Category Archives: Art

Serpentine Pavilion 2017: Seek shelter under a canopy of triangles

Competition time! Russian Revolution exhibition at the British Library

© Sam Lane Photography

Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths is on at the British Library until 29 August
© Sam Lane Photography

This year marks 100 years since Russian overthrew its Tsarist autocracy. Following the forced abdication of Tsar Nicholas II in March 1917, Russia embarked on a turbulent period as different political and social groups battled to lead the country. To mark the Communist uprising, the British Library have curated a collection of propaganda and memorabilia from different sides of the battles.

Admittedly I didn’t know too much about the Russian Revolution before visiting this exhibition. I had been fascinated by the story of the ‘missing’ Grand Duchess Anastasia as a child, who has since been confirmed as murdered along with her family in 1918. The Russian Revolutionary period is convoluted and involves many different groups with different agendas and methods. The various parties were not only seeking power, but complete overhaul of society as a whole, so they needed to convert and influence the Russian people to their way of thinking… with propaganda.

© British Library

Red Army poster
© British Library

In a bid to unravel this complicated period, the British Library have set out their exhibition in six stages – The Tsar and his People; Last Days of the Monarchy; Civil War; The Bolsheviks in Power; Threat or Inspiration?; and Writing The Revolution. The exhibition begins in the last days of the Russian Empire, featuring photos of the Imperial family juxtaposed against scenes of millions of Russians living in dire poverty. Peasants were being heavily taxed with little in return so it’s clear to see why there was rising resentment against the ruling classes. An impressive part of this initial section is a first-edition of the Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, which was published in London in 1848. Other impressive pieces is a coronation album of Nicholas II and a 1902 letter from the then-future Russian Communist leader Vladimir Lenin asking to use the British Museum’s Library under a pseudonym ‘Jacob Richter’, which he was using to evade the Tsarist police. Russia’s brewing social discord wasn’t helped by World War I, with conscription leading to labour shortages. Many Russians were unhappy over Tsarina Alexandra when she was put in control over the Government while her husband acted as Commander-in-chief of the military. Many were suspect about her relationship with the faith healer Rasputin – who is seen in photographs and as a caricature in pamphlets and posters.

The sections of the exhibition centring on the revolution itself features a range of propaganda and memorabilia from the period, including handwritten notes from Leon Trotsky with annotations by Lenin and pieces of Red Army uniforms. I particularly liked the electronic map of the different groups’ movement around Russia – seeing the Red Army swell, then retreat, before eventually achieving national dominance. Finally, the exhibition concludes with how the Revolution was captured in past tense, with the ruling party using propaganda to keep the status quo.

Using a varied collection of objects, posters, film, photos and other memorabilia, the British Library has provided a fascinating insight into the motivations behind the Revolution and breaks down the myths of what it achieved. It’s certainly heavy stuff and requires a clear head, but is a worthwhile visit from Russian history aficionados or novices.

  • Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths is on now until 29 August 2017. PACCAR Gallery, The British Library, 96 Euston Road, NW1 2DB. Nearest stations: Euston, King’s Cross or St Pancras. Open Mon, Wed-Fri: 9.30am-6pm, Tues 9.30am-8pm, Sat 9,30am-5pm, Sun 11am-5pm. Tickets: £13.50 (free for members). For booking, visit the British Library website.

Competition time!

To win a pair of tickets to Russian Revolution: Hope, Tragedy, Myths at the British Library, like our Facebook page and fill out the form below. Closing date: Monday 24 July 2017. Winners must live in the UK and be able to visit the exhibition before it ends on 29 August 2017. Only the winner will be contacted after the competition closes.


For a guide to what else is on in London this month, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Neal’s Yard Water Clock: A quirky timepiece in Covent Garden

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Neal’s Yard Water Clock has stood on Shorts Garden since the early 1980s

Down one of Seven Dials’ quieter streets is a quirky piece of building decoration. Situated above the Shorts Gardens’ branch of Holland & Barrett is the Neal’s Yard Water Clock.

In the early 1970s, the streets around Neal Street were far from the shopping destination they are today. Much of the Seven Dials and Neal Street area had been used for warehouse storage for fruit and vegetables for the market sellers in Covent Garden. When the market relocated to its current site in Nine Elms in 1974, the warehouses were left empty. It was around this time, Neal’s Yard started becoming a destination for alternative living as commercial shops and restaurants moved in. Activist Nicholas Saunders (1938-1988) opened a wholefood shop in a warehouse in 1976, eventually expanding to a dairy and apothecary. The business was later taken over by Saunders’ former employee Michael Loftus (1948-2012).

