Museum of London -Incoming!

Roz Currie, Curator

Over the summer we have been working with the Museum of London on their rationalisation project.  Following a review of the Social and Working History collections, 6000 objects were identified for disposal … and Islington Museum was one of the lucky recipients!

 During the 1970s and 1980s museums undertook ‘rescue collecting’. As traditional craft workshops were closing, many museums collected the whole contents, from all of the tools to the tea cups. The idea was to capture disappearing crafts and trades and recreate workshops in the museum. At the Museum of London many of these collections have never been displayed and so the rationalisation process identified duplicate and unusable items and then offered them to other museums.

I spent time at the Museum of London store in Hackney looking through boxes and boxes of exciting objects from the following places in Islington:

Oliver’s Watchcase Workshop which closed in 1971


The Rowley Parkes building on Briset Street

  • Groome upholsterer and button manufacturer

We hope to do a lot more work with these collections –looking at the different tools, understanding how they were used, and exploring their local history so keep a look out for more information. And if you know anything about light industry in Islington please do get in touch with me at

For more information about the Museum of London project see here. 

Blog Post

Boy Soldiers: voices from the Great War

Boy Soldiers: voices from the Great War, is a short film, commissioned by the Museum of London which tries to imagine some of the experiences of boy soldiers in the trenches.

No one aged under 18 should have been able to sign up, yet we know that over 250,000 boys fought in the war.

Research carried out by John Shepherd at Islington Museum found that over 50 boys from Islington alone joined up and never came back. The names of these Islington boys create the backdrop for the film.

Actors from Islington’s Young Actors Theatre give voice to their peers from 100 years ago and in so doing try to bridge the gap of the intervening century connecting the generations together. Scenes filmed at a reconstructed trench are juxtaposed with teenagers in contemporary Islington locations interspersed with archive footage some of it taken from the Imperial War Museum.

The film was conceived, written and directed by artist and film maker, Mark Maxwell and produced in collaboration with Islington based Three Legged Theatre Company  Mark Maxwell has over 20 years experience creating artworks, video and paintings. A common theme in his work is the transformation of materials and their reformation to show qualities not normally visible. Founded in 1990, Three Legged Theatre Company focus on commissioning and developing new writing. They have produced 14 plays including a national tour. This is their first foray into film.

The film was shot on location at a reconstructed trench in Charlwood, Surrey and at Barnard Park and the Young Actors Theatre in Islington. It was funded through Arts Council England.

We hope that the film will stimulate debate and discussion around the Great War.

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