Expanding City: 1666-1850s
Discover a city rebuilding itself after the Great Fire.
This gallery explores London’s rapid growth after 1666. The centrepiece is a 240 year old printing press that spills news stories across the gallery in an innovative collision of new and old technologies.
Admire museum treasures, including Nelson's sword, an original door from Newgate Prison and the extraordinary aerial view of the 1806 Rhinebeck Panorama, as you walk over cases embedded underfoot.
London was the capital of a vast empire and this global influence was seen in the goods that Londoners could buy, from Indian cashmere to fans from China. Similarly, immigrants brought new skills that benefited the business and cultural life of the city.
In size and population, wealth and power, there had never been a city like it.
The Fanshawe dress
This exquisite dress was made from Spitalfields silk woven by French Huguenots and worn by Ann Fanshawe when her father was Lord Mayor of London in 1752-53.
Wellclose Square Prison cell
Step inside this original 18th century prison cell and read the graffiti engraved by unfortunate prisoners.
Stroll through our beautifully recreated late 18th century pleasure gardens, full of period costumes and specially commissioned masks and hats by contemporary milliner Philip Treacy.