Rum, hospitals and insurance: London’s hidden slavery souvenirs

By james read, guest blog author on 11 Sep 2015
Pair of domestic sugar loaf cutters

Pair of domestic sugar loaf cutters used to break up sugar at home

The 1700s were a shameful time in London’s history. Although slavery was something that happened far away, on American cotton farms and West Indian sugar plantations, England had many critical, if slightly murkier, parts to play. From MPs owning Caribbean plantations to a newly-discovered British appetite for sugar, England was implicit in human slavery. This uncomfortable past touched much of British life, and was hidden in a great many everyday objects and institutions.

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The origins of Christmas pudding

By sarah madden, blog editor on 22 Dec 2014
© Simone Walsh via Flickr

© Simone Walsh via Flickr

Christmas pudding has long been a staple of Londoners’ festive tables. Traditionally incorporating dried fruits, spices, sugar and alcohol this festal favourite is a representation of extensive British trade – and of the exotic bounty brought through London’s docks at the peak of Empire. Read the full postRead the full post

Pictures of Boots

By john joyce on 15 Jul 2011

In this blog post, you can gain an insight into the work to support our current display Freedom from: Modern slavery in the capital from Exhibitions Project Manager, Elizabeth Scott: I was up on the museums roof recently, sun in the sky, the smell of tar boiling in a pot, with the aim of inspecting builder’s work boots. It’s not your average day, but when you’re working on exhibitions there never really is a typical day. I was on the roof with the photographer Chris Steele-Perkins who the museum has commissioned to take 11 photographs (a mixture of portraits and representations) […]