I have no idea what I really expected from the Foundling Museum. I think it was something along the lines of an Oliver Twist Style workhouse, with a dinner hall of big wooden benches lined with tin bowls (obviously for gruel) and spoons. Maybe there would be a rendition of food glorious food. It’s weird what your brain makes up isn’t it. Basically, my brain was really wrong, it’s nothing like this illusion at all.
Today was the Pride Parade in London which marks 50 years since the decriminalisation of homosexuality. The city looked like a Lush shop had exploded; rainbow flags and glitter galore. As I sat on the tube I overheard a parent explaining to her two little girls why there was a man dressed in a PVC policeman outfit holding hands with a girl kitted out as Wonder Woman. ‘It’s for a Pride March’, she said, ‘people get dressed up and celebrate that people can love who they want’. I sat feeling pretty lucky that I’m in a country where I can overhear that on public transport.
I’m am ashamed to say that I judged a museum by its title. The Museum of English Rural Life (abbreviated to MERL) just doesn’t sound too exciting unless you have an unhealthy attraction to farm yards. I grew up in the countryside and my first word was ‘tractor’, you’d think I’d be the target audience; but I just wasn’t sold . . . it’s nice when your wrongly negative assumptions are blown away.
I love receiving letters. In a world of instant communication there is something dramatically gratifying about being able to attach a stamped picture of the queens head to a piece of paper and it seemingly magically still makes its way to the desired destination. I had never heard of the Bath Postal Museum, but I thought ‘well why not’ and popped in; what a gem.
Who doesn’t love a good map? They offer us a way to physically see where we are and what the world around us looks like, they can be pocket portals presenting space and they get us from A – B. This exhibition at the British Library not only supports a lovely for cartography but presents the variation within the map world in the 20th century.
I’d have just as much chance of getting into Eton College as Hogwarts. In fact, in real life Eton College feels quite magical, with ornate grand buildings that loom magnificently along the high street. It has gained a reputation as being for the elite, a maker of MP’s and teacher of the aristocracy. The Museum of Eton life provides an insight into this world, how it started as well as some of its interesting traditions.
I was at a loose end. I was in Reading. There was a museum. It was fate really. Continue reading “Reading Museum”