Up Against It

‘1967: Up Against It’ explores the impact of the Sexual Offences Act (1967) passed on 27 July that year, and the 50th anniversary of the deaths of the borough’s most (in)famous gay couple, Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, on 9 August.

Up Against It

Through the stories of well-known and some not so well-known gay men living in Islington before and after the act, this exhibition seeks to reflect the experience of men who could not declare their love freely and the difference the 1967 act made to them. Stories featured include those of Oscar Wilde, imprisoned at Holloway and Pentonville prisons, and record producer Joe Meek whose life, like Orton and Halliwell’s, also ended in tragic circumstances.

Collaged public library book covers created by Orton and Halliwell, a Halliwell collage and his newly acquired ‘World of Cats’ screen will be on display together for the first time. The exhibition further asks whether the sixth-month sentence the couple received for theft and malicious damage in 1962 was, as Orton asserted, “because we were queers.”

Join us for our Up Against it event on 17th October 18.00

Dates: Saturday 22 July to Saturday 21 October 2017

Opening timesMonday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am – 5pm. Wednesday and Sunday: closed

Finsbury Rifles: Away from the Western Front. 17th July to 2nd August 1916.

Work on defences

The defence posts by the Suez Canal included a network of communication trenches.


© IWM (Q 57788) Suez Canal Defences. Trench system, Ashton Post, December 1916. BYRNE STANLEY CESNOLA (COLONEL) COLLECTION.

Maintaining these trenches was a never ending task involving an immense amount of hard physical labour by the men. The trenches were lined with sandbags and boards but these gradually rotted away because of the heavy night dews and had to be replaced. The shifting sands of the desert gradually built up around the barbed wire defences and filled up the trenches despite their matting cover. It all had to be dug out and thrown at least 12 foot away.



© IWM (Q57749). Suez Canal Defences. Fatigue party 1/11th London Regiment, 162nd Infantry Brigade, 54th East Anglian Division, repairing the revetting of a trench which had given way. Ashton Post, 1916. BYRNE STANLEY CESNOLA (COLONEL) COLLECTION.


The working day lasted 6 hours –usually split into a very early morning and a late afternoon session to avoid the heat of the day. In summer the temperature could reach 50 degrees Celsius.


Date 17/7/16

Work on defences as usual. B Coy training. GOC 161 Bde visited the Post.

Date 18 to 19/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Battn finding usual guards and outposts.

Date 20/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Battn finding usual guards and outposts.

Date 21 to 22/7/16

Work on defences as usual. GOC 162 Bde visited the post.

Date 23/7/16

Divine service under Battn arrangements.

Date 24/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Remainder of Battn training 2nd Lt Gethy Bridge (13th Sherwood Foresters) returns to duty from hospital.

Date 25/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Remainder of Battn training.

Date 26 to 27/7/16

Work on defences as usual. Lt Gibson returned from duty with 162 Bde.

Date 28 to 29/7/16

Work on defences as usual.

Date 30/7/16

Divine service under Battn arrangements. Routine as usual.

Date 31/7/16

Routine as usual. 2nd Lt Lawrence rejoined for duty from Alexandria. C Coy commenced training.

Date 1 to 2/8/16

Work on defences. Training and usual routine. Lt WS Owen rejoined from English leave.

Under 5’s Winter Activities Programme at Islington Museum.

Join us at the museum for some messy play and imaginative storytelling, as the leaves fall and the weather turns colder!

Outside of our monthly programming we also have fabulous dress up boxes, toy kitchen and shop, exciting toys and lots to explore and learn, all in a warm and welcoming environment. Do drop in and visit us!



Messy Play: Autumn!

10.00-11.30am, 21st September, 2017.

Make a mess with Autumn leaves, craft your own colourful fireworks and explore the season’s changing colours at our Autumn Messy Play.

Storytelling: Black History Month

10.00-11.30am, 29th September 2017

Explore stories from Islington’s diverse heritage, with an interactive and imaginative storytelling session, followed by making a craft to take home!


Messy Play: Black History Month

10.00-11.30am, 12th October 2017.

Explore some of the stories which make up Islington’s diverse history through fabric printing, messy crafts and play.


Messy Play: Remembrance

10.00-11.30am, 9th November, 2017.

Craft beautiful poppies, learn about Islington’s stories from World War One and collage your own pop up.

Storytelling: Remembrance

10.00-11.30am, 21st November, 2017.

Help us to remember the stories of World War One while taking part in a sensory storytelling adventure and making crafts to take home.


Messy Play: Magical Winter!

10.00-11.30am, 7th December 2017.

 Lets celebrate this chilly, snowy time of year, with sensory snow and sparkly messy crafts! 

Storytelling: Winter Stories!

10.00—11.30am, 19th December 2017.

Explore a winter wonderland on a storytelling adventure. Then let’s make beautiful winter crafts to take home.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

For more info please get in touch with Rebecca:

02075273235 or Rebecca.Campbell-Gay@islington.gov.uk

Yao Blog 3

This is the last day I work in Islington Museum and I spent a fantastic morning with Julie Melrose, the archivist of Islington Local History Centre who gave me a mesmerising introduction to the centre and briefly the history of London borough of Islington and Finsbury. Then I got some hands-on experience in categorising, putting the maps of Islington borough in order and attaching appropriate labels and captions with those archived documents. It impressed me a lot how Islington expanded and developed in the recent 200 years and how archives support academic research and also general users with particular interests.

My work placement in Islington Museum is almost finishing here and it will be great to make a conclusion for all achievements I have done and with them, the learning outcomes. I very much appreciate the work plan for me which was made by the curator Roz and suited my interests and competencies very well. Following that plan, I had a great opportunity to experience managing ADLIB database and working on accession and object check. Whereas my previous employers were advertising agencies which demands good insight and understanding of clients’ requirement, the work here in Islington Museum needs more attention to details and passion for social culture and local history. The gap in between makes this work placement much meaningful and fascinating because working with academia is pretty eye-opening and ignite more possibilities for my own career. As for the practical skills I acquired in this work placement, I grew my competency in sorting data with Excel and managing database from the experience in using ADLIB, which could be useful in analytic and statistic jobs. Besides, this is the first time I work in a completely English environment which improved my skills in language and communicating with local people. In one word, the work placement I had in Islington Museum is a brilliant experience which extended my horizon and got myself prepared for future career.

Islington Museum is a fantastic place to apply theoretical learning into real working environment and people here are very much kind and helpful. It could be better if more volunteers can be used to sort the database and digitised materials here. I had a very wonderful time in Islington Museum and wish them all the best in the future.

Islington Museum/ Local History Centre Entrance

Under 5’s and family events this summer

Join us for a summer of creative fun at Islington Museum.

Family Workshop: Sunshine Printing

10th August, 1pm—3pm, £3 per family

Come as a family and learn how to make prints using just sunlight, plants and water!
We will collect beautiful natural objects in the park before having time to experiment and create your own family artwork inspired by summer.

Under 5’s very welcome. Bring sun cream and water if it’s hot.


Messy play: Victorian Seaside

15th August 2017, 10am-11.30am, £2 per child

Come along to our Victorian Seaside! Play Victorian seaside games, build colourful sandcastles and make seaside art.

Messy Play does get messy – don’t forget a change of clothes!


Family Workshop: Prints and Protests

22nd August, 10am—12pm, , £3 per family

The people of Islington have always stood up for what they believe in. Join us for a messy printmaking workshop to make beautiful banners telling us what you and your family think is important!



Messy Play:Summer Garden

29th August, 10am—11.30am

Dig up wiggly worms in our messy soil, print with beautiful flowers and create colourful summertime crafts!

Messy Play does get messy – don’t forget a change of clothes!




We look forward to seeing you soon! Have a lovely summer.

