Tag Archives: Museum of London

BC to AD; and why you should visit the Museum of London

An extraordinary discovery in the City of London, from BC to AD; and why you should visit the Museum of London.   There is no other museum in London where you can learn more about London, other than the Museum of London!  Okay so I guess you may wonder why I call this an extraordinary discovery? Well, in the first instance, I had been in London for about 7 years before I even knew it existed, as well as which many a Londoner has said they didn’t know about it!! That in itself is extraordinary considering what an amazing museum it is.

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Exhibitions at the Museum of London – Dickens and London

A lot of words are written about the British Museum and The National Gallery, and they are wonderful places to visit, but if you want to know about London…then you have to visit the Museum of London.

With a number of galleries to explore the museum takes you on a journey through time, from 450,000 years BC and on into the future with an exhibition of photos showing what London would look like if the seas continue to rise…flooded it would be!  Located right on the Roman City Wall it’s a treasure chest of prehistoric, ancient, Roman, medieval and future history, from BC to AD this is the place to find out more!

Absolutely my favourite museum in London, the Museum of London is a must visit if you really want to find out about the city and it’s history. I visit as often as possible. Besides the frequent exhibitions, there is always something new that catches my eye, something I may have not seen on my previous visits.

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Museum of London – the best museum in London

Just a few minutes walk from St Paul’s Cathedral, The Museum of London, opened in December 1976, is suitably located on the ancient London City Wall built by the Romans, and documents the history of London and it’s inhabitants through time in an innovative design – one route only along a series of galleries, from prehistoric to modern times and beyond!

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located right on the old Roman City Wall

The exhibits are amazing with some wonderful relics and archaeological discoveries on display including a horned helmet c150-50BC found near Waterloo Bridge. The galleries form a chronological timeline of history containing original artefacts, models, pictures, diagrams, reconstructions, interactive displays and activities suitable for all ages.

With a strong emphasis on archaeological discoveries, the built city, urban development and London’s social and cultural life, there is a prehistoric gallery; “London before London”, a “Medieval London” gallery and a gallery covering the period of the English Civil War and the 1666 Great Fire of London; “War, Plague and Fire”.  As you walk through the galleries you will visit an example of a house from Caeser’s camp near Heathrow, a Roman Villa, a Pleasure Garden, a Victorian Barber shop and Pipe shop, pass through scenes of London in the 30,’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s, see portraits of famous people who have left their influence on the city

Fragments of the Roman London Wall, just outside the museum, can be seen from a raised viewing platform and you can also access the wall from the street level. Walk where the Romans walked!!!

On the same level as the restaurant is the marvellous showcase for the Lord Mayor’s State Coach, beautifully illuminated and set up with realistic looking horses, you can practically touch the coach.

Lining the walls is a fabulous display of City Livery Company artefacts. The Museum of London is home to the 250 year-old coach which takes to the streets each year in November for the Lord Mayor’s Show; an 800 year-old traditional event. (Like Magna Carta 2015 marks the 800th anniversary of the Lord Mayor’s Show)

In the galleries of Modern London, the exhibitions space diplays 7,000 objects, including a reconstruction of a Georgian Pleasure Garden, an art-deco lift from Selfridges Department Store and the wooden interior of a Wellclose debtors prison cell.

The amazing “Expanding City” Gallery covers London’s history from the 1660’s to the 1850’s, while the “People’s City” features the 1850’s to 1940’s and includes a “Victorian Walk” with recreated shops and public buildings, sections of the West End, Suffragettes, World War I and World War II as well as every day life of the city.

There is also a small exhibition on the fabulous 2012 Olympic Games cauldron.

Besides all the fabulous galleries, the Museum holds an exciting new exhibition each year; ranging from famous Londoners like Charles Dickens and Sherlock Holmes to the more bizarre and creepy;

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Exhibitions at the Museum of London – Doctors; Dissection and Resurrection men

You could whizz through in an hour and have a quick overview or you could spend a few hours meandering and enjoying the many fascinating exhibits on view, or you could, like me, visit again and again! 😉 It really is a treasure chest!

