Main

United Kingdom Archives

September 27, 2011

The United Kingdom Pavilion - Part Two

Yesterday I presented Part One of my tour of the United Kingdom Pavilion. Today I'll finish the journey.

At the back of the United Kingdom Pavilion you'll find 1800's England and the residential section of town. On Tudor Lane we discover a stately home. Within this structure is the Lords and Ladies shop. This boutique sells fine apparel and fragrances for men and women. Be sure to take a look at the ceiling in this shop. It's exquisite.


Lords and Ladies Shop

Lords and Ladies Shop Interior


On Upper Regency Street we find Late Georgian row houses. These were inspired by the homes of Belgrave and Bedford Squares in London. Row houses originated in Great Britain in the late 17th century. This medium-density housing concept placed identical or mirror-image houses side-by-side with a shared wall between them. The first and last of these units were called an "end terrace" and were often larger than their interior counterparts.


Row Houses


Inside this building is a Kidcot Fun Spot. This is the place for little ones to engage in some age appropriate activities while their parents enjoy the more adult offerings of this pavilion. This is also the place to get your Epcot Passport signed and stamped. Winnie the Pooh can often be found in a back corner of this room.


Kidcot Station

Epcot Passport


Details are everywhere if you take the time to look. Above the Kidcot station is a tribute to Charles Darwin and his "On the Origin of Species."


On the Origin of Species


The row houses face out onto Disney's version of Hyde Park. Anyone familiar with the real Hyde Park knows that this replica has been scaled down considerably. This area is one of the most peaceful in World Showcase. There are a number of park benches throughout the square and this is a wonderful spot to just sit, relax, and soak in the ambiance.


Hyde Park

Hyde Park


The park also includes a gazebo perfect for afternoon performances. Currently, a group called British Revolution performs mini-rock concerts several times each afternoon/evening. Numbers include hits from British groups Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, Sting, The Who, and the Beatles. Check your Times Guide for days and times.


British Revolution


Surrounding the gazebo is a hedge-maze fashioned after the Somerleyton Hall Maze created in 1846. Note, the bushes are about 2½ feet tall so only the youngest of children would find this puzzle challenging. However, it's very common to see adults maneuvering through this classic English maze.


Hedge Maze


The first British pillar post boxes were erected on the island of Jersey, a British Crown Dependency off the coast of France in 1852. This was necessitated due to the irregular sailing times of the Royal Mail packet boats serving the island. Someplace was needed where the inhabitants of Jersey could safely leave their letters for later pickup. The first pillar boxes were made of cast iron, octagonal in shape, and about 1½ meters high. These boxes were an instant success and quickly spread across Great Britain. A typical pillar post box of today is on hand for the residence of Upper Regency Street and Tudor Lane.


British Post Box


During the Middle Ages, many cities were surrounded by a protective wall to keep invaders out and its inhabitants safe. City gates were built into these walls to provide a controlled access to those wishing to enter or leave the city. In addition, the city gate became a hub of public information such as announcements, tax and toll schedules, and standards of local measures. One of the best preserved walls in England can be found in York. The United Kingdom Pavilion's city gate is inspired by this example.


UK Pavilion City Gate

York City Gate


Within the city gate guests can gain access to The Toy Soldier shop. Besides an array of English toys, a large collection of Beatles merchandise is on hand. In addition, Paddington Bears can be found here.

Paddington Bear is a classic character from English children's literature written by Michael Bond and first illustrated by Peggy Fortnum. Paddington is an immigrant from Deepest, Darkest Peru and is perpetually polite to everyone. He always addresses people by "Mr.", "Mrs." and "Miss" and very rarely uses their first names. But despite his respectful demeanor, Paddington always finds his way into predicaments. Paddington books have been translated into thirty languages and the more than seventy titles have sold 30 million copies worldwide.


Paddington Bear

Beatles Merchandise


Next to the City Gate we find the Crown and Crest shop. Notice how the second story overhangs the first floor. In the 1600's, taxes were based on ground-floor square footage. So the resourceful folk of the time built larger upper floors to increase living space without increasing taxes. In addition, this overhang allowed residents to throw wastewater from the upper floors onto the street without soiling their own windows and doors. This cantilever architecture can also be seen in The Queen's Table building across the street. This section of the Crown and Crest sells "pop" British items like mugs, t-shirts, and handbags.


Crown and Crest Shop

The Tea Caddy

Crown and Crest Interior


The Crown and Crest shop spills over into the large stone structure next door. This building was modeled after Sir Walter Scott's Abbotsford Manor. The name Abbotsford came from a spot on the River Tweed where Melrose Abbey abbots forded the stream each day. The castle design is Scots Baronial which is part of the Gothic Revival style of architecture. Be sure to notice the decorative drainage spouts just below the roof.


Crown and Crest Shop

Abbotsford Manor

Downspot


The interior of this castle is equally impressive. A massive fireplace, heavy wood furnishings, a vaulted ceiling, and medieval weaponry combine to create an imposing statement.


Crown and Crest Shop Interior

Crown and Crest Shop Interior

Crown and Crest Shop Interior


The Crown and Crest shop sells one of the most unique items to be found anywhere around World Showcase. Here you can look up your last name via a large book or computer and view your coat of arms.

Historically, coats of arms were first used by knights and feudal lords in the mid-12th century during battle as a way to identify friend from foe. As time progressed, non-military persons began to adopt their own coat of arms. Quite often, those closely associated with knights and lords "borrowed" their design and made it their own. Eventually the clergy, common folk, towns, and cities were sporting their own heraldic insignia. In some areas, the acquisition of a coat of arms was regulated, but most of Europe let their citizens freely choose their armorial bearings.

In addition to finding your coat of arms, a history of your last name is also available at the Crown and Crest. If you like what you see, there are several ways to take your birthright home with you. One of the most popular is to have your coat of arms and name history beautifully framed.


Coat of Arms Framed


The last building I'm going to discuss was modeled after Hampton Court Palace located at Richmond upon Thames, Greater London. This imposing brick structure features Tudor architecture which was the final phase of medieval architecture.


Hampton Court Palace Disney Style

Hampton Court Palace


When visiting here, be sure to check out some of the windows. In the upper left-hand window are the crosses of St. Andrew (the patron saint of Scotland), St. George (the patron saint of England), and St. Patrick (the patron saint of Northern Ireland). If you overlay these three crosses, they create the Union Jack.


UK Saint Crosses

UK Saint Crosses


The coat of arms above the door was inspired by the one representing Hampton Court Palace.


Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms

Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms

Hampton Court Palace Coat of Arms


While you're still outside, be sure to check out the chimneys. It would be difficult to find any more ornate. Also notice that the Imagineers tinted the tops with soot-coloring to make it appear as if they are actually in use.


Chimneys


As you enter the building, take a moment to admire the model of a medieval banquet hall. This delightful vignette features royalty, nobles, musicians, jesters, and a host of service people enjoying a sumptuous feast.


Royal Banquet

Royal Banquet

Royal Banquet


The Sportsman's Shoppe is housed within this Hampton Court inspired building. Inside you'll find British sports related t-shirts, logo-emblazoned equipment, and some drinking paraphernalia. Be sure to take a look at the woodworking and ceiling in this store. It's remarkable.


Sportsman's Shoppe Interior

Sportsman's Shoppe Ceiling


The United Kingdom Pavilion also offers convenient restrooms. It's probably no accident that they're located directly across the street from the pub. Also in this area are a typical English Renaissance garden and a fountain. I was caught in a summer downpour once while using these restrooms. Even though I had a poncho, it was raining hard enough to keep me in place for about 15 minutes. I only ventured out long enough for this picture.


UK Restrooms

UK Fountain

Jack in the Rain

English Renaissance Garden


The first standard telephone booth in the UK was introduced in 1920 and did not look like the classic red kiosk we know today. In 1923, a competition was held for a new design, but the results were disappointing. So the contest organizers invited three respected architects along with designers from the Post Office and The Birmingham Civic Society to submit entries. When the judging was complete in 1924, a design submitted by Giles Gilbert Scott was selected. Although minor changes have occurred over the years, this basic look remains the same today. However, just like in the States, cell phones have greatly decreased their numbers.

