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Beasts of London: a Review

Rats, horses, a dormouse, pigeons and geese, the Museum of London is turned into a menagerie of beastly wonder.

Rats, horses, a dormouse, pigeons and geese, the Museum of London is turned into a menagerie of beastly wonder.

In partnership with the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Museum of London’s latest exhibition ‘Beasts of London‘ is a journey through London’s history, told through its animals who have lived in London and those who still call it home.

It’s described as an experience rather than an exhibition even though there are a handful of artefacts on display including an impressive preserved mammoth tooth, Oliver the rotund cat and a fragment of Samian Roman pottery. There are nine installations and each one takes about five minutes each even though most groups were families and so flowed quicker.

An eagle and a cheery three week old dormouse, ironically doomed to be sweetened with honey and eaten, narrate the beastly tales of Roman London. The information is delivered quickly, with strongly designed video. In Medieval London I was amused to learn a monkey had bit a soldier. There were plenty of well known stories I include in my Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them in London tour. My heart ached in the 1700s circus which showed a variety of animals and acts, where men think a rod is better than a treat.

My favourite room was that of London horses; showing the vast array of jobs they did including jousting, racing, in the rag and bone trade, as a Metropolitan police horse and an impressive household cavalry horse. It was unbridled joy!

Nearing the end of the experience the feathered gentry, pigeons, take the main arena, highlighting the forgotten work 250,000 pigeons did in WWII.

A general comment was I found that sometimes it was difficult to hear the narrators due to the over-excited attendees. From now until Jan 5 2020 (020 7001 9844, museumoflondon.org.uk)
Find out more here

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to fox-proof my garden!

Hazel Baker is a qualified CIGA Tour Guide who delivers guided walks and private tours in London. View all of Hazel’s walking tours.

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