This Week in London – V&A’s ‘Performance Festival’; Underground secrets revealed; and, Gillian Wearing to create Millicent Fawcett statue…
April 20, 2017
• The fourth annual ‘Performance Festival’ opens at the V&A in South Kensington tomorrow. Highlights include a preview of the V&A’s exclusive virtual reality recording of David Bowie’s musical Lazarus, the museum’s first ever stand-up comedy night and a premiere screening of the film Lady Macbeth followed by a Q&A with director William Oldroyd, actress Florence Pugh and costume designer Holly Waddington. The festival, which runs until Sunday, 30th April, is being run in conjunction with the display The History of Europe – Told by its Theatres currently in the museum’s Theatre and Performance Gallery. Admission free to most events/selected events are ticketed in advance. For more, see vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/performance-festival.
• The secrets and hidden spaces of the London Underground will be laid bare in an open day at the London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot this weekend. Activities include art and poster tours, a program of talks including discussions of the finds made during the Crossrail excavations, London’s mail rail and the Thames Tunnel, miniature railway rides and the chance to see heritage vehicles including the restored 1892 ‘Carriage 353’ . There’s also plenty of options for eating and shopping. Runs Saturday and Sunday (22nd and 23rd April). Admission charge applies but kids are free. For more, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/open-weekends
• Turner Prize-winning artist Gillian Wearing has been commissioned to create a statue of suffragist leader Millicent Fawcett for Parliament Square, it was announced last week. The statue will be the first female statue to stand in the square when it’s unveiled next year as well as the first to do so which was created by a woman.
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This Week in London – Celts at the British Museum; the Fallen Woman at the Foundling; and Ai Weiwei…
September 24, 2015
• The story of the Celts and their culture is being explored in a new exhibition which opens at the British Museum in Bloomsbury today. Celts: Art and Identity, being run in partnership with National Museums Scotland, is the first British exhibition on the Celts in 40 years. Highlights of the display include a hoard of four gold torcs found at Blair Drummond in Stirling in 2009, Christian artefacts including iron handbells used to call people to prayer, elaborately illustrated Gospels, carved stone crosses and, a gilded bronze processional cross which, dating from 700-800 AD and coming from Tully Lough in Ireland, will be on show for the first time in Britain. Also present will be the Gundestrup cauldron, which dates from 100 BC-1 AD and comes from Denmark (pictured), London artefacts such as the Waterloo helmet and Battersea shield, and works created more recently which reflect on an often mythical Celtic past such as George Henry and Edward Atkinson Homel’s 1890 painting The Druids: Bringing in the Mistletoe. Runs until 31st January in the Sainsbury Exhibition Gallery (Room 30). Admission charge applies. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org. PICTURE: © The National Museum of Denmark.
• A new exhibition exploring the myth and reality of the ‘fallen woman’ in Victorian Britain opens at the Foundling Museum in Bloomsbury tomorrow. The Fallen Woman features works by artists including Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Richard Redgrave, George Frederic Watts and George Cruikshank, displayed alongside stereoscopes and depictions of the fallen woman in the era’s popular media. It also looks at the petitions of women applying to the Foundling Hospital, bringing to life the real ‘fallen women’ of the period through a specially-commissioned sound installation by artist and musician Steve Lewinson. The exhibition runs until 3rd January. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.foundlingmuseum.org.uk.
• The London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton hosts its autumn open days this weekend. The day includes the chance to see the original printing blocks used for the Johnston font – London Transport’s iconic typeface, expert talks on transport vehicles, a chance to see how the moquette – the seat covering on the tube – is made and film screenings from the LTM archive. From 11am to 5pm Saturday and Sunday. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk.
• The Worshipful Company of Woolmen will be holding their annual sheep drive across London bridge this Sunday. The event, free to watch, kicks off at 10am and runs until 5pm. For more, see www.woolmen.com.
• On Now: Ai Weiwei. This landmark exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly celebrates the work of Honorary Royal Academician and leading Chinese artist Ai Weiwei with significant works from 1993 onwards and new, site specific installations. Among the key exhibits is Straight (2008-12), a body of work related to the Sichuan earthquake of 2008, fabricated from 90 tonnes of bent and twisted rebar which was collected by the artist and straightened by hand. Runs until 13th December. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.
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Around London – Margaret Thatcher’s funeral; telling the Jewel Tower’s story; depot open weekend; and, Designs of the Year…
April 11, 2013
• Margaret Thatcher’s funeral will be held next Wednesday at St Paul’s Cathedral from 11am with Queen Elizabeth II among those attending (the first time she has attended the funeral of a British politician since Sir Winston Churchill’s in 1965). The funeral procession of the former Prime Minister, who died on Monday aged 87, will start at the Houses of Parliament and make its way down Whitehall to Trafalgar Square before moving down the Strand, Fleet Street and Ludgate Hill to St Paul’s Cathedral. Baroness Thatcher’s coffin will carried in a hearse for the first part of the journey and will be transferred to a gun carriage drawn by six horses of the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery at St Clement Danes church on the Strand for the final part of the journey. There will be a gun salute at the Tower of London. Meanwhile, a Book of Condolence has opened at St Margaret’s Church, beside Westminster Abbey, this morning and will be available for people to pay their respects until 17th April, during the church’s opening hours. St Margaret’s – which stands between Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament – is commonly known as the parish church of the House of Commons.