The United Kingdom Pavilion boasts three of these classic red phone kiosks. Two near the restrooms and one outside the pub. It's a common sight to see guests cramming as many people as possible into one of these booths. These phone booths also make fantastic photo opportunities.


Phone Booth

Phone Booth


To help set a mood, each World Showcase pavilion plays music appropriate to that nation. When walking through the United Kingdom Pavilion, you'll hear selections from Gilbert and Sullivan, Greensleeves, and other familiar British tunes. You'll also hear the haunting "Stranger on the Shore." Believing this was an American song, I've always wondered what this melody has to do with Great Britain. So I did a little research.

I discovered that "Stranger on the Shore" was written by Acker Bilk, an English clarinetist known for his trademark goatee, bowler hat, striped waistcoat and his distinctive clarinet style. Acker wrote the song for his daughter Jenny and it was later used as the theme song for a BBC TV drama series that was also called "Stranger on the Shore."

The song was released in England as a single in 1961and was an instant success. The song spent a year on the Record Retailer Top 50. It was the United Kingdom's bestselling single of 1962 and the UK's bestselling instrumental single of all time. On May 26, 1962, "Stranger on the Shore" became the first British recording to reach number one in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

No wonder I thought it was an American song. I was only ten when I first heard it and no one told me otherwise. Silly me.


Acker Bilk


That's it for the United Kingdom Pavilion. As always, I have a video that captures what still pictures cannot. Enjoy.




September 25, 2011

The United Kingdom Pavilion - Part One

The United Kingdom Pavilion


When the Imagineers set out to design World Showcase, it wasn't their intent to recreate a particular time and place within a country. But rather design a space that represents the memories one might bring back with them after a visit to that nation. And so it is with the United Kingdom Pavilion. The buildings here offer a stroll through time. Each structure represents a different era in British history, but the facades are so skillfully crafted that the transition from one to another is seamless. As with all of the World Showcase pavilions, the detail here is exquisite. When visiting, spend some time examining the finer points. But before we start with the architecture, let's begin with the United Kingdom Pavilion's town center, Britannia Square.

Town squares can be found in settlements and cities around the world. They are usually located in the center of the community and were used as a gathering spot for the citizens. Typically the ground was packed hard or paved to support merchant's carts, musical concerts, and political rallies. These squares were often surrounded by meat and cheese markets, bakeries, and clothing stores. Usually, some sort of structure marked the center of the square. In earlier centuries, this was often a well. In time, fountains, monuments, and statues replaced the well as the square's centerpiece. When Britannia Square was being designed, a statue was originally proposed to anchor this gathering place. Several kings and queens were considered as well as Lord Nelson, Lord Byron, Robert Burns, and William Shakespeare. But in the end, a sundial was selected as it made no political or social statement. For those of you who never realized this was a sundial, I have included a close-up of its face.


Britannia Square

Sundial

Sundial


The United Kingdom Pavilion doesn't have a ride or a movie like some of the other World Showcase nations. But it has something equally entertaining - a pub. There are many places to imbibe along the promenade, but none beats the Rose & Crown. This is the quintessential spot to whet your whistle.

As with cultures around the world, the people of Great Britain have been brewing and drinking alcohol for centuries. When the Romans arrived at the British Isles, their network of roads gave birth to the Inn. It was here that a traveler could obtain lodging and refreshments. After the Romans, the Anglo-Saxons established alehouses. These were private residences that opened a room of their home for the selling of ale. In time, these homes became meeting places for the locals to discuss politics, gossip, and arrange communal help for their villages. The word "pub" comes from the shortening of "public house." Pubs required a license from the local magistrate which regulated gaming, drunkenness, undesirable conduct, and other directives. Pubs often had frosted or distorted glass to shield customers from the street traffic outside. Pubs were also often owned by breweries, making ale and beer a better value than wine and hard liquor. Many of these traits can be seen at the Rose & Crown.


