Visiting the great city’s more eccentric attractions.
WE LIKE MUSEUMS. They are treasure troves where you can be educated, amazed, and fascinated, and shown things you never knew about people, places and history.
Museums are mesmerizing resources for every age, and some of the most exciting and interesting museums in the world are in London, England. The city has the largest number of museums in Europe. There are more than 240, ranging from the well known to the quirky and peculiar.
The British Museum, the Tate and the Museum of London are familiar, but less so are the museums devoted to fans, Napoleon’s toothbrush, Sherlock Holmes, cartoons, surgery, crime, toys and sewing machines.
It is unlikely that you will ever see them all, but here are some that we found particularly intriguing.
The Fan Museum: As the name suggests, the Fan Museum is devoted entirely to every aspect of fans and fan making.
Over the centuries fans were used for cooling, as ceremonial tools, fashion accessories, status symbols, commemoratives and advertising giveaways.
The museum’s collection contains more>>
>> than 4,000 antique fans from around the world, with examples dating as far back as the 11th century. 12 Crooms Hill, Greenwhich, London www.thefanmuseum.org.uk
The Geffrye – Museum of the Home: If you are interested in the history and design of home interiors, this is the museum for you. Housed in a series of 18th-century almshouses, the museum’s 11 period rooms show how homes have changed over the past 400 years, influenced by society, behaviour, style, taste and the wider world.
The rooms display the furnishings, lighting and heating of each era and demonstrate the shifting dynamics of how families once lived. 136 Kingsland Road, London www.geffrye-museum.org.uk The Ragged School Museum: Ragged schools were established by Dr. Thomas Bernardo in the 1800s to educate impoverished children. In those days, disease was rife, poverty and overcrowding endemic and education for the poor was not available.
Over the years, the schools cared for, educated and sent thousands of children abroad to what was thought to be a better life. For some it was, for others it was dreadful. From 1867 to the present barnardo's as it was known, cared for more than 370,000 children and placed some 6,500 children in
adoptive homes. Some children were sent to Canada, others to Australia especially after the
Second World War. The last child was sent abroad in 1967. The museum is in three canal-side buildings that once housed London's largest ragged school. The museum recreates a classroom as it would have been when the school was first established. Once a month actors in period costumes teach lessons as they would have years ago. 46-50 Copperheld Road, London www.raggedschoolmuseum.org.uk
The Sherlock Holmes Museum: Surely this is one of the world’s most unusual museums — dedicated to a man who never Existed Sir arthur conan doyle wrote storis
about this fictitious detective and his friend Dr Watson and placed them in a flat at 221b
Despite the fact none of this actually existed, the famous first-floor study overlooking Baker Street is recreated and maintained as it would have been in Victorian Times. It contains antique artefacts true to the period and includes a man in period costume outside the door. This is an opportunity to step back in time and visit one of the world’s most famous addresses even if it’s all in fun. 221b www.sherlock-holmes.co.uk
The Household Cavalry Museum: This museum offers a behind-the-scenes look at the work that goes into the ceremonial duties and operational role of the Household Cavalry. You can see troopers working with horses
and hear accounts of their rigorous and demanding headquarters of the Household Division, in which the Household Cavalry has performed The queens
remaining broadly unchanged for more than 350 years.
Current displays show the role of the unit from the Second World War until the present, including a scene of two troopers on patrol in Afghanistan. >>
>> The capture of the Eagle and Standard of the French 105th Line Infantry Regiment by The Royals at the Battle of Waterloo (June 18, 1815) is recreated. Rare exhibits include First World War Corporal of Horse Harold Buckby’s cigarette case, French dictionary and pocket book, punctured by a single bullet. Buckby survived.
You can see two silver kettledrums given to the regiment in 1831 by William IV, the pistol ball that wounded Sir Robert Hill at Waterloo and a cork leg that belonged to the first Marquess of Anglesey, who lost his The real householdone at Waterloo. division Horse guards Whitehall, London www.householdcavalrymuseum.co.uk
The Handel House Museum: This is obviously one for music lovers, Handel aficionados and anyone wanting a glimpse of life as it was during the time Handel lived at this address in London, from 1723 the until finelyhis death restoredin 1759. Georgian interior is filled with artefacts, portraits and memorabilia. This is where Handel composed some of the greatest music in history, including “Messiah,” “Zadok the Priest,” music for the Royal Fireworks and his best-known 25 operas, brook oratorios street and london ceremonial music. www.handelhouse.org
The Cartoon Museum: Again, the name says it all. The Cartoon Museum, which is near the British Museum, was created in 1988 and opened in 2006. It is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, promoting and preserving the best of British cartoon art.
The museum has three main galleries displaying cartoons and comics, past and present, caricatures and pages of comicstrip art. British cartoons have often been pointed, political, satirical, humorous and sometimes outlandish.
An unusual feature of this museum is that it offers workshops for families, children and adults and can be booked for children’s birthday parties. The museum shop has more than 900 books on the history of
cartoons and comic strips, graphic novels, children’s books, and a wide range of cards, posters, prints and cartoon-related gifts. 35 little
museum Theis within Museumthe victoria of and Childhood:albert museum and houses Thisa collection of
childhood objects, ranging from the 1600s to the present as well as toys, dolls, doll houses, games and puzzles, the museum
aspects has of a childhood, wealth includingof objectshome and childcare relating, play to and other learning, clothing
representations of childhood, archival collections
These objects provide an insight into how children lived, thought and felt and tghe objects they were surrounded by throughout their childhood,.
Left: Victoria and Albert Museum, which is also home to the charming Museum of Childhood. Above: A display from the Fan Museum, the first museum dedicated solely to fans.
Top photo: The Geffrye Museum buildings. Above: The recreation of an 1830 drawing room, one of the period displays at The Geffrye.
Top: The Household Cavalry of the Queen’s Life Guard. Below: The study at 221b Baker Street, putative residence of Sherlock Holmes, now home to the museum dedicated to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s creation.
Top: The music room at the Handel House Museum established in the great composer’s London home. Below: The Cartoon Museum is dedicated to preserving Britain’s history of cartooning and comics.