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Reminiscences of June, a Traveling Grandmother










Front Gate


(Main Gate - Christ Church College, Oxford University)


In September 1984, after a seven-year absence from the international travel scene, June and Stan once again visited England. They arrived at Gatwick airport (Tuesday morning 18 September) on a Northwest Airlines direct flight from Minneapolis. 

June and Stan were visiting England in order to attend the Tenth Triennial Conference of the International Association of Forensic Sciences being held at Oxford University. 

June and Stan were also looking forward to visits with their friends the Bruce's in Bexley, Kent as well as other London Visits.

From Gatwick, June and Stan traveled by motor coach to the Oxford University Campus at Oxford, England. While at Oxford, they resided in the student housing. The first several days were spent at Christ Church College, one of the largest, best known and revered of the Colleges in the University. It is also the Cathedral Church of the Diocese of Oxford. (Established in 1525.) Living at Christ Church was described as "a rare opportunity, which for most of us will never recur."

June and Stan's reservation folder reads: "Welcome to Christ Church.  Your accomodation is in Peckwater (Quadrangle) Staircase 4, Room 5. On the reverse side is a plan of Christ Church showing the quads, buildings, staircase numbers, and some other useful detail. Most staircase numbers are painted by entrances and room numbers will be found inside...Please return your key before leaving". The official emblem or seal of the 'Christ Church" was at the top of the folder. The folder also noted that the Peckwater Quadrangle where they were staying, was constructed in the 18th century.


Oxford CC Hall


 (Christ Church Dining Hall where June's - Stan's meals were taken)


The last few days at Oxford were spent at Queen's College, one of the oldest of the Colleges. (Established in 1341.)

All meals during the University stay were included and were taken in the College dining halls.

Each morning started off bright and early with a pot of hot tea delivered by a friendly room lady. While June does not like cream with her tea, this delightful little lady insisted on "just a little bit."

Afternoon tea and scones were also a daily fun routine at a small café overlooking High Street in Oxford.

June and Stan were invited to and attended a formal reception by the "Forensic Science Society" at the University Examination Schools in the East Writing School. June and Stan received a formal printed invitation from "The Council". The reception was on a Thursday evening the 20th of September 1984.

June and Stan also attended a very special reception on Friday evening (September 21st.) at the Town Hall Assembly Room, hosted by the City of Oxford. They both received a formal printed invitation to the "Civic Reception" that contained the emblem or seal of the City of Oxford.

The official week of activities at the conference was ended on a Monday evening September 24th, 1984. This was the time of the official conference Banquet that Stan and June attended. Again they received a formal printed invitation to attend the banquet. It was sponsored by President Professor Stuart S. Kind of the International Association of Forensic Sciences and was held at the Christ Church Oxford.

The last few days of June's and Stan's trip to England were spent in London at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel on Baker Street. This was June's  and Stan's 6th visit to London but their first stay at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel. 


(June - front entrance - Sherlock Holmes Hotel )

June Berg 1984


June’s and Stan's first meal at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel shortly after arriving was Chicken Kiev. This was probably the most delicious preparation of this popular chicken dish that June and Stan had ever enjoyed. When it was served, the waiter warned June that a large amount of butter had been captured internally and was under some pressure. Cutting into the chicken could cause the hot butter to spurt out when released. Cutting into the chicken did indeed release a large volume of hot butter onto June's plate. The serving was literally awash in butter. The Sherlock Holmes Hotel Chef’s rendition of Chicken Kiev became their standard of excellence for comparison when ordering Chicken Kiev at other times and other place's.

It would be 15 years (1999) before June and Stan again stayed at the Sherlock Holmes hotel during their 9th and final visit to London. At that time, chicken Kiev was no longer on the hotel menu much to their disappointment.

The hotel dining room/restaurant was called the "Ristorante Moriarti" (Named after the notorious Napoleon of Crime (Professor James Moriarty from the Sherlock Holmes Stories.) June received a small "keepsake" menu from the restaurant. The small menu folder contains the outline of the bust of Sherlock Holmes both on the cover and on the inside center of the menu.

The Sherlock Holmes Hotel is located near Regents Park and the famous Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum. June of course used this opportunity to visit the Wax Museum.


(June at London's Trafalgar Square)


June London


London Hotels: During June's and Stan's nine (9) visits to their favorite city London, they stayed at five (5) different hotels. The first three visits (1972, 1973 and 1974) were all at the Strand Palace Hotel on "The Strand" .The Strand was a comfortable old hotel in a convenient location for traveling about London and very close to the Charing Cross Station. (The rail connection for travel to the Bruce's at Bexley.)

The pattern was broken on their fourth (4th) visit in 1975, due to the Strand Palace being fully booked. That visit found June and Stan at the Piccadilly Hotel just off of Piccadilly Circus.

When June and Stan again returned to London in 1977, their stay was at the Embassy House Hotel. This hotel is located in the Knightsbridge district of London and on what is called "Embassy Row." It was also conveniently close to "Harrods." (The Bruce's were very helpful  to the Bergs in securing these nice accommodations.)

It was the year 1984 that marked June's and Stan's  first stay at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel.

In 1993, June and Stan were guests at the Radisson Grafton Hotel. This is a restored old Edwardian Hotel. The rooms were very small but the afternoon "High Tea" was very special. (Tea, finger sandwiches, scones and french pastry.) 

June and Stan returned for a final goodbye visit to London in 1999 when they again stayed at the Sherlock Holmes Hotel. (June had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's the year before in January 1998.)

While we think of Rotary Club meetings in hotels, restaurants and other public places as being an American Tradition, that is not so. June and Stan noted a "St Marleybone Rotary Club" meeting notice mounted near the front entrance of the Sherlock Holmes Hotel.

All of the hotels featured an excellent and tasty "full English breakfast" every morning as a standard part of the accommodations.

While Stan was busy one day at the London Metropolitan Police (Scotland Yard) Forensic Science Laboratory, June used that time for shopping.

Some time was also spent re-visiting an re-exploring familiar places like Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, shops on "The Strand." 

Again, some special times were spent with the Bruce family in Bexley, Kent before departing for home.


             (June with Joan Bruce in the Bruce home in Bexley, Kent)             

June and Joan Bruce 1984