This Week in London – Norman Shaw’s drawings on display; Tower Bridge art; and, German medals from World War I…

Drawings by the renowned Victorian-era British architect Norman Shaw (1831-1912) are the subject of a new display at the Royal Academy of Arts. Shaw’s building works included New Scotland Yard on Embankment and renovations and additions to the likes of Burlington House, home of the RA. The display Dream, Draw, Work will explore the materials, draughtsmanship and design practices of Shaw and his staff and many of the works in the display bear the marks of extensive handling. As well as the drawings, photographs of Shaw’s London buildings will be displayed in the Royal Academy’s Architecture Space. Opens in the Tennant Gallery tomorrow and runs until October 26. Entry is free. For more, see www.royalacademy.org.uk.

An exhibition of artworks depicting Tower Bridge over its 120 year history opens at the Guildhall Art Gallery on Saturday. Tower Bridge: A Celebration of 120 Years includes paintings from the gallery’s permanent collection, contemporary interpretations and archive material. For more, follow this link.

On Now: The other side of the medal: how Germany saw the First World War. This free display in Room 69a of the British Museum focuses on medals made by artists who lived and worked in Germany from 1914-1919. While smaller struck ‘medalets’ were mass produced, the larger cast medals – such as those featured in this display – were produced in smaller numbers and mostly cast in iron because bronze was required for shell casings. While some of the medals, unusually modernist in style, were used to influence opinion against Germany’s enemies, others provided what the museum describes as a “more universal criticism about the futility of war and waste of human life”. Among the motifs used was that of Death who can be seen killing soldiers and attacking ships or giant Zeppelin airships. The medals were not officially produced or sanctioned and attracted their fair share of controversy (one depicts the passenger ship Lusitania, sunk by a German U-boat in 1915, as laden with armaments). The display can be seen until 23rd November. For more, see www.britishmuseum.org.

Send all items of interest for inclusion to exploringlondon@gmail.com.

 

Curious London Memorials – 4. The Suffragette Memorial

Tucked away in a corner of Christchurch Gardens, opposite New Scotland Yard in Victoria Street, St James, this memorial was only erected in 1970.

Designed to resemble an uncurling scroll, the bronzed glass fibre scroll – designed by Edwin Russell – was put there by the Suffragette Fellowship (a group which was founded in 1926 to commemorate the suffrage movement of the early 20th century) and dedicated to the “courage and perseverance of all those men and women who in the long struggle for votes for women, selflessly braved derision, opposition and ostracism, many enduring physical violence and suffering”.

The monument, which is located near Caxton Hall – a now-listed building opened as the Westminster Town Hall in 1883 and “historically associated with women’s suffrage meetings”, was unveiled by former campaigner and hunger-striker Lillian Lenton.

While we’re on the subject of women’s suffrage, we should also mention the memorial to the most prominent member of the early 20th century women’s suffrage movement, Emmeline Pankhurst (1857-1928). Located not far away in Victoria Tower Gardens, right under the shadow of Victoria Tower at the southern end of the Houses of Parliament, stands a 1930 statue of the suffrage leader, who was imprisoned for her stand.

The statue is accompanied by two bronze medallions – one commemorating Mrs Pankhurst’s daughter and suffragette, Dame Christabel Pankhurst (1880-1958), and the other showing the badge of the Women’s Social Political Union (WSPU).