London, along with the rest of the world, will this week pause to remember 11th September, 2001, when nearly 3,000 people died after planes were flown into New York’s World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon (a fourth plane crashed in Pennsylvania). In preparation for the 10th anniversary, London’s Mayor Boris Johnson unveiled a 10 metre high sculptural memorial, After 9/11, in Battersea Park which controversially uses steel girders from the towers in its design. But London already has a memorial to the events of 11th September. This is located in Grosvenor Square Garden, opposite the US Embassy. Opened on 11th September, 2003, the memorial features a pavilion which has three bronze plaques listing the name of UK citizens, UK Overseas Territories and people of dual nationality who lost their lives. The site was chosen partly on the basis that it was at the foot of the nearby Roosevelt Memorial that people laid flowers and lit candles in the immediate aftermath of the attacks. Plants at the memorial include white Bianca Roses which were among the flowers in the Queen’s bouquet laid at Westminster Abbey in a service held on 29th November, 2001, and were the roses that family members laid on the innocent victims memorial outside the abbey . In addition, more than 3,000 of the rose petals cascaded from the Whispering Gallery to the altar of St Paul’s Cathedral on the first anniversary service.
• Tens of thousands of people are expected to join London Mayor Boris Johnson for the annual Sky Ride this Sunday. The event, organised by the Mayor of London, Sky and British Cycling in partnership with Transport for London, allows people to cycle a 11.6 kilometre route through the city centre minus the usual car traffic. The circular route, which takes in Westminster Bridge, the Mall and Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, will be vehicle-free between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Last year more than 85,000 took part. For more information, seewww.goskyride.com/london.
• The Imperial War Museum is marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US with a new photographic exhibition showing artefacts recovered after the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. Memory Remains, which opened on 26th August and runs until 26th February, is a photographic exploration of Hangar 17 – a previously empty hanger at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York where debris and material retrieved from the 16 acre World Trade Center site were stored. It features images taken by Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, who was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to capture what was happening inside the hangar and granted special access to do so. The exhibition is being accompanied by another at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. In the Spotlight: Remembering 9/11, which runs from 10th September until September next year, features artefacts from the World Trade Center including a British flag which was laid on the altar in St Paul’s Cathedral on the first anniversary of the attacks. Admission to both exhibitions is free. For more information, see www.iwm.org.uk.
• South Bank hosts the Liberty festival, an annual showcase by deaf and disabled artists, this Saturday. The festival, which will take place at two sites – the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre, will feature a mix of music, dance, street theatre, comedy, circus performances and aerial displays. Highlights include Mark Smith’s Deaf Men Dancing, performance artist Bobby Baker, Jean-Marie Akkerman’s Cirque Nova featuring four disabled aerial artists, and Kazzum, who produce theatrical work for children up to 16-years-old. The event is free. For more information, see www.london.gov.uk/liberty.
• The British Library and BiblioLabs have launched a new 19th century historical collection app for iPad users. The app (which costs £1.99 a month or $US2.99 for those outside the UK and is available through Apple’s App Store) allows users to explore historical and antiquarian books including classic novels, original accounts by Victorian travellers, books on science and poetry, memoirs and military histories. Around 45,000 titles are initially available with a further 15,000 to be added by the end of the year.
• On Now: Freedom from: modern slavery in the capital. A new exhibition looking at the reality of trafficking and forced labour has opened at the Museum of London and the Museum of London Docklands – the museum first cross-site exhibition. Created in partnership with Anti-Slavery International and coinciding with the launch of its Slavery-Free London campaign, the exhibition looks at the personal impact of human trafficking and slavery in 21st century London and includes personal testimonies such as that of ‘Gheeta’ who was trafficked from India and forced into work. It also features a series of large scale photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins of Magnum Photos. Runs until 20th November. Admission is free. For more information, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk.