Joseph Conrad’s Master’s Certificate, National Maritime Museum, London. From the PortCities website.
At the end of each term we have a session with talks that last only five or ten minutes, which includes short presentations, readings from books, poems, and on this occasion a London-themed general knowledge quiz put together by the Port of London Study Group’s Secretary, Fran. The quiz was great fun, with some of us demonstrating rather less knowledge than others! How many bridges are there, for example, along the Tidal Thames? Roy gave us a talk about the typical fates of sailing ships between 1857 and 1955 (most of them never survived to be broken up), Ian gave us a talk about the history and art connected with Wapping Old Stairs, Barry talked about the Greenwich Ferry Company Ltd (1886-1899) and Andie talked about the breaking of the HMS Temeraire, captured in Turner’s “The Fighting Temeraire.” Fran read the vibrant “Cargoes” by John Masefield, Tony read a section of “The Wasteland” by T.S. Elliot, Edna read excerpts from “I Never Knew That About The River Thames” by Christopher Winn, whilst Sheila introduced us to Joseph Conrad and some of his lesser known works about the London docks (definitely something to look up). It was an excellent note on which to end the term before we reconvene for educational and entertaining day trips in the summer term.
Quinquireme of Nineveh from distant Ophir,
Rowing home to haven in sunny Palestine,
With a cargo of ivory,
And apes and peacocks,
Sandalwood, cedarwood, and sweet white wine.
Stately Spanish galleon coming from the Isthmus,
Dipping through the Tropics by the palm-green shores,
With a cargo of diamonds,
Topazes, and cinnamon, and gold moidores.
Dirty British coaster with a salt-caked smoke stack,
Butting through the Channel in the mad March days,
With a cargo of Tyne coal,
Firewood, iron-ware, and cheap tin trays.