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Exhibition Review – London: Port City at the Museum of London Docklands from 22 October 2021 – 8 May 2022

The Museum of London Docklands presents a major exhibition entitled London: Port City which explores how the Port of London has changed and shaped the city, its people, places and language, over centuries. The exhibition covers more than 200 years of experiences and activity on a river.

The Museum of London Docklands is located in an old warehouse complex which was part of West India Docks, London’s first enclosed dock system and packed with valuable cargoes from around the world from 1802 until its closure in 1980.

The exhibition based upon the extensive archives of the Port of London Authority (PLA) gives some insight into the complex operations that have enabled the Port to connect London to the rest of the world, from the final days of the 18th century to the creation of the huge London Gateway ‘mega port’ in the Thames Estuary.

The beginning of the exhibition illustrates the timeline of over 200 years in which over 222 objects from the PLAs vast and eclectic archive tells some of the remarkable stories from the port.

An impressive audio visual display allows visitors to watch life into the PLA control room, using large-scale projections to create a day in the life of the Port of London, with spectacular views of the river and activity happening 24 hours a day.

Many visitors to the docks in its heyday would remark on the various smells and aroma, visitors to the exhibition can experience a range of distinct scents, carefully blended to capture the original pungency of the port.

The exhibition also reveals the stories behind 80 words and expressions associated with the docks that have entered the English language including ‘crack on’, ‘aloof’ and ‘Mudchute’.

Over the 200 years, countless different types of cargo entered the port and the exhibition includes examples like a pot of dehydrated meat from the 1940s and a pot of ambergris, which was highly prized and used in perfumes.

The PLA was responsible for making sure the docks were fully functional, the exhibition features a 1950s diver’s helmet and air pump used by someone clearing riverbeds.

A wide range of maps and plans are shown and documents like the one commemorating the original unveiling of the statue of merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan, which was removed from outside the museum in 2020.

The PLA has collected a wide range of art connected with the port and a selection is shown together with films showing how the port has been used in films, tv programmes and video games.

This fascinating free exhibition uses exhibits and multimedia to provide some insights into the remarkable story of the Port of London, which has developed from the ‘warehouse to the world’ to a ‘Megaport’ in the Thames Estuary. The PLA’s archive introduces visitors to some of stories, incidents, characters, advances, major moments and little-known facts.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the Museum of London Docklands website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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London: Port City at the Museum of London Docklands from 22 October 2021 – 8 May 2022

At this time, the ‘Tuscania’ was operated by Cunard on the London – New York passenger route.

The Port of London is the subject of a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in October, the exhibition entitled London: Port City explores how the Port of London has changed and shaped the city, its people, places and language, over centuries. The exhibition will trace more than 200 years of experiences and intense activity on a river.

The exhibition is in the Museum of London Docklands, itself originally part of West India Docks, London’s first enclosed dock system and packed with valuable cargoes from around the world from 1802 until its closure in 1980.

The first consignment of 28 railway carriages for Kenya & Uganda railways arriving at the Royal Albert Dock, lifted by the London Mammoth.

The exhibition will draw upon the extensive archives of the Port of London Authority (PLA) to present a wider picture of the complex operations that have enabled the Port to connect London to the rest of the world, from the final days of the 18th century to the creation of the huge London Gateway ‘mega port’ in the Thames Estuary. The exhibition will full of stories, incidents, major operations, characters, technological advances, pivotal moments, surprising details and little-known facts.

Imported bananas being handled at the Royal Docks.

Exhibition highlights include:

Revealing the stories behind 80 words and expressions that entered the English language and the place names of streets and pubs as a result of the docks including ‘crack on’, ‘aloof’ and ‘Mudchute’.

An impressive audio visual display that will transport visitors into the PLA control room, using large-scale projections to create a day in the life of the Port of London, with multiple spectacular views of the river and all of the activity happening 24 hours a day.

Deal porters being trained under Port of London Authority supervision at Surrey Docks.

An interactive timeline reveals stories from the docks since 1800, using 222 objects from the PLAs vast and eclectic archive. Material ranges from sandals with hollowed out soles to smuggle opium, seized in the 1870s, to original plans for the world’s most innovative purpose-built dock complexes.

Many of the dockers whose voices feature throughout the exhibition recall being hit by a heady aroma as a new cargo was unloaded or as they made their way through different areas of the docks. Visitors will experience a suite of distinct scents, carefully blended to capture the original pungency of the port.

