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Who needs Photoshop? 👀 Our conservation team has been hard at work taking care of our historic photograph collection, da...
28/02/2024

Who needs Photoshop? 👀

Our conservation team has been hard at work taking care of our historic photograph collection, dating from the 1880s onwards. And taking care of them is a big task...

For example, this black and white photographic print of a London pub bar had become firmly stuck to its corresponding negative. This was because the negative was releasing vapours as it degraded which, in turn, made the photographic emulsion (comprised mainly of gelatine) tacky.

Once dried, the adjacent layers of gelatine had bonded, making handling hazardous, which resulted in the photograph being torn.

The conservation team got to work by slowly peeling off the fragment stuck to the negative by reversing the bonding. This technique involved introducing water vapour to re-soften the gelatine layers, allowing them to separate.

Some fragments of emulsion remained stuck to the negative or were lost in the process due to the delicate nature of swollen gelatine.

Finally, the photograph halves were pressed to dry and repaired, revealing this mystery pub's bar in all its doily-clad glory once more!

Learn more about the team's project to conserve more than 4,000 photo negatives: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/discover/gunpowder-vinegar-and-photo-negatives

The green, green glass of home... Made between 1751 and 1800, this cylindrical glass object is 33cm long and 4.8cm wide....
26/02/2024

The green, green glass of home...

Made between 1751 and 1800, this cylindrical glass object is 33cm long and 4.8cm wide.

But what is it, and what was it used for? (Clue: A version of it can be found in many homes today.)

And so to bread ✍️ This silver plate, with knife and fork scratch marks, belonged to Samuel Pepys, London's 17th-century...
23/02/2024

And so to bread ✍️

This silver plate, with knife and fork scratch marks, belonged to Samuel Pepys, London's 17th-century equivalent to Adrian Mole.

The diarist and naval administrator made his first entry on New Year's Day, 1660, and famously went on to record two of the City's most significant events of the era: the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London.

At a time when wealth was demonstrated not by the size of the house but in its furnishings and silverware, Pepys gradually began to acquire plate, made of silver, for domestic use. Some of it was by direct purchase, but more often it came in the very welcome form of a gift or benefit of office.

One of the great advantages of so much silver was the opportunity to show off and on 8 April 1667 Pepys wrote:

"I home and there find all things in good readiness for a good dinner … we had, with my wife and I, twelve at table; and a very good and pleasant company, and a most neat and excellent, but dear dinner; but Lord, to see with what envy they looked upon all my fine plate was pleasant, for I made the best show I could, to let them understand me and my condition, to take down the pride of Mrs. Clerke, who thinks herself very great."

On the anniversary of his birth, 23 February, it feels only fitting to display these shiny objects once more.

Read on: https://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/discover/samuel-pepys-silver-plate

What would you do if you saw Tom Jones walking down Carnaby Street with a cheetah?Talented businessman Irvine Sellar, on...
21/02/2024

What would you do if you saw Tom Jones walking down Carnaby Street with a cheetah?

Talented businessman Irvine Sellar, on the opening of his Tom Cat boutique in April 1966, hired singer Tom Jones to do just that while performing, (presumably his hit single, ‘What’s New Pussycat?’) accompanied by actress-model Christina Spooner and – most shockingly – a cheetah on a lead.

‘Happenings’ such as these cemented the reputation of the street as a destination – not only for shopping but for spotting celebrities and soaking up the vibe.

The music and fashion industries were intrinsically connected. New acts sought quirky and stylish clothes that would help create their desired persona, while designers longed for the publicity of having their pieces worn by famous and influential figures.

Carnaby Street retailers competed for press attention, pulling stunts and drawing on the star power of musicians to put their shops on the map.

These connections between designers and performers show the importance of the link between the fashion and music industries when putting London on the map as a creative centre in the 1960s. As a cultural hub, the capital drew talented, imaginative and entrepreneurial people. But they had to learn how to stand out from the crowd.

Whether pulling press stunts, creating an enticing scene, designing clothes with shock value, or finding a rock star to wear your designs – these brands knew how to make their mark on the Fashion City.