From time to time they hold classes in the Clore Learning centre where you can actually get actively involved….I learned how to make a lardy cake :)

There are a multitude of fascinating artefacts and things to see in the Museum of London, making this your ‘must visit museum’ on your next visit for 3 Days in London.  This has been one of my most enjoyable discoveries and I return time and again, seeing something new at each visit.

Address: 150 London Wall, City of London, EC2Y 5HN
Phone: 020 7001 9844
Hours: Monday to Sunday 10:00- 18:00 the galleries start closing at 17:40 Closed 24 – 26 December.
FREE ENTRY   http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/london-wall/

Don’t miss the amazing sculpture at the entrance

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Union – Horse with two discs – Christopher le Brun

and the changing exhibitions on the walkway

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Lomography exhibition

Nearest tube station: St Pauls or Barbican
Plan your journey: http://www.tfl.gov.uk

things to do with 3 days in london
3 Days in London goes live!

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What you can see in the area:
remnants of the Roman City Wall in Noble Street
St Botolph-without-Aldersgate
Postman’s Park (housing the famous Watt’s memorial)
Christchurch Greyfriar’s Garden
The Barbican complex


Bridge at Museum of London, Docklands

27 June – 2 November 2014
Bridge is the largest art exhibition ever to be staged at the Museum of London Docklands. Drawing on the museum’s significant art collections, the exhibition will feature rarely seen contemporary and historical artworks, alongside photography and film to consider the significance of bridges within London’s landscape.

museum of london docklands
Museum of London Docklands

From Hungerford to Blackfriars, Westminster and Millennium, Bridge also looks at how London’s bridges allow people to move around and experience the city. Thomas Heatherwick’s ambitious ‘Garden Bridge’ proposal, playing with the ideas of destination and crossing will feature, along with other debates and issues confronting London and its bridges today.

museum of london docklands
Museum of London Docklands



Mon-Sun: 10am – 6pm

Closed 24-26 Dec

Galleries begin to close at 5.40pm

Museum of London Docklands, West India Quay, Canary Wharf, London, E14 4AL

Find out more at http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/docklands/whats-on/exhibitions-displays/bridge/

How to get there: DLR (Docklands Light Railway)




The Museum entrance is two minutes walk from West India Quay.
By DLR: West India Quay
By Tube: Canary Wharf
By Bus: D3, D7, D8, 277, N50, D6, 15, 115, 135
By River: Thames Clippers – 10-15 minute journey on a Thames Clipper riverboat from Bankside or Maritime Greenwich Pier to Canary Wharf Pier. Call 0870 781 5049 for times and prices.
Plan your journey using the TFL website http://tfl.gov.uk
Parking – Paid parking nearby
There is a Vinci car park behind the Museum on Hertsmere Road.

What you can see nearby:
Canary Wharf – Financial District of London outside the City of London aka the Square Mile
A great number of sculptures, some permanent, some temporary…all amazing!
a short journey via the Jubilee Line to North Greenwich will take you to the O2 Arena where you can take a ride in the Emirates Cable Car (closed during bad weather)
a short journey on the DLR will take you to Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich, Royal Observatory and Green Park

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A note for overseas visitors: From July 6th buses on all London routes will no longer accept cash.

Please check their website for details of how to buy a ‘Visitors’ Oyster (travel) card.

Types of refund
Oyster cards no longer needed
If you no longer need your Oyster card they’ll refund any remaining pay as you go credit, the remaining value of any Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass season ticket and the deposit, if you paid one.
To get a refund you can:
Take your Oyster card to a Tube station ticket office
Post us your Oyster card
Call Customer Services 0343 222 1234
08:00-20:00, Monday to Sunday including public holidays
Please note this does not apply to Travel Cards, one day or otherwise. It is only for Pay as you go Oyster Cards.

