Sunday, July 10, 2011

Things to do in London #7 - Imperial War museum and a pub lunch

The imperial War museum is certainly not one my favourite museums, but when my sons came it was high on their list, and we happened to be staying kitty corner across from it so we decided to drop in.  With all the museums and art galleries being free you have nothing to lose by dropping in for an hour or even less. The Imperial war Museum is situated about a 15 minute walk away from the London eye and the nearest tube station is Lambeth North. The building which accommodates the Imperial War Museum London was formerly the central portion of Bethlem Royal Hospital, or Bedlam, as it was commonly known which was a psychiatric hospital and is where  the term something being chaotic is as "being like bedlam" comes form.

It is quite an impressive building set in large grounds, in the front are two enourmous guns trained on the front door. The central atrium when you walk in side is also quite impressive with tanks on the floor and planes suspended from the the ceiling from both first and second world wars.

View of the Atrium as you enter
View looking down
There are several different exhibts other than the istruments of war, which frankly really do not interest me, the one that found far more compelling was the reconstruction of a house as it would have been
during world war 2 in England.  I always find social history far more interesting than who was king or Queen and who was killing who on what date. In this house they have a sample of the weekly rations which we would certainly have a hard time existing on today. There was a man talking to the school children who were there on a school trip about being evacuated away from his family. Both my parents were children during the second world war and my father was evacuated to the country side, I don't think this was a really bad experience for him, but for some it was and can you imagine sending your 6 year old off with nothing but a small suitcase and his name around his neck.

There is also an art gallery of war paintings some of which were quite striking including  a beautiful, if sad room size painting by Whistler (of Whistlers Mother fame). Connie and Nancy went to the holocaust exhibit, which they both said was well done and very moving, but I could not bring my self to go through.

After a quick gander at the gift shop, always a great source of gifts, we went for lunch at the pub accross the road, The Three Stags

The Three Stags pub
I went there for the first time about 7 years ago with my sons and an old friend who was living about a block away, he took us there after the museum.  We had a memorable meal of large yorkshire puddings rolled around roast beef, served with chips (french fries) and gravy.  Well times have changed and so has their menu, though still good it is now what is called a grastropub. They are a member of  The Sustainable Restaurant Association and use local, organic and in season as much as possible.

Connie ordered a seafood stew it was like a bouillabaisse, though I do not think that was what they called it, she seemed very happy with it.

Nancy ordered the belly pork served with kale and green lentils.  I thought this was wonderful, but Nancy was porked out at this point and much like the steak in Florence there was just too much pork and fat.

I ordered scotch eggs made with quails eggs and salmon, I really ordered as I was very interested in how this would taste.  It tasted really good, when I cut in to the egg it oozed out a lovely soft egg yolk but really firm white.

My only complaint was I wish I had a little more salad as the salmon and eggs were very rich.  You can eat lunch here for between 5 and 10 pounds, not too bad and the ambiance is of a very traditional pub, but the food is a step up.

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