Monday, 6 September 2010

Story of London II

The Story of London festival is back for a second year, running from 1-10 October. It's later and smaller than last year, and continues to include a number of events which would happen anyway. The website hasn't really improved either, so it's not as easy as it should be to explore the events, but here are a few highlights.


On Friday 1 October, you can visit a new gallery exploring Dagenham Dock at the Valence House Museum, Dagenham before taking a tour of the working dock. If I didn't have to be at work, I'd be at Docking at Dagenham. After work, though, there's a chance to explore the Museum of London at a late-night opening.

Ever wondered what London's pre-Bazalgette miasma smelled like? Sensible people may prefer not to know, but for everyone else there are guided walks from 2 October onwards which include scratch-and-sniff cards so you can smell 'London without Bazalgette'. I'm not sure how a two-hour walk taking in Embankment and Soho can also feature the Crossness Pumping Station, but it otherwise looks like an interesting approach to sewage history. You can really visit Crossness on 3 October with a behind-the-scenes tour of its current restoration.

A more sophisticated - and fragrant - tour of the Burlington Arcade is available on various dates, led by the Head Beadle. As I'm fascinated by shopping arcades, I hope not to miss this! At the other end of the social scale is a guided tour of East End social housing on 5 October. There's more of the reforming spirit in an evening celebrating Florence Nightingale's work as a statistician on 7 October, exploring her London life through talks and an exhibition.


309 Regent Street, the heart of the University of Westminster, is an important site in the history of education. Founded in 1838, it offered exhibitions, lectures, laboratories and activities on the frivolous end of the educational scale such as rides in a diving bell. The theatre was also at the heart of cinema and pre-cinema, famed for its magic lantern shows and later the country's first display of moving pictures. Take a free tour exploring all this history on 2 October.

On Monday 4, there's a lunchtime lecture at City Hall by Philip Davies, author of Lost London, about the city's transformation between 1870 and 1940. There's also an accompanying exhibition of 'carefully selected images from the book'. Which is much nicer than randomly-selected ones, of course.

Deptford features in a walk From Deptford to the Flood Barrier. More local events include a talk on the architecture of Greenwich, a walk around the archaeology of Greenwich Park, a Meantime Brewery tour and an Old Brewery beer masterclass.

After laboriously searching through the events, I found that IanVisits has produced a similar list of highlights! More importantly, his map and spreadsheet make it much easier to pick out some highlights of your own. Perhaps the organisers could take note?

1 comment:

Hels said...

You are reading my mind!!! But I love it :)

Three of my favourite sites in London, to visit and to write about, are Crossness Pumping Station, Burlington Arcade and Florence Nightingale's Museum. They teach us more about Victorian history than heaps of other places put together.

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