The zzzland Times

Our travel

On this page:
                      -Dr. Johnson's house
                      -Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology
                      -The Bank of England museum
                      -Mary Quaint- Exhibition at the V&A
                      -Rock and Roll (Beatles, Trident recording                           studios and The Marquee Club)


Dr. Johnson's house

Hodge (fl. c.1769) was one of Samuel Johnson's cats , immortalized in a characteristically whimsical passage in James Boswell's Life of Johnson 

Although there is little known about Hodge, such as his life, his death, or any other information, what is known is Johnson's fondness for his cat, which separated Johnson from the views held by others of the eighteenth century.

We visited the house in late September, 2019. A fascinating place. We then went to have a pint and lunch at the Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese- the oldest pub in London (1667), located a few minutes' walk from the house. 

Samuel Johnson also frequented this pub.

Built at the end of the seventeenth century by wool merchant it is a rare example of a house of its era which survives in the City of London (this refers only to the 'Square Mile' of the City area, as there are many other houses of this period elsewhere in Greater London)  and is the only one of Johnson's 18 residences in the City to survive.

Four bays wide and five stories tall, it is located at No. 17, Gough Square, in a tangle of ancient alleyways just to the north of Fleet Street. 

Dr. Johnson lived and worked in the house from 1748 to 1759, paying a rent of £30, and he compiled his famous A Dictionary of the English Language there.

          Original wood floorboards- taken from ships that sailed to North America. 

Samuel Johnson was born in 1709 in Lichfield, Staffordshire. The son of a bookseller, he rose to become one of the greatest literary figures of the eighteenth century, most famously compiling A Dictionary of the English Language.

Poverty and illness followed Johnson for much of his life. He contracted scrofula (also known as the King’s Evil) as a baby, which resulted in poor hearing and eyesight and left him noticeably scarred. 

Johnson attended the local grammar school in Lichfield and went on to Pembroke College, Oxford. However, he was to leave after just 13 months as his parents could no longer afford the fees. 

In 1735, he married a widow, Elizabeth Porter, and set up a school at Edial; it failed within months. With this behind him, Johnson took one of the few remaining pupils - the soon-to-be star of the London stage, David Garrick - and walked to the capital to seek fame and fortune. 

Johnson worked as a hack writer for many years, writing and editing articles for Edward Cave’s Gentleman’s Magazine. He received some critical success with his early poem London (1738) and his biography of the wayward poet, Richard Savage (1744) but Johnson’s big opportunity came in 1746 with the commission to write the Dictionary. 

Johnson lived in 17 different places in London, but moved to Gough Square in order to work on the Dictionary, which was finally published in 1755. 

From then on Johnson’s fame was assured and he was known as 'Dictionary Johnson', although he still suffered some financial difficulty.


           Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology

The Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology is part of University College London Museums and Collections. The museum contains over 80,000 objects and ranks among some of the world's leading collections of Egyptian and Sudanese material. My wife had read an article about this museum.  There is a small required donation to visit the museum, but it includes (but not required) guided tour. It was quite fascinating. The fragments and necklaces in their original color... 

The museum is split into three galleries, with the main gallery (housed above the old stables) containing many of the museum's small artifacts, as well as tablets of writing and mummy portraits and cases. 

Another gallery contains mainly pottery. 

The third is along a stairwell down to an emergency exit. 

Some parts of the collection are not lit to protect light-sensitive items, and torches (flashlights) are supplied to see inside the cases.

The collection can be browsed and consulted online. 

Fragments and slabs of stelae

The museum was established as a teaching resource for the Department of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology  at University College at the same time as the department was established in 1892. 

The initial collection was donated by the writer Amelia Edwards.

The first Edwards Professor, William Matthew Flinders Petrie, conducted many important excavations, and in 1913 he sold his collections of Egyptian antiquities to University College, creating the Flinders Petrie Collection of Egyptian Antiquities, and transforming the museum into one of the leading collections outside Egypt.

There are more standing pyramids in the area around Meroë than in Egypt. The art and architecture of the Meroitic Kingdom was innovative. As with religious practice, they combined Egyptian traditions with a distinctly Nubian culture and later incorporated Greco-Roman elements. An ankh (the hieroglyphic symbol for life) inscribed with in Egyptian with the name of King Aspelta made from faience illustrates the use of an Egyptian symbol within a Meroitic context. 

String of beads, scaraboids, scarabs and scorpian pendant, being 1 of 16 strings found on 1 body.

Place: Gurob (Fayum (governorate) / Egypt)

Period: Dynasty 18

The Museum houses one of the largest archaeological collections in the world for Egypt and Sudan. It is named after William Matthew Flinders Petrie (1853-1942), appointed in 1892 as first UCL Edwards Professor of Egyptian Archaeology and Philology. Over three-quarters of the material comes from excavations directed or funded by Petrie, or from purchases he made for university teaching.

Model wooden boat on wheels. Fragmentary condition..


Its unusual form is based on an Aegean-style type of boat used by Mycenaean Greeks: providing hints about the ancient migration of people and ideas across the Mediterranean to Egypt during the New Kingdom (c. 1550-1069 BC).

Excavated by Sir Flinders Petrie and his team of Egyptian workmen in 1920,

Limestone stele with fine sunk relief depiction with hieroglyphic inscriptions, of Paser seated (red colouring) with wife seated behind him on the left, on same backed lion-legged chair, facing their daughter standing to the right who holds a lotus over a table of offerings, both women named Meryt; above are wedjat-eyes flanking shen-ring.