Trade Winds: London, a new artwork by contemporary artist Susan Stockwell, using archive material and international currency to explore themes of international trade, economies, migration and empire. Elsewhere, a new artwork by Hilary Powell uses experimental photographic techniques and film to explore the container shipping industry and the people who keep it going.

Importantly, the exhibition will address the wider global context of London’s seaborne trade, most notably its historical dependence on the sugar trade and slavery. A document commemorating the original unveiling of the statue of merchant and slave owner Robert Milligan, which was removed from outside the museum in 2020, is displayed alongside original plans for docks.

For more information, visit the Museum of London Docklands website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery Exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands from 11 Sep 2020 to 18 Apr 2021

Photo – David Parry/PA Wire

London’s largest ever Bronze Age hoard will go on display to the public for the very first time from 11 September. This major exhibition called Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery will take visitors on a journey through life in the Late Bronze Age. Artefacts from the hoard, including tools and weapons, will feature alongside objects from the museum’s collection to tell the story of the people who lived and worked during this period.

Photo – David Parry/PA Wire

Among the objects are a pair of terret rings, a rare discovery and it is believed these are the first Bronze Age examples of their kind ever to be found in the UK. These objects are believed to have been used on horse-drawn carts. The discovery of these terret rings, bracelets and copper ingots possibly originating from the Alps suggests there was a well established trade route across Europe.

Photo – David Parry/PA Wire

Buried in four separate parts, the largest Bronze Age hoard ever discovered in London provides fascinating clues about the beliefs, values and nature of a complex and little known society.

Photo – David Parry/PA Wire

The Havering Hoard is a total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 which were uncovered by archaeologists from Archaeological Solutions as part of a planned archaeological excavation.

Photo – David Parry/PA Wire

This internationally significant find will be on display from September 2020 to April 2021 and offers the opportunity to go back in history and find out about Late Bronze Age people and how they lived.

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery
Museum of London Docklands
11 Sep 2020 to 18 Apr 2021
Free with timed entry ticket to the museum

For more information, visit the Museum of London Docklands website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Rare Bronze Age hoard at the Museum of London Docklands fron 3 April to 25 Oct 2020

Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

The largest ever Bronze Age hoard to be discovered in London and the third largest of its kind in the UK, has been unearthed in Havering. This significant find will go on display for the first time in a major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands in April 2020.

A total of 453 bronze objects dating between c.900 and c.800 BC have been uncovered during a planned archaeological investigation, with weapons and tools including axe heads, spearheads, fragments of swords, daggers and knives found alongside some other unusual objects, which are rarely found in the UK.

Havering Hoard (c) Museum of London

Because most of the weapons appear to be partially broken or damaged, the exhibition will offer some suggestions about why these objects ended up being carefully buried in groups close together.

Havering Hoard (c) Museum of London

Objects from the hoard will be presented to the public for the first time next year at the Museum of London Docklands. All the archaeological work was agreed with and closely monitored by Historic England, assisted by the Portable Antiquities Scheme, and further conservation and analysis of the artefacts is currently underway which will reveal more insights into this remarkable find.

Havering Hoard site discovery (c) Archaeological Solutions Ltd

Bronze Age finds of this type are very rare and discoveries like this develops the understanding of Bronze Age life. The exhibition is a unique opportunity for Londoners and visitors to find out more about their ancestors of the distant past.

Havering Hoard: A Bronze Age Mystery
Museum of London Docklands
Fri 3 Apr – Sun 25 Oct 2020
FREE

For more information, visit the Museum of London Dockland website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
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Exhibition Review: Secret Rivers at the Museum of London Docklands – 24th May to 27th October 2019

The River Thames has played a vital role in the development of London, however for centuries there were a series of waterways in the capital that have mostly disappeared. The history of some of these waterways is the focus of a new major exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands. The exhibition entitled Secret Rivers uses archaeological artefacts, art, photography and film to reveal the stories of London’s rivers, streams, and brooks, exploring why many of them have been lost over time.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition begins by looking at some of the ‘Secrets of the Thames’, one of those secrets is over 250 Bronze Age human skeletal remains that were found in Mortlake. Whilst the remains confirm the presence of human habitation in this period, but how and why they died in this location remains a mystery.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Sacred Rivers section includes remains from Roman Londinium found in the Walbrook River, during archaeological excavations there is evidence that Roman Londoners used the Walbrook to transport goods, metal working and other industrial activity. Other objects found like Venus figurines and stylii seem to have a more ritual intention.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Biography of a River section tells the story of the River Fleet which was considered London’s most important river after the Thames. Known for centuries for being clogged up with filth, the exhibition shows the Fleet is a very different way with a oil painting called Entrance to the River Fleet by Samuel Scott. The artist was a disciple of Venetian painter Canaletto and shows the Fleet entrance with a bridge across that looks more like Venice than London.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

