Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Things To See: War, Plague & Fire At The Museum Of London

 Delfware bowls excavated from a rubbish pit in London.

In the news this morning is the discovery of seventeenth century ceramics from an archaeological dig in a rubbish pit close to the site of old London Bridge. These three Delftware dishes have been pieced together and are now to be added to the Museum of London's War, Plague & Fire display; an exhibition of artefacts that charts the city's history through the Civil War, the Great Plague of 1665 and the Great Fire of 1666.

Although the dishes are known as Delftware, they are thought to have been made in England, and would have been items of high value and prestige. As Roy Stephenson, Head of Archaeological Collections at the museum has said, "The analogy I use about seventeenth century Delftware is: if you were trying to acquire seventeenth century art today, you would have to be a multi-millionaire."

War, Plague & Fire looks like a fascinating insight into a hugely turbulent time in London's history; a time of rebellion, conflict and violence, of disease, fear and destruction on a massive scale. You can still find echoes in the architecture and layout of the new city that rose from the ashes.

Other things that caught my attention at the museum: The Great Fire of London Handheld Walking Tour. By clicking on the link, you can go directly to the museum website and download up to nine parts of a walking tour that will take you around key areas of the city while exploring the causes and effects of the Great Fire. Once you've downloaded the files, you can upload them to your iPod or mobile phone and off you go!

Tomorrow evening, the museum is also playing host to a talk given by Hallie Rubenhold, author of Lady Worsley's Whim (a highly scandalous and shockingly publicised eighteenth century divorce). I really wish I was able to get there myself, but I hope to be making a trip to the museum soon, and can't wait to immerse myself in the unbelievably vibrant history of the most remarkable of cities.

Image courtesy of Yahoo! News.

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