It was with some surprise when I wandered into West India Dock and saw the Super Yacht Kismet and some Nato ships.
Kismet is a large superyacht and has visited the dock a number of times before. It often comes to London when its owner Pakistani-American billionaire businessman Shahid Khan wants to entertain guests attending NFL matches in London.
The yacht is often in the dock before being taken up to near Tower Bridge for entertaining guests.
Kismet is 308ft long has three decks and a private sundeck with a pool-Jacuzzi-BBQ area and all mod cons. The ship features exterior styling by Espen and interior design by Reymond Langton Design featuring marble and rare woods, it will accommodate 12 guests in six staterooms, and has a crew of 20.
This ship is the second vessel named Kismet owned by Mr Khan and estimated to have cost 200 million dollars, a previous 223ft yacht was sold for a rumoured £70 million in 2013. The new Kismet was built at German boatyard Lurssen.
The Nato boats are The Kursis of the Lithuanian Navy (M54), Sulzbach Rosenberg (M1062) and Homburg (1069) of the German Navy.
Pegase (M644) of the French Navy, The other two ships are not easy to identify.
I have not been to Museum of London Docklands for a while, so I was delighted to get the chance to visit their new exhibition entitled Executions which explores the phenomenon of public execution in London’s history from 1196 to 1868.
London was the location of many high profile public executions, Smithfield, Southwark, Banqueting House, Newgate Prison, Tower Hill and Tyburn were just some of the main sites.
The exhibition reveals the social, cultural and economic impact of public executions over 700 years through a range of objects, paintings and projections.
The exhibition begins by looking at some of the methods of execution like burning, boiling, beheading, hanging and Hanging, Drawing and Quartering.
Public executions were often a spectacle to deter crime and rebellion and demonstrate the power of the crown, church and state. One of the highlights of the exhibition is a projection recreation of the Tyburn gallows.
As the centuries past, more and more crimes were punishable by death, at the end of the 18th century over 200 crimes could lead to a death sentence. Many of the executions attracted large crowds and the exhibition explores the spectacle and rituals of execution days.
Some of the condemned played up to the crowd especially the ‘celebrity criminals’ like Jack Sheppard.
The exhibition features a section on gibbeting which was usually reserved for pirates, the bodies would be left in a metal cage along the river as a warning not to be tempted to follow that ‘profession’.
Many of the executions of pirates took place at Wapping’s Execution Dock and gibbets were located around the Isle of Dogs.
In the exhibition’s final section is a series of objects that chart the end of public executions, Victorian ideas of civilised behaviour led to the decline of public executions. Executions did not go away but were moved behind closed doors.
This interesting and informative exhibition explores some of the darker aspects of London history. Although we like to think we have become more ‘civilised’ many of the issues over this period still remain. Crime and punishment are still topics of debate and ‘celebrity criminals’ still exist.
The exhibition makes full use of the unique building that houses the Museum of London Docklands. Many of the exhibitions at the Museum of London Docklands are usually free but there is a charge for this particular exhibition.