This Week in London – Museum of London prepares to move; London’s open spaces celebrated; Kenley Airfield restored; and Milton Avery at the RA…

The Museum of London has launched a six-month programme of events celebrating its 45 year history ahead of its doors closing on 4th December in preparation for its move to West Smithfield. The programme includes a range of family activities – from Roman picnics to large LEGO builds – as well as behind the scenes access at the museum during Open House London and two festivals on the closing weekend celebrating the past 50 years of London’s history. For the full programme of events, head to www.museumoflondon.org.uk. Following its closure at the London Wall site, the new site at West Smithfield, to be named The London Museum, will open in 2026.

A group of children paddling in Whitestone Pond on the edge of Hampstead Heath in 1920. PICTURE: © London Metropolitan Archives

An outdoor exhibition on the essential role of London’s parks and open spaces – which have served as everything from playgrounds and picnics to concerts and Sunday football kickabouts – opens in Guildhall Yard on Monday. Green City: A Visual History of London’s Parks and Open Spaces, which is curated by the City of London Corporation’s London Metropolitan Archives, celebrates the role open places have played in the capital since the 16th century and brings together 100 photographs and prints from the archives’ collections. The exhibition can be seen in Guildhall Yard until 1st August when it moves to Aldgate Square. On 15th August it will open at Hampstead Heath and then, from 1st September, spend two weeks at The View in Epping Forest’s Visitor Centre.

Kenley Airfield – an integral part of London’s defence during World War II – has reopened following a £1.2 million restoration. The airfield, which sits in the Borough of Croydon, was a station for the Royal Flying Corps during World War I and the Royal Air Force during World War II. The restoration work has brought back to life eight deteriorating fighter blast pens, which protected RAF Spitfires and Hurricanes from attack. The site also includes The Kenley Tribute, a memorial to all who served there between 1917 and 1959, both on the ground and in the air. For more, including information on visiting the airfield and self-guided walks, see www.kenleyrevival.org.

The work of 20th century American artist Milton Avery is the subject of a new exhibition opening at the Royal Academy of Arts on Friday. Milton Avery: American Colourist – which can be seen in The Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Galleries in Piccadilly – features some 70 works including portraits and landscapes dating from 1910 until the 1960s. The exhibition is divided into four sections – ‘Early Work’, ‘Portraits’, ‘Innovation in Colour and Form’ and ‘Late Work’ – and highlights include Blossoming (1918), a portrait of Avery’s friends known as The Dessert (1939), two portraits of his daughter March – Seated Girl with Dog (1944) and March in Brown (1954), and, Black Sea (1959). Runs until 16th October. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

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Around London…

• A 145-year-old replica of an Eleanor’s Cross was unveiled outside Charing Cross railway station last month following a major restoration. The monument, located near Trafalgar Square, was built in 1865 and was a copy of one of the 12 which were constructed by King Edward I to mark the route where the body of his wife Eleanor of Castile rested each night on its way to Westminster Abbey following her death in 1290. Only three of the original crosses remain intact – at Geddington north of Northamptonshire, Hardingstone near Northamptonshire, and Waltham Cross in Hertfordshire. The original monument at Charing Cross, which was demolished in 1647, marked the point from which distances are measured from London (a plaque now marks the site). The restoration involved replacing some 100 damaged and missing features. Due to deterioration, the monument has been hidden behind scaffolding for the past five years.

None of London’s Barclay bikes will be available to tourists until the end of the year, reports the London Evening Standard. The newspaper says plans to widen the scheme to allow tourists to hire the bikes have been put on hold after the emergence of logistical problems. The hire scheme was launched for locals at the end of July.

A new heritage trail has been opened at Kenley Common in the city’s outer south to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain. The 56 hectare common in Surrey surrounds Kenley Airfield, a former Battle of Britain airfield these days used by the RAF for glider training. The trail, which was an initiative of a range of organisations including the Kenley Airfield Friends Group, RAF Association, Tandridge District Council, English Heritage, the Ministry of Defence and City of London Corporation, kicks off at the RAF Tribute on Kenley Common (off Hayes Lane in Surrey) and features a series of interpretative panels, the first two of which are mounted on scaled down Spitfire wings. These explain the role the area played in defending London from attacks and the significance of the tribute and the World War II blast pens. For more information, follow this link. For information on London’s Battle of Britain memorial, head here www.bbm.org.uk.