Monday, September 29, 2008

London Junk

I'd long heard about the 1848 visit of a genuine Chinese junk to London. not sure when exactly, probably school and then various books. The junk had actually been sailed from Hong Kong by a largely Chinese crew which was presumably no mean feat. It was moored at Blackfriars Bridge from 1848 attracting crowds of curious visitors including Charles Dickens. Commercially it was apparently a success and made the backers some money with many people repeat visiting. Not sure whatever happened to the junk - presumably it was eventually broken up in London rather than sailed back to China again. Anyway, came across a sketch of it the other day which made me think of it again and Dickens wandering around the junk probably comparing it to the horrendous prison hulks moored a bit further down the Thames.

BTW: if you're in Sydney there's a great little exhibition about the English prison hulks in the UK, West Indies and in Australia which is well worth a visit.


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