The comments below do not reflect the views of the C20th Society.

Here are a few photographs from our trip yesterday to the Museum of London new galleries.  I hope they are sufficient to whet your appetite to go yourself.

New café downstairs at the Museum of London

The electronic display by Light Surgeons in the new galleries café

The remarkable thing about this illuminated display is that it is semi-transparent, the vertical bars that make up the display occupy only a quarter or perhaps one fifth of the space such that seen from behind (as in my photograph above), one can see straight through them and yet seen from the front (as in the lower part of the photograph), the image is clearly visible.  It is a very attractive installation.

They’ve kept the previous Victorian shops and added many new elements to bring the history up from then to the present day including an excellent section on the Festival of Britain including the brass ring from the base of the Skylon and a model of the Skylon.

Looking towards the café from the new galleries

There’s an excellent “room” devoted to the Charles Booth poverty map of London from 1886-1903 complete with touch screen and floor to ceiling maps.

Charles Booth poverty map – white rectangle is the touch screen

Descriptive notice about Charles Booth – click for larger image

UPDATE: I have today discovered the online Charles Booth notebooks online from the LSE, links below.

Charles Booth and the survey into life and labour in London (1886-1903)

In one corner stands a reminder of the Festival of Britain 1951 held on the South Bank.  The real purpose of this exhibit, it seems to me, is to allow the museum to incorporate the brass ring referred to below which has not been displayed for some years.  The model of the Skylon is impressive.

Model of the Skylon at the Festival of Britain 1951

Brass ring from the pavement below the Skylon

This is one of only two known remaining parts of the Skylon, and is back on view for the first time in decades having been languishing in the archive of the Museum of London.  The other is in the possession of Hildago Moya interviewed in on of the housing documentaries listed on this blog.  I last saw the ring in a film from 1994 presented by Dan Cruickshank, entitled One Foot in the Past where he explores the history of the Festival of Britain in 1951.

Skylon photos here:-

This clip appears in one of the housing documentaries I have reviewed entitled Homes for Heroes.  As he says in the film almost every visitor to the Festival of Britain will have stood with both feet within this brass ring and looked upwards at the Skylon, or words to that effect.

Lastly, in one of the later galleries this model of St Paul’s Cathedral caught my eye.  There are several other similar models including one of the London Eye.

Glass model of St Paul’s in one of the galleries

Lastly, this is by no means a comprehensive look at the new galleries.  Above are a few scattered photographs of items that took my interest but the galleries are extensive and well worth a look.

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