Micrographia REFLECT & RESOLVE
The arrival area is modelled on a scaled-up real-life museum exhibit in the Victoria Gallery & Museum, University of Liverpool. Visitors can take a notecard with embedded landmarks that serve to teleport them to key locations.
Visitors from other grids are shown getting a guided tour. This area is incomplete but will in due course focus on the production process for books at the time. Visitors teleport to the start of the Hooke timeline.
All Saint's Church, Freshwater, Isle of Wight
A scaled-down model of the church at the start of the timeline
St Paul's Cross Churchyard
The north-east churchyard was arguably the information hub of Restoration England with booksellers occupying most of the buildings around the edge. Peter Blayney has researched the layout as far as is possible and the build follows his maps after a fashion. The buildings are kit built and hence rather similar; the format is also more medieval than the period requires. The ground is covered with snow as there was a heavy fall that winter albeit that a thaw had set in by the time Micrographia went on sale. The cathedral is, of course, the old St Paul's and only half of it has been built and then with rather arbitrary use of textures. There is a nice physical model of it in the Museum of London although that also shows only half the building (the other half!). The steeple had been destroyed by the time of the Restoration and, indeed, the whole building was in a poor state of repair.
Old St Paul's Cathedral from the north-east with the Sign of the Bell in the left foreground. Some 3D versions of Hooke's drawings are displayed along with his microscope.
Wren's cathedral from a similar perspective has a slightly different orientation with the memorial to the preaching cross on the right
Plague Alley is, of course, imaginary and simply charts the course of the disease in London and the movements of the main protagonists. While Defoe's A Journal of the Plague Year is an influence and purports to be a contemporaneous account, the author would have been an infant at the time. The plague was probably more severe in the poorer and more densely populated outskirts of the city.
The entrance to the Monument (temporarily closed on my visit due to a school trip in progress -- great to see kids being enthused with history and getting to hear about Hooke)
The Monument remains the highest self-standing stone tower in the world. There are are 311 steps! Note the central aperture which was intended to facilitate astronomical observations.
The viewing platform after its recent refurbishment. It features in Neal Stephenson's sci-fi book The System of the World
Of course, the old cathedral and the Monument never coexisted. The platform is a good vantage point nonetheless.
The rebuilding of London
Hooke's role as an architect has been difficult to evaluate as few of his buildings have survived. He was associated with the prestige residence Montagu House as well as the lunatic asylum commonly known as Bedlam. In terms of churches he most likely worked closely with Wren on a number of projects.
Instead of visiting St Paul's I visited the much quieter Hooke church St Martin-within-Ludgate which is closeby.
The Theatre was located next to the River Thames and water transport was the safest way to get there. It was also adjacent to the outfall of the River Fleet which had once been an open sewer but was greatly improved by Hooke after the fire.
Royal Society & Natural History Museum
Having visited the Monument (exterior only), Museum of London, St Paul's (exterior only) and St Martin-within-Ludgate, I travelled across the city to the Royal Society. For me the highlight of the Royal Society exhibition was one of Hooke's original sketches (crystals in urine) in a notebook adjacent to Micrographia itself.
After visiting the exhibition in the Royal Society I went to the Natural History Museum. While Micrographia was not itself in evidence, Hooke was acknowledged at the start of the extensive display gallery given over to biological illustration. The day was rounded off appropriately by a return to virtual reality in the form of the David Attenborough-narrated GearVR experience First Life.