📷 ©️ Alamy
Find out more: https://bit.ly/3ULp1St

  in 1961, more than 5000 people rallied to campaign for British nuclear disarmament. Polaris was an American built nucl...
18/02/2024

in 1961, more than 5000 people rallied to campaign for British nuclear disarmament. Polaris was an American built nuclear missile carried by British submarines and in 1961 there were many demonstrations against its use. The demonstrators had gathered at Marble Arch and then marched to Trafalgar Square to hear speeches. Then they gathered outside the Ministry building, sitting down and causing an obstruction.

89-year-old philosopher Bertrand Russell is photographed addressing demonstrators against the British submarine-launched Polaris nuclear missile at a rally in Trafalgar Square organised by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and the Committee of 100, 18 February 1961. Bertrand Russell was a founding member of CND in 1957 and of the Committee of 100 in 1960. The latter was a group set up to carry out a campaign of civil disobedience in support of nuclear disarmament.

Reverend Dennis Shaw (image 2), a curate from St Martin’s Church, Bethnal Green attended the demonstration outside the Ministry of Defence building. He commented that as “… a Christian I don’t understand how anyone who is a Christian can fail to take part”.

In image 3, Bertrand Russell sits cross-legged, facing the camera. Russell was renowned for his social activism during the 1950s and 60s. A founder of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament in 1958, he received a two-month prison sentence (reduced on appeal to one week) for his anti-nuclear protesting. Behind him sits Scottish poet Hugh MacDiarmid.

16/02/2024

“…capturing the zeitgeist, the vibes of the time… that’s what it was all about.”

Jewish designers brought the catwalk to Carnaby St in the ‘60s – and helped make London the global centre of cool.

Why must I be a crustacean in love? 🦀 Plucked from the archives, we've rounded up some of our quirky Valentines - which ...
14/02/2024

Why must I be a crustacean in love? 🦀

Plucked from the archives, we've rounded up some of our quirky Valentines - which one's your favourite?

1. 'The Lobster in Love'
2. 'I see thine eye still beaming I hear thy voice's tone It haunts me in my dreaming It visits me alone'
3. 'Birds in their little nests agree, then why my darling should not we'
4. 'Now do come to the point in a straight forward way There's a good creature'
5. 'May the one I love be preserved from all dangers'

Read more about the origins of these very Victorian Valentines: https://bit.ly/3sC55BM

  in 1908, Suffragette leader and London icon Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested whilst on a deputation to the House of Com...
13/02/2024

in 1908, Suffragette leader and London icon Emmeline Pankhurst was arrested whilst on a deputation to the House of Commons, on the charge of obstructing a policeman. She received a six week sentence, which she completed in full.

The deputation had occurred after a meeting at Caxton Hall, where it had been learnt that no mention of women's suffrage was to be made in the King's Speech. Mrs. Pankhurst can be seen carrying a scroll of paper on which was written the resolution of the meeting.

The publication of this image as a mass produced postcard represented huge public interest in the arrest of Emmeline Pankhurst and the militant campaign.

A 1996 guide to pancakes... just in time for Shrove Tuesday 🥞 Pancake day is the day before Ash Wednesday and was the tr...
12/02/2024

A 1996 guide to pancakes... just in time for Shrove Tuesday 🥞

Pancake day is the day before Ash Wednesday and was the traditional feast day before the start of Lent, a final chance for a little indulgence.

It was also an opportunity to use up food that couldn't be eaten during lent, such as eggs, fat and milk... which is why pancakes were often made and eaten.

Will you be making pancakes tomorrow?

🥞 ©️ The Sainsbury's Archive

These photographs allow us a peek into the lived moments of disabled children in 1950s London.Part of the Henry Grant co...
09/02/2024

These photographs allow us a peek into the lived moments of disabled children in 1950s London.

Part of the Henry Grant collection, the pictures were taken at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Physically Handicapped School (FDR School) in Hampstead, and Ackmar Road School for Deaf Children in Parsons Green.

Stories of disability are often under- and misrepresented in museums and collections. This is despite the fact that a wealth of such stories have existed, and continue to exist around us. Read more about these children's stories here: https://bit.ly/3SFprYe

Charles Dickens was born on this day in 1812.It’s sometimes said that London is as much a character of Dickens’ novels a...
07/02/2024

Charles Dickens was born on this day in 1812.

