Don’t be put off by the obstacles if you are planning on visiting the London Family History Centre.
It is not really as awkward as it looks to get across the road and into the building, but it is more than a little disconcerting as you emerge from the London Underground pedestrian subway to be confronted with barriers and fences.
Today when I visited there was a crossing point and break in the fence just to the right of the subway entrance in front of the Science Museum, but I suspect this changes on a fairly regular basis, so that piece of information may not be a lot of use unless you plan to visit in the next few weeks.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea seem to be the people responsible for the disruption. It is part of the Exhibiton Road Project which according to the project’s website will convert the street to a place “where culture and learning are accessible to people of all ages and backgrounds with a streetscape that makes that ambition a reality.”
The road and pavement are being merged together and re-surfaced and the volume of traffic is being reduced and slowed down, although not completely removed. It sounds like a good idea and probably worth the disruption although it isn’t scheduled for completion until next year.
It seems particularly apt that the London Family History Centre should be part of an area for “culture and learning”, it certainly deserves greater recognition for the work it does and the resources it provides.
The Science Museum is like a giant treasure chest, full of a range of exhibitions for almost all ages and interests, and best of all you can get free admission to most of it!
I had never imagined that I would be visiting the Science Museum in the course of my family history research, but when I learnt they had a mail coach on display I knew I had to go and have a look.
The Science Museum Mail Coach
Everything I learn about the mail coach service reinforces my belief that the mail guards were quite remarkable men. Viewing the mail coach was no exception, it convinces me even more that I should be proud of Thomas KINGHORN and his choice of occupation.
Looking at the guard’s seat on the back of the coach it seems so fragile (and looks so uncomfortable), as if it would snap off at the slightest knock. It is hard enough for me to imagine how one would get up there, let alone stay up there once the coach started bouncing along the road. Then throw in the freezing cold wind and rain and you must surely have one of the most challenging jobs at that time.
I finally made a decision about what to do today (Saturday), it did take me until Friday morning to decide, but I got there in the end. I did have second thoughts when I saw how beautiful the weather was this morning (bright sunshine and hardly a cloud in the sky), but I stuck to my plan.
That plan was not going to the Hampshire Record Office in Winchester or walking in the countryside, no instead I decided to head up to London!
London Family History Centre
I decided I really wanted to get on with finding out more about Thomas KINGHORN (4x great grandfather) and short of going up to Carlisle, the London Family History Centre (left) was the next best thing.
As an added bonus I was able to start dig into the Ospringe, Kent parish registers and try and get a grip on what was going on with my WRIGHT ancestors. But at the same time I could look into the Alton, Hampshire parish registers as well and see what secrets (if any) they held. As you can see it was still a beautiful day by the time I got to South Kensington.
The Science Museum, London
I also wanted to pop into the Science Museum which is just on the opposite side of the road from the London Family History Centre. In particular I wanted to see if they still had an original mail coach on display, like the one that Thomas KINGHORN would have guarded.
I couldn’t find a mention of it on their website, and their search box didn’t find it, but I thought it was worth having a look around inside, especially as entrance to (most of) the museum is free.