• The City of London today kicks off Celebrate the City – four days of mostly free music, art and cultural events.The events include musical performances in many of the City’s churches, walks and talks at various locations around the Square Mile, new exhibitions including Butcher, Baker, Candlestock Maker – 850 years of Livery Company Treasures at the Guildhall Art Gallery, Livery Hall and historic building openings, family entertainment at the Cheapside Street Fayre at Saturday (including free ice-cream and tuk-tuk rides for children) and activities at the Barbican Centre and the Museum of London. The celebrations start in Guildhall Yard (pictured) at 6pm tonight when musicians from the Guildhall School of Music & Drama perform Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, complete with firing cannons. Among the many other highlights will be the chance to play golden street pianos, to join in the Midsummer street part at the climax of the Spitalfields Music Summer Festival, to enjoy a sunset from the Tower Bridge walkways and to see the transformation of St Helen’s Square into a sculpture space. The weekend will also host the Open House Junior Festival, London’s first ever child-friendly City architecture festival. To see detailed listings of what’s on, head to www.visitthecity.co.uk/index.php/celebrate/.

• The Museum of London will next week launch its annual community and training dig at Syon Park in Hounslow. The dig, which will be open to school and community groups, will run from 25th June to 7th July and will focus on the area of Sir Richard Wynne’s house. A Parliamentarian, in 1659 he was implicated in a Royalist insurrection and was imprisoned. The house, which featured in the Battle of Brentford when Royalist troops advanced on Parliamentary forces in London in 1641, was later purchased by the Duke of Northumberland and demolished to extend Syon’s parkland. For more, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk.

• We couldn’t resist mentioning this one: Westminster City Council has released a top 10 list of the strangest objects people have dumped on London’s streets. They include an inflatable Margaret Thatcher and other inflatable dolls, wedding dresses, stuffed animals and a range of film props. The council say that, on average, enough litter is picked up off Westminster’s streets every two days to fill the entire 864 cubic metres of Marble Arch. They add that if just half of the annual waste collected off the street is recycled properly in the correct bins it would save them nearly £1million.

• On Now: Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands. The major summer exhibition at the British Library, it explores how the last 1,000 years of English literature have been shaped by the country’s places. The exhibition  features more than 150 works with highlights including John Lennon’s original lyrics for The Beatles’ song In My Life, JK Rowling’s handwritten draft of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, JRR Tolkein’s original artwork for The Hobbit and original manuscripts from the likes of Jane Austen, William Blake, Charlotte Bronte, Arthur Conan Doyle, JG Ballard and Charles Dickens. As part of the exhibition, the Library is inviting people to “Pin-a-Tale” on an interactive map of Britain, that is, take a literary work and pin it on the map along with a description of how the work links with that particular location – head to www.bl.uk/pin-a-tale to take part. The exhibition runs until 25th September. Admission fee applies. For more, see www.bl.uk.

Advertisements

News this week that The Magazine building in Kensington Gardens – which dates from 1765 and was built to house munitions initially intended to help repel a Napoleonic invasion – is getting a new lease of life as an art gallery. The Royal Parks have awarded the Serpentine Gallery a contract to create a new art space – the Serpentine Sackler Gallery – in the building. Pritzker Prize architect Zada Hadid will oversee the renovation of the building which will be open in time for the Olympic Games in 2012. PICTURE: John Offenbach © The Royal Parks and Serpentine Gallery.

• A Blue Plaque commemorating singer, songwriter and one-time Beatle John Lennon’s stay in a house in Marylebone was unveiled last month. Yoko Ono unveiled the plaque at 34 Montagu Square, where she and John lived in the basement and ground floor flat in the latter half of 1968 when Lennon was working on The Beatles’ White Album. It was the first home the couple shared and, while Lennon lived at a number of London addresses between 1963 and 1971, of those that survive it is the home he occupied for the greatest period. Previous occupants included Ringo Starr, Paul McCartney and Jimi Hendrix.

• ON NOW: Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition will be held at the O2 from 5th November until 1st May. The exhibition traces the Titanic’s final journey, from Cherbourg on 10th April, 1912 to its sinking with the loss of 1,500 lives after striking an iceberg three days later. Featuring more than 200 artefacts from the ship, the exhibition includes recreated interiors from the ship. Tickets start at £13 for adults. For more information, see www.titaniclondon.co.uk.