An American Professor in Europe 
Summer, 2012 
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London Class and Olympics 2012                                         6 July to 6 August

  Including Class excursions to Oxford, Cambridge, and Chichester
Study Abroad Class and the Olympics       Jump here to Olympic Games News

HEY STUDENTS!  Looking for an amazing adventure, a truly unique way to earn college credit and have fun doing it?  Try a Study Abroad experience during a school semester or summer!  On this page you will read of my Summer 2012 class and see pictures of the places to which we travel all through Great Britain.  We will be making excursions to Cambridge, Edinburgh, Chichester, and Oxford as part of my class.  We also anticipate the 2012 London Olympic Games during our time here.
     There are Study Abroad opportunities in dozens of countries all over the globe--see your local International Studies office for details to make such an experience like this part of your time in college!

       2012 Students boarding coaches for a Tour of London


Jump to Info on the Olympics here.

Students leaving on the tube for the train station in my 2010 class.

Outside the windows of the Hampstead residence rooms.

Some of the current 2012 students gathering for the first walking tour after arrival.

     I've posted some pictures taken quickly of the students listening to our fabulous tour guides and then we attended a brief lecture prepared especially for my group by one of the curator professors at the Bodleian.  While the material in the lecture was not required for the class, it was held in the Convocation hall where the university parliament has met for centuries as well as the English parliament on three occasions in the 17th century.  The tours included much history of the university and the library, including a stop and further "quiet" talk in the Duke Humfrey's library (no photos allowed) which is the oldest portion and where the most rare book are kept, only accessible to readers with special cards as I had before for my work on Hobbes.  I believe the students, mostly social science majors, at minimum were exposed to this old and significant place of learning, some of the relationship to British history, and of course the special spaces in which scholars do their work.
     Classes continue twice a week and we have planned further excursions to Cambridge, the Freud House and Museum, Chichester, and Buckingham Palace which will be during our final week.  I think readers of the blog will become familiar with the images of my 17 students by the time we have done all that, as well as the places where we traveled in Great Britain.  Please note: The Prof is leaving tomorrow for France for the long weekend to continue his work on the early natural philosophers, so click below for the next posting which will be on
the France Page, or click the France tab above.  After returning to London next week this page continues below. --TW
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Update - 18 July
     Laura returned with me to London and for the last three days while I was not teaching my class we have been enjoying the city.  I am getting a big kick out of sharing London and what I know of it with my only daughter.  On the first day we took the tube in the afternoon down to London and then walked in the light rain along the Thames in the Southwark to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.  This is a site that I have not taken time to see before and we explored the exhibition and also took the tour.  The tour guide sat us down in the seats opposite the stage and told us of the history of the place, its burning and re-build in modern times, and what theater was like back when it was the only means of entertainment besides pubs and brothels.
     There are fascinating differences between the theater experience in Elizabethan times and today. For two pence you could sit in the gallery seats, or you could stand along the apron of the stage for one penny.
Did you know that because theater was under open roof for the light, the actors could see all the audience and the audience knew it, so they would heckle and shout things during the performance? No dimming the house lights, no polite quiet to listen as we do today. In fact, there are seats for those who could afford a whopping 6 pence above the stage because they could hear the play better. Almost like radio theater back then, the dialogue was most important, scenery, props, and costumes very secondary. The Globe is a working theater today (rain or shine) with two shows daily in afternoon and then they do have lights installed for evening performances. We learned all kinds of interesting facts like these. I am glad we went.
     Yesterday we got a good start on our full free day with a hardy breakfast and then again took the tube down into London again but this time to the areas
where all the major tourist spots are, the places we've all seen in postcards and television associated with London (and will be seeing a lot with the televised Games), like Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, the London Eye and Buckingham Palace.  Laura's focus was Westminster Abbey and so we entered and used the audio guide narration to explore all around inside (see photos taken before we were told no photography!).  We saw the burial places of Elizabeth I, and Mary Queen of Scots, also Edward the Confessor, Henry III and his son Edward I (of Braveheart fame). Also buried in the Abbey are many of the great writers like Lord Byron and Longfellow and Tennyson and memorials to many others.  Being an author herself, Laura especially liked the author memorials and the statue of Shakespeare directly opposite that of Hayden and the composers on the other side.  We stood right where the processional happened for the royal wedding last year, and ages of coronations, touring the Abbey for over two hours before growing tired of the walking and standing.
     I told Laura of a pub I knew where her grandpa and I had eaten last summer, so we went to The Albert for a bite and a beer.  We were going to take a Thames cruise, but the dark and cloudy skies that had gathered just didn't seem to make it pleasant (although it was much warmer yesterday, up to 80 F), so we did some window shopping and then walked along Birdcage Walk to Buckingham Palace. 
I showed her where to stand if she comes back to see the changing of the guard and then we walked back through St. James Park.  Much of it was closed off in prep for Olympics as was The Mall.  I don't think any of the game venues are in that beautiful park and suspect they are setting up large televisions and spaces so the public can see the games as they happen.
     Today we both had respective duties that filled our day hours.  Laura needed to begin preparing for her residency program in Paris that starts tomorrow and I used the morning for class prep and then had my class in the afternoon.  We enjoyed a nice dinner and then returned to our rooms for our final evening together.  While I wish we had gone to more places or had enjoyed better weather for touring London, Laura was very pleased with her time spent and of course that is all that matters.  Tomorrow after seeing Laura off back to Paris,
I journey back to Newcastle Upon Tyne for a few more days of family history research. --TW

