Penny Toys and Poverty: Christmas in Edwardian London

By beverley cook on 15 Dec 2015

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…

Penny toy from 1906- sweet container in the shape of Santa Christmas.

Penny toy from 1906- sweet container in the shape of Santa Claus.

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Sartorial dissections: clothes in the photographs of Christina Broom

By beatrice behlen on 12 Oct 2015
Journalists at The Pageant of Women's Trades and Professions, 27 April 1909

Journalists at The Pageant of Women’s Trades and Professions, 27 April 1909 (detail)

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.)

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An introduction to Christina Broom

By anna sparham on 19 Jun 2015


In 1903, Christina Broom – Mrs Albert Broom, to use her professional name – propelled herself into the field of photography as a business venture to support her family. Rising from self-taught novice to a semi-official photographer for the Household Brigade, she emerged as a pioneer for women press photographers in the UK.

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To clean or not to clean?

By libby finney on 16 Jan 2014
A miniature dustpan and brush, from a dolls' house c 18th/19th century

A miniature dustpan and brush, from a dolls’ house c 18th/19th century

CLEAN [from glan, Welsh; clean, Saxon]: To be free from dirt or filth

‘They make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter..’
Samuel Johnson Dictionary (1755)

‘To clean or not to clean?’: that is indeed the question on everybody’s lips by week three of CCC here at Mortimer Wheeler House. No matter how dirty the object may be, however, the answer is not as simple as it may first appear. Read the full postRead the full post