Wish You Were Here

Yesterday we left Bath to travel to Brighton for the weekend, stopping at Stonehenge on the way. The visitor centre and car park is far enough away from the site itself that there are shuttles to take visitors between the two. The alternative is to walk, which is what we did, as the weather was amazing. The walk took us off the main road and cross country, passing a huge field of red poppies. There was a small stall of strawberries and cherries being sold by locals at the road side closer to the stones, a must have for stone-side picnicking. 

It was awe-inspiring to see the 5000 year old monument up close (but not too close, it is now cordoned off to the public). It was also strange to see such large numbers of people from all over the world gathering around this mysterious construction. 

Stonehenge is not a place I would normally choose to visit, as I tend to avoid places that are heaving with tourists. The gift shop in particular was like a scene from the apocalypse. However, I really enjoyed their temporary exhibition, ‘Wish You Were Here’, which displayed souvenirs and ephemera from Stonehenge over the years. Victorian pamphlets and stereogram slides, miniature tea sets and tickets to the site from the 1920s and 1930s were just some of the objects on display. There was a case dedicated to Stonehenge as an icon in popular culture, featuring comics and album covers. The final section of the exhibit was a wall covered in images of postcards from Stonehenge, with some quotes from the cards displayed amongst the images.

Looking at the site of Stonehenge through the way people have interpreted it with objects over time was such an interesting angle to take. I like the idea of looking at the visitors over time, the way people have interacted with the site, rather than simply the story of the stones themselves. 

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