England – a place drenched in history

Kingston

One thing I love about England is the history. You can walk down a street in London and trace the same steps that a king or queen may have made centuries ago. You can dine in a pub that was built before Victorian times. You can explore a museum that was commissioned for Queen Victoria.

In Australia, if you have a building that’s 100 years old, it’s ancient and will probably be heritage listed. The house that I’m currently living in in London was certainly built over a hundred years ago, although I’m not certain when. The church across the street has 1789 stamped across its door, so perhaps it was around then.

The other night we went walking around the centre of London after a meal and we stopped in Trafalgar Square. In front of us was Nelson’s collum, behind us was The National Gallery, we were surrounded by embassies and next to St Martin In the Fields church. The buildings were built either in the 1700s 0r 1800s, probably before Australia was even discovered by the British.

I enjoyed history at school but only when we weren’t learning about Australian history. There isn’t much of a time line after white men arrived and yet we would learn it over and over again every year. I was speaking to a British friend two nights ago and she was telling me how at school they learnt about all the kings and queens and the rest of the British history. It sounded a lot more fascinating.

Of course, it’s not our fault Australian history is so short and in some ways its a blessing. We’ve never had a war on our shores and our history isn’t tainted with corruption or genocide. People move to Australia because it is truly the ‘land of the free.’

I appreciate all this, but I also enjoy exploring the culture and history of the British and I’m going to make the most of it while I’m over here. Today I’m going to Kingston – a place where Saxon kings were crowned in the 900s. Cool, huh?

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