Sunday, January 17, 2021

Question from Daniel - Tudor Hampton Court and Tower of London vs today

How much of Hampton court or the tower of London would Henry VIII recognize if he was alive today!? As London in general I think he would be sickened to be honest, I personally think these modern glass and steel dystopian buildings that overlook these beautiful historic buildings is an absolute crying shame!!


Anonymous said...

I do not believe the Tower to have changed much since the sixteenth century. Other than the fact it is no longer a zoo, the building is pretty much the same. Of course, the gazillions of tourists and the museum-like interiors would be a shock.

Hampton Court would be a bit more tricky considering the extensive works done by William III and Mary II. To make it simple, when tourists come to visit it today, the front is XVIth century and the back is 17th century. Henry VIII would almost feel at home whilst arriving to the palace. Same old red bricks, courtyard, etc. But the back of the palace and the gardens are inspired by the palace of Versailles. Photos can be easily found online. The inside of the palace is very different too, although the kitchens and the great hall have not been massively touched.

As for what London looks like today, I do agree it would look terrible for Henry VIII but for us, I quite like the charm of past & present blended together. I love discovering small historic buildings hidden in the City, I love that one can observe the Shard whilst visiting the Tower, etc. It's only my opinion, of course! :)

PhD Historian said...

With all due respect to Anonymous, the Tower of today is quite different from the Tower of the time of Henry VIII. Most of the Royal Apartments and Gardens formerly situated to the south of the White Tower are gone. The large Waterloo Block was added in the 19th century along the northern inner wall. Similarly, the Headquarters of the Fusiliers, the Hospital, the New Armouries, and the Workshop were added along the eastern inner wall in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Obviously most of the extensive paved walkways were added long after the sixteenth century, especially the one around the Chapel. That particular space was formerly a graveyard. Likewise, the Tower Wharf that runs the length of the southern perimeter did not exist in the 16th century, and the River Thames was considerably closer to the exterior curtain wall. And much of the fabric of the ancient towers and walls has been restored, rebuilt, or modified over the past 500 years. So while Henry VIII would certainly recognize the overall silhouette of the modern Tower of London, a large portion of the structures would not be at all familiar to him.

Anonymous said...

To PhD: thank you so much for all these informations, it is very interesting!

Unknown said...

It's quite sad to be honest. But thanks for your input PhD!