• The story of the Jewel Tower – one of the last remaining parts of the medieval Palace of Westminster – is told in a new exhibition at the historic property. Now in the care of English Heritage, the tower – located to the south of Westminster Abbey, was built in 1365 to house King Edward III’s treasury, later used as King Henry VIII”s ‘junk room’, the record office for the House of Lords, and, from 1869, served was the “testing laboratory” for the Office of Weights and Measures. The exhibition, which opened this month, is part of the English Heritage celebrations commemorating the centenary of the 1913 Ancient Monuments Act. The Jewel Tower is open daily until November. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.english-heritage.co.uk.
• See some of the earliest underground trains, a Lego version of Baker Street station and ride the Acton Miniature Railway. The London Transport Museum’s depot in Acton is holding it’s annual spring open weekend this Saturday and Sunday and in celebration of the Underground’s 150th anniversary, attractions will include the Metropolitan Steam Locomotive No. 1 and the recently restored Metropolitan Carriage 353 along with model displays, rides on the miniature railway, film screenings, talks, and workshops. Wales’ Ffestiniog Railway team – celebrating their own 150th anniversary – will also be present with the narrow gauge train, Prince. Open from 11am to 5pm both days. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk.
• Now On: Designs of the Year. The Design Museum has unveiled contenders for the sixth annual Designs of the Year competition and you can what they are in this exhibition. Consisting of more than 90 nominations spanning seven categories, the nominated designs include the Olympic Cauldron by Heatherwick Studio, The Shard – western Europe’s tallest building – by Renzo Piano, a non-stick ketchup bottle invented by the Varanasi Research Group at MIT, and Microsoft’s Windows phone 8. The exhibition runs until 7th July – the winners will be announced this month. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.designmuseum.org.
Around London: The East India Company at National Maritime Museum; Open days at London Transport Museum’s depot; and, Atkinson Grimshaw at the Guildhall Art Gallery…
October 6, 2011
• The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich has launched five month-long festival looking at the East India Company and the mark it’s left on London and the world. The festival, which was launched late last month as a new gallery, Traders: The East India Company and Asia, opened its doors at museum, features musical performances, film screenings, games, discussions, story-telling and debates surrounding the company and its legacy as well as ‘curry and a pint’ nights and tea parties. Also included are two days of celebrations marking Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Lights, on 12th November, and Chinese New Year on 18th February. For more on the events and the museum, see www.nmm.ac.uk.
• London Transport Museum’s Depot in Acton is holding a family open weekend this Saturday and Sunday with ‘make and take’ workshops, object handling sessions and rides on the open air miniature railway and life-sized heritage vehicles. Among those on hand to answer all your questions will be London’s Emergency Response Unit. Open between 11am and 5pm both days (last admission 4pm). An admission charge applies. To book or to find out more information, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/events.
• On Now: Atkinson Grimshaw: Painter of Moonlight. The first major show of Grimshaw’s work for more than 30 years, this exhibition at the Guildhall Art Gallery includes more than 60 paintings from his earliest Pre-Raphaelite inspired landscapes to the Impressionist style seascapes of his last years along with drawings, manuscripts and photographs on loan from public and private collections and descendants of the artist. Grimshaw (1836-1893) was a popular Victorian artist known for his evocative scenes of the urban environment at night and for his landscapes. Runs until 15th January (admission charge applies). There is also a special late viewing (the gallery’s first) on 21st October. For more on the exhibition, see www.guildhallartgallery.cityoflondon.gov.uk/gag/.
Around London – Transport depot open day; Brixton Windmill to reopen; and, St Pancras’ Olympic Rings
March 10, 2011
• The London Transport Museum Depot’s ‘Open Weekend’ kicks off on Saturday. The weekend of events at the depot in Gunnersbury Lane, Acton, will feature model railways, the chance to ride the Acton Miniature Railway – on either a replica 1938 tube train or a Metropolitan steam train – as well as heritage buses, and talks by author and broadcaster Christian Wolmar on his books Engines of War and Subterranean Railway. There will also be events specifically for children. The depot is home to more than 370,000 objects including road and rail vehicles, posters and artwork, and ticket machines. Events run from 11am to 5pm (last entry 4pm). There is an admission charge. For more information, see www.ltmuseum.co.uk/whats-on/museum-depot/events
• Brixton Windmill, the only surviving windmill in inner London, will be open to the public from 2nd May after a major restoration project. The Grade II* listed building, located in Windmill Gardens in Brixton, south-east London, was built in 1816 and was owned by the Ashby family until it ceased production in 1934. It was purchased by the London County Council in 1957 but had since fallen into disrepair. The restoration project, which kicked off in October last year, was partly funded by a £397,700 Heritage Lottery Fund grant obtained by Friends of Windmill Gardens and Lambeth Council. It is envisaged that interpretation materials will be installed and a programme of educational activities run at the site – including growing wheat and mixing flour – after the completion of the restoration work. See www.brixtonwindmill.org for more information.
• Giant Olympic Rings were unveiled at St Pancras International earlier this month. The 20 metre wide and nine metre high rings, which have been suspended from the station’s roof, weigh 2,300 kilograms and are made from aluminium. Built in Hertfordshire over four weeks, they took seven nights to install. They’re the first in a series of Olympic Rings that will appear around the city in the lead-up to the 2012 Games. The Olympics was last held in London in 1948.