Bass

Fully Licensed

Distored Glass


The Rose & Crown incorporates four different pub styles prevalent in the United Kingdom into one structure. The establishment's main entrance represents a street pub from the Victorian era of the 1890's. This architecture features brick and wood paneling.


Victorian Pub


Country or "provincial" pubs of the 17th and 18th century featured slate roofs and plaster exterior walls with stone-quoined corners.


Country or


The Dickensian-style pub includes half-timbered walls, a flagstone terrace, and slate roof.


Dickensian-style Pub


And finally, the waterfront or river pub is characterized by stone exterior walls, a clay roof, and decorative doorway.


Waterfront Pub


Outside the River Pub section of the Rose & Crown is a recreation of a lock found on the Grand Union Canal. The Grand Union Canal stretches 137 miles from London to Birmingham with branches that reach Leicester, Slough, Aylesbury, Wendover and Northampton. Along its route are 166 locks. This canal was used for the transport of goods (primarily coal and building materials) between communities.


Rose & Crown Lock

Grand Union Canal Plaque


It's interesting that the Imagineers chose to honor Thomas Dudley as the lockkeeper at the Rose & Crown Lock. Although Thomas Dudley was born in Yardley Hastings, a village near Northampton, England, his real claim to fame took place in the American Colonies. It was here that he served several terms as governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony and was the chief founder of Newtowne, later Cambridge, Massachusetts.

In the early years of Epcot, the Rose & Crown Lock contained gates (as can be seen in the above picture), but these have since been removed. Why? I don't know.


Rose & Crown Lock

Rose & Crown Lock


The Rose & Crown has two sections, the pub and the restaurant. In the early years, everyone entered through the front door of the brick structure. This can be seen in an older picture advertising both establishments. In later years, the entrance to the restaurant was moved to the side of the building and guests now enter the eatery through the Dickensian-style façade.


Pub and Dining Room Entrance

Pub Entrance

Restaurant Entrance


Inside the restaurant you'll find three dining rooms, each with a decor to match its exterior. Although subtle, there are distinct differences. The first picture corresponds to the Victorian era, the second to the Dickensian-style, and the third to the River or Waterfront design.


Victorian Dining Room

Dickensian-style Dining Room

River or Waterfront Dining Room


The Rose & Crown Restaurant also offers outside seating. Those tables that sit waterside offer outstanding views of World Showcase Lagoon. This is the perfect spot to enjoy a late night supper and watch Illuminations. Note, these tables can be requested, but not guaranteed.


Outside Seating

Outside Seating


Unfortunately, Americans often poke fun at English cuisine. Please do not let these jabs deter you from trying this great restaurant. Some of my best Epcot meals have been had here. I especially like their Sticky Toffee Pudding for dessert. It's scrumptious!

Like all Disney World restaurants, the Rose & Crown menu is continually changing. To see their current selection, click here. Reservations are suggested, but lunchtime meals can often be secured at a podium out front at the last minute.


Reservation Podium


Anyone who has toured Epcot between May and October knows that it can be hot and exhausting. During these months, the Rose & Crown Pub is just what the doctor ordered. Folks can stop in for a cold brew and relax and reflect upon their day. The atmosphere is congenial and the air-conditioning welcoming. And for those of you searching for something less intoxicating, a number of soft drinks are available.


Rose & Crown Pub

Rose & Crown Pub


One of the highlights of the Rose & Crown Pub is the Hat Lady. This eccentric American has made the United Kingdom and hats her passion. Her collection of headwear is extensive and each has a tale. During her performance, she will select a hat then regale the audience as to how it came to be in her possession and sing an appropriate melody. She also knows a long list of the best loved pub songs and encourages the bar patrons to sing along. The Hat Lady is extremely popular. Be sure to check the Times Guide for her schedule and arrive early.


