Editor’s Note: This is a reprint of a Blog Post published a year ago on the Mayflower and a visit to the Churchill Rooms on a sister site, GourMay.net, which documents one of our trips to Great Britain. Slightly irreverent, this blog post is pitched more to our family than readers of Gourmet Living. Nevertheless, it has some useful suggestions for those travelling to the UK, particularly London.
Over the last 20 years or so, I have been dabbling about in Ancestry.com crafting a family tree. Mind you, I am not a genealogist and could care less whether our relatives were descended from Charlemagne or Jack the Ripper (wasn’t he a member of the Royal family?)
The Mayflower Pub
A couple of weeks before our visit to London, I discovered that one of my distant relatives (Constance Hopkins – Age 14) came over on the Mayflower to the “New World” in 1620. As things go, one can never be entirely sure that one’s family tree is 100% accurate, but then few people would have predicted that Donald Trump would be President.
As we finished our Brunel, London Walk, we popped over to the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe for lunch. Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Mayflower was moored immediately below the pub (it had a different name then) in the Thames, before sailing with 65 passengers to rendezvous with the smaller Speedwell that was bringing Puritans from Leiden, Holland.
The Speedwell sprang a leak and all settlers eventually sailed together on the Mayflower, departing from Plymouth in late 1620.
On the wall of the pub was a picture featuring the silhouettes of the 102 settlers and of the 1620 Plymouth voyage of the Mayflower. Immediately below, was another picture showing those settlers who made it through the first year in Plymouth. Roughly 50% had perished!
Our lunch was rather pedestrian, but it was thrilling to share in a piece of history with distant relatives.
The Churchill War Rooms
The Churchill War Rooms are NOT part of London Walks. Surprisingly, I don’t recall visiting them during previous visits to London. Nevertheless, it is a useful visit for those who wish to visit an “active war room” exposed to great danger during the bombing of London in WWII.
A Churchill Museum was added to the bunker complex in 2005. In under two hours, one can gain a great appreciation for the brave men and women who lived under most dangerous conditions to help direct the Allied war effort. Also, the exhibit helps highlight Churchill’s irascible personality and energy during that period.
Certainly worth a visit. Get to the War Rooms early (they open at 9:30 a.m.) to avoid queueing.