An unusual find from the Fleet in the exhibition is a medieval oak triple toilet seat from the mid 12th century, the toilet would have been for private use in a building in Fleet Street.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Poverty and Pleasure section illustrates that the rivers and streams were often used for a number of reasons. When the River Westbourne was blocked in Hyde Park it created the Serpentine Lake which often froze in the winter. A comic painting entitled Skating on the Serpentine, 1786 by Thomas Rowlandson shows people from a variety of social backgrounds ‘enjoying’ a skate upon the ice.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

A less enjoyable water view is Folly Ditch, Jacob’s Island, 1887 by James Lawson Stewart, this area was considered a disease hotspot because of poisoned water open ditches. The area was made famous by Charles Dickens in Oliver Twist, it was where murderous Bill Sikes comes to a sticky end.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Many of the rivers and streams were utilised by the large scale sewerage works in the 19th century especially those constructed by Joseph Bazalgette. During the construction of the London sewerage system the rivers became covered by culverts and used as storm sewers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The rivers may have disappeared from sight but the names often carried on in the area and gained an almost mystical quality. The River Effra, Fleet, Neckinger, Lea, Wandle, Tyburn, Walbrook and Westbourne in particular began to intrigue various people in the 1990s and the ‘Daylighting’ section looks at the Still Waters project by the Effra Redevelopment Agency. Although much of this project was a ‘spoof’ on London developers, the idea that rivers could be restored to the daylight began to be taken seriously.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Toward the end of the exhibition, artists look at the idea of ‘renewal’ with Data Flow, 2019 by Michael Takeo Magruder and a series of modern books that reference the old rivers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This interesting and engaging free exhibition tells the largely unknown story of London’s lost rivers and streams. These waterways played an important role in the function of the city, however as the city grew, so did the waste that was often dumped into the water. The rise of water borne diseases like cholera led to action in the form of modern sewers developed during the 19th century. Therefore it is quite ironic that there is a movement to bring these rivers back into the ‘daylight’, as the exhibition illustrates for centuries these waterways were far from idyllic but full of all manner of filth and disease.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information, visit the Museum of London Dockland website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Review : Museum of London Docklands in West India Docks

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Museum of London Docklands is a museum in West India Docks which tells the history of the River Thames and the growth of Docklands.

The museum opened in 2003 in grade I listed early-19th century Georgian warehouses built in 1802 on the side of West India Docks near to the Canary Wharf financial district. Much of the museum’s collection is from the Museum of London and archives of the Port of London Authority,

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The museum includes series of multimedia presentations including videos and houses a large collection of historical artifacts, models, and pictures in a number of galleries. The museum also has a dedicated children’s gallery called Mudlarks, bookshop and cafe.

The museum through a series of permanent galleries tells the story of how the Docklands were created and how they have changed.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The gallery entitled No.1 Warehouse explores the museum building itself which was originally No. 1 Warehouse of the West India Docks. Opened in 1802, the West India Docks were London’s first enclosed dock system.The gallery illustrates how London’s historic docks and warehouses operated.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Trade Expansion (1600-1800) and London, Sugar & Slavery (1600 – today) galleries consider the effect of global trade and some of its consequences.

City and River (1800-1840), The early 19th century brought great change to London’s river and port. The huge docks complex was just one aspect of the development. New bridges spanned the Thames and the Thames tunnel was completed.

The ever popular Sailortown (1840-1850) gallery recreates the atmosphere of Sailortown, the London district, close to the river and docks, centred around Wapping, Shadwell and Ratcliffe.

The First Port of Empire (1840-1880) and Warehouse of the World (1880-1939) galleries illustrate how London and the docks became the centre of world trade.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Docklands at War (1939-1945) shows how important the docks were for the war effort and how they became a prime target for enemy bombers.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The New Port, New City gallery (1945 – present) recounts the ups and downs of London’s upriver docks after the war culminating in their closure from the 1960s through to the early 1980s. It also shows how Docklands became the site of Europe’s largest regeneration project which was to divide government and local communities.

© 2019 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The Museum of London Docklands is a fascinating free museum in a historic building which tells the remakable story of London’s Docklands. Located near to the Canary Wharf financial district, it is an ideal oportunity to discover how the area became the centre for world trade before it became a centre for finance.