It’s sometimes said that London is as much a character of Dickens’ novels as Oliver Twist, Scrooge, or any of the other figures he describes.

But to what extent does the city appear in films based on Charles Dickens’ books?

David Lean’s classic 1948 adaptation of Oliver Twist features a recurring scene, where the camera offers a panorama of London’s rooftops dominated by the dome of St Paul’s Cathedral.

Lean uses St Paul’s as a visual reference to locate the action clearly in London.

It's also one of the only features of the City's 19th-century skyline that would have been recognisable at the time. But why?

Read on to find out: https://bit.ly/3SxiSGV

Winter frost fairs were held annually on the frozen Thames from the late 16th century. There would be stalls selling foo...
05/02/2024

Winter frost fairs were held annually on the frozen Thames from the late 16th century.

There would be stalls selling food and drink alongside fairground rides and skittle alleys, printers set up printing presses and sold souvenirs and personalised keepsakes for a few pennies. Names and messages were printed within pre-set decorative borders.

By 1814, there were up to ten printing presses operating at the fair printing not only mementoes and keepsakes but also cards, ballads and leaflets. That year, severe frosts and heavy falls of snow rendered the river unnavigable and the public roads impassable for several days.

At the beginning of February 1814, when this keepsake was printed, the river was completely blocked with ice between London and Blackfriars bridges, enabling the fair to remain for four days.

It's not quite that cold this February. ❄️

Trolling is nothing new... 👀 This fake 'members ticket' for the Society of Disunited Militant Suffragettes pokes fun at ...
02/02/2024

Trolling is nothing new... 👀

This fake 'members ticket' for the Society of Disunited Militant Suffragettes pokes fun at feminist activists in a way that feels all too familiar if you're a frequent user of social media.

The Suffragettes' militant tactics, including arson, bombing and window smashing, are depicted on the crest.

Bought in London from a penny street trader in 1913, the card offers a satirical and typically misogynistic view of the campaigners, claiming “the membership card entitles the holder to neglect her domestic duties”, and “The bearer of this ticket is called a Suffragette who tries her best the s*xes to reverse”.

Find out more about this curio, as well as other surviving tickets and paper ephemera, from our collection: https://bit.ly/3vOlpoz

In 1889, London tailors and dockers took industrial action protesting working conditions and minimal wages. While the tw...
31/01/2024

In 1889, London tailors and dockers took industrial action protesting working conditions and minimal wages. While the two strikes remained separate, the brotherhood of the strikers led to mutual moral and even financial support.

London’s dock labourers had long protested against the humiliation of the foreman’s ‘call-on’ that forced desperate crowds to gather at the dock gates, in the hope of a few hours’ work, but when unions issued a set of new demands to private dock companies, the inevitable refusal by the employers to concede resulted in a walk out across the port. Within days, skilled stevedores and lightermen unusually joined the strike and, with up to 75,000 dockers refusing to work, the port was completely paralysed. As the world’s shipping queued in the River Thames, London’s pre-eminent reputation as the “warehouse of the world” was at risk.

Two weeks into the dockers’ strike, nearby neighbours in the east London tailoring industry also began industrial action. Similar to the dockers, the tailors were unionised and the strike united 10,000 Jewish tailors from three unions in the fight for improved working conditions.

By the 1880s, up to 70% of adult Jewish immigrants living in the Whitechapel area worked in the clothing industry dominated by the ‘sweating’ system of small workshops and the subdivision of labour into unskilled or semiskilled tasks. The tailors’ strike demands included a fixed 12-hour working day with an interval of 1 hour for dinner and tea to be taken off the workshop premises, increased wages at trade union rates and the abolition of the practice of forcing workers to take work home.

Notably, both strikes were finally resolved through the negotiating skills of independent and prominent society figures trusted by both sides. The final negotiated agreement successfully achieved many of the key strikers’ demands for fixed working hours and a limit on overtime.

