Covering the expansive history of the city of London, the Museum of London tells the story of the city and its people. Travelling from the prehistoric times to the present day, this museum gives an extensive view of life in the city through time. Whether you’re exploring a recreation of a Victorian London street or seeing the original boundary of the city, the London Wall, you’ll experience everything about London’s rich history!
This week, Quingo Scooters is travelling to England’s capital city to learn all about its history! With 9 permanent galleries stretching over 455,000 years, let’s see what’s happening at the Museum of London…
- London Before London: Taking a tour from 450,000 BC to 50 AD, this exhibit explores the lives of people living in the Lower Thames Valley. Travelling up to the creation of the Roman city of Londinium, you’ll see amazing artefacts from the Neolithic period such as a mace head, axes and pots. Spanning an epic 455,000 year period, witness everything from the jaw of a mammoth from 200,000 BC to an Iron Age chariot fitting.
Must see: Did you know that 125,000 years ago hippos lived in Trafalgar Square? London’s prehistoric landscape was once similar to today’s central African planes. You’ll learn so much more in this exhibit, discovering a London vastly different from the one we know today!
- Roman London: From 50 to 410 AD, the Romans built the city where London now stands. Known as Londinium, the attraction charts the rise of London as a vital international port. From the Bucklersbury Mosaic dating to 250 AD, to the Roman tomb of Claudia Martina from 200 AD, you’ll experience an up-close and detailed view of London under Roman rule.
Must see: Strategically built by the Romans around Londinium, the London Wall was a defensive wall built around the port town surrounding the River Thames. Part of this wall still stands at the museum and is a must-see. The largest construction project carried out in Roman Britain, here you’ll witness the origins of the City of London.
- Medieval London: From religious and political controversy to fire, famine and disease, London in the Medieval period was far from boring! Following the collapse of the Roman city right up to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I, journey through the history of London from 410 AD to 1558. Step back in time into the heart of medieval London using interactive maps to explore how London grew from the remains of Roman influence. From Viking battle axes to a reconstruction of a late Saxon house, is a truly immersive experience.
- War, Plague and Fire: As one of the most turbulent times for citizens of London, the century from the 1550s to 1660s experienced much strife. In this exhibit, you can discover London as a divided city. Home to both Hedonists and Puritans, explore the death and disaster experienced in the capital. From the execution of King Charles I in 1649 and the rise of a Republican Britain, to the plague in 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666, history comes to life. Learn what life was like in 17th century London for a prosperous family in their amazingly detailed reconstruction of a Stuart room. If you’re a big fan of history, why not pay a visit to Lord Protector and republican ruler Oliver Cromwell’s death mask? There’s a lot to do and see in this exhibit.
Must see: Try on a replica of a 17th century helmet worn by firefighters of the time! As the great Great Fire spread through London in 1666, this would be the style of helmet those tasked with calming the blaze would have worn. Here you can compare it to a modern helmet worn by the London Fire Brigade and see how far their uniform has come!
- Expanding City: Showing life after the Great Fire of London, watch how the city rebuilt itself and became the world’s largest city and Britain’s manufacturing centre. Showcasing the highs and lows of society, you’ll see the prosperity and debt-filled failure of Londoners of the time. There are displays of London high society featuring fans, duelling pistols and a magnificent gowns worn in 1753. On the other end of the spectrum, the attraction features Wellclose Square debtors’ cell with graffiti of the prisoners carved in. You’ll see a wide cross-section of London life in this period.
- People’s City Gallery: Punctuated by 2 World Wars, this gallery travels from the 1850s to the 1940s. Displaying how London became the wealthiest and most powerful city in the world, here you’ll see how technology became to change the lives of Londoners. Whether you see one of the first taxis on London streets or the Selfridges lift from 1928, this exhibition explores the rise of modern life and how industrialization changed the city.
Here you’ll also witness the political changes to the city. With the suffragette movement fighting to get the vote for women, the gallery tells the story of the 1,000 women who suffered imprisonment in their struggle. From the banner from one off their marches to a hunger strike medal from 1912 presented to suffragette Florence Haig, their fight comes to life.
In addition to this, the Blitz interactive creates an immersive experience surrounding the Second World War. Step into the war and explore the stories of Londoners from this period. A 50kg German-made incendiary bomb even hangs in mid-air. If you’re interested in the Second World War, this is a must-visit!
Must see: In the gallery’s immersive Victorian Walk experience, you’ll be able to step back in time and wander down a reconstruction of the winding streets of 19th century London. Whether you window shop at the toy shop, tobacconist tailor or pawnbroker, or visit the barber’s chair, 19th century London comes to life. Make sure to stop off at the reconstruction of Lyon’s Corner House restaurant window!
- World City: Travelling from the 1950s to present day London, this gallery is a celebration of the multicultural city we know. From the Windrush generation of the 1950s, to the punk movement of the 1970s, to the diverse and modern industry of present day London, here you’ll learn all about what makes London great.
Must see: London is undoubtedly a centre for fashion, so this gallery charts key fashions from the last 70 years! The mod fashion revolution spearheaded by the Beatles in the 1960s and 1970s is displayed in a case. Sourced entirely in London markets, a full outfit worn by punk singer Marian Williams is on show. Don’t miss the Adidas Team GB swimming trunks worn by Tom Daley during the London 2012 Olympics!
- The London 2012 Cauldron: Fans of sport are sure to love this iconic piece of London’s history! Thomas Heatherwick’s London 2012 Cauldron is on display, while dramatic footage and exclusive testimony set the scene. Recapturing the journey from design to the opening and closing ceremony of the games, here you can relive the triumphant 16 days of British and World sport!
Where to eat and drink
At the Museum of London, there are several delicious excellent cafes and restaurants serving hot and cold meals, sandwiches, cakes and fair-trade tea and coffee. The full list of available restaurants and cafes is available here, with something to cover all needs!
Opening times and prices
The Museum of London is open 10am-6pm daily, except for 24-26 December. The cost of admission is free. However, there are donation boxes throughout the attraction should you wish to help with the running costs of the museum. More information on opening times and prices can be found here.
Located on London Wall, the entrance has lifts and escalators from street level. If you are travelling by car, the building can be found at the postcode EC2Y 5HN. Located underneath the Museum of London building, there are several Blue Badge Parking Spaces which should be booked in advance. The nearest tube stations are St Paul’s, Moorgate and Barbican. The area is serviced by several local buses, full information on getting there can be found here.
The Museum of London is fully accessible for all visitors. This includes galleries, learning rooms, the café, shop and theatre. Accessible toilets are on all museum floors, with fully accessible lifts providing access to all floors and public spaces. The information desk has an accessible counter. Blue Badge parking spaces can be found underneath the museum in the car park. Further information on accessibility can be found here.
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