Saturday, February 25, 2012

Jose Rizal At 150 Heritage Trail: The British Museum In London, England! !

by: Mhe-anne L. Ojeda

In my post Retracing Rizal's Travel In New York and East Coast I hinted you of my trip to United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK, for short) for family visit and possibly to retrace the steps of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.  Back then my idea of Dr.Rizal's stay in Great Britain was limited to what I read on Wiki Pilipinas.
"On May 16, 1888 the ship, City of Rome sailed (from New York) for Liverpool and where he decided to stay in London until March 1899. Rizal chose to stay in London so that he could improve his English skills, study and do an annotation of Antonio Morga's Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas and because he believed that the said English city was a safe place for him to carry on the reforms he wanted for the Philippines. He stayed at Dr. Antonio Ma. Regidor's home and boarded at the Beckett family (in Chalcot, Camden). Xxx. During his stay in this country, Rizal also made used of his time in writing essays and articles for the La SolidaridadAfter ten monthsRizal left London and departed for Paris."
Beckett Family,  37 Chalcot Crescent in Camden [London]

In the same fashion as our national hero, I left New York on January 28, 2012 aboard British-owned Virgin Atlantic Airwaysand arrived in Heathrow Airport in London the next morning (with time difference). My previous plan of staying in England for at least two (2) weeks was cut short to only five (5) days (due to an extended stay in the United States to receive in Utah the 2012 Franklin S. Richards Pro Bono/Community Service Award for the Philippines Chapter of the J.Reuben Clark Law Society which I chair). 

Despite the short stay, I promised myself not to "miss" visiting The British Museum where Dr. Rizal said has spent most of his time studying and doing his annotation of the book of  MORGA (engraved in First Rizal Monument in Daet)!  

The British Museum is  a neoclassical building founded in 1753 and located in Great Russel Street in London. It is a national collection of archaeology, prints, drawings, coins, medals and ethnography and widely considered as the world's biggest and the greatest museum of its kind! 

The British Museum's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court is an impressive glass -roofed atrium with exhibition spaces, lecture theaters, shops and cafe. With its  two-acre space it is the largest covered public square in Europe. 

Proudly standing in the middle of the Great Court is the world - famous British Museum Reading Room which serves as exhibition space  with a touch - screens providing information about the vast Museum collections.

According to Wikipediathis famous circular British Museum Reading Room was occupied by the British Library from the mid-19th century until it was legally separated in 1973 and finally moved to its current site at St. Pancras, London in 1997.  But before then, the British Museum was considered unique in that it housed in the same building both a national museum of antiquities and a national library

So back to Dr. Jose Rizal and the British Museum, I found Rizal In London in CHED's website very informative. I took note that Dr. Rizal was admitted to the British Museum Reading Room on August 16, 1888. Since then Dr. Rizal got busy with Morga and thought of copying the whole book and annotating it for publication as his gift to the Filipinos. He also wanted to publish Blumentritt's "Tribes of Mindanao" and the new documents he found while in British Museum Reading Room for two weeks.

While I was not able to do any research at the British Museum like Dr. Jose Rizal, I did enjoy visiting several galleries and exhibits on display at the British Museum Reading Room and in other areas shown in this floor plan.

Gallery 1     -Enlightenment 
Gallery 2     -The Changing Museum
Gallery 3     -Special Exhibition Reading Room 
Gallery 4     -Ancient Egypt 
Gallery 6    -Assyrian sculpture 
Gallery 7-8 -Assyria- Nimrud
Gallery 9    -Assyria - Nineveh
Gallery 10 --Assyria - Lion Hunts and Seige

Gallery 11-23 - Ancient Greece and Rome
Gallery 24     - Living and Dying 
Gallery 26     - North America 
Gallery 27     - Mexico 
Gallery 33/33b- China,South Asia and South East Asia
Gallery 34 -Islamic World 
Gallery 67 - Korea
Gallery 95 - Chinese Ceramics

The British Museum is open daily from 10am till 5:30pm (8:30pm on Fridays) and admission is free! I am really thrilled that my CS friend and host in London Catherine Iblan accompanied me there last February 2, 2012!  

Yay! Another step of our national hero retraced. Let's jump to that!!


  1. im palpitating while reading this... arrggggh! i can picture out rizal doing the annotations for antonio de morga ... were u able to check out the Beckett house where Rizal stayed while in UK?

  2. hey Ron! I didn't have time to go to Camden where the Beckett's house is located. Flight ko na kasi that afternoon when I toured London with Catherine Iblan. I was in London only for a Full Day (afternoon of Jan. 29 when I arrived) and (morning of Feb. 2) before heading to the airport! Pagbalik ko gusto kong puntahan yung house kasi may Plaque that says "Dr. Jose Rizal. 1861-1896, Writer, and National Hero of the Philippines lived here."

  3. Hindi ko napuntahan yung place where he stayed dati because of laziness LOL. Glad you had a great time sa London :D

  4. hello Mica! thanks. nag enjoy ako sa London kahit super limited time.thankful kay Cath for hosting me and for bringing me around! oo nga sayang,maganda sana kung napuntahan natin yung Beckett's place! Buti pa si Cath may chance pa pumunta dun!!!

  5. Rizal is really my inspiration in traveling. A few people know that he has traveled extensively :)

    AUs to te Mhe-Anne!

  6. waaaaaaaaaah! how i wish i could visit there..i love to see where Dr. Rizal has spent quite some time of his..

  7. How refreshing to read about a Rizal trail in the UK! This is a nice perspective of our national hero that is not as discussed in school as the other aspects of his life.

  8. I think it's cool that people can retrace the steps of our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal at The British Museum in London.

  9. wow! i wish i could also go in london even for a limited time. =)

  10. wow! The Philippine National Hero went here? galing naman! How I wish I could visit this place as well. :P

  11. Hindi man ako makapunta sa London.. pero great pa rin kc Jose Rizal is our national hero.. hehhe.. proud!

  12. Wow! I cant believe Doc Jose Rizal visited this museum! I think this is the only museum I missed to visit because we dont have much time to tour London Town that time! I will go there in my dreams tonite! Yay! :)

  13. dami sigurong chicks ni Rizal diyan nung panahon niya hehehe

  14. wow, retracing the steps of Rizal, That's quite a mean feat you pulled there. Ang galing, I enjoyed looking at your photos and reading this post.:)

  15. kahit saan talaga sikat ang pambansang bayani natin. kakainggit naman ang british museum... kelan kaya ako dyan... haha. Yahweh bless.

  16. I love the concept that you have. I'm sure you'll achieve this. Galing!

  17. okay yung concept mo for traveling ah.

  18. I am planning to visit all cultural heritage in England. Since I am living here. And England has most numbers of cultural heritage under UNESCO. Thanks for sharing your wonderful and educational trip.

  19. Edmar and AJ thanks for the comments. I was so glad I decided to get a Lakbay @ 150 Jose Rizal Passport coz I learned that our national hero is well traveled and I was thrilled that some of the places he had been, I had been also and looking forward to going to others I had not been yet!

  20. Thanks for sharing your experience at the British Museum in London. I didn't know Rizal also went to London until now :D

  21. I wish to visit also the British Museum's Queen Elizabeth II Great Court. I am specifically impressed with the glass-roofed atrium with exhibition spaces, lecture theaters, shops and cafe. Which you described as the largest covered public square in Europe.

    Please swing by my page too!

  22. If only we have beautiful museums and galleries :(


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