As part of the crowdfunding initiative aimed at keeping Photofusion going see here, I pledged some money. My reward was to take part in a Hidden London Walking Tour organised by Simon Norfolk. Yesterday was the appointed day for the walk and it was great fun and highly educational.
Simon had fixed up for us to visit the Museum of London Archeaology (MOLA), the Museum of London archive and an active archeological site in East London.
MOLA is a charity that undertakes projects to recover and preserve archeological artifacts. Typically these projects are associated with major construction sites. Developers these days have a legal obligation to preserve such treasures. MOLA is located in an anonymous building somewhere close to Old Street. Whilst there we saw items which had been recovered arriving, and being cleaned, preserved and catalogued…these included human remains!! A fascinating and very muddy process. Possibly the most precious items we saw were some 2000 year old Roman notebooks. These were in fact wax tablets on a wooden base. The wax has long since disappeared but some text is still visible on the wood and through clever photography has been recovered!!
The Museum of London archive is where all of this stuff is eventually stored. I did not realise but one can make an appointment to visit the archive to view what is stored….I need to find out more about this but I believe that details are on the Museum of London Archive website.
On the way around I took a few photographs…
After our trip to the Museum archive we visited the site of a new property development of up-market apartments in Shoreditch. It’s called ‘The Stage’ and is located on the site of the 17th century theatre ‘The Curtain’. MOLA are working at the site and eventually parts of the theatre that are uncovered will be on show in the basement of the apartment block. This promises to be an expensive but fascinating location to live, Methinks!
Our final port of call was to see a short section of the original Roman Wall of Londinium. Perversely this is located in an underground car park beneath the Barbican. What a treasure and what an understated (?) form of presentation. We gathered here to commemorate the wall and to celebrate Simon’s walk…
Some may notice that this is not a form of ‘selfie’. I was the photographer but not present in the image.
Simon also showed us a series of his photographs on show outside the Museum of London at the Barbican. The series is called ‘Under London’ and was first published earlier this year in National Geographic. Simon worked with the people at MOLA to present some of their precious artifacts within the context of their place of discovery. You can see the images here. But you could also combine viewing the images in situ with a trip to the excellent Museum of London. This is a treasure that I have sorely overlooked! I plan to make amends in the future.
Many thanks to Simon for organising a great day out!!