So this is how the story goes. In 1826 a London merchant decides to buy some cloth from a weaver in Hawick, a town in the Scottish borders famous for its cloth production. Very happy with his order, he decides to get some more but – crucially – misreads the weaver’s dashed handwriting. Instead of ‘twill’ this Londoner reads ‘tweed’, and assumes this new cloth must take after the River Tweed which runs fast and clear through the textile areas of lower Scotland. ‘Tweed’ and not ’twill’ has been the term used ever since.
“The St. Lawrence is mere water. The Missouri muddy water. The Thames is liquid history.” So declared John Burns – a great advocate of London’s history – when asked to compare the Thames against those other great rivers in 1929. Forty years earlier in 1889 Burns had been a towering figurehead of the Great Dock Strike, thus sealing his own place in those murky waters. As the 125th anniversary of the strike approaches (14 August – 16 September) it feels an opportune moment to reflect on what this particular passage of liquid history might mean today.
With only one week to go until our Sherlock Holmes exhibition opens to the public, we wanted to take a closer inspection at our trailer to reveal a few hidden clues as to what visitors might expect… you saw, but did you observe?
I have been putting off publishing this entry as it contains too many known unknowns for my liking. But I have already spent too many hours on Ancestry and I am hoping that you will be able to solve some of the mysteries surrounding the object below.
The bodice can currently be seen in Show Space a new (small) exhibition area we opened just before Easter. Show Space consists of three mannequin-height cases which can be (relatively) easily configured to hold different types and sizes of objects. We want to react more quickly to what’s happening in London, to bring out objects that have a good story but don’t fit into forthcoming exhibitions and generally to experiment a little. There is also a screen for film and other digital ‘stuff’ and a player for gems from our Oral History Collection (or sounds, or music). Read the full post
By alex werner, head of history collections on 26 Mar 2015
Smithfield is one of London’s special places. Its lanes, alleys and courts on the edge of the market still follow a medieval street plan. Smithfield has its own distinctive character and feel. The bumarees or market porters with their white coats and hats, often smeared with blood, mingle with office and hospital workers. It is a locality at work both day and night. In the evenings, crowds spill out from the pubs and bars, while drivers park lorries laden with meat ready for the early morning market.Read the full post
Over the course of this academic year over 200 teachers and trainee teachers have attended our prehistory training as part of the London Schools Excellence Fund project, Prehistory in the Primary Classroom. Read the full post
On this day in 1914 suffragette Mary Richardson entered the National Gallery and slashed a famous painting by Velázquez known as ‘Rokeby Venus’, as a part of a nationwide campaign aimed at highlighting the Suffragette cause. Read the full post
The macabre operating theatre in Southwark, the lined shelves of meticulously reserved human remains in the Royal College of Surgeon’s Hunterian Museum, and the earliest approaches to crime and punishment in the Crime Museum of Scotland Yard — these are the shadows of a bygone era in Victorian London. They are fascinating to behold, but we’re somewhat comfortable that their activities are now a preserve of the distant past. Read the full post
Volunteers are really important to the Museum of London, and we’re thrilled to have recently been the first museum in London to have been awarded the Investing in Volunteers quality standard. We asked regular volunteer Claire Madge to tell us a little bit about her experience as a volunteer, and as a Londoner.Read the full post