An extraordinary birds-eye view of Spitfires and Hurricanes roaring across London was the highlight of Year 8’s Activity Week. Pupils saw the aircraft fly underneath them from the 69th Floor of the Shard office building. The planes were on their way to Buckingham Palace where the Queen and the Royal family were celebrating the 75th anniversary of the start of the Battle of Britain. And the group went higher still – to the Shard’s 72nd floor which, open to the elements, is 800 foot high and planted with agapanthus and stocks. The view from here stretches 30 miles with prime sights being Tower Bridge, St Paul’s, The Oval cricket ground, Canary Wharf and the North Downs. After an interactive dance experience at City Hall and a behind the scenes tour of Tower Bridge, the day concluded with some mudlarking on the Thames bank in front of the Tate Modern. Among the discoveries were clay pipes from the 17th Century, Victorian pottery shards and a rather grisly, gnarled tooth.
It was a busy week which started with a city cruise from Tower Hill to Westminster followed by a guided tour of the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and The Mall – with plenty of reference to London‘s rich literary tradition. Midweek, school based activities tested the group’s creativity with a film making workshop. The theme was the Pyramus and Thisbe story followed by a performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in The Great Hall. In an inventive production five actors played all the roles with the aid of clever stage trickery to suspend the audience’s disbelief.