Update - 22 July
     Since the last update I returned to Newcastle Upon Tyne, this time by train and in better weather than when I visited during the Road Trip in June by car.  Summer has finally arrived in England with clear skies for several days.  The people seem to be cheering up too and very excited about the Olympic Games starting in the coming week, even up in Newcastle some 270 miles north of London.  I enjoy that city so much, it is easy to get around, the people are very friendly once you get past the hard exterior of non-emotional faces walking around the streets or standing outside of pubs.  Seagulls were flying off the Tyne mouth and the young people of the city like to have their fun.  It is rather noisy on the streets late on a Friday or Saturday.
     I took to stopping each morning at the large day-market in the city and purchasing a few sausage rolls to eat and walk on my way to the city library where I camped out to do my family history research, my purpose for returning here so often.  It is becoming automatic, like a home-away-from home.  But even though we speak the same language, there can be difficulties.  I stood in the que for one variety of what they call in England "pasties," which are pastries filled with minced meat, or sausage or beef.  They are meat pies and a cultural thing.  Anyway, the slang is "pasty" and it will say so on the signs.  So, when it came time for me to order, I asked if they had pasties, pronouncing it the same as you would pastry without the "r" with the "a" as in "eight."  The woman at the counter looked at me and asked, "what's that?"  I said again, "you know, pasties," and the fellow behind me in the que picked up on my accent and gently said to the young woman, "He means pasty," pronouncing the "a" as in "at."  Her eyes lit up, "Oh, pasty, yes."  So, even if I try to mimic the British accent, I get it wrong sometimes--no big deal.  And up in Newcastle getting close to Scotland, the accent is more Scottish too.
     My family history research went fairly well, but it is slow going and painstaking.  For blog readers who don't know (and I won't go into the entire story), I am searching for the origins of my 3-great grandfather, John Wilson, who was a master mariner (captain) in the first decades of the 19th century.  He married the Welsh girl Elizabeth Williams in Holyhead, hence the reason I visit there too.  We have good reasons to believe the Wilsons came from the northeast, the Tyne side area, as they call it, and the British keep really good records but it takes a lot of searching.  The reason I like the Newcastle city library rather than county archives is because they have managed to pull together and provide bound copies of most of the parishes in the area, some going back to the 1550s, and also books of record lists from most of the counties and shires of Great Britain in general.  The work is all like a big puzzle.
     This time I was able to eliminate some possible John Wilsons in the right time frame by building a record of the parents and then from that knowledge, the siblings.  Then I checked the burials in the 10 or so years after their births.  So many children and infants died back then, of small pox, whooping cough, scarlet fever, etc.  And many adults died of consumption, of course.  On my second day at the library I could not eliminate a few other John Wilsons as possibles, so left that for now and turned my attention to working the puzzle in other ways, finding a possible aunt (or what her name should be)
and also checking the trade and address directories of the cities here, 1827, 1834, 1842, etc.  I just got into those directories when the library started closing and my time was up for this round.  Returned to London, 3 hour ride, that evening.
     Today I went with a professor friend here in the London program to a gigantic outdoor shopping market, Camden Market, and by gigantic I can't even describe it to you.  It was an absolutely glorious clear summer day, high about 80, and the market is actually not too far from our residence here with the students.  It is a well known street lined with shops of all kinds of things, mostly souvenirs, but if you get into the open-air markets (there are
several clusters in same area), one that had been the old Horse Stables for commerce in the mid 19th century, then you find hundreds, no exaggeration, perhaps thousands, of store fronts and stalls, selling everything you can think of.  Truly, if you think of a thing, it can be found and purchased in this enormous marketplace.  And hundreds of places to eat as well, small but all varieties of food.  See the pictures which still do not convey the enormity--we looked and shopped for 5 hours before I had to call it quits.
     While there we took a break and got an ice cream at a place called Chin Chin Labs, like most of these a small hole in the wall but popular.  People standing in the que to see them make the ice cream before your eyes, using nitrous gas to freeze the cream right in the mixing bowl (see photo).  My friend got all of her Christmas shopping done, but it did get very crowded as the day wore on.  If you ever come to London for an
extended stay, you have to go to the Camden Market on Chalk Farm Road.  I seriously could not believe how endless it was. --TW