Please note that I am not an agent for TfL, I am merely informing you of this change. any enquiries please head over to their website.  Have a great stay in London

Dickensian Cookery Workshop at Museum of London

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Museum of London - my favourite museum in the city

The Museum of London is by far and away my favourite museum in London.  I have spent and can spend hours just meandering through the galleries going from 5,000 BC and on into the future.  The museum offers a fascinating glimpse into London over the ages and you can wander through a mock-up of a house from Caesar’s village near Heathrow or alongside a Roman living room to a Victorian Street lined with shops typical of the era, view quirky reminders of the 60’s & 70’s and a projection of London if the waters rise as expected….basically London would be swamped!!

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Roman villa sitting room at the Museum of London

I am always on their website to see what is happening in the life of the museum and I recently discovered that they were offering Cookery Workshops from different decades in the life of London, from the Roman era, Saxon and Georgian times to the Victorian period .  Now, I am fascinated by Charles Dickens so decided to book myself onto the Dickensian workshop!  What fun!!

The workshop was hosted by Dr Annie Gray who was dressed as a Victorian cook in all her finery.

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me and Dr Annie G

The workshop was well attended by both men and women of all ages and we learned all about the vestiges of Georgian dining and how the Victorians changed the face of dining with their airs and graces and crispy white linen covering tables groaning with silver cutlery, candelabra, trees and more china than than China can throw a stick at! :)  How moulds in all shapes and sizes were invented to create food which was then presented to look like something it was not…figure that out if you can! However, it all went pear-shaped (pun intended!) as the Edwardians stepped in and the utterly mad formal dining morphed into a more relaxed style.  However, the focus last Saturday was on the Victorians and we learned how Queen Victoria was a manic eater and would finish ALL her courses…usually up to 7 from starters to dessert within half and hour which meant that as soon as she finished the table would be cleared and if you had not yet eaten you left the table hungry…good for the diet and would probably explain all the waif-like figures squeezed into whalebone corsets that span no more than two hands-width!  I am so glad I did not have to dine with her Majesty….what a travesty to leave all that food behind.  And most certainly she did not have a waif-like figure.

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Queen Victoria

So after the lecture we moved over to some tables set up at the back of the room to make a lardy cake…..oh lordy! A lardy cake?…never heard of that before…..but apparently it was very popular with the poorer folk as it requires very few ingredients and makes a nice solid (and I mean solid!) meal.  So aprons on, sleeves rolled up and amidst much laughter with our partners in crime we set about mixing the ingredients….now there are three things you need to know at this stage….1.  I have not baked a cake or made bread in the last oh say 12 years maybe and 2. I love squelching my fingers through gooey substances so this was right up my alley.  I dived in hands first with enthusiasm and began to mix and swirl and squelch the flour, yeast and water into a nice sticky ball of goo.  Then it was all hands on deck as we thumped the ball of dough onto a board and my partner Marilyn began to knead the sticky mass into something that resembled a decent lump of dough.  We took turns I am pleased to say and boy did I enjoy that…so much so that I have decided to make one at home! :)   In no time at all we had a marvellous ball of dough and set about with rolling it into an oblong shape.  From there we spread soft lard across the middle third and a layer of currants, a good sprinkling of sugar and a decent amount of spices. Then it was fold the second third over the middle and the third third over that and roll again….and so on at least 3 or 4 times till we had a lovely jubbly round of dough filled with lard, currants and sugar and spice!

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Marilyn kneading the dough
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currants, sugar and spices
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starting to take shape
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and we rolled and we rolled....(the rocking came later!!)













And now I can reveal the third thing you need to know is… 3. I love raw dough and find it a travesty to cook it when it tastes just yummy as it is….I was certain that not much of the mixture would actually find its way home to be baked.  So dough rolled and ready to go we cut it in two, each packing a portion into a plastic container for the journey home and went back to our tables for a demonstration on how to mix a Madeira cake Victorian style, how to make ice-cream in a bucket (seriously) and how to make a mean gin punch that definitely bears repeating at home! :) I had 3 glasses of the stuff and left the event well merry on my way!  Which probably accounts for the fact that I got my head horribly muddled and ended up walking from the Museum of London all the way across the city via St Paul’s Cathedral (please note)

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St Paul's Cathedral viewed from Bow Lane en-route to......

