Sunday, 23 October 2011

Sunderland Musem and Winter Gardens - The End

Given that the name of the place includes the Winter Gardens, it didn't seem right not to show them to you. 

Vivien and I went in August, but Bill and I went several years ago in actual winter, and I can tell you it is a wonderful place to be when it's cold and miserable outside.


Almost like a quickie trip to Africa or India, but without the  long flight or the foreign food.

On the surface, it's just a simple garden with a circular balcony, a tall waterfall and a big fish pond,

but I'm sure there is a lot of technical expertise that goes into keeping all those tropical plants happy.

There were plenty of lovely, colourful flowers, but my photography skills didn't do them justice.

Just in case you've never seen a banana plant, this is what one looks like.   Weird, isn't it?

I thought of Bill's cousin, Michael, when I saw these fish.  Some of them were enormous.

Outside was this faerie-tale (sorry) bridge.  Vivien couldn't get over how lucky these apartment dwellers were, being next door to all this glorious scenery, but it turns out that the Mowbray apartments are more like a hotel.   It did seem rather too good to be true. 

There was also a memorial to an event in 1883, about which we'd never heard. The Victoria Hall disaster of 1883 was like the Who concert in 1979 and the Hillsborough football disaster ten years later: a problem of crowd control.

Only this one involved children running down from the theatre gallery in order not to miss out on the treats being thrown to those below.  The stairwell door opened inward and the children in the front were unable to open it quickly enough; 183 were killed.

I was wondering if Victoria Hall had been renamed or torn down since.  Turns out it was destroyed by a 'parachute bomb' in 1941.


So, I'm thinking perhaps you've had enough of Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, lovely as they are.  I can almost hear you saying 'Enough already! Enough!'

In answer to your request, I'm leaving you with 'a nef'.  A silver nef to be more precise. 


I'm afraid the glass case and the lighting conspired to prevent my taking a really good photo.   What is it, you ask?  It's basically a ludicrously expensive and ornate salt shaker.

Or it might hold spices, which were very expensive in the Middle Ages.  Or cutlery, etc.

The detail on this piece was spectacular and I did my best - which isn't good - to capture some of it, particularly the places where salt might actually be found.

It has wheels so it can be shoved along rather than lifted - an expensive toy to amuse oneself and one's guests at dinner, no doubt.  More examples can be seen at the Wikipedia listing, of course.

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