Hat Lady


The pub can get crowded so an auxiliary bar has been set up outside and dispenses a variety of brews. Nearby, a number of shaded tables offer a wonderful atmosphere to sit and unwind. But don't for a minute believe you're having an original idea when you say to your drinking companion that this would be the perfect spot to watch Illuminations. Almost everyone already knows this and these tables are occupied well over an hour before the show.


Outdoor Bar

Outdoor Seating


The Rose and Crown bears the Latin motto 'Otium Cum Dignitate' ('Leisure with dignity').


Otium Cum Dignitate


My favorite Epcot people-watching spot is located in this same area. Four benches line the promenade and offer outstanding vistas of people as they run, walk, skip, limp, and trudge by. It's also in this spot that the World Showcase Players set up an impromptu stage and select guests to help tell a lighthearted story of King Arthur and the Holy Grail. If you like puns and groaners, you'll love this show. Once again, check your Times Guide for performance days and hours.


Park Benches

World Showcase Players


On the south side of the Rose & Crown is Yorkshire County Fish Shop. As you might guess, this is the spot to order that English gastronomic tradition, fish and chips. The menu is quite limited at this counter service restaurant; besides fish and chips, the only other food offerings are a side of chips and short bread. Soft drinks and ale are also available. By the way, for those Americans that don't know, chips are what we call French fries. A limited number of tables and chairs are located nearby.


Yorkshire County Fish Shop

Yorkshire County Fish Shop Seating


Across the street from the pub is The Tea Caddy. This structure was inspired by the childhood home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare. This style of architecture was common in the 1500's and featured half-timbered walls and a thatched roof. Due to fire regulations, the roofing material here is actually plastic rather than straw or rushes. Larger homes of this era often had multiple fireplaces to help distribute the heat evenly. The largest of these hearths was used for cooking. This can be seen within the interior of The Tea Caddy.


The Tea Caddy

Anne Hathaway House

Fireplace


The Tea Caddy is sponsored by Twinings. This purveyor of teas, coffees, and hot chocolates was founded in 1706 by Thomas Twining. It is generally accepted that Twinings was the first to blend Earl Grey tea. The firm's logo was created in 1787 and is one of the world's oldest in continuous use. Besides a large assortment of teas, The Tea Caddy also sells brewing paraphernalia and a collection of shortbreads, shortcakes, biscuits, and other munchies to complement this steaming brew.


Twinings Tea

Tea Paraphernalia

Shortbreads, Shortcakes, and Biscuits

Twinings Logo


The Queen's Table is housed within buildings representing Elizabethan architecture prevalent in the 1600's. This architectural style was named for Queen Elizabeth I and is noted for having gable barge boards, diamond-shaped wooden moldings, trefoils, clovers, and chevrons. To add authenticity, the Imagineers designed the building on the left to lean ever so slightly. A close observer will notice crests in the leaded-glass window of the two-story structure. These are those of the four major United Kingdom schools, Oxford, Cambridge, Eton, and Edinburgh.


The Queen's Table

School Crests


The Queens Table sells Heirloom-brand bone china tea services. (Royal Doulton is no longer available here.) In addition, Alice in Wonderland tea sets and other table accessories can be found in this lovely shop.


The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise

The Queens Table Merchandise


Behind The Tea Caddy and The Queens Table is a wonderful example of an English cottage garden. In days of old, homeowners would work small patches of their land and grow food items to help supplement their diet. A variety of fruits and vegetables were often planted. Herbs were also found in these gardens, but they were usually planted for medicinal purposes rather than as a seasoning. As the country became more prosperous and fruits and vegetables easier to obtain, flowers began to find their way into these plots. Today, cottage gardens overflow with greenery and color.

The "homes" that face onto the cottage garden were taken from set drawings from the Mary Poppins movie.


Entrance to the Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden Homes

Cottage Garden

Cottage Garden


Alice and Mary Poppins frequently show up near the entrance of the cottage garden to pose with guests.


Mary Poppins


That's it for Part One of the United Kingdom Pavilion. Check back tomorrow for Part Two.



Return to Blog Central

About United Kingdom

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to The “World” According to Jack in the United Kingdom category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Outpost is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.