…..the Monument, across London Bridge and all along Borough High Street to Borough station in the mistaken assumption that the station was in fact Bermondsey and in zone two!  It was not Bermondsey but Borough Station and is in zone 1.  What en eejit!!!  I mean seriously!!  LOL!!!  If I had had my facts straight I could have hopped on the tube at St Paul’s and shaved at least 45 minutes off my journey to the O2 Arena for the show we were going to see that night…..urgh!!!

war of the worlds O2 arena north greenwich
...the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one he said....

But I digress….

While we were watching the demonstration given by Dr Annie Gray, and learning about how to make all these yummy goodies as well as snippets of gossip about the Victorians and Charles Dickens (ya thought I had forgotten about him!) I noticed that the container holding my dough had started to rock from side to side.  Initially I thought I was rocking the table (I was leaning on my elbows) so I moved my elbows off the table.  However, the container continued to rock, so I thought perhaps the table was wobbly so gripping the edges I tested the stability of said kitchen item only to find that it was solid as a rock….which meant that the rocking motion of the container was in fact the container rocking.  Hah!! What is going on here?  This continued for about a minute or so and then a weird creaking sound emitted from the container.  By now I was totally perplexed and not just a little bit freaked out….what the hell was going on?  The rocking had increased in intensity and then with a sudden pop that made me jump the lid of the container popped off!!!

museum of london lardy cake
the lid popped off with a loud thwock!!!
museum of london lardy cake
....time to call in the ghost-busters!!!!?
museum of london lardy cake
...by now I was certain this dough was getting ready to climb out and walk off on it's own!!!







In double quick time I jammed the lid back on with a solid thump and pressed the edges down firmly on all sides….to no avail.  With a loud thwock the lid flew off and the dough rose up and up and up!!!! By now I had finally sussed out that of course the dough had yeast in it and of yes….yeast makes things rise! :)   All I can say is that we must have kneaded the dough exceptionally well for it to rise like that….and it didn’t stop there.  In due course the dough rose so high that it became clearly evident it was not going to be contained in one container so I had to get another…..and so the top of the morassy mass got lopped off and plopped into a 2nd container.  LOL.

Thankfully by now the dough had begun behaving in much the same way for many of the other participants and it wasn’t necessary to call in the ghost-busters after all. :)

So once the demonstration was over and we had sampled a previously baked lardy cake, a slice of the Madeira cake (I loved how Dr G used her fingers to mix the eggs and sugar together…so deliciously messy!), a small scoop of the ice-cream made in a bucket and the damn fine gin punch that bears repeating again and again….we said goodbye and went our merry way, or should that be weaved our merry way…..?  Whatever! *rolls eyes*

The course was good fun, I thoroughly enjoyed getting my hands moocky and sticky with dough, I ate a fair amount of it before I left the museum and a fair amount on the way to North Greenwich.  The poor thing did not in fact get baked that night or the next….we only got home at midnight after the show and I started my next assignment in Petersfield that afternoon, so the lardy cake travelled from the City of London to North Greenwich, then to Richmond and St Margaret’s, thence to Clapham Junction and Petersfield and by now very bubbly and gooey again, finally made it into the oven on Monday afternoon!!!  Glazed with honey and scored it resided in the oven at 200 degrees till cooked right through and no sooner did it come out the oven than it was consumed….while hot it tastes just delicious!

museum of london lardy cake baked
my lardy cake looking suitably yummy fresh out the oven and into my tummy!! Okay so not the whole thing...

A bit about the lardy cake:

Lardy cake, also known as lardy bread, lardy Johns, dough cake and Fourses cake, is a traditional rich spiced form of bread probably originating in Wiltshire in the South West of England, which has also been popular throughout the West Country and the southern counties of England including Oxfordshire and Suffolk. However, in most south-eastern counties it is completely unknown…..see what did I say…never heard of it before!The main ingredients are freshly rendered lard, flour, sugar, spices, currants and raisins. Lardy cake can be eaten at any time of day as a snack, but is most commonly consumed in the afternoon with tea or coffee. Lardy cakes are very rich and sweet and eaten traditionally for special occasions, high days and holidays and harvest festivals.  Best eaten freshly baked and still hot straight from the oven.  (some of the info ref wikipedia with thanks).

