We have a range of items that are popular that you may be interested in
As the Museum of London prepares to move to a new home at West Smithfield, we asked curators to pick their favourite objects not currently on display. Will these treasures star in the new Museum of London?
The Museum of London's collection is constantly growing. We currently hold over seven million items that bear witness to the lives of Londoners, past and present. Their bones. Their written or spoken words. The photos they took, and the drawings they made. Whether Victorian Valentines, or a tiny flask for tears shed at a Roman funeral, the London Collection inspires, moves and entertains.
We can only display a tiny fraction of the London Collection in our museums. We've asked some of the people who work at the museum to select their favourite objects not on display, to give a glimpse of the remarkable things we hold in our stores. As we plan the new home for the Museum of London at West Smithfield, these objects inspire us to tell the stories of all Londoners.
Chosen by Anna Sparham, curator of photographs
Believed to be the UK’s first woman press photographer, Christina Broom documented Suffragettes and First World War soldiers, besides royal and sporting events. The London Collection includes over 300 glass negatives donated by her daughter Winifred. Over 3,000 photographic postcards and prints were later acquired in 2014.
Chosen by Beverley Cook, Curator of Social and Working History
Mr King and his wife owned a stationery and valentine card workshop in Islington. In the 1920s the King family presented the museum with a unique collection of over 1,500 sample valentines, along with sheets of decorations and lace paper used to create the elaborate cards.
Chosen by Tim Long, Curator of Dress and Textiles
This mask, made from a re-purposed crash-helmet and plastic supermarket bags, was worn in the sequence Frankie and June say ... Thanks Tim – a tribute to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web. The performer played a punk rocker pogo-dancing to the Sex Pistols’ track, Pretty Vacant.
Chosen by Catherine Nightingale, Conservation Manager
The cache of 500 Elizabethan and early Stuart jewels discovered by workmen in Cheapside in June 1912 is the largest collection of its kind in the world. This gold brooch is set with Indian diamonds and Columbian emeralds. Salamanders were symbols of resurrection.
Chosen by Jelena Bekvalac, Curator, Human Osteology
Contained within the bones of past Londoners are clues that reveal
how the environment altered their lives. Clues that may help us live healthier
lives today. Here a researcher from the Museum of London’s Centre for Human Bioarchaeology
uses digital radiography to examine the skull of a man who died in the 1820s. We're currently performing major research into London's industrialisation and its impact on the health of Londoners.
Chosen by Roy Stephenson, London’s Historic Environment Lead
This tiny flask, just 15mm high, is believed to have contained the tears of mourners at a Roman funeral. Archaeologists discovered it in a stone tomb at Keston, in the borough of Bromley, near the south-eastern boundary of Greater London.
Chosen by Francis Marshall, Senior Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings
Over two metres high, this is the largest photograph in the London Collection. The dramatic negative image was captured in a shipping container, converted into a giant pin-hole camera. The light-sensitive photographic paper was exposed for several days.
Chosen by the late Mr Tony Pilson
For 40 years Mr Pilson was a Thames ‘mudlark’, picking up antiquities on the Thames foreshore. His collection of 2,444 buttons, cufflinks and studs is the largest such collection in England. He presented it to the Museum of London in 2009.
Fox Talbot (1800-77) was one of photography’s most important
pioneers. This salt print, made from a Calotype negative, is the earliest of
the 150,000 photographs in the London Collection. It shows Brunel’s elegant
Hungerford Bridge, crossing the Thames at Charing Cross, soon after it opened
on 1 May 1845.
Chosen by Thomas Ardill, Curator of Paintings, Prints and Drawings
This crowded group portrait features 231 stars from the Golden Age of the Music Hall. At the left-hand end of the vast 3.75m-wide canvas, trick-cyclist, Jack Lotto, is shown reading a newspaper. On his right are the Cockney comedian Albert Chevalier and, beside him, the much-loved singer, Jenny Hill.
Conservators can uncover hidden details of archaeological objects.
What does a medieval saint have to do with the Crossrail tunnel beneath London?
How Victorian print shops let Londoners see the news and celebrity gossip of their day.