history. The V-* program Vergeltungswaffe or in English the Retaliation weapon- the Nazis secret weapon.
A big regret on this day for me was that we didn’t get a chance to have a look at the Science Museum celebrates 50 years of the UK in Space display with the Ariel-1 satellite taking a prominent place.
On 26 April 1962, Britain launched the Ariel-1, the first satellite to carry experiments devised and operated by UK universities. This made the UK the third space faring nation in the world, behind the USA and former USSR. Fifty years on, the UK space sector is a world leader in space science, innovative technology and applications development.
Once again it was time to move on, this time we went down to the basement and into The Secret Life of the Home section. It was a treat to go back in time and see how easy we have it today with all of life’s Mod Cons.
These household appliances were a treat to see not sure about to use! It’s hard to believe how high tech these machines once were, hard to believe people actually held vacuum cleaner parties.
This model below (right hand photo) is a Booth Vacuum Cleaner Domestic Model from 1906.
The washing machine and mangle section was as equally interesting but I have no photographs of this section.
We then found these items on display which most of the group found amusing – Computers. It never ceases to amaze me the relentless march of technology, we look back at old domestic appliances and wonder how they ever got by, but the modern high tech gear, computers, mobile phones etc have dated even quicker.
Fortunately Television has come on a long way from this early example from the 1930’s. I can’t imagine watching it and certainly couldn’t have wrote and prepared this on one of these.
We have to thank the pioneers of these devices for the constant re-developing over the decades that have led to the fantastic displays we have today, both Television and Monitors.
I wonder how today’s young folk would manage without the high tech? I’m certain they would be happier and have more time for each other.
Seeing all these old appliances reminded me of the following photo, this next photo, above right, was taken at the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre, I’ve included it here because it always makes me chuckle whenever I think of it, they think of everything….. I was dying to ask the question, and I very much wanted to ask the lady overseeing the display, but decided against it. For those of you who need to know the answer it’s not what you’re thinking.
By now the tech head in our group was pushing us ever closer to Web Lab I’d heard lots of things about it over the day and was intrigued and joined the queue for it of about 60 or so people, after 10 minutes the queue hadn’t moved so we were just about to give up when half of the people were allowed access. The remainder, us included had about another 5 minute wait. Once inside we got our Lab Tag and eagerly set off in search of delights. Most of our group headed over to the robots that drew your image in the sand and here is where I felt most underwhelmed, a sense of being let-down, not sure what I was expecting but something a bit higher tech than this………
We are all so used to seeing gorgeous ink jet printer images where the head moves over the page firing off hundred’s of nozzles, thousands of times as it moves over the surface creating a hi-rez high quality print. This though I thought was decidedly low tech. Photo showing drawing in progress.
The Teleporter was pretty much the same, maybe I wasn’t operating it correctly.
I did however enjoy the UNIVERSAL ORCHESTRA this was a concept were musical instruments are operated both by the visitors to the museum and from Internet uses across the world, the music I found to be very soothing and restful.
This was the brains and the heart of the system. (pictured left)
A few of the instruments are pictured below.
Along the tube to the underground.
During a quick breather outside Victoria Station I grabbed these. The left hand one is of 111 Buckingham House Road – I believe it’s a business centre, the corner of the sunlit stone building in the top corner is the Grosvenor Hotel. The right hand photo is of Belgrave House.
It’s my intention to update this post with notes over the next week or so and give my summary of the trip. In short a great day out and I will return.
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