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Update - 24 July
      Yesterday was a class session day in the morning and then today was class excursion day.  In class the students had to take a vocabulary test on various philosophical terms and then after a few brief remarks on Freud, we walked 30 minutes through the Hampstead area neighborhood to the Sigmund Freud House and Museum, to where he fled from Nazi Germany and lived the last year of his life in great celebrity.  Some of my students are studying psychology, but not all, and so many were hesitant to answer questions the tour guide asked on Freudian theory and several gathered earlier than they had to for the walk back.  Of course, I think it is all fascinating, the history and the famous couch, his library and collection of antiquities.  There were two students who stayed longer and then walked back to the residence with me after the rest had gone.  The class break-up, however, nullified my chance to get photos of all of us there, but what can you do?  On this web site's home page is a photo of the Prof in front of the Freud Museum two years ago.  To the right is a shot of the class walking to the place.
     Since I had the afternoon free and could see that I have more rail pass days remaining than days to spend them, I decided to burn one with an evening trip down to the southern coast of England, directly south
of London, to Brighton Beach.  (Sorry, I traveled light for the quick trip without bag, no camera space in pockets.)  The train was only an hour and an easy straight walk down to the English Channel front beach.  I had a sirloin steak dinner, salad and chips, and then watched the sun start to set down the coast with sun-burned bathers packing up.  I then walked back up the street and onto the next train back to London.  Check off another location sampled by the Prof.  The beach was really nice, like beaches at home surely, a pier and a carousel with boardwalk shops and restaurants.  The the British people clearly had enjoyed a long day of sun after such a rainy summer until now, and you could tell Brighton was buzzing with anticipation for the evening life.
     Today we had our field trip day to Cambridge and, as you can see from the pictures, the students and I enjoyed a unique activity that I planned months ago--punting. The Cam river, named by the
Normans who re-built the Roman bridge over it, goes along "The Backs" of several of the colleges of the University: King's College and its famous chapel, Claire College, Trinity College, and St. John's.  From the name of the bridge over the river comes the city's name.  One interesting fact is the establishment of Trinity College by Henry VIII with the wealth he had plundered from the Catholic Church in England.  It remains by far the most wealthy of the colleges and boasts over 30 Nobel prize winners--not from Cambridge but from Trinity alone with many more from Cambridge generally.  One can think of Cambridge as Britain's science university in rough comparison to Oxford which is older and more about the Humanities.
     After the punting with factual tour of the colleges by the driver, we immediately had another walking tour arranged and learned of several points of the city and other colleges.  We stopped at Queens' College, founded by two queens, hence the apostrophe after "s" and about St. Catherine's college and her wheel.  We then stopped at the Eagle pub where Watson and Crick (of the DNA double helix) hung out and suddenly one day ran from the Cavendish lab around the corner into the pub exclaiming in excitement, "We've discovered the answer to life!"  No one knew what they were talking about, but today they have a special beer on tap called "Eagle DNA" and the plaque on the outer wall facing the street.
Note the writing on the ceiling at the Eagle pub.  Apparently this was also a favorite spot of American flyers in World War II.  These preserved burned-in markings were made by the American forces during WWII (including the Memphis Bell crew) where they used their cigarette lighters to burn on the wood ceiling their names, air units, and other messages.  A great memorial to the American involvement in WWII which they still preserve.
     Most of the students returned with the group in the afternoon while four of them stayed to collect information on Cambridge philosophers and researchers who influenced our concept of the human mind.  I think the students really enjoyed the day and many got sun burned, even after warning.  Lots of history and learning today; lots of hot sun and walking.  Now we are having the summer we all anticipated! --TW

