In my post Retracing Rizal's Travel In New York and East Coast I hinted you of my trip to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK, for short) for family visit and possibly to retrace the steps of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal. Back then my idea of Dr.Rizal's stay in Great Britain was limited to what I read on Wiki Pilipinas.
"On May 16, 1888 the ship, City of Rome sailed (from New York) for Liverpool and where he decided to stay in London until March 1899. Rizal chose to stay in London so that he could improve his English skills, study and do an annotation of Antonio Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas and because he believed that the said English city was a safe place for him to carry on the reforms he wanted for the Philippines. He stayed at Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor's home and boarded at the Beckett family (in Chalcot, Camden). Xxx. During his stay in this country, Rizal also made used of his time in writing essays and articles for the La Solidaridad. After ten months, Rizal left London and departed for Paris."
Beckett Family, 37 Chalcot Crescent in Camden [London]
In the same fashion as our national hero, I left New York on January 28, 2012 aboard British-owned Virgin Atlantic Airways, and arrived in Heathrow Airport in London the next morning (with time difference). My previous plan of staying in England for at least two (2) weeks was cut short to only five (5) days (due to an extended stay in the United States to receive in Utah the 2012 Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono/Community Service Award for the Philippines Chapter of the J.Reuben Clark Law Society which I chair).
Despite the short stay, I promised myself not to "miss" visiting The British Museum where Dr. Rizal said has spent most of his time studying and doing his annotation of the book of MORGA (engraved in First Rizal Monument in Daet)!
The British Museum is a neoclassical building founded in 1753 and located in Great Russel Street in London. It is a national collection of archaeology, prints, drawings, coins, medals and ethnography and widely considered as the world's biggest and the greatest museum of its kind!
The British Museum's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court is an impressive glass -roofed atrium with exhibition spaces, lecture theaters, shops and cafe. With its two-acre space it is the largest covered public square in Europe.
Proudly standing in the middle of the Great Court is the world - famous British Museum Reading Room which serves as exhibition space with a touch - screens providing information about the vast Museum collections.
According to Wikipedia, this famous circular British Museum Reading Room was occupied by the British Library from the mid-19th century until it was legally separated in 1973 and finally moved to its current site at St. Pancras, London in 1997. But before then, the British Museum was considered unique in that it housed in the same building both a national museum of antiquities and a national library!
So back to Dr. Jose Rizal and the British Museum, I found Rizal In London in CHED's website very informative. I took note that Dr. Rizal was admitted to the British Museum Reading Room on August 16, 1888. Since then Dr. Rizal got busy with Morga and thought of copying the whole book and annotating it for publication as his gift to the Filipinos. He also wanted to publish Blumentritt's "Tribes of Mindanao" and the new documents he found while in British Museum Reading Room for two weeks.
While I was not able to do any research at the British Museum like Dr. Jose Rizal, I did enjoy visiting several galleries and exhibits on display at the British Museum Reading Room and in other areas shown in this floor plan.
Gallery 1 -Enlightenment
Gallery 2 -The Changing Museum
Gallery 3 -Special Exhibition Reading Room
Gallery 4 -Ancient Egypt
Gallery 6 -Assyrian sculpture
Gallery 7-8 -Assyria- Nimrud
Gallery 9 -Assyria - Nineveh
Gallery 10 --Assyria - Lion Hunts and Seige
Gallery 11-23 - Ancient Greece and Rome
Gallery 24 - Living and Dying
Gallery 26 - North America
Gallery 27 - MexicoGallery 33/33b- China,South Asia and South East Asia
Gallery 34 -Islamic WorldGallery 67 - Korea
Gallery 95 - Chinese Ceramics
The British Museum is open daily from 10am till 5:30pm (8:30pm on Fridays) and admission is free! I am really thrilled that my CS friend and host in London Catherine Iblan accompanied me there last February 2, 2012!
ItYay! Another step of our national hero retraced. Let's jump to that!!