Home » Exhibitions » Display Review: Whitechapel’s fatberg at the Museum of London – 9th February to 1st July 2018

Display Review: Whitechapel’s fatberg at the Museum of London – 9th February to 1st July 2018

The Museum of London treads new ground with a display that includes the only remaining pieces of the enormous fatberg discovered under London’s streets. The display at the Museum of London is part of their year-long season, City Now City Future.

The fatberg was sucked from the Victorian sewers of Whitechapel and pieces of the now infamous fatberg had to undergo scientific analysis and is sealed in special units before being allowed to be shown in the museum.

The Whitechapel monster fatberg became something of a celebrity and made headlines in more than 115 countries.. The Whitechapel fatberg was one of the largest ever found in London, weighing a colossal 130 tonnes, the equivalent of 11 double-decker buses and stretching over 250 metres – six metres longer than Tower Bridge. The foul blockage was a congealed mass of fat, oil, grease, wet wipes and sanitary products. The existence of this fatberg highlights the pressures that fat and modern rubbish are putting on London’s historic infrastructures and is a comment on our increasingly disposable society.

The small display features a film that shows the monster fatberg in the sewer and how it was eventually cleaned out. A Hazmat suit and equipment from Thames Water shows some of the processes needed to breakdown and clear the obstruction.

The Museum of London’s year long season City Now City Future discusses similar issues around modern-day living. By the year 2050, over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban environments. This rapid increase in population places even more pressure on infrastructures. Coined in London, the vivid term ‘fatberg’ is now used by cities throughout the world to draw attention to an increasing urban menace.

It is not all bad news, Thames Water has now converted most of the Whitechapel fatberg into biodiesel, turning a waste problem into a cleaner-burning, greenhouse gas reducing fuel which will benefit the environment. Some samples of the biodiesel are on display at the museum.

This small but important free display highlights some of the changing problems caused by fat and modern rubbish on some of London’s historic infrastructures. The Whitechapel fatberg may have caught global attention as a monster in the Whitechapel sewers but its use as a biodiesel illustrates that these kind of problems can have a positive outcome.

Video Review available here

If you would like further information, visit the Museum of London website here

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