Our London based insider Nina Hervé, enjoyed the capital?s snowfall last month with a trip up to Hampstead Heath to check out John Gay?s photography. Along with a few visits to some of the smaller museums the city has to offer, a drive to Walthamstow to see the Wood exhibition was also on the hit list, as well as live music in Rough Trade Record Store.
Wood is an exhibition of witty, innovative and ethically designed products for the home and garden. From a bird feeder that serves to capture a fleeting moment in time to a toy car that functions as a doorstop, this exhibition focuses on one specific material ? wood.
The exhibition presents 11 desirable products created by TEN, a group of ten designers who are united through the shared vision of Chris Jackson. They collaborate once a year to create products that reflect the TEN ethos; that is, to take a responsible approach to design that offers a timely antidote to society?s high levels of consumption and throwaway culture. The exhibition is on display at William Morris Gallery until 19th April.
More information can be found at www.craftscouncil.org.uk
Sherlock Holmes Museum
Stepping into 221b Baker Street is like stepping into one of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle?s yarns. You can sit in Holmes?s fireside armchair in his study, look out over the street, and check out his deerstalker, magnifying glass, calabash pipe and disguises. The museum is housed at famous Victorian address where author Doyle housed his hero. The building has been restored to look exactly as described in the stories and is a must see for any fan of the detective.
More information can be found at www.sherlockholmesmuseum.com
Pollock?s Toy Museum
Pollock?s Toy Museum takes its name from Benjamin Pollock, the last of the Victorian Toy Theatre printers. Set up by Marguerite Fawdry who bought up the stock of Benjamin Pollock Ltd, after trying to buy one small item for her son?s toy theatre. Nearly every kind of toy imaginable turns up here from all over the world and from all different time periods. The exhibition includes toy theatres, teddy bears, wax and china dolls, board games, optical toys, folk toys, nursery furniture, mechanical toys and doll?s houses. The Museum occupies two houses joined together in the heart of Fitzrovia, one 18th century, one 19th; the rooms are small and connected by narrow winding staircases. The whole place exudes the atmosphere and evocations of those special times of childhood where every corner is filled with visual delight.
More information can be found at www.pollockstoymuseum.com
To mark the centenary of John Gay?s birth and to celebrate his work, an exhibition of his photographs are on display at Kenwood House, Hampstead until 29th March. Born Hans Gohler in 1909, Gay attended Art College in Paris and became a commercial photographer in his native Germany. He fled the country in 1933 for a new life in Britain, horrified by the treatment of his Jewish friends at the hands of the Nazi regime, and served in the Pioneer Corps during the Second World War. Best known for his architectural photographs and celebrity portraits, John Gay?s pictures also provide a fascinating chronicle of a life which has long since vanished; when Blackpool was the ultimate summer holiday destination and London bobbies directed traffic. A way of life that simply does not exist anymore, unfortunately!
More information can be found at www.english-heritage.org.uk
A Museum Of Architecture With A Twist
Sir John Soane?s Museum houses an intriguing collection of architectural artefacts and other curios. Soane was born in 1753 and was a renowned English architect. The Museum, situated near Lincoln?s Inn in central London, was formerly his house and today it is still crammed full of his many architectural projects as well as the extensive collection of paintings, sculptures, books and antiquities that he assembled until his death in 1837. These range from valuable paintings by Hogarth (including satirical depictions of corrupt politicians) through to a collection of gargoyles and an Egyptian sarcophagus (coffin) complete with hieroglyphic instructions detailing how to make the best of the after-life! The Museum is open from Tuesdays to Saturdays and entry is free. Also on the first Tuesday evening of each month the inside of the Museum is lit by candlelight.
The Museum Of Brands
The Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising is the result of consumer historian, Robert Opie, who saw the need to record the history of the products around us. Starting at the age of sixteen with a packet of Munchies, the Collection now extends to all aspects of daily life ? toys, comics, magazines, newspapers, technology, travel, royal souvenirs, fashion and design from the 1890?s to the present day. Robert says, ?Whilst families tend to save mementoes from special occasions, it struck me that little was being done to keep the everyday material. When the thousands of pieces of this social history are assembled into some giant jigsaw, the picture becomes clearer as to the remarkable journey we have all come through?.
More information can be found at:
Last month, winner of best independent record shop 2008, Rough Trade brought out their annual ?best of? in the form of Counter Culture 08 CD. To celebrate the release, Rough Trade lined up a series of special in store events throughout the month of February. Acts including Laura Marling, Gang Gang Dance, The Acorn and Franz Ferdinand took to the stage warming it up nicely for Record Store Day taking place on 18th April. If you happen to be in London that weekend, make sure you don?t miss out on a day of live music and special one off singles to be sold in store on the day. A special 7? of Beck and Sonic will be on sale along with other amazing exclusives.
More information can be found at www.roughtrade.com