Wednesday, April 3

Roadschool Trip to London: British Entertainers

In 1891, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes was a character very much of his time and place, who appealed to British readers directly by confronting the messy, changeable world they lived in. From 1181 to 1904, the fictional Holmes lived at 221B Baker Street in London, which became one of the world's most famous addresses.

Located on Baker Street in London, near Regent's Park, the Sherlock Holmes Museum is the world's first museum dedicated to the literary character. It actually sits between numbers 237 and 241, but has special permission from the City of Westminster to carry the famous address. This Georgian townhouse was built in 1815 and used as a boarding house until 1936, but was converted into a museum in 1990.

Since then, the rooms have been restored to give visitors an insight into the life and stories of the world's first consulting detective, as well as an authentic experience of Victorian London. From the cheery 'Bobby' in traditional uniform at the door, to the tour guides in Victorian-era costume, this museum invites you to step back in time to the gas-lit world of London's iconic detective. Photography is not allowed inside, but there are plenty of opportunities to take home postcard from the gift store!

Brief Overview of British Literature (aka BritLit)

The earliest surviving works of BritLit are from the Old English period (475-1000), and include famous epics such as Beowulf. (Snag a complete unit study on Beowulf here!!) Fast-forward to the Battle of Hastings, and Norman French replaced Old English as the language of the ruling classes. At this point, BritLit became largely influenced by the French, and stories began to center around Charlemagne and King Arthur. It wasn't until the 14th century that the old styles would re-emerge in works by authors such as Malory and Chaucer.

The Renaissance brought Shakespeare and Marlowe, whose writings led the Elizabethian era and still persist today. Famous poets of this era included Donne and Milton. In the early 18th century, novels became the 'done thing,' with works by Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Sterne and Smollett. This style was developed further in the 19th century by Jane Austen, Walter Scott, Thackeray, the Bronte sisters, Eliot, and Dickens.

London — Abbey Road

Tucked into St. John's Wood is a little road that went largely unknown until 1969. Legend says that the Beatles were close to breaking up that year, and during the album recording they could barely stand to be around each other. When it came time to produce the album exterior, they simply decided to name the album after their recording studio and take the photo in front of it. Thanks to the band and album's popularity, today Abbey Road is one of those free and unusual tourist attractions!

Abbey Road studios is known for producing legendary artists such as Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, and Lady Gaga. You might notice the Abbey Road street signs mounted a bit higher than other signs in London. This is because they have been frequently stolen, and the local council moved them to deter would-be music-fan thieves. Today, people from all over the world stop by this location to take pictures of themselves imitating the famous artwork where the four band members are walking straight across the crossing.

If you decide to try your hand at crossing this extremely-busy street, go early in the day, when there is less traffic. Be patient and prepared to wait your turn, and be alert as not all of the locals appreciate stopping for tourists....

Can't visit? Check out the live Abbey Road Cam.

Pick up activities and worksheets to augment your real or virtual trip in the unit study bundle below!

Explore the art, history, geography, food, and culture of England in this cross-curricular unit study….perfect for families getting ready to travel abroad or folks who want to travel via unit studies!  Each stop along the roadschooling trip covers a different facet of history and culture with unit information, resources, worksheets, activities, and more...  

YES!  I want 122 pages of FUN STUDIES!

Table of Contents:

  • o Introduction & Geography of England
  • o Portsmouth
    • o The Mary Rose & naval archaeology
  • o London
    • o The British Museum & archaeology
    • o The Wallace Collection & medieval history
    • o The Tower of London / London Bridge & the Tudors
    • o Buckingham Palace & royalty
    • o Victoria and Albert Museum & medieval art
    • o Thames / Globe Theater & Shakespeare
    • o Sherlock Holmes Museum & British Literature
    • o Abbey Road & British Invasion
  • o Leeds
    • o Royal Armouries & middle ages
  • o York
    • o Jorvik & Vikings
    • o York Castle & archaeology
  • o Haltwhistle
    • o Hadrian’s Wall & ancient Celts
    • o Vindolanda & archaeology
  • o Alnwick
    • o Alnwick Castle & architecture
    • o Poison Garden & herbs
    • o Barter Books & WW2 history
  • o Alnmouth
    • o North Sea & train history
  • o Newcastle o Segedunum & ancient Romans
  • o Tips & Tricks for Travelling in England

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