Sunday, November 30, 2008

Walk Among the Scholars: Bloomsbury/ St. Pancras

The area of St. Pancras/Bloomsbury had a familiar feel to it, though I had never really explored the area. Oh yeah, this is what a college town feels like! I'm not going to lie, I kind of made me miss Provo a little, which is a strange feeling. There is something interesting about the fusion of the town-and-gown. The college area does seem to be appropriately placed. It is amidst where many of the great British thinkers lived, including Charles Dickens. The streets in the area are literally lined with blue plaques in memory of the famous scholars who lived there. It must be inspiring for students to be studying in area filled with so much scholastic legacy. The very thought inspires me to academic ambition. The walk of the scholars is all of learning and remembering the great legends of Britain.

One of the first things about the area that I noticed was the many small colleges that dotted the area. This one struck me oddly. Goodenough college??? Good enough for who? I hope I would be good enough to get into Goodenough. 

The magnificent British Library. It is HUGE!! I mean, moving from Rexburg to Provo, I thought that BYU's library was rather large. But this is the mammoth of libraries, isn't it? I can't imagine what an amazing resource it would be to have a library like this while going to college in London. It has everything, including some pretty amazing exhibitions...

This was one of my favorite monuments that I ran into on the walk. It sat right outside of the British Library, inviting seekers of knowledge into its doors. The statue is of Isaac Newton. I love to learn about him, because I am particularly fascinated by the study of physics, he could be an ancestor of mine, and the statue is modeled after a painting by William Blake-- one of my favorite poets.
Inside the British library is a grand exhibition of old old old texts. Ancient Bible Manuscripts, an original of Beowulf, and the Magna Carta. The place is just awe-inspiring.
Along with a center of learning, this area was filled with memorials of the many great ones. One of these, is Mahatma Gandhi. Here, in a small garden dedicated to peace, he sits in meditative reflection. He still remains as an example to peaceful causes, and there is still much we can learn from him.

This is where I began to miss traditional college. I saw students out and about their studies. Leaving school, buying books at Waterstones, and just scurrying about the urban campus. There is something distinctive about college towns and areas. I think it is because there are so many in such a small area dedicating their lives to learning and building their future. London seems like a great place to do that. I wonder what it would be like to attend school on an urban campus like this one.
Jeremey Benthem requested that his skeleton be displayed in this manner. Strange, indeed. Still, this is considered a sacred shrine to all serious economists. Benthem was considered the father of Utilitarianism and was also involved in socio-political issues. He is dressed in his own clothes, and has a wax head. He continues to grace students with his presence at the University College of London.
This is right near where the University College of London Hospital is located. It is said that Benthem's ghost haunts the place, and chases nurses with his cane. I really enjoy urban-lore, but more importantly it is an institution of learning.

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