Westminster Abbey was underwhelming but I’m still glad I paid my fee and got inside. This nasty English weather meant I had to stand in the bright hot sun in a long line for almost an hour but the guides at the entrance were suggesting it would ninety minutes or more. They may have been exaggerating to scare some people off. The entrance fee was also supposed to twenty-two pounds but they’d run out of audio guides so they were letting everybody in half price.
Unfortunately no photography was allowed inside and I was glad that everyone respected it. The most impressive tomb was that of Queen Elizabeth I. The carving on her sarcophagus was exquisite and the detail on her face in what I assume is white marble was quite lifelike, ironically enough.
I really went for Poets’ Corner but I discovered that few of the writers honored there are actually interred there. Chaucer, Browning and Tennyson are really there but most of the stones set in the floor are just a “Hall of Fame” for England. Still it was nice to see the giants enshrined, Blake, Burns, Byron, Eliot and some guy named Shakespeare.
I was a little surprised to see that Ted Hughes had a stone there, not because I doubt his quality, it’s just that he only died twenty years ago. I think he’s the most recent addition to Poets’ Corner.
I was also looking forward to seeing Isaac Newton’s tomb but it and the rest of Scientists’ Corner were roped off because some musicians were rehearsing for a performance of Haydn’s “Creation”. So while I could see the magnificent sculpture of Newton it was only from a distance. I also was unable to visit Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking. Very disappointing.
Since I couldn’t take any pics inside, here’s an exterior of the west end of the Abbey where they have statues of ten 20th century martyrs. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is fifth from the left. I only recognized two other names, I’m ashamed to report. From left to right: Maximilian Kolbe, Manche Masemole, Janani Luwum, Elizabeth of Russia, MLK, Oscar Romero, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Esther John, Lucian Tapiedi and Wang Zhiming.