In the Crypt: A London Adventure

We’ve been in London for a couple of days. It’s incredible how much there is to do in this city. Even if you stuck with all of the standard tourist fare, you would be hard pressed to do everything on your list within 10 days. If you’re like us and you’re trying to get off the beaten path, you’re facing quite a challenge. However, it’s one we’re ready to take on!

For classical music lovers, St. Martin in the Fields in Trafalgar Square is a must. Of all the times we’ve been here, we’ve never ventured down into the Crypt. However, after a long day of wandering the streets of London, we were ready for a break and the Crypt Cafe seemed like the perfect reprieve. The Cafe itself is much larger than I expected and sitting down in the brick cavern was an interesting experience, especially with the marker stones on the ground memorializing those who are now long gone. It’s a wonderful place that exudes its own special type of history.

In addition to the Cafe, there is quite a bit of space for people to wander around, to sit and relax, to sightsee, and to purchase trinkets in the gift shop. While there, Tom and I did a little investigating of our own.

Here’s a picture of the inside of the Crypt area, which is just beyond the Cafe. Look at the sloping pilars and brickwork. The entire Cafe as well as the rest of the space looks like this. Even though there are quite a few people down here, there is a stillness to the experience that you can only get below ground, surrounded by brick, stone and earth.

At the end of this section of the Crypt is a longish L-shaped hallway with memorial plaques and figures, which are amazing. A hidden gem that most people probably don’t discover when visiting the Cafe. We were down here for a good twenty minutes reading each plaque and only saw one other person.

The carved stones are absolutely gorgeous. About halfway down the corridor is this charming gentleman.

We then moved onto the shop where we purchased a few things to take home, and we did a brass rubbing of Mr. William Shakespeare. What a great memento of our trip. Plus, it was a blast to work on this together. It’ll be something that we can hang on our wall and remember our visit to the Crypt Cafe.

Once you pick out the figure, bring it to the desk and they’ll set you up with black paper and directions. Here’s the long and short of it.

First, you tape your black paper to the brass plaque, lightly pressing down around the edges so that you know where the image ends. Then take your color stick and very lightly go over the image so that you can see the faint shape of the figure.

Once you can see the faint shape of the image, then you go over it with a bit more gusto. Press hard with your color stick, rubbing in one direction only. Pick a direction and stick with it. Don’t go in circles, back and forth, or multi-directional. For some reason, the detail is much clearer when rubbing in one direction.

See your rubbing take shape right before your eyes! Keep working. The more elbow grease you use, the better it will look. Here’s Tom working on some of the finer details.

Pretty soon you will end up with an awesome looking brass rubbing to take home. They have dozens of interesting historical characters and images to choose from. And here is the big “reveal” of our brass rubbing.

Voila! Shakespeare in the rub.

And that is your literary art moment for the day from Crypt Keeper Underwood.

About Erin Underwood

BIO: Erin Underwood is the senior event content producer for MIT Technology Review’s emerging technology events. On the side, she reads, writes, and edits SF.
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3 Responses to In the Crypt: A London Adventure

  1. Oooh, Lorraine would SO love that crypt café. Enjoy London.

  2. Ooh, fun! I’ve never made it to the crypts either time I’ve been in London, but totally want to go now. Looks like you guys had a good time!


  3. Sidney says:

    Great bblog I enjoyed reading

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