Find out more here https://bit.ly/3Ujba5G

📷 ©️ PLA Collection / Museum of London

This type of tie, with its exaggerated wide shape, became known as a ‘kipper tie’- a name created as a pun on the design...
30/01/2024

This type of tie, with its exaggerated wide shape, became known as a ‘kipper tie’- a name created as a pun on the designer’s name, Michael Fish. The boundary-pushing menswear designer was a key figure of the 1960s-70s counterculture movement the ‘peacock revolution’ and would go on to launch his own business, Mr Fish.

This rare kipper tie was discovered for just 99p in a charity shop. Stunned by the vibrant colours and width of the tie, the buyer says that it 'had something about it', catching her eye and reminding her of the 70s, so she just had to buy it. It wasn't until googling the label later that the buyer realised the significance of this exuberant tie and donated it to our collection.

Known for his bold use of colour and pattern, Mr Fish revitalised staples of British menswear and played with innovative silhouettes for men. His designs were worn by notable celebrities including Mick Jagger, Muhammad Ali, Jimi Hendrix, and Michael Caine. He dressed Sean Connery for his first role as James Bond, and David Bowie famously wore a Mr Fish dress on the cover of his 1970 album The Man Who Sold the World.

Second-hand shopping allows us to imagine the life clothes have lived before coming into our possession. This tie was made to last and we're so happy to have it on display in as its next journey.

It is just one of many of our second-hand pieces in the exhibition, including Dot Cotton's iconic Alexon coat and a leopard print hat by master milliner Otto Lucas.

What's your best second-hand find?

26/01/2024

Ooh, I say! Did you know Dot Cotton was a style icon?

Portrayed by the much-loved actress June Brown OBE, MBE for 35 years, chain-smoking busybody Dot was into sustainable fashion long before it became cool. And nothing said ‘Dot’ quite like her trademark coat.

Dot wore a brown tweed Alexon coat in some of her most famous scenes, including one particularly memorable episode in which she was sacked from her job at the laundrette.

Dot’s final scenes on EastEnders aired four years ago in January 2020. Sadly, June died not long after, in April 2020. She was 95.

Bethan Bide, our Fashion City academic advisor, takes a closer look at this unmistakable BBC wardrobe piece and the story of how it came to help shape Dot’s character.

Bartering for fishmongers' tales at Billingsgate 🐟 Once the world's biggest fish market, London's Billingsgate seems to ...
24/01/2024

Bartering for fishmongers' tales at Billingsgate 🐟

Once the world's biggest fish market, London's Billingsgate seems to have always been part of the fabric of the capital. But, after moving from central London to Canary Wharf 40 years ago, the cathedral to the 'catch of the day' is on the move again...

Enter Pat Wingshan Wong, an artist with a mission: to capture the essence of the market's characterful fishmongers.

Find out how Pat gained the confidence of Billingsgate's workers, creating a series of observational drawings which were gradually exchanged for the fishmongers’ stories, memories and personal objects. Read on: https://bit.ly/48NDDVK

And share your memories of Billingsgate Market here - do you remember getting up at the crack of dawn to visit?

📷 A salesman and customer at a fish stand inside Billingsgate Market.
©️ Estate of Bob Collins

Forty years after moving from central London to Canary Wharf, and with another move out of town on the cards, the fishmongers of Billingsgate Market have many stories to tell.

"Sitting comfortably? Thanks to the courage and tenacity of pioneering women in law, now we all can." This toilet roll i...
20/01/2024

"Sitting comfortably? Thanks to the courage and tenacity of pioneering women in law, now we all can." This toilet roll in our collection represents the story of women through history standing up for their right to sit down.

It was created by the First 100 Years project, a campaign to celebrate the history of women in the legal profession since 1919, when the S*x Disqualification Act made it illegal to ban people from jobs based on their s*x.

The founder of The First 100 Years, Dana Denis-Smith, said: “As we collected stories of women in the legal profession, one story came up repeatedly: the lack of sanitary facilities for women as a reason to reject them when applying for jobs in law firms."

This was part of a broader pattern through the 19th and 20th centuries of inadequate female facilities. 'Respectable' women couldn't relieve themselves in 'retired streets' or alleys as men did, and the few toilets available in Victorian London were overwhelmingly built for men. Women who wished to travel into central London or even further had to carefully plan where they could ‘stop off’, en route to their destination.

