Earlier this summer, I saw this fascinating video and decided I had to visit the Museum of London, who made it. It’s startling how much the place has grown in the last century compared to all the previous ones. Several Londoners I talked to have said that that fast pace has picked up even more and they’re upset about it. Coming from what used to be a small town, I can completely sympathize with that.
The museum is actually built on a historic site—the Roman and medieval wall that encases the City of London inside the city called London. Watch the video below if you’re confused.
The timeline they cover actually starts the story of London with what was happening here during the Pleistocene Ice Ages. Walking in, I was expecting them to sort of gloss over it and treat it like a homogenous time period given their focus on history. But I was pleasantly surprised that they actually went into quite a bite of detail about the various warm and cool phases. Apparently humans left the area during one of the warm phases. Maybe they were running from the hippos. There were freakin’ hippos in England. Also macaques.
This is what greets you when you enter the exhibit area. Domestic cattle are descended from two breed of aurochs—European and Asian. Most that you’re liable to see in the West will be of European stock (taurine). Zebu breeds, like Brahmans, are descended from the Asian aurochs. They have big shoulder humps, dewlaps, and droopy ears. You do see a good bit of modern hybridization, though. Especially for rodeo bulls.
I ended up taking fewer pictures later in the timeline, but there was plenty to see—the Black Death, the London Fire, Tudor history… I skipped most of the stuff after the Renaissance ’cause I wasn’t as interested and my feet were sore.
I did hang out in the Victorian pleasure garden for a bit, though. It’s a room with a walkway and gazebo surrounded by screens with lifesize videos of actors on loop. There was a man taking a letter to his mistress’ servant, who told him he was getting too bold and her husband was sure to find out. A drunk acrobat fell asleep on his low-to-the-ground tightrope and rolled off without waking up. And various groups of people coming and going talking about this and that. At one point a man was so affronted by the sight of a female wearing men’s clothing that he challenged him to a duel…’cause that’s a logical reaction. *sarcasm* Thankfully, several people jumped in and told the challenger he was being stupid, so he left.
Basically, that room reminded me that I still need to watch Downton Abbey.