Islington Museum

June 24, 2008 at 8:00 pm | Posted in General, London, Out and About, Tourism, Travel, UK | Leave a comment
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As a resident of Angel, Islington I thought it was high time I visited my local museum. That and it’s nearby (you know, so easy).

Underneath Finsbury Library on St John Street you’ll find the relatively new Islington Museum. It’s small and free so it doesn’t really hurt to pop in and check it out. It’s not a hidden gem, though it is hidden and kind of interesting.

Within its small space the museum tries to capture a rough history of Islington from its first recorded mention at the turn of the first millennium to today. Topics such as the World Wars and fashion mingle with immigration, farming and gentrification. I didn’t realise how radical leaning my local area is with communists, suffragettes, New Labour’s formation and gay rights all starting or flourishing here. They also have a exhibition space which is currently showcasing the stories of immigrant women.

As a ‘local’ I found myself noting the changing and perennial landmarks, venues or streets I’ve frequented or yet to visit. Would a visitor find this museum even remotely interesting? Frankly, it’s unlikely a visitor to Islington would even stop by (it’s not exactly on the tourist maps) but if they did I think you would be reasonably impressed and find the development of the area relatively engaging. You’ll be able to whiz around quickly and be on your way without too much time being taken out of your day.

As for my fellow locals I’d recommend a quick trip if like me you still don’t know much about Islington. 

I will say and perhaps this is a space issue but the content is for the most part positive. Except in a historic context (e.g. health care) but I read those negatives more as a ‘don’t we have it so much better now’ rather than a negative of the borough. I certainly didn’t see anything discussing issues of modern poverty or social ills. I suppose this is the downside of a local government museum.

I’ll try and keep my eyes out for other local museums showcasing all of the diversity across London.

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