Each year worldwide production of plastic exceeds that of steel. It is therefore widely recognised that we are living in the Plastic Age.
Christmas always provides us with an excuse to dig out from the stores objects relating to the festive season. This year, on display in our temporary Show Space until the beginning of January, are a few of our favourite Christmas things. These range from items related to the traditional Christmas entertainments of the pantomime and ballet to a collection of humble tinplate toys. Every one of these was imported from Germany and sold on London’s streets for a penny in the early years of the 20th century. Let’s see what’s inside the Museum of London stocking…
In September, Sarah Castle (Higher Education Programme manager at the museum) was approached by BA (Hons) Illustration student Sam Bushaway, studying at the University for the Creative Arts, Farnham, who was about to start a project where she was required to spend time drawing on location. Sarah was interested in seeing how illustration might allow us to look differently at our collections, and what inventive interpretations might materialise. As well as working to a project brief which asked for work that was ‘visually unusual’ Sarah also asked Sam to consider whether illustration can change our perception of objects.
Here’s what Sam has to say about her time at the museum…
This is the skeleton of a girl who was 14 years old when she died. She had blue eyes. She was born in north Africa, and lived in London for at least four years before her death and burial, on what is now Lant Street in Southwark. In her short life, she had suffered from rickets and gum disease, but she was healthy enough to grow to 5′ 3” by the time she died. We don’t know her name or exactly what she looked like – but that’s understandable, given that she lived in the Roman city of Londinium, over 1500 years ago.
Ground-breaking scientific research at the Museum of London has, for the first time ever, created a detailed “picture” of the inhabitants of Roman London. Using evidence “written” in their teeth, bones, DNA and burial, we’ve uncovered the extraordinary diversity of these ancient Londoners.
This weekend the Museum of London will be celebrating another children’s Takeover event, organised in partnership with the Kids in Museums charity. This national event offers children and young people brilliant opportunities to get actively involved in organisations, take on museum roles and have their thoughts and opinions heard by cultural organisations across the country.
At the start of this year, the legendary club Plastic People shut its doors on Curtain Road in Shoreditch for good. It came among an ongoing wave of club and venue closures, and it was one of the smaller venues in London – fitting just 200 dancers – but it provoked a huge wave of nostalgia. This wasn’t just a sense of loss though: notable in all the tributes that were paid to the venue were an enormous sense of pride in the values of the club and how it represented all that is best about London and its people.
Christina Broom captured thousands of images of London at the start of the 20th century. This summer, in celebration of the first major exhibition of works by Christina Broom at the Museum of London Docklands, we invited you to follow in her footsteps with a competition to use Instagram to create images of some of the locations Broom photographed. The winners are in!
Who were the Kibbo Kift?
Were they the pacifist and feminist version of the Boy Scouts? Were they banker-bashing radicals or performance artists? Were they, as some accused, secretly fascists, communists, or connected to the Ku Klux Klan? Now, for the first time in decades, this extraordinary and visionary social movement of the 1920s and 30s is back in the London spotlight.
My ideal job would give me licence to stare at people all day. Maybe I should have become a photographer, but while I get the depth of field thing (I think), I never really felt totally at one with a camera. Instead I have become the next best thing for a people-starer: a dress historian. My profession (no sniggering at the back!) provides me with a legitimate reason – or so I am telling myself – for gazing at others and for dissecting their appearance. I’m not too bothered whether someone is fashionably dressed or looks – or pretends to look – as if they don’t particularly care about their clothes. And when I say dissect I don’t mean judge. Whether the clothes are beautiful, ugly, boring or unremarkable (in my eyes or by general consent) is neither here nor there. I want to know why that particular person chose to wear that particular thing in combination with the other things they’ve put on. (Naturally my curiosity extends to accessories, jewellery, hair and make-up as well.)
On Thursday 8 October we welcomed guests to the private view of The Crime Museum Uncovered. The evening was opened by author and journalist Tony Parsons with speeches given by Sharon Ament, Director of The Museum of London, Clive Bannister, Chairman of The Museum of London and Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, Metropolitan Police Commissioner and Helen Bailey, COO of MOPAC.