Today I visited the Museum of London for, I’m ashamed to say, the first time. I’ve never been to the museum before, probably because it’s not so near to all the big names like the British Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum.
I am lucky enough to have been selected as a volunteer for the quirky museum’s (read: it’s on a roundabout) Fire!Fire exhibition which as you may have guessed: is about the Great Fire of London, 1666. I won’t tell you the particulars but I am really quite excited about beginning my volunteering once the training has finished and all of the security checks have been sorted.
As part of my training, I was given the opportunity of visiting the exhibition today with my fellow volunteers and being guided around by two enthusiastic hosts. I won’t go into too much detail about the exhibition because really you should go and visit too if you’re in London. It’s aimed at families but really everyone can have fun there, and learn a lot too!
You first enter the exhibition, which has been designed as the narrow, dark streets of the capital as it was before the fire, and are immediately hit by the chaos and crowds. You can truly experience ‘handshake lane’ and see for yourself the close proximity that people were living. It’s also easy to understand how quickly the fire spread through the capital as it was mainly built in wood.
On a separate note, and some cool insider knowledge for you: the silhouettes and films throughout the exhibition are those of the set designers. I think it’s interesting anyway!
You are then transported into Thomas Farriner’s bakery in Pudding Lane and the place of origin (although disputed) of the Great Fire. It is at this point we entire the inside of an oven and some giant dough with a map of London portraying the spread of the fire. It truly is amazing to see it spread so quickly.
It is at this point that we see the ‘during’ part of the fire. There are flames, panoramas, interactive trunks, dress-up, and microscopes for you to explore and be entertained by – I won’t go into too much detail because really you need to see it in order to understand it.
The final part of the exhibition is the aftermath. What happened to the now homeless Londoners? Where did they go? Who was given the blame for the fire? How was it re-built?
I really enjoyed this exhibition, probably because of its interactive nature and the fact that it is aimed specifically at children – I guess that shows my mental age.
One day soon I plan on walking around the whole of the museum, which is free by the way, and really taking in all of the galleries.
You can buy tickets here. Prices start from £4 for children and £8 for adults. You have until April 2017 to experience the Great Fire of London and its impact on the city.