     TRAVEL CALENDAR         Go to Next Update - Spain

            (continue below London Class and Olympics)
Update - 1 Aug
     Returned from Spain in good order, not transfer issues and like all places I visit it is on reflection that I realize how much I enjoyed it.  The next day was a class day and we were having a lovely morning before class so I decided to surprise the students by taking them to Regents Park for class discussion.  Took us a good 40 minutes to
walk and take the bus down to the park, then find our way in to the large green and beautiful place and we discovered a clearing with picnic tables and seats of sort and set up class there.  See the pictures of the students walking to class along Prince Albert Street.  We wrapped up early enough to get back for lunch and the afternoon class some have and I collected their daily journal to check on who is keeping it.
     The next day was a free day for me and I was greeting by cloudy skies and drizzles, so instead of a planned excursion of my own that would be best enjoyed in nice weather, I decided to spend the day in Newcastle again.  This requires six hours on the train for the return trip, so I took a book and my family history notes for the ride.  In Newcastle, I passed the monument square on my way to the city library again, and they've set up a large screen television for the public to view the Olympic games, as you can see.  It was a glorious day in the northeast (see picture of the Norman castle in the middle of the city, c1080--compare with shot I took in June, Road Trip tab above) and I was able to make good headway on my research.  When I emerged
from the library, the clouds had rolled over Northumberland and so I caught the train back to London arriving fairly late.  On the way we were joined by several Canadians who had spent the day cheering their Olympic team in football and we all joked around on the train.  With the rail pass given me for teaching the class, this day of travel and research costs me only 3 pounds and 96 pence, or about $6 US.  The picture to the right shows the interior of the 6-floor city library; parish archives on the top floor.
     Today was another class day, but after about 30 minutes of remarks we enjoyed a planned trip and tour to Buckingham Palace here in London.  With the Olympic Games on our passage to the Palace was surprisingly easy; Green Park was crowded but we were able to move on to join the que for our pre-booked tour.  This I planned as the class finale and I believe all the students enjoyed it immensely.  What a remarkable place, opulent and grand, lawn and gardens in the back where we emerge after touring.  The experience is nearly more than one can take with all the gold hilt, statuary, and master artwork.  This is not Her Majesty's personal property but the National trust.  Splendid!  Some of us enjoyed tea and scones on the back side of the palace before hitting the Royal Collection shop (all charity) and then returning to the residence.  The students have now hit the books for their final
exams coming the day after tomorrow.  There was no photography allowed inside the Palace, so nothing to post here so I end this update.--TW

