Museum Of London


There are currently 37 dialects in the UK While we are waiting for the venerable Mr Tim Goodman to un-self-isolate so that the audio version of ‘Oranges & Lemons’ can make its way to its listeners, let’s consider the voice for a few minutes. ‘Accent!’ Max Adrian, the producer in Ken Russell’s ‘The Boy Friend’ […]

London Off The Tourist Map: No. 1: Smithfield

London’s less obvious areas have porous boundaries. Confusing to the casual visitor, they are hardly ever clearly defined, and Smithfield exists in blurred patch of London that lies between Farringdon, the Barbican, the Thames and Clerkenwell. It was once known as Smooth Field and is one of London’s most magical places, and one of the […]

Latest Train Delay Excuse: Tudors On The Line

On February 10th, 500 exhibits are to be on show in the Museum of London in an exhibition called Tunnel: the Archaeology of Crossrail. Crossrail is the biggest London redevelopment I’ve seen in my lifetime. It started in 2012 and won’t finish until 2020.  The 118-kilometre railway line crosses London and reaches the home counties of Berkshire, […]

Scotland Yard’s ‘Black Museum’ Of Crime Uncovered

These masks were worn by robbers, and make you realise just how far removed from fantasy real crime was. Once they were housed in what was known as the Black Museum. It comprised two back rooms in Scotland Yard and was filled with the artefacts of violent crime, to be shown only to police officers. […]

A London Miscellany

The upside to living in what has now become the world’s most popular city is that new things are opening all the time. In October, Scotland Yard’s so-called ‘Black Museum’ – a phrase they are keen to distance themselves from, except that here at Fowler Towers there are long memories – opens to the public […]

Scotland Yard’s Black Museum Gets The Public Go-Ahead

I’ve mentioned the possibility here in the past, but now the rumours have been confirmed; Scotland Yard’s so-called ‘Black Museum’, which houses the exhibits from Britain’s most notorious crimes, will go on display once it has found a sponsor and a venue. The renamed Crime Museum is to raise funds because of government cuts. Until […]

Charles Dickens at the Museum of London

This excellent exhibition is the first major Dickens show for forty years, and occupies the lower ground floor of the museum for the next six months. Included are the expected (Dickens’s writing desk, quill, letters, ledgers, annotated copies of books) and the unexpected (his velvet-covered lectern, a perfectly constructed object to read from, complete with […]

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

A few years ago I wrote a story called ‘Inner Fire’, in which the Gulf Stream stopped and England froze solid. This scenario was suggested by scientists investigating global warming. Well, now there’s a small but excellent new exhibition at the Museum Of London from Robert Graves and Didier Madoc-Jones, showing London’s possible futures. It […]

The Museum Of London’s New Galleries

The new £20million galleries at the Museum of London are a triumph. The mistake everyone makes when visiting this smallish museum is underestimating the time it takes to visit. The early sections of the museum are, for me, the dullest – it’s hard to make bits of pottery interesting, or to bring to life the […]

Feeling You’re Behind

You know the feeling – things are moving faster around you and it’s just not possible to keep up. I look at my unread copy of Time Out (I’ve been buying it since the first issue, it’s a habit like heroin) and realise I’ve been blind to what’s been happening in the capital over the […]