Selfridges is just one example of how this began to be challenged in the 20th century. Allowing women to spend more time away from home and make shopping a leisurely activity. also benefited as the Suffragettes spent a lot of time on the streets campaigning, so they needed places not only to use the toilets but to have a cup of tea in a safe and respectable environment.

Pictured is the Women's Right to Serve march, during the First World War. This was to encourage women to register for 'war work'. This created resistance as it could be seen as 'unwomanly' and a threat to mens jobs.

By 1917, the mostly-female-staffed munitions factories produced 80% of the weapons and shells used by the British Army. Women were paid less than men for the same work, which led to further hostility from the male-dominated labour unions: they feared that employers would try and replace their men with cheap female labour.

Once again, the presence of women was felt to bring new hazards and distractions into the previously male-dominated factory environment. Providing dedicated female facilities including wash rooms, changing rooms and toilet facilities, were regarded as a burdensome responsibility by some employers. Both wars saw strikes by women employed in war work, campaigning for equal pay to male workers, but also for better safety equipment, recognition and bathrooms.

https://bit.ly/3JeKvhQ


📷 Commemorative toilet roll / Museum of London
📷 Women shop at Selfridges, 1953
📷 'Safety-first' poster by Grace Golden, produced in response to the growing number of women working in factories during the Second World War / 1944
📷 Land-girls at the Women's Right to Serve March, 1915
The short hairstyles and breeches worn by female land girls liberated them from restrictive Edwardian clothing.

This month an instantly recognisable household item gets a   glow-up 💫Donated to our collection by pioneering BBC broadc...
18/01/2024

This month an instantly recognisable household item gets a glow-up 💫

Donated to our collection by pioneering BBC broadcaster and producer DJ Ritu, this box of incense sticks was crushed and torn from wear.

Our conservators got to work on the object:

"Normally, repairing tears on paper is made easy by the fact that paper is flat. We position the reinforcement material on the back of the object and press it with weights to ensure good contact.

"It is trickier to work on something three-dimensional which cannot be dismantled for access. To ensure invisible but well-adhered repairs, the reinforcement tissue was inserted and placed into position, with the help of a long spatula.

"Instead of using weights to ensure adhesion, small but strong magnets were used on either side of the repairs, which provided enough pressure to stick the repairs in place.

Working slowly and one repair at a time, the box went from flat to full again."

Recent rules mean that DJ Ritu is no longer able to use incense at nightclubs and has to perform without them.

Now that this object has been conserved, it will gain a new life as part of a display in our museum, opening in 2026 🏦

Skating has been a popular winter activity for many many years. In the museums collection, we have a number of paintings...
11/01/2024

Skating has been a popular winter activity for many many years. In the museums collection, we have a number of paintings and photographs of people skating on London’s frozen lakes and the Thames.

From at least the nineteenth century, attempts were made to produce artificial ice so that skating could be enjoyed more safely and all year round. In November 1841, Henry Kirk came up with a 'substitute for ice for skating and sliding purposes' for which he suggested using salts mixed with sulphate of copper for colour and 'hog’s lard, to render it more slippery'.

More permanent structures only seem to have been available from the late 1920s. The ‘Pictorial and Descriptive Guide to London’ published in 1935 lists ‘real ice’ rinks at Golders Green, Hammersmith, Streatham, Bayswater and Richmond. According to an article in The Yorkshire Post of 2 May 1936, it was the opening of the Ice Club in 1927 which began the present boom in indoor skating.

Ice skating also appeared to be an opportunity for a chic fashion moment. With men often favouring the an all black outfit of jodhpurs and a roll-neck jumper, women would usually incorporate in a slightly flared skirt. The flared skirt would allow the women to display fancy woollen tights and accessories such as scarves, gloves etc.

Photos taken in 1928 for the London department stores Harvey Nicholls and Gamages provides further examples of chic skating wear. This particular photograph below shows how short skirts could be when worn for skating. The long jumper is in keeping with the low waistline of the 1920s and incorporates some practical hand-warming pockets.

The London skating craze was curtailed by the outbreak of the Second World War. The capital’s ice rinks were closed and given over to other purposes.

