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The Clash’s Paul Simonon’s famous Fender Precision bass to go on display at the Museum of London

7 July 2021

The Museum of London is pleased to announce that The Clash bassist, Paul Simonon’s, broken Fender Precision bass will go on permanent display at the Museum of London from 23 July 2021.

The iconic bass was last played on stage at The Palladium in New York City on 20 September 1979, during the band’s Take the 5th tour of North America. At the end of the show, Simonon smashed his guitar in a moment of frustration, which became an iconic symbol of rebellion. This moment was captured by Pennie Smith, whose photograph was subsequently featured on the cover of The Clash’s third album ‘London Calling’ released in the winter of 1979.

The bass featured in the popular exhibition The Clash: London Calling, which was open at the Museum of London from November 2019 – September 2020 celebrating the anniversary of the album release.

Visitors will now be able to see the bass on display indefinitely in the museum’s World City gallery and, eventually, in the new Museum of London when it opens in West Smithfield in the coming years.

Beatrice Behlen, Senior Curator of Fashion and Decorative Arts at the Museum of London, said: “We’re thrilled to have Paul Simonon’s Fender Precision bass on long-term loan. A seminal piece of music history, the moment the bass was smashed was immortalised on The Clash’s seminal album London Calling, a rallying call for Londoners and people around the world. We are aware that many were unable to see the guitar as part of our exhibition The Clash: London Calling in 2020 due to coronavirus, so we are pleased to provide a second opportunity to see it. We thank Paul Simonon and The Clash for this opportunity.”

The guitar goes on display in time for the summer holidays, when the museum will change its opening hours to seven days a week, Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm from 26 July – 5 Sept 2021. Book your free general admission tickets in advance here:

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Notes for editors
For the Museum of London please contact Katie Balcombe, PR Manager, on 07967313176 or at [email protected]

About the Museum of London

The Museum of London tells the ever-changing story of this great world city and its people, from 450,000 BC to the present day. Our galleries, exhibitions, displays and activities seek to inspire a passion for London and provide a sense of the vibrancy that makes the city such a unique place. The museum is open Wednesday - Sunday 10am – 5pm and is FREE to all. From 26 July – 5 September the museum will be open Monday – Sunday, 10am – 5pm.

Please book a free general admission ticket in advance of visiting the museum. You can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added.

The Museum of London is on the move. We want to tell the extraordinary story of London and Londoners in a new museum in West Smithfield, which itself is a deeply fascinating and historic area. We want to engage Londoners with their city and its history and display many more objects from our rich collection. Further information about the move and plans so far: #NewMuseum