London Part II – South Kensington, Imperial College London

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My first week in London was spent buying the necessities, and I was busy being deathly sick for most of the second week, so it wasn’t until now that I had a chance to actually explore London a bit.

Sorry for the lack of blogging!

London is a very old city with some very interesting stories – Knights Templar, Freemasons, kings, queens, dragons, William Shakespeare, churches, etc, but that’s for another time.

This post is about a fairly new area called South Kensington. It’s fairly new by English standards – most of the iconic buildings in this region were built in the latter half of the 1800s.

Why South Kensington? Because that’s where Imperial College is, and I had a chance to walk around it this afternoon and snap a few pictures, thanks to the generosity of the people in Department of Computing responsible for arranging schedules.

It’s quite an interesting area, with various museums, one the most famous concert halls in the world, various embassies, various colleges, and quite a few billionaires.

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Beit Quadrangle, our student union building that’s apparently also a hall for undergrads?

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Right across the street from the college (and Royal College of Music) is Royal Albert Hall, one of the most famous concert halls in the world, where the Queen goes to watch performances.

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Royal College of Music, sharing the same block with Imperial College

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Imperial College geoscience building (I think?)

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National History Museum, just south of the college.

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The other side of Royal Albert Hall, from Hyde Park. Not pictured, but to the right is Royal College of Art – according to Wikipedia “the world’s most influential art and design institution”.

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Albert Memorial in Hyde Park, across the street from Royal Albert Hall.

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Hyde Park.

Hyde Park is the site of The Great Exhibition in 1851, where inventors from many nations were brought together to showcase their inventions. Surplus from the exhibition funded all 3 museums in this area – Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, and the National History Museum (according to Wikipedia). The Exhibition essentially kickstarted the development of this area.

Nowadays it’s a lot more humble. It’s just a very big open space with a big pond for the most part, which is actually quite nice, in the most expensive area of London where every square metre of land probably cost more than any house I have lived in.

It’s pretty cool that Imperial College is in such a cultured area, and my daily commutes take me through all these sights people come all the way to London to see, though the school kids in long lines do get annoying sometimes… and it’s a little inconvenient that we don’t really have any off-campus dining options, since anything in this neighbourhood is probably £20+ per meal.  Maybe I just haven’t looked hard enough?