To glide over more of Londons skating history, click here https://bit.ly/48QY1oF

🎨 Skating on the Serpentine / 1839 / J. Baber
📷 Sheet music for Les Patineurs, the skaters waltz / c.1930
📷 Modelling skating wear for the athletic outfitter A.W. Gamage Ltd / 1928 / Bassano Studio

Ever-increasing circles ⭕ The London Underground opened to the public  , on 10 January 1863. And, appropriately enough, ...
10/01/2024

Ever-increasing circles ⭕

The London Underground opened to the public , on 10 January 1863. And, appropriately enough, the Circle line was one of the first to welcome passengers.

The Metropolitan Railway built the Circle line, introducing 19th-century commuters to gas-lit wooden carriages hauled by steam locomotives, running under the city's congested streets.

This Centrally Planned London Underground Map, created by Adam Dant in 2003, took the existing underground map and recreated the system in circular form. All the stations (at that time) were included and connect just as they did in reality.

🎨© Adam Dant

'Provision merchants and bacon smokers' J D Link & Son Ltd made regular use of this device in the early 20th century.Can...
08/01/2024

'Provision merchants and bacon smokers' J D Link & Son Ltd made regular use of this device in the early 20th century.

Can you put your finger on what this , standing at 65.5cm tall, could be? 🤔

Queen Victoria’s watercolours and drawings are quite well known, but did you know she embroidered and crocheted pretty g...
03/01/2024

Queen Victoria’s watercolours and drawings are quite well known, but did you know she embroidered and crocheted pretty gifts for family members all through her life? 🪡

On Christmas Eve 1832, a 13-year-old Princess Victoria wrote in her journal: “Mamma gave me a little lovely pink bag which she had worked with a little sachet likewise done by her... Aunt Sophia gave me a dress which she worked herself… I gave Mamma a white bag which I had worked…”

This snippet from the future queen’s journal shows how she was surrounded by industrious needlewomen.

Between the ages of 12 and 14, the young princess famously designed and made costumes for 132 wooden dolls, inspired by historical figures, people she knew or characters she saw at the opera and ballet.

Victoria continued with her leisurely pursuits of ornamental needlework projects into adulthood and as a monarch. In the museum’s collection, we have a pair of shoes, believed to have been embroidered by the queen as a gift to her second daughter, Princess Alice. It was common for women at the time to present loved ones with handcrafted gifts, and Queen Victoria – often hailed as a “model of…domestic virtue” – was no different.

In the mid-19th century, Queen Victoria learned to crochet and, by the mid-1860s, she'd mastered the spinning wheel, too. Read more about the Queen's crafts, and the unique insight these delicate objects give into the powerful monarch's personal life: https://bit.ly/48FltoM

📷 Queen Victoria crocheting. Photographer: Byrne & Co. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

📷 Mademoiselle Taglioni, sketch and doll, by Princess Victoria. Courtesy Royal Collection Trust / © His Majesty King Charles III 2023

📷 Embroidered shoes by Queen Victoria

New year, same incredible old objects... ⚱️ As we ring in 2024, our dedicated Museum team continues to carefully pack up...
01/01/2024

New year, same incredible old objects... ⚱️

As we ring in 2024, our dedicated Museum team continues to carefully pack up our collection as we look forward to our move in 2026.

Watch this space as we bring you more in the run-up to our Smithfield site opening, and read about our exciting relocation here: https://bit.ly/41HiF8b..

"I cried silently over mum’s beautiful saris, still immaculately folded, and after I found dad’s spectacles. Over the mo...
27/12/2023

"I cried silently over mum’s beautiful saris, still immaculately folded, and after I found dad’s spectacles. Over the months, I sifted through an array of things, but one thing that was glaring at me was the family’s sewing machine..."

Asma Begum writes movingly of her parents' journey from Bangladesh to London's East End, their roles in the thriving garment trade, and her mum Anwara's 'holy grail' - her Brother sewing machine. Read more here: https://bit.ly/3TXafIf

📷 All images courtesy of Asma Begum

24/12/2023

Season's greetings from all of us here at Museum of London! 🎄

A pair of earrings in the form of ivy leaves, symbolising fidelity. The earrings are made of French jet, which is black ...
22/12/2023

A pair of earrings in the form of ivy leaves, symbolising fidelity. The earrings are made of French jet, which is black glass.