Fragment of painted limestone wall-block with relief hieroglyphic inscription, giving name and epithet of the god Horus amid Shedyt, the place-name written as a tall shrine with bucranium on top.

PlaceHawara (Egypt)

Period: Dynasty 12

Limestone stela, straight top, tapering sides, with sunk relief inscription and depiction showing two men, left facing right, with red colouring of flesh, and woman at right facing left; two lines of hieroglyphs above, and names below, identifying the figures as 'commander of the ruler's crew Res' (centre), 'his brother Nebipu' (left), 'his daughter Henut' (left inscription, not figured), and 'his daughter Senut' (right)

Period: Late Middle Kingdom

Reconstructed bead necklace; faience. 83 bunches of grapes; 47 white petals; 57 red petals; 27 red dates; 30 yellow mandrakes; 13 yellow dates; 43 turquoise pendants; 12 green and blue corn flowers; 23 green palm-leafs. Some beads broken. Eight rows of beads. Conservation revealed a turquoise bead (11th from right) to have a cartouche of Tutankhamun.

Place: Amarna (Egypt)

Period: Late Dynasty 18

Pot burial from Hememieh, near the village of Badari.

The village of Badari is now used to refer to a distinct predynastic civilisation called Badarian. Badarian sites were found by the Egyptian Ali Suefi in 1923 and published by English archaeologists Guy Brunton and Gertrude Caton-Thompson. It is thought to span 4400–4000 BC and is the earliest farming culture in Middle Egypt. 

Brunton and Caton-Thompson described this as 'a large double pot burial, in excellent condition, of an adult female'. It is displayed in the position that it was found at North Spur Burial. 

The Petrie Museum also displays other items from Badarian civilisation, including black-topped pots and jewellery, that were often buried as funerary goods. 

The skeleton was repaired after damage during World War Two, though some material was further damaged in 1985. 

In 1995, gynaecologist Mark Broadbent identified the skeleton as male on the basis of pelvis and femur length. He also thought the man was over 6 foot tall. 

Hawara Mummy portraits

Tarkhan dress
This dress was excavated at Tarkhan. Tarkhan is one of the most important cemeteries from the time that Egypt was unified around 3000 BC.

Petrie named the site after a nearby village Kafr Tuki to distinguish early finds from later material, since the cemetery continued to be used in antiquity.

He excavated a pile of linen from a Dynasty 1 (c. 2800 BC) tomb in 1913. 

It was only in 1977, when this linen pile was cleaned by the Victoria and Albert Museum's Textile Conservation Workshop, that the dress was discovered. 

It was then carefully conserved, stitched onto Crepeline (a fine silk material used in textile conservation) and mounted so it could be seen the way it was worn in life. 

It is one of the oldest garments from Egypt on display in the world. 

The dress may have been placed in the tomb deliberately in an 'inside out manner' as a piece of funerary clothing. However, it is hard to make assumptions since the only context was the recovery of a garment amidst a pile of linen. 


Linen tunic of a much finer, more transparent weave than to the left, and in a poorer condition. In one piece of material from waist to feet, lapped round and sewn down the edge. Two pieces sewn on which pass over the shoulders, and continue out into long sleeves - one side of bodice and one sleeve completely missing, the other sleeve detached from shoulder. Gap at front and back originally closed by tying with three pairs of string at front, and the same behind. Stains from mummified body, together with extremely narrow width, and over-long length (would have been pleated horizontally in life) indicate exclusively a grave-good.

Place: Deshasheh (Egypt)

Period: Dynasty 5

Linen tunic made in one piece of material from waist to feet, lapped round and sewn down the edge - fringe for letting out? Two pieces sewn on which pass over the shoulders, and continue out into long sleeves. Gap at front and back closed by tying with three pairs of strings at front, and the same behind. Left sleeve complete; right has lower part missing. Fabric has holes in body places. Stains from mummified body, together with extremely narrow width and over long length (would have been pleated horizontally in life) indicate exclusively a grave-good.

Place: Deshasheh (Egypt)

                    The Bank of England museum

This museum explores the history and design of the British bank notes. It is a small museum, but full of interesting and fascinating items. Well worth a visit, if you're into historical stuff. A few minutes walk from the Bank tube station

Here's a link to the Bank of England museum website


Mary Quant

With Vidal Sasssoon

Dame Barbara Mary Quant, Mrs Plunket Greene, (born 11 February 1934) is a fashion designer, who is of Welsh heritage.

She became an instrumental figure in the 1960s London-based Mod and youth fashion movements. 

She was one of the designers who took credit for the miniskirt and hotpants, and by promoting these and other fun fashions she encouraged young people to dress to please themselves and to treat fashion as a game.

In November 1955, Quant and Plunket Greene teamed up with a photographer and former solicitor, Archie McNair, to open Quant's first shop on the corner of Markham Square and King's Road in Chelsea, London, called Bazaar, above "Alexander's", a basement restaurant run by Plunket Green. 
In 1957, they opened the second branch of Bazaar.

Pickering Place

           Apple building, 3 Savlle Row, London

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra - John Rutter's Christmas Celebration at the Royal Albert Hall 

December 2019.

Last verse and closing fanfare of Hark! the herald angels sing

It was fun to sing along...