And that ends my foray into Victorian/Dickensian cooking…..definitely to be repeated.  If you are interested in participating in one of the Museum of London’s cookery workshops….visit their website for more details. I am not sure though if they will be holding more of these workshops in 2013, but there is always something interesting to get involved in at the museum.

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after 10 years – my Top 10 favourite places in London

Having lived in London for the past 10 years I have grown to love the city with a passion.  When I first arrived, as a tourist I did all the top attraction recommendations.  Over the years particular areas and places have become top favourites and I find myself visiting them again and again.  There are so many places that are completely fascinating and worth seeing, but you would need a lifetime to see them all.   So to give you an idea of what I consider to be the best places to visit; here is a list of my top 10 favourite places in London.

St Paul’s Cathedral, City of London

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my absolute favourite of all the buildings in London; St Paul's - the pearl of London

Museum of London, London Wall

The Guildhall, City of London

the guildhall, history of london, city of london history, 3 days in london
the Guildhall - 800 years of history

Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, Westminster

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Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster aka the Houses of Parliament

The George Pub, Southwark

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The George Inn, Southwark - the last coaching inn in London

Tower Bridge and the Thames

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Tower Bridge

Tower of London, Tower Hamlets

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Tower of London....surely a magical place to visit

Waterlow Park (watch the video) and Hampstead Ponds

Hampstead Ponds at sunrise in autumn

Natural History Museum, South Kensington

things to do in london, 3 days in london, museums in london, natural history museum
The Natural History Museum, South Kensington


Neal’s Yard

the ever so delightful Neal's Yard

There are of course many, many wonderful places in London and I have a very long list of places I visit again and again….but of all the places I have been, there are by far and away my favourites.  If you have been to any of these places or have a top 10 favourites, do share it via the comments,  & if you enjoyed this post please feel free to share it.

things to do on a rainy day in London

Oh me Oh my!!! here you are with just 3 days in London and it’s raining!!!! Now what? You can’t go watch the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, no point taking the Hop-on Hop-off bus, unless you enjoy sitting in a downpour and getting soaked! Can’t stand in the queue at The London Eye (for the same reason) and the sheltered area around Big Ben will be jam packed with other tourists determined to catch a glimpse!
What can you do when its raining in London?

Well lots really! There are a multitude of museums, most of which are FREE to visit:
The London Museum (City of London & a must see)

the national gallery london
the entrance of the National Gallery London

The British Museum (Russell Square – Picadilly Line)
Natural History Museum (South Kensington – District & Circle Lines)
The Science Museum ( same as natural History Museum)
Victoria & Albert Museum (as above)
The National Gallery (at Trafalgar Square)








then you have the more quirky museums:
Hunterian Museum (Lincoln’s Inn Fields – near Royal Courts of Justice)

the huntarian museum london
inside the Hunterian Museum


Sir John Soane’s Museum (Lincoln’s Inn Fields)
The Clockmakers Museum (near Guildhall – City of London)
Pollock’s Toy Museum (Scala Street – off Tottenham Court Road)
The Petrie Museum (University College London, Malet Place British Museum)
amongst many others.

Then there are the paid attractions you could visit:

Madame Tussauds (Baker Street – Bakerloo and Jubilee Lines)
The Clink Museum (Southwark)
The London Dungeon (London Bridge – Northern Line)
The Tower of London (although a lot of this is also outdoors (Tower Hill – District & Circle Lines)

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inside the Tower of London

You could also enquire about bookings for the Theatres in the West End, many have last minute special offers.

With hundreds of places to visit, museums to meander about and shows to enjoy….there is never a day when you could say “there is nothing to do!”.

London has it all.