Holly, ivy and other greenery were used during Winter Solstice celebrations to ward off evil spirits and celebrate new growth. It was also seen as a symbol of prosperity and charity by the early Christians, and displayed as a reminder to help the less fortunate. Ivy keeps its leaves over winter and therefore was associated with eternal life. It was thought that feeding a piece of ivy to sick animals would help with recovery, as well as keeping the evil spirits away for the coming year.

Everybody's having fun at the Frost Fair in this woodcut from 1814, but some more modern items have snuck into the pictu...
20/12/2023

Everybody's having fun at the Frost Fair in this woodcut from 1814, but some more modern items have snuck into the picture ❄️

Can you can spot the five things that wouldn't have existed in London 1814?

Get a closer look here: https://bit.ly/41tXZjQ

Netty Spiegel became an iconic fashion designer, celebrated by many generations of Jewish Londoners. Today, on Internati...
18/12/2023

Netty Spiegel became an iconic fashion designer, celebrated by many generations of Jewish Londoners.

Today, on International Migrants Day, we're looking back at her story and how she found joy and success after a traumatic early life.

Netty was born in Berlin in 1923 to parents Max and Rosa. During her childhood years in Berlin, her family was directly threatened by the Gestapo and experienced a number of near misses. Her parents set up a system where Netty would phone home every day after school to make sure it was safe to go back.

On 9 November 1938, the family witnessed Kristallnacht (known as the Night of Broken Glass). Around that time, Netty's father was taken by the Gestapo. Soon after this, it was decided it was best for the young Netty to be sent to London.

She went via the Kindertransport with a ticket paid for by family friends in London. After her parents said goodbye to her at the train station, they drove to the next station so that they could get one last glimpse of their daughter. Sadly, it was later found out that her parents were murdered in Auschwitz.

When Netty arrived in London in March 1939, she was given accommodation by a family who showed her great kindness. When the family left London months later after the outbreak of WWII, they gave Netty an envelope containing the rent money she had paid them during her stay. They had been worried that someone of such a young age wouldn't be careful with their money. What Netty thought was rent payments turned out to be a savings pot for her future.

It was acts of kindness like this that made Netty into such an incredibly kind-hearted woman, which she later became universally known as. She would pay back the kindness to everyone she came across.

Netty spent a lot of time commemorating her family members who were killed during the Holocaust. Friends remember her painstakingly completing handwritten forms to record each relative from her own and her husband's family, which can now be found in an online database. She also donated to relevant charitable causes, never forgetting her roots.

Netty Spiegel was a renowned and respected designer and a beloved wife and friend. She lived an incredible life, sharing love, kindness and great style everywhere she went.

June Brown reigned supreme on EastEnders as beloved busybody Dot Cotton for more than 30 years. But did you know that so...
15/12/2023

June Brown reigned supreme on EastEnders as beloved busybody Dot Cotton for more than 30 years. But did you know that some of her most recognisable outfits were sourced from charity shops by the BBC costume department?

This coat comes unmistakably from the wardrobe of Dot Cotton and was worn for many years, featuring in numerous episodes, including the now-famous episode in winter 2016, when Dot learned that the laundrette would be closing and she was losing her job.

Dot’s wardrobe was carefully put together by the EastEnders costume design team, with June Brown taking an active role in shaping her character’s appearance, even occasionally purchasing pieces that she felt were right for Dot’s look.

This coat was likely bought second-hand, but was made by Alexon, a company known for their high-quality but affordable women’s tailoring. Alexon was founded by Alexander Steinberg, a Polish-Jewish migrant who started the company from his kitchen table in the East End. The business grew, with the help of his sons, to have a global reputation and factories around Britain.

Currently on display in our new exhibition Fashion City: How Jewish Londoners shaped global style, this coat is testament to the quality of the work that went into making such a long-lasting and now iconic look.

Find out more and book your ticket to visit here: https://bit.ly/44QTvE3

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