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Update - 3 August
       After the big class finale at Buckingham Palace, the remainder of the course is rather anticlimactic because we still had a final excursion day with activity and then final exams today, which students never enjoy.  A necessary evil, but now that it is finished and I am busy grading the students are out celebrating their completion of the classes and final weekend in London.  It is also the final weekend of this 10 week tour that started back on 28 May when I arrived in Holyhead, Wales.
     Our excursion yesterday was to the city of Chichester on the southern coast.  When I did this class two
years ago, we found the city historical museum closed on a Tuesday and so I purposefully planned this year's trip for a Thursday; however, we discovered that the museum had closed and a brand new one had opened just three weeks ago.  A wonderful facility, but I could not bring myself to ask the students to pay an additional 7 British pounds for admission when we had not planned for it.  So, I turned the students loose to find whatever they could on our historical person born in Chichester while I went to the new museum (see pictures) and discovered a wonderful space and great stuff to plan for the next time I teach this class in London and Great Britain.  We gathered to each lunch at a pub and you can see the students watching the Olympic games while we ate.
     This new facility is built over a Roman bath that has been found under the city of Chichester, many years ago, and they have put forth an effort to make it modern and interactive.  While my class's interest is in the late 19th century, we did have planned an additional trip one and a half miles away to the town of Fishbourne where they discovered in 1960 a gigantic Roman Palace under the fields.  Over 9 years of excavation has revealed an opulent palace from the 1st century and, because of the few written historical records of the period, this site has produced more questions than answers.  See the picture to the right of the students gathered around the model of the palace in the center of the museum where they received a "model talk" from one of the experts.  We went over to Fishbourne after completing our visit to Chichester and then spent about two hours exploring the many tiled floors,
human remains, Roman glass, and other artifacts of this amazing place.  While the Roman times have nothing to do with my class topics, this is an added feature the students receive for being here and certainly there is nothing like it back home!  We then had this group picture taken before leaving the Roman Palace--The Prof's 2012 London Class Picture.
     Today was the final exam and also individual presentations by the students.  The smiles on those faces were not so happy for taking an example the nest day, but they all did very well; I am very proud of this group, their respect for one another and willingness to work together.  And I must admit, the final presentations were very good and represent many hours of learning and discovery of course topics by these young people.  They are rather challenged to put course concepts into words on written exercises; however, giving talks with beautiful graphics and good information seems to give them different way to show me their learning.  Unfortunately, we ran over time and then I had to get down to London for a planned rendezvous with Laura,
my daughter, who has returned to London.  The grading will have to wait until tomorrow, but I'm sure the students are feeling the relief! --TW

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       Summer night on the Thames, from Millennium Bridge
       walking from Southwark into London after sun set.

was the grading on the train, justifying such a trip with perhaps other places to go at not so great a distance. Thus, I returned to Newcastle City Library a fourth time for 2012 and discovered two more promising leads on John Wilsons born in the area between 1790 and 1806.  It has become comfortable researching the archives there and the city is easy to pass through, at least where I know it best.  My path always takes me through the Newcastle Monument Square where they set up the big screen.  (The monument is to Earl Grey, by the way.)  There was a large crowd around the television this time and when I approached one could see it was a rowing event and just nearing the end.  When the athletes from Team GB cross the line first for the gold, all these strangers in unison shouted "yeah!" and some clapped.
     Now, Laura and I had also planned dinner with a rendezvous at the Tate Modern art museum and it seemed to work well.  I took these shots of St. Paul's Cathedral across the Thames and Laura (right) with her friend Anna.  We three enjoyed dinner on the sixth floor of the museum looking out this direction across the Thames.  We then took a walk over the "wobbly bridge" and found a French cafe near the corner for after-dinner coffees.  The name "wobbly" comes from the opening of the foot-bridge for the millennium celebration when for three days people walked it and the bridge was unstable.  So, the city planners closed it for months before it was truly ready for walking but by then the people had given it the wobbly name. Our dinner and evening turned out to be the last visit between the Prof and his daughter for the summer.

