ITP 2018 all abuzz in Kew Gardens (Amalia Kakissis, ITP 2018, Greece)

Hello! I’m Amalia Kakissis, 2018 ITPer and Archivist from the British School at Athens in Greece. On Saturday, we had a wonderful world heritage journey which started off with a British history boat trip down the River Thames and ended up at the very multicultural Kew Gardens!

Ready to set off at Westminster Pier for Kew Gardens

Ready to set off at Westminster Pier!

Leading the way were our amazing and energetic ITP Leaders: Becca, Jessica, & Andrea…. Claire, unfortunately, was not with us because she was making sure England won the World Cup match… and they DID! Also joining us today were the participants of the BM’s Iraq Scheme and various lovely BM curators.

ITP 2018- Team in Kew Gardens-cover photo

The group, including Iraq Scheme participants

Our journey started off at Westminster Pier in Central London on the Princess Freda river boat. As it turns out, the Princess Freda, built in 1926, was part of the fleet of passenger vessels that went to the Battle of Dunkirk, a military operation that took place in Dunkirk (Dunkerque), France, during WWII where British and other Allied forces were evacuated from 26 May to 4 June 1940. Thanks to ITP 2018 Fellow Ivan Radman-Livaja for his great ‘historical’ eye on that one!

ITP 2018 Fellows on Princess Freda river boat

ITP fellows on the River Thames

Sailing along we learned about London’s history through the buildings and other landmarks on the river banks. It was an amazing ride even though it was in the HOT HOT sun – quite unexpected from what we have all heard about the British weather!

We finished our historical boat ride at Kew Pier and were released into the incredible Kew Gardens, London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage site and home to the most diverse collection of living plants anywhere in the world.

There was so much to take in! We visited The Hive, a multi-sensory installation which brings you into the life of bees,  the 18-metre high Treetop Walkway which lifts you up for a bird’s eye view of the Gardens and the extraordinary Temperate House, the world’s largest surviving Victorian glass structure which contains plants and trees from all the temperate regions of the world.

ITP Fellows in The Hive

In the Hive at Kew

There was a lovely (and air conditioned!) exhibition as well at the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art inside Kew Gardens.  This exhibition, Plans and Plants: The making of the Temperate House had some superb archive material on display (an added plus for me!) showing the original architectural drawings of the Temperate House designed by Decimus Burton in 1859 with some of his letters, sketches and his portrait. Kew Gardens have their own enormous archive (Library, Art and Archives Kew) but they are also next door neighbors to the UK’s National Archives!

Archive material about Temperate House and portrait of Decimus Burton

Archive material about the Temperate House and a portrait of Decimus Burton

And so ends another incredible day on ITP 2018, a journey which brought us all together in London from so many places to make a bit of our own history.

Amalia