Showing posts with label Museum of London. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Museum of London. Show all posts

Friday, 19 December 2014

A Victorian Walk

With less than a week until Christmas!
You may now have had enough of the shops,
overwhelmed by choice and
perhaps slightly concerned about the cash that seems to be slipping through your fingers.

As an antidote, let me take you shopping
where choice and cash don't feature.
Not window shopping but Victorian shopping at the Museum of London.

Begining with the Toy Shop.
What's on your Christmas list?
Dolls, puzzles, tea-sets, animals two by two?

Whilst out, an opportunity to stop for a quick 'short back & sides' at the Barbers.

This would look fabulous on the Christmas table.

Perhaps you should pop into the bank to check your balance,

withdraw cash,

or if need be, have a little chat with the manager?

 Cakes and bread,
'shop-bought' in Victorian as well as twenty-first century times.

The grocers.

 I seem to have forgotten my list! 

A window onto the twenty-first century
from this Victorian street.

Thirsty work, shopping.
Aren't they supposed to be sat outside in the cold waiting for me?

Head to the shops this Christmas,
visit the Victorian Walk at the Museum of London.
You really won't spend any money, free admission.
More on their website, here.

Monday, 21 April 2014

Locked Up

Chatting with my family in the Museum of London...

"Imagine being locked up in London in the eighteenth century?"

"Would it have been dark all the time?"
"It would have been light during the day as there's a window, but there's no glass."

What would you do all day?
Scratch your name and the date into the walls... The writing is quite striking, he must been there long enough to make such a beautiful job of it.

"Edward Burk's been here before. What for?"

Or perhaps scratch out a building...

It must have been a very unpleasant experience to have been locked up in this Newgate prison cell in the eighteenth century. Today, in the twenty-first century, this cell is on display in the Museum of London.
What would Edward Burk make of this? The walls he scratched his name into, the dark, cold cell he was locked up in, now preserved behind glass as a museum artefact.  

Without being locked up, you can go 'inside' the Wellclose prison cell at the Museum of London in the 'Expanding City' gallery. Details on the website here.

Jumping to the beginning of the nineteenth century to the Teign Heritage Centre, Teignmouth Museum in Devon, this prison window from Teignmouth, may not have have been as secure as the prison guards had hoped.

The building from which this window came, began life as a quayside store for saltcod, which during the Napoleonic wars was used as a prison. It may not have met prison security requirements.
According to local legend, around this time a Teignmouth trading schooner, the Griffeth, was stolen from the quayside by six escaped French prisoners.

'There is no record of the recapture of the boat or the prisoners and they were never heard of again'.

Quite a feat stealing a ship from the Teign estuary, acurate timing needed, once through that prison window, they would have had to wait for high tide to negotiate the tidal port.  
As for 'never heard of again'. Well they got a mention in the local museum.

Details and opening times about the Teign Heritage Centre here.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Elizabethan Bling?

The Cheapside Hoard, nearly 500 pieces of Elizabethan and early Stuart jewellery.
Expensive? yes. Elaborate? yes. Ostentatious? yes (particularly when you sew pieces on your clothes). Bling???

Jewellery from the 16th and 17th centuries made to be seen in. Worn as symbols of money, power and sometimes of who you knew.
If Queen Elizabeth 1 gave you a cameo with her portrait, surely you'd make sure you were seen wearing it.
To up the ante, you could also wear jewellery on your clothes. Rings and other jewellery were sewn onto sleeves, hats, bodices, girdles and ruffs. There are paintings to prove this, portraits of the rich and influential, including Queen Elizabeth 1 herself with bejeweled necklaces hanging from her ruff.

If you weren't into bling, you may have worn jewellery for the believed properties and benefits that gemstones brought you.
My birthstone, amethyst, was believed to have a sobering effect on violent passions and drunkeness, plus the power to sharpen intelligence and business accumen. I'll go with the intelligence sharpening!
Most pertinent to Londoners in the 17th century, emeralds worn on the skin were believed to protect the wearer from the plague.

Whether it was the emeralds or the Great Fire of London, the bubonic plague of 1665-66 was the the last major plague epidemic in England. It was around this time that the Cheapside Hoard was believed to have been stashed under a cellar floor in Cheapside, the City of London, never to have been reclaimed.

300 years later it was found by builders in 1912, who did what most people with any 'business accumen' would do. They took it to 'Stony Jack' the pawnbroker in Wandsworth.

Today this priceless collection of  Elizabethan and early Stuart jewellery is on show at the Museum of London, nearly 500 pieces of exquisite necklaces, earrings, brooches, hairpins, rings, buttons, time-pieces and scent bottles.
With such intricate details that you need a magnifying glass to see them properly (they are provided).


Outside the museum a 10 metre long model of a salamander brooch adorns the wall. This beautiful gold brooch, set with emeralds and diamonds in reality is only about 4 cm long.

Bling or not, there are more burning questions to be answered. Who buried it? Why was it hidden? Whose was it?
All these questions are up for debate.
See the Cheapside Hoard with its many unsolved mysteries at the Museum of London until 27th April 2014 to draw your own conclusions.

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