     Yesterday was the final full day of the Prof's summer travels and while I wanted to use one of the remaining days on my rail pass, it seemed better to stay in London and start packing.  Students were sorry to see their time in London come to an end but many were also glad to be returning home after a month.  I suppose I'm getting used to being away for so long--this year's adventure was a full 72 days!  From Wales to London to Finland, France and Barcelona and everywhere else I went, this has been a incredible summer. 
Now I am heading home to the United States and another summer awaits for travel in the coming year.  Time to start planning for it! --TW

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Arrival - Update 7 July
      Yesterday morning I joined the program directors and student assistants in welcoming the dozen teachers and over 160 students to the London Summer 2012 program.  They arrived in six large coaches from two London airports through the late morning, checked in and then after lunch we performed walking tours of the Hampstead area where we are living and will hold class sessions.  With my loud voice, it seemed I was appointed to vocal direction of the weary travelers as they got off the buses and took up their luggage.  In the evening we then enjoyed a wonderful reception for meeting one another as
we attempted to keep all these young people awake until late to beat the jet-lag.
     Today's major events included morning coach tours of greater London, getting groceries and web connection.  The picture to the left is only a small portion of the scores of students who boarded three coaches for the three-hour London tours.  While the remainder of the day was free time for the students, the faculty and directors met in the afternoon for essential preparations on safety, classes and coordination.  The students I have met so far seem not only obviously excited but also attentive and mature about the experience to come.  Tomorrow will be the students' first day to have free to choose from among several trip with teachers to various locations as our final series of orienting events prior to classes starting on Monday.  I plan to coordinate some trip planning with my specific 17 students. --TW

Update - 10 July
     We began the summer class yesterday and getting into the topic has been great fun with the students.  Of course, after one class we are already behind in the material with so many other announcements, class-time activities, and getting to know each other to do.  We divided the 17 students into 5 teams for mutual responsibility purposes and excursion activities and I believe this will be extremely helpful.  The weather continues to be spotty with occasional sun but mostly clouds and misty rain.  The students seem to take it all in stride and they are a good group, attentive, and willing to go along with my plans.
     Then today we took our first day-trip excursion, the one to Oxford (back to Oxford for me) where we took the special tour of the Bodleian Library (back to the library for me) and then entrance to the Museum of History of Science after which the teams competed in a "familiarity hunt" of the city centre of Oxford.  The hunt was planned back when I was in residence here last week and so that they would get out and about the city.  There was time for shopping and exploring as well.  I think they had a nice tome in Oxford, the rains stayed away until just when we were leaving and it actually got sunny and warm for the large part of the afternoon during "the hunt."  While it was a competition so that they would be motivated, all five teams went to the locations I wanted them to visit, even if some of their answers were a bit off, and so I gave a prize to all of them, like Alice in Wonderland and the race in which everyone got a ribbon!




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  On the railway to Newcastle, in Yorkshire

       Below:  Monument Square, Newcastle

     City Library is on left, modern glass:

     Another street view, Newcastle:

             Back in London, Entrance to
      Horse Stable Market (only one of many)


           Class Trip to Cambridge (below)


    Scroll to bottom of page for larger "official"
           photo of the Prof's great class!
Update - 6 Aug, Final days
     When the students had finished their exams and presentations, the final weekend was a cause for celebration while I tried to make my peace with the fact there remained four free rail day passes remaining in less days in the UK.  Met up with my daughter Laura and her friend Anna, now in London, and we had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe before I showed them the Camden market.  Then we spent the evening in the pubs in the Southwark.
     On Saturday I found a window of an entire day without obligation and so once more I journeyed by train to Newcastle Upon Tyne, that busy old shipping city situated between the moors of Northumberland and the coal mines of County Durham and Yorkshire moors beyond to the south. It was three hours up and 3 there, three back to London, and the plan I executed

The OFFICIAL Class Picture!  London Summer 2012: "Our Concept of Mind and How British Psychology Shaped It" class.  Front row from left: Jenny Davis, Anna Rydeen, Courtney Hull, Kelsey Chase, Madelaine Ruggles, Michelle Henrich, and Charlotte Richardson.  Second row: Brittany Davis, Malorie Howard, Julia Jenkins, then to right Kirstie Wilder and Arieal Foley in shades.  Back Row: Dylan Molenaar, The Prof, Brittany Estridge, Jayne Bauer (in hat), Michael Grant, and Ashley Haack.


   London 2012 Students: Travelers Going Home