On the sunny 2nd January 2017… what else but a trip to the Tower? Could have spent the whole day there – too much to see. I must only have seen 20% of what’s there for visitors, and had no time for just mooching around watching and looking. Tickets seem expensive at £25 but actually it’s fantastic value. From the 11th century well in the basement to Henry VIII’s armour , it’s an astonishing slug of over 1,000 years of English history, all in one place.
I last went to the Tower as a child – my father’s firm supplied slaked lime to the Tower in the early 1960s for the repair of the stone walls, so we were given free entry – quite some privilege! I hadn’t been back for 50 years, but it was worth the wait.
And the reason for the visit? I wanted to do some vital research for my new book, Dragons over London, which will be set in London (the clue’s in the title), and mostly at the Tower, where my hero, the Chinese dragon Xiaolong, has been living since he arrived in 1086. The Tower has changed a bit in nearly 1,000 years of turbulent history, but not that much. Built by William the Conqueror, it was at the heart of London’s history for over 600 years as the most important royal palace and the greatest building in London.
It’s very easy to imagine a dragon lying on the roof and taking off from that parapet to glide through the London sky…