• The world’s largest museum galleries devoted to the history of medicine have opened at the Science Museum. The £24 million ‘Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries’ cover more than 3000 square metres across five galleries with exhibits all aimed at better understanding how the human body has transformed medicine. More than 3,000 artefacts from the collections of Henry Wellcome and the Science Museum Group are on display including 200-year-old wax anatomical models, the first stethoscope, lancets used by Edward Jenner in his smallpox vaccinations and medicine chests used on expeditions to Mount Everest and Antarctica. There’s also an intricate model of a 1930s hospital, a rare iron lung used by patients with polio and the world’s first MRI scanner, protein model and paramedic bicycle. Visitors also have the chance to step inside a Victorian-era pharmacy, discover what it takes to heart transplant surgery and treat a critically ill patient. There are also four specially commissioned artworks including life-sized portraits by Siân Davey presented along with the stories of individuals impacted by how medicine defines ‘normal’, Marc Quinn’s monumental bronze Self-Conscious Gene – inspired by inspired the tattooed body of model Rick Genest, Bloom – Studio Roso’s aerial sculpture representing the spread of diseases through populations and Santa Medicina, Eleanor Crook’s bronze sculpture of a figure that is both surgeon and saint and which encourages visitors to contemplate their relationship with mortality. Entry is free. For more, see www.sciencemuseum.org.uk. PICTURE: The Medicine and Bodies gallery in Medicine: The Wellcome Galleries © Science Museum Group.
• Nine of British modernist artist David Bomberg’s key works are being shown alongside images that influenced him in a new exhibition at the National Gallery. Young Bomberg and the Old Masters showcases Bomberg’s works including The Mud Bath (1914), Vision of Ezekiel (1912) and the first version of his war painting Sappers at Work: A Canadian Tunnelling Company, Hill 60, St Eloi (c1918-19) alongside the likes of Botticelli’s Portrait of a Young Man and the studio of El Greco’s The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. The display can be seen in Room 1 until 1st March. Admission is free. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.
• The final 20,000 tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are being released from noon today. This year’s display features more than 12,000 fireworks and 2,000 lighting cues choreographed to music and will start with the sound of Big Ben’s chimes (despite them being silent due to renovation works this year). Tickets, priced at £10, must be purchased in advance to attend the event and those who aren’t lucky enough to get one can watch live on BBC One. To purchase tickets, head to www.london.gov.uk/nye.
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• All 100,000 tickets for London’s New Year’s Eve fireworks are now booked, the Greater London Authority announced this week. They’ve advised those without a ticket to avoid the area around Embankment and South Bank on the night, saying that the best alternative view of the fireworks will be live on BBC One. Meanwhile, don’t forget the New Year’s Day Parade which will kick off in Piccadilly (near junction with Berkeley Street) from noon on New Year’s Day. The parade – which takes in Lower Regent Street, Pall Mall, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall before finishing at 3.30pm at Parliament Square in Westminster – will feature thousands of performers. Grandstand tickets are available. For more, see www.londonparade.co.uk.
• The National Gallery has acquired French artist Jean-Baptiste-Camille Corot’s work, The Four Times of Day, it was announced this month. The 1858 work, acquired with the aid of the Art Fund, has something of a star-studded pedigree – it was bought by Frederic, Lord Leighton, in 1865, and the four large panels were displayed at his London home until his death. In the same family collection for more than a century after that, they have been on loan to the National Gallery since 1997. They complement 21 other paintings by Corot in the gallery’s collection. The Four Times of Day can be seen in Room 41. Entry is free. For more, see www.nationalgallery.org.uk.
Exploring London is taking a break over Christmas, so this will be the last This Week in London update until mid-January. But we’ll still be posting some of our other usual updates including our most popular posts for 2014 round-up!
• A British pyrotechnic company, Kimbolton Fireworks, will be used for the first time in the creation of the Mayor of London’s fireworks display at the London Eye on New Year’s Eve. And in another first, the firework display will be accompanied by music. The mayor’s office have warned that viewing areas for the fireworks fill up early (and will be closed when full) and have suggested that families with young children may consider attending a fireworks display closer to home. For more information, including a detailed viewing area plan, see www.london.gov.uk/get-involved/festivals/newyearseve/at-fireworks.
• London’s New Year’s Day parade celebrates it’s 25th anniversary when it kicks off at 11.45am on New Year’s Day. The parade route starts outside the Ritz Hotel in Piccadilly and runs down Lower Regent Street and along Pall Mall and Cockspur Street into Trafalgar Square before heading down Whitehall and into Parliament Square where it concludes at 3pm. The parade will involve some 10,000 people representing 20 different countries. More than half a million people are expected to line the route. For more information, see www.londonparade.co.uk.
• Firefighters have laid wreaths at the Firefighters’ Memorial outside St Paul’s Cathedral in commemoration of the 70th anniversary of one of the worst nights of the Blitz. More than 160 people were killed on the night of 29th December, 1940, in what became known as the ‘Second Great Fire of London’. While large parts of the city were destroyed in the German attack, St Paul’s was spared a similar fate thanks to the actions of specialist firefighters assigned to the building. The night was immortalised by Daily Mail photographer Herbert Mason in what is now an iconic photograph of the Blitz showing the great dome of St Paul’s wreathed in smoke.