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Creative & Connected: November edition

Enjoy these simple and creative activities for people affected by dementia, their carers and loved ones from our Memories of London team. This month: all work and no play.

Download activity pack

The title appears next to black and white photographs of past Londoners.

People have always had to work to make a living, but long gone is the 9-5 day. London, as a capital city, is a hubbub of activity 24/7, with jobs as diverse as London’s communities.

This month’s pack is inspired by an IBM electric typewriter in the Museum of London collection. These machines were essential for office workers from the 1930s until the invention of the computer.

Get creative with our packs and join our team online for chat over a cuppa about London's past.

London Lives podcast

In this podcast series we delve into the rich stories of London’s people to create an audible journey to the past.

Each episode is inspired by an object from the Museum of London collection and shares the reflections of real Londoners and their London lives. Listen back to hear wonderful stories of a cheeky, century-old Steiff teddy bear, the joys of Caribbean carnival and more!

This month's episode

In this episode of London Lives, storyteller Mara Menzies tells an enchanting tale of one family’s visit to the Museum of London. As they wind through the galleries, marvelling together at familiar tools and uniforms, they find a solitary object. Whispers of the past grow louder. Inspired by an IBM electric typewriter, held in the Museum of London collection, we hear from Helena, Derek and Hubert about their rich and diverse working lives in London. We invite you to listen in wonder and consider your own working lives.

Click on the white arrow in the orange circle below to play this episode.

With great thanks to Derek and John from Russia Lane Day Centre , Hubert from Ashford Place , and Helena and Jacqui from Nightingale Hammerson Care Home, for permission to share their stories.

You can also click here to read a full transcript of this episode.

Boys enjoying a toboggan ride in the snow on Hampstead Heath in February 1969.

Winter fun on Hampstead Heath

© Henry Grant Collection/Museum of London

Share a story with us

In our next podcast, we will be taking a look at age-old winter traditions enjoyed by Londoners.

  • Do you follow any winter traditions?
  • Have you ever been tobogganing or played in the snow?

We’d love to talk to you! If you’d like to share your story email [email protected] and we will get in touch to find out more.

Time for a cuppa

Illustration of a steaming mug in pink on a white background.

Put the kettle on

Join us for a brew and a natter

Why not join us to celebrate the festive season during one of our live, online sessions? This month the Memories of London team will be sharing objects from London’s past, singing, moving and chatting over two sessions!

Join us on Thursday 3 December, 10.30-11.30am and Friday 18 December, 10.30-11.30am.

To take part please register by:


  • Calling 07780 504506 Monday-Friday, 9am-6pm (Standard network rates apply)

Activity pack

Simply click the following link to download a large-print PDF copy of this month's activity pack.

We recommend printing it off as it has activities to fill out, trace or complete such as this telephone puzzle:

Illustration of numerous telephone cables tangled up, leading to different contacts from the Buckingham Palace switchboard e.g. the Queen, Prime Minister, vicar.

Ring, ring!

Help the operator untangle the telephone wires by working out which people are chatting.

You can also enjoy some of this month's Creative & Connected activity pack below:

Doodle and draw

Electric typewriters were gradually introduced into the workplace from the late 1930s. They enabled office work to be completed more speedily and neatly. They also benefited typists, as the keys required much less force than those on a manual typewriter keyboard.

Have you ever used a typewriter? What does a typewriter sound like?

You might not have seen your friends for a while. Why not write or type a letter to find out how they are?

Work can be stressful, but one way to relax is through colouring or doodling. Can you illustrate your letter or create a typewriter-inspired doodle to colour in?

Hold please, caller

This Private Branch Exchange (PBX) switchboard was used in Buckingham Palace. It was originally installed in the inter-war years and used until the 1960s. Each of the three consoles has a rotary dial, twin headset jacks and a crank which operated a magneto for the back-up battery in the event of a power failure.

A lucky operator once used this telephone switchboard at Buckingham Palace. Extension numbers include individual members of the Royal Family and the British Prime Minister.

Ever made your own telephone? Give it a go.

Simply grab two paper cups, poke a hole in the bottom of them and connect them with a length of wool or string.

See if you can have a conversation!


Photo of a nurses uniform, a bowler hat and a diver's helmet.

Many jobs have a dress code. Have you ever worn a uniform?

Design a uniform to go alongside some of the iconic work clothes in the Museum of London collection.

What job will it be for?

Do you have any work clothes or uniforms?

Try them on and see how they look.

Tools of the trade

Photo of a whisk, spanner, glassmaker tongs and a docker's hook.

This whisk was used to make fairy cakes in a north London bakery owned by the Stanley family.

Have you ever worked in a family business?

Do you recognise these other tools? Which jobs do you associate these with?

Alongside the blowpipe, tongs were glassmakers’ most important tools.

Dock workers used hooks to grip heavy sacks of sugar and other goods.

Test your baking skills with the fairy cake recipe below or bake a family favourite. Remember to use a whisk!

Plastic price ticket marked 'FAIRY CAKES 1d EACH', from Stanley Bakery 219 Eversholt Street, NW. The bakery, which closed in 1966, baked bread, cake and buns in the basement and sold them from a counter on the ground floor.

Fairy cake recipe

What you need

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g very soft butter
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Cup cake cases
  • Icing sugar


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/ Gas Mark 4
  2. Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl
  3. Add the flour and whisk in the eggs and vanilla
  4. Divide between the cupcake cases and bake for 20 minutes
  5. You could mix butter and icing sugar to spread on once they’ve cooled

Singe it all off!

General view of a reconstruction of a Victorian barber shop. A barber services for men included haircuts, shaves and shampooing. Hair was also 'singed'.

This Victorian barber shop is on display in the Victorian Walk at the Museum of London.

Victorian barbers practiced ‘singeing’ which involved passing a lit wax taper over a man’s hair to burn it off. Imagine the smell!

In the 1850s, stylish Victorian men were expected to adorn well-kept facial hair.

Try your hand at Victorian barbering by designing your own moustaches.

That's all we have for you this time, but remember to join us again next month!

You can find all the issues of Creative & Connected right here.