Stephanie Blog 3

Things I have learnt working in the Islington Heritage Museum:

  1. One of the first things I learnt and enjoyed about working here was to get to know the Museum. Roz kindly gave me a tour of the museum where I found a lot of interesting information.
  2. How to write a blog for this Project webpage, ‘Sifting the paperwork’, with content about activities I normally do.
  3. Get to understand the database of the Museum, ADLIB, and work with it to verify and compare with the Accessions Register to see if every Museum object is in the database with the correct number and description. For missing objects, I corrected them or added them to an excel sheet.
  4. Learn how the Local History Archives of Islington Council works, how it is organised and helped to  find and classify some pamphlets for the Sadler’s Wells Theatre
  5. Learn to handle museum objects following training, by having to digitise some of them and upload to the database. Each museum object will have a photograph in the database to be recognized more easily.
  6. What I liked most about working at the museum of Islington was the digitization of objects, to take pictures of each one and get to know a little bit more of the stories of the Islington community.
    (One of the pictures I digitise. Image: Booth’s Distilleries Ltd.)1991.59


Finsbury Rifles: Away from the Western Front. 18th June to 24th June 1916




No work on defences. Divine Service in E7 Canteen.

Date 19 to 22/6/16

Work on defences as usual also finding the battalion duties.

Date 23/6/16

6.30am visit of inspection of post by C in C. Routine as usual.

Date 24/6/16

Work on defences. Lt Noileen and Lt Hamilton and Evans and 144 other ranks joined the Battn from 54 Div Base Detail Camp Sidi Bishr.


Explore our Gallery to discover any unfamiliar terms.

Sifting the Paperwork

Islington Museum’s paperwork is crucial in helping us understand what our objects are, where they are from and why they are interesting.

An old brick is just a brick…until you have a piece of paper that shows it is an original  tile from Sadlers Wells ‘Musick House’ in the 1680’s where people would come to take the waters, which cured dropsy, jaundice and scurvy. Come and visit us to discover the tiles and other intriguing objects from Islington’s past.

We have been working hard to look at our historic paperwork and bring it up to modern standards. In Sifting the Paperwork the people behind the work will give an insight into what we’re doing and will share the interesting snippets we find along the way.

Roz Currie, Curator

Family Fun this May Half Term!

Summer 2017 mail chimp image 2

Join us this half term for one of our exciting family events, below, or simply pop in to say hello and play in our toy and role play corners!

Dance in Swan Lake

30th May, sessions at 10am and 11am. Under 5’s. 

Join us at Moreland Children’s Centre to take part in our special ballet class for all the family. Become a beautiful swan or a swashbuckling hero.

Then explore Islington Museum’s beautiful theatre collection with our ballet themed crafts.

Screen printing and Storytelling: Spanish Civil War

Family Workshop and Stories (under 5’s welcome)

1st June, 10am-2pm. Stories at 10am and 10.40am (if enough people).

Come as a family to discover the Spanish Civil War. Join in our sensory adventure taking aid to Spain, travelling across water and mountains.Then get messy making your own mono and screen printed banners.

Don’t forget a packed lunch and messy clothes. Booking required.

Summer 2017 mail chimp image 1

To book or for more info please get in touch with us at:

Email: Rebecca.Campbell-Gay@islington.gov.uk

Tel: 020 7527 28 37

Banners for Spain: fighting the Spanish Civil War in London

The Spanish Civil War (1936-39) was sparked by a military coup led by General Franco against Spain’s elected government. Britain decided on ‘non-intervention’ in the war, but people from across the world joined the International Brigades to fight the fascist-backed rebels.In Britain, an ‘Aid Spain’ movement sprang up to raise funds for food and medical supplies and to help refugees fleeing the war.

Islington Museum’s new exhibition tells the story of the Borough’s involvement in the Spanish Civil War, showcasing six newly conserved banners for Aid Spain, artefacts from the Marx Memorial Library’s archives and stories of the Islington International Brigaders.

The exhibition runs from May 5th to July 8th 2017 at Islington Museum, and is complemented by a programme of free events.