Location : Museum of London Docklands, No.1 Warehouse, West India Quay, London E14 4AL

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Exhibition Review – Tunnel: The Archaeology of Crossrail at the Museum of London Docklands from 10th February to 3rd September 2017

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Crossrail has been called one of the greatest feats of modern engineering in the UK, however the construction of London’s newest railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth line has given archaeologists a unique chance to explore some of the city’s most historically important sites. Since work began in 2009, the project has undertaken one of the most extensive archaeological programmes ever in the UK, with findings of over 10,000 artefacts from almost every important period of the Capital’s history.

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Some of these artefacts are on display in a major new exhibition at the Museum of London Docklands with opens on the 10th February 2017.

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The construction of railway known as the Elizabeth Line has sliced through London from East to West and gone through many layers of London’s history. The exhibition follows the path of the new line with displays on as diverse areas such as  Abbey Wood in the south-east, Canning Town, Canary Wharf, Stepney Green, Liverpool Street, Tottenham Court Road, The West End and Paddington.

Some of the finds include

Prehistoric flints found in North Woolwich, showing evidence for Mesolithic tool making 8,000 years ago

Tudor bowling ball found at the site of the Tudor King John’s Court manor house in Stepney Green

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Roman iron horse shoes found near Liverpool Street Station

Medieval animal bone skates found near Liverpool Street Station

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Late 19th century ginger and jam jars from the site of the Crosse & Blackwell bottling factory near Tottenham Court Road station.

Human remains including one of the skeletons found near Liverpool Street Station from the 17th century Bedlam cemetery, which a DNA has shown died from the Plague.

Two of the most spectacular finds are not yet on display, digging under Canary Wharf, part of a woolly mammoth’s jaw bone and a fragment of amber that was estimated to be 55 million years old were found. Both items are so significant that they are currently being analysed at the Natural History Museum.

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The exhibition illustrates some of the problems of London archaeology with the mystery of the Walbrook skulls which are from different periods but were all found together.

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As well as the archaeological finds, large screens show how the massive engineering project of Crossrail burrowed its way beneath the London city streets and beyond and how the archaeologists worked on sites all over London to increase the historical knowledge of the city.

This fascinating free exhibition explores a modern phenomenon in which major construction sites in London are often for fixed period used for intense archaeological digs which allows a more detailed picture of London to emerge. The Crossrail excavations are on a massive scale and have produced remarkable finds that will take years to process. The exhibition offers a tantalising snapshot of the engineering and archaeological processes involved and some of the finds.

Tunnel: the archaeology of Crossrail at the Museum of London Docklands

Friday 10 February – Sunday 3 September 2017

FREE exhibition

Our Video review available here

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

To find out more about the exhibition, visit the Museum of London Docklands website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in 2014 , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here

Gallery Review : No.1 Warehouse at the Museum of London Docklands

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Museum of London Docklands is located the old West India Docks area of London near to the skyscrapers of Canary Wharf, the Museum is based within a 200-year-old warehouse and reveals the long history of the capital as a port through stories of trade, migration and commerce.

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The Museum of London Docklands opens a major new gallery on 25th March 2016, the new permanent gallery is entitled No.1 Warehouse and explores the Grade 1 Listed Museum of London Docklands building itself. The building was known as No 1 Warehouse and formed part of the massive West India Docks complex. When the West India Docks were opened  in 1802 they provided one of the first large secure environment in which cargoes could be loaded, unloaded and stored.

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The new gallery looks at the working life of the thousands that worked in the London’s docks and warehouses.  The array of historic equipment and machinery illustrates that human labour was crucial in the docks.. The films show the dock and warehouse in their heyday with large number of dockers loading and unloading the many cargo ships that visited the dock.

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There are a number  of screens that show how the warehouses were designed and built. Each storey of the building was originally a different height – dictated by the nature of the cargo to be stored. The ground floors were designed to store two tiers of goods. The upper floors stored a single tier of goods, while the top floors held the lighter cargoes such as coffee, cocoa and cotton.

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The West India Docks was one of the largest and busiest docks in the world which could accommodate over 600 vessels at a time. At its height of activity, No.1 Warehouse was filled with valuable cargoes from around the world including sugar, rum, tobacco, spices, coffee, timber and wine. These cargoes helped to established London as  one of the major trading ports in the world.

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Warehouse No 1 was one part of a huge complex of warehouses that were placed behind a huge wall, security was one of the reasons the warehouses were built and the warehouse had their own security windows and spiked cast iron frames.

