The last time I went to the Museum of London they were still kitting out the whole of the bottom floor, but it was all finished this time and it was pretty good.
Like all museums, half the stuff you see is done in two-seconds because it's just bones, stones and flints. If a cabinet is full of bones and stones then I don't even bother stopping, as a rule. I've got my own bones and stones in my garden, and I don't need to see three thousand more. (Yeah, I know, I'm a philistine. But does anyone really find this stuff interesting?) The one redeeming feature in the prehistoric section was all the animal bones that they've dug up in the capital -- rhinos, elephants and safari stuff like that. They've got some mammoth teeth too. It turns out that London used to be better than Whipsnade Zoo. They've also got a lot of fierce looking spears that probably ended up sticking out of someone's head.
It's get better when continue on to all the Roman stuff. They've got some cool little models of what the basilica and forum used to look like, with all the busy boats unloading their stuff at the dock. I wish we still had some of that standing around now, but all I've ever seen of Roman London are little bits of brown brick wall outside the Barbican. They've also got some mocked-up houses with genuine bits of moasic they've dug up in the city, furnished with all your normal kind of pots and plates and Roman foodstuffs.
After that you move onto the medieval era, Tudors and Stuarts. I thought that this was the most interesting bit of the museum because you get to see some debris from the Great Fire of London. You can sit and watch a movie in a darkened room if you want, or go and look at the fire-damaged floor tiles and burnt barrels that they've dug up from Pudding Lane. They've also got Oliver Cromwell's death mask in there, which was quite interesting.
It was at this point that the museum came to an abrupt halt the last time I came, but now you can carry on downstairs and see exhibits right up to the modern day. First up is a very spooky looking garden party in a darkened room. I know it doesn't sound very spooky (a garden party?) but they are all kitted out in Victorian dress and sit around the trees having a chat (you can hear their conversations all around you). Then you can walk through a lifesize mock-up of a Victorian shopping street. There's probably about ten shops in all, with all the proper stock and shopfronts. You can peer in the windows at all the biscuits, buttons, snuff and postcards.
After that comes the bits on the Blitz and the 60s, but I didn't think that this was very well done. It's basically just a load of paintings and photos and not a lot else. They've got one of Selfridges gilded lifts in there, which was okay, and a full-size Model-Y Ford. Apart from that it's just load of photos of people sleeping in the subway when the Germans came to town, and pictures of the rubble-strewn streets after they left.
If you're a child of the 60s then you might like all the miniskirts and platform shoes they they've got on display, but for everyone else it's straight on to the last exhibit -- the Lord Mayor's Golden coach.
Have you been here? Are you planning on going?
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