A brief history of Smithfield

By alex werner, head of history collections on 26 Mar 2015

Painting of 'A Bird's Eye View of Smithfield Market taken from the Bear and Ragged Staff'

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 postRead the full post

5 remarkable ways the Victorians propelled CSI into the modern age

By shivani lamba, director of forensic outreach on 24 Feb 2015

Victorian scientific  equipment

Forensic Outreach are running a Sleuthing with Sherlock forensics workshop on Friday 6 March and 2 April between 7-10pm. To book tickets, head over to our website.

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.
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Henry VIII and the fickle hand of fate

By jackie keily on 3 Feb 2015


Last week I wrote about a badge in the form of a combined Tudor rose and Aragon pomegranate, commemorating one of Katherine of Aragon’s marriages to a Tudor prince, either Arthur or Henry. In the same display case as this badge in the Medieval London gallery at the Museum of London, there is another little remembrance of Katherine’s involvement with the Tudors. This object is a silver-gilt belt chape – a curved metal strip or edging that protected the end of a leather belt. Read the full postRead the full post

The Pomegranate and the Rose: Henry VIII and Katharine of Aragon

By jackie keily on 29 Jan 2015


In a case in the Medieval London gallery at the Museum of London lies a small pewter badge depicting a Tudor rose combined with a pomegranate. These were the heraldic devices of Henry VIII and his first queen, Katherine of Aragon. Katherine made only a fleeting appearance in the first episode of Wolf Hall on the BBC, but it was enough to remind us of the fairly tragic life that she led. Read the full postRead the full post

5 remarkable ways Sherlock galvanised CSI and forensic science

By shivani lamba, director of forensic outreach on 28 Jan 2015

“My name is Sherlock Holmes. It is my business to know what other people do not know.”
Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle

Stirring first in the imagination of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, a Scottish writer and physician, and eventually animated on the pages of his eponymous stories, Sherlock Holmes ascended quickly into our collective psyche as the ultimate detective — a veritable master of mental agility and a master at the art of deduction. Read the full postRead the full post