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A number of warehouses in the dock were destroyed in the Second World War, therefore the Grade I building , designed by George Gwilt and his son is a remarkable survivor of the origins of the West India Docks.

This new gallery really offers an exciting opportunity to see Warehouse No 1 in its true historical context and understand the scale of operations in one of the largest docks in the world.

No.1 Warehouse Museum of London Docklands Opens on Friday 25th March 2016 and the admission is free.

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

A Short Guide to The Museum of London

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The Museum of London tells the social history of London from prehistoric to modern times, the museum is located on London Wall near to the Barbican complex.

The Museum of London is an amalgamation of two earlier museums: the Guildhall Museum, founded in 1826 and the London Museum founded in 1912.  Both collections came together after the second world war and the new Museum of London opened in 1976.

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The Guildhall Museum was largely archaeological, whilst the original London Museum had varied interests, collecting modern objects, paintings, and costumes. Since 1976 the Museum of London has operated as a social and urban history museum.

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The museum features a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and interactive displays which chart the rise of London and its urban development. A small section of the original Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum. The galleries “London Before London” , Roman London”, “Medieval London” and “War, Plague and Fire” concentrate on old London whilst “Expanding City ” , “People’s City” and “World City” are galleries of Modern London.

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The Museum of London opened a second public site in 2003 when the Museum of London Docklands housed in a Grade I listed warehouse at Canary Wharf was officially revealed.

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Although the Museum is still in its original building, the museum recently announced plans to move from its Barbican site to nearby Smithfield Market.

For more information, visit the Museum of London website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide .com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch in January 2014, we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website
here

 

Exhibition Review – Soldiers and suffragettes: the photography of Christina Broom at the Museum of London Docklands from 19th June to 1st November 2015

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Late 19th and early 20th photography has enjoyed a renaissance recently with a number of exhibitions and displays. However, The Museum of London Docklands present an exhibition exploring the genre but with a difference. The museum’s exhibition is entitled Soldiers and suffragettes: the photography of Christina Broom and explores the life and career of  Christina Broom who is considered  to be the UK’s first female press photographer.

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In a male dominated profession in the early 20th century, the few women who became photographers generally worked from a studio. Christina Broom became a pioneer  by taking to the streets to photograph newsworthy events. Considering the bulky and fragile equipment of the time, this was a risky and difficult undertaking.

Broom was driven to begin her photographic career in 1903 at the age of 40 by economic necessity when her husband, Albert Broom, was injured in a cricket accident and unable to work. Over the next thirty-six years until her death in 1939, Broom produced approximately 40,000 photographs selling many as postcards from her stall at the gates of the Royal Mews in London.

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The exhibition covers a wide range of Broom’s prolific output that includes Suffragette processions, First World War soldiers, official photographs of the Household Division and key London events, from the Lord Mayor’s Parade and royal coronations and funerals to historical pageants.

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To complement the  photographs are original glass plate negatives, personal possessions, a suffragette banner, letters, press passes, notebooks and a cuttings album.

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Walking around the exhibition, the viewer quickly realises that Broom created a unique visual record of the places, people and events of predominantly London in the early 20th century. This was a time of major upheavals both politically and socially, her photographs of the Suffragette processions  and  First World War soldiers illustrate some of the major events of the time.  Her reputation and press credentials gave her privileged access to a number of people and locations including Royalty.

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Whether it was Broom’s commercial activity or the fact she was a woman, her reputation as a photographer was not acknowledged until relatively recently. This exhibition represents a major  retrospective of Christina Broom’s extraordinary work and career. The majority of the exhibition content derives from the Museum of London’s collection of her work, including a 2014 acquisition of 2,500 photographs, supplemented with a few key loans from Royal Collections, The University of Texas, Austin and the National Portrait Gallery.

The Museum of London Docklands is located at West India Quay in the shadows of  Canary Wharf in East London. The Museum opened in 2003, in a  Grade One listed converted Georgian sugar warehouse which was part of the West India Docks.

The Soldiers and suffragettes: the photography of Christina Broom exhibition is Free and  open daily 10am – 6pm .

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

If you would like to find out more about the exhibition, visit the Museum of London Docklands website here

London Visitors is the official blog for the Visiting London Guide.com website. The website was developed to bring practical advice and latest up to date news and reviews of events in London.
Since our launch , we have attracted thousands of readers each month, the site is constantly updated.
We have sections on Museums and Art Galleries, Transport, Food and Drink, Places to Stay, Security, Music, Sport, Books and many more.
There are also hundreds of links to interesting articles on our blog.
To find out more visit the website here