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Whitechapel's famous monster fatberg is coming to the Museum of London

12 December 2017

The only remaining piece of the enormous fatberg discovered under London’s streets is to be displayed at the Museum of London as part of their year-long season, City Now City Future. Sucked from the Victorian sewers of Whitechapel, the now infamous fatberg will be on show in the museum in 2018.

Having hit the headlines in more than 115 countries, the monster fatberg has become London’s newest celebrity and has fascinated and disgusted people all over the world. The Whitechapel fatberg was one of the largest ever found in London, weighing a colossal 130 tonnes, the equivalent of 11 double decker buses and stretching over 250 metres – six metres longer than Tower Bridge. The foul blockage was a congealed mass of fat, oil, grease, wet wipes and sanitary products. The existence of this fatberg highlights the pressures fat and modern rubbish are putting on London’s historic infrastructures and is a comment on our increasingly disposable society.

The Museum of London’s year long season City Now City Future discusses similar issues around modern day living. By the year 2050, over 70% of the world’s population will be living in urban environments. This rapid increase in population places even more pressure on infrastructures. Coined in London, the vivid term ‘fatberg’ is now used by cities throughout the world to draw attention to a common menace.

Seeking to solve this problem, Thames Water has now converted most of the Whitechapel fatberg into biodiesel, turning a nauseating waste problem into a cleaner-burning, greenhouse gas reducing fuel which will benefit the environment.

Vyki Sparkes, Curator of Social and Working History at the Museum of London, said:

The Whitechapel fatberg will be one of the most fascinating and disgusting objects we have ever had on display. Everything about fatberg is challenging, especially collecting and curating it, but as the Museum of London we cannot shy away from engaging with the challenges this city faces. Our thanks go to Thames Water for working with us and sharing our vision of highlighting these issues.

Sharon Robinson-Calver, Head of Conservation & Collection Care at the Museum of London, said:

It has been a remarkable process working on conserving a section of the fatberg. Obtaining the sample has required a huge amount of ground-breaking work by the museum and we have learned a huge amount. We have worked diligently with industry experts and are continuing our research with further scientific analysis to enable us to be able to display this unusual piece of London’s history.

Stuart White, Media Manager at Thames Water said:

There is definitely something repulsively human about this modern-day monster we helped create - largely through our own excess. At its worst, a fatberg can cause a total blockage and the misery of sewer flooding. This rock-solid chunk in the museum is a vivid reminder to us all that out of sight is not gone forever, so please help keep London flowing - don't feed the fatberg.

Further information about City Now City Future:


Notes for editors
For more press information please contact Katie Balcombe, PR Manager at the Museum of London on 020 7814 5511 / 07967 313176 or [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 daily 10am – 6pm and is FREE to all, and you can explore the Museum of London with collections online – home to 90,000 objects with more being added.

Thames Water – Bin it – don’t block it
Thames Water’s campaign ‘Bin it – don’t block it’ encourages Londoners to only flush the three P’s: poo, pee and toilet paper. Cooking fats, oil and grease should also be binned and never poured down the sink. Find out more here