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The Museum of London is one of the world’s largest urban history museums and has more than two million objects in its collection. Spectacular new galleries – Expanding London – tell the story of modern London from 1666 to the present day. The Museum also holds the largest archaeological archive in Europe of this wealth of information. www.museumoflondon.org.uk


Any comments - or a suggestion for a London secret? Please e-mail me.

Museum of London

Hippo False Teeth

Before modern dentistry and at a time when hygiene standards left a lot to be desired, rotten teeth were a common problem. In the 18th century, false teeth were made of a variety of materials, including this high class pair of hippopotamus ivory. It was common practice to take your false teeth out when you were eating:

www.jasa.net.au/london/dentist.htm

Queen Victoria’s Dolls

They may look as if they were designed by Edward Gorey, but these are Princess Victoria's dolls (1830-1833). Before she ascended the throne, she had fun dressing small wooden dolls with her governess, Baroness Lehzen. Victoria loved ballet and admired the Italian Marie Taglioni, who popularised 'en pointe' dancing.  

Porcelain Hand Grenade

In 1671, John Dwight took out a patent in London for ‘porcelaine’ that he hoped would rival the extraordinarily expensive imports of the real thing from China. In fact, his product was only glazed stoneware but excavations at his Fulham workshop show his experiments were wide ranging and included this experimental hand grenade.

Sedan Chair

Chairs like this one of c1775 were the best way for wealthy Londoners to make their way through crowded and dirty streets – all those horses did leave a mess – and preserve fine clothing. The picture ‘The Return from a Masquerade - a Morning Scene, 1784’ shows an C18th IT-girl slumped in a sedan chair after partying all night.

Cloud-less Canaletto

This rare Canaletto painting, Interior of Henry VII's Chapel, Westminster Abbey’ (c.1753), is one of very few he painted on a panel. Canaletto lived above a furniture maker in what is now Beak Street (the Silver Street) in Soho – a likely source for the wood. Westminster Abbey was already a must-see for C18th visitors to London.

Court Dress with Booze

Ann Fanshawe, who wore this intricately stitched silk mantua, was the daughter of the Lord Mayor, Crisp Gascoyne. Crisp was a widower so Ann acted as Lady Mayoress. He was also a brewer and the size of the dress (2.16m wide) reflected his wealth and power, while the detail of clusters of barley and hops showed his source of wealth.

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