In 1982, Loftus commissioned the water clock as an attraction to draw people to the shop. It was designed and made in six weeks by aquatic horologists Tim Hunkin and Andy Plant. As the clock struck on the hour, water in a tank (which contained an immersion heater to prevent the water from freezing in the winter) on the roof would flow down the façade of the building, ringing bells as it headed down the ladder towards the clock face. Meanwhile, six green characters would tip their watering cans to fill a tank behind the shop signage. As the water level rose, floating plastic flowers rose into view as if they had suddenly ‘grown’. The figure on the far left could swivel out to the street and spray water on to pedestrians below, which would have been quite a shock to those not paying attention.

Loftus sold up in 1989 and health food chain Holland & Barratt later took over the lease. The clock hasn’t worked for some time, but still remains in situ for Londoners and visitors to admire.

  • The Neal’s Yard Water Clock is located above Holland & Barrett, 21-23 Shorts Gardens, Covent Garden, WC2H 9AS. Nearest station: Covent Garden or Leicester Square.

For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Pavilion Lates review: After hours fun at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The Dulwich Picture Gallery are hosting late night events every Friday at their Pavilion throughout June and July

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the opening of Dulwich Picture Gallery, the oldest public art gallery in the UK. To mark the occasion, the Gallery hosted a competition to rising architects to design a temporary summer pavilion for the grounds. If_Do won the competition with their airy wood and mesh creation, which will remain outside the Gallery all summer. Throughout June and July, the gallery are hosting late night openings every Friday, featuring special themed events both in and outside the gallery.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The alternative tour of the gallery gives you interesting stories behind some of the art

Earlier this month, I visited the Gallery for their late night opening, entitled ‘Baroque Mash Up’. The DPG is renowned for its collection of French, Spanish and Italian Baroque paintings, so the night took inspiration from this particular genre of art. Entering the gallery grounds, our eyes were immediately drawn to the main attraction – the Pavilion. Within the structure was a pop-up bar from the Camberwell Arms serving cocktails, wine and snacks, so our first priority was to order a drink and soak up the atmosphere. There was plenty of seating both around the Pavilion and the manicured lawns so a lovely space to relax on a warm summer evening. The gallery’s café is also open late serving food if you’re in the mood for something more substantial. While sipping our cocktails, we were entertained by musicians Benjamin Tassie and Liam Byrne playing their original, experimental music, which really complemented the history of the gallery and the social setting. Also in the Pavilion were guests taking part in a cross-stitch workshop, using patterns from some of the Gallery’s works.

During Pavilion Lates, there is free access to the Gallery, which normally costs to enter. We joined one of the hourly tours of the gallery, billed as an ‘alternative tour’. Our guide showed us some popular paintings in the gallery and gave us a list of facts about the subject or the painter – but added an untrue ‘fact’ which we had to guess. As well as injecting a bit of fun into a typically straight-laced activity, it also showcased some surprising facts about artists and the art world I had never heard before. Following the tour, you were free to explore the collection or take part in the collage making workshop.

Overall, it was a lovely, interesting evening – particularly when the weather is good so you can really make the most of the Pavilion and its setting. I’ll definitely be returning to another Pavilion Lates this summer.

  • Pavilion Lates take place every Friday in June and July (except 7 July) 2017 from 6-10pm. In the grounds of Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. Tickets: Free, but you must register for a ticket on the Dulwich Picture Gallery website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in July, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to what’s on in London in June 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

Bubbly, wine and vermouth at London Wine Week

Summer is here at last so London is in full celebration mode as it embraces the long days and the hot-ish weather. The festival calendar is in full swing with a host of alfresco fun on around town. The first few days of June are half-term holidays, so expect to see lots of family-friendly events on around town.

Click here for a guide to London’s music festivals this summer.

For London’s pop-up and open-air cinemas this summer, click here.

  • 1 – 4 JuneSundance Film Festival – London

The Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, comes to London to showcase the best of independent movies, featuring UK and International feature film premieres, 15 shorts and special events. Individual tickets from £16 (£12 Picturehouse members) or festival passes for £150. Picturehouse Central, corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and Great Windmill Street, Piccadilly, W1D 7DH. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus. For more information and tickets, visit the Picturehouse website.

  • 1 – 30 June : London Festival Of Architecture

A month long celebration of architecture, with this year’s theme being ‘memory’. Featuring talks, installations, tours, exhibitions, open studios, film screenings, debates and conferences. At various venues around town. For more information, visit the London Festival of Architecture website.

  • 1 – 30 June : London Food Month

The Evening Standard presents the UK’s biggest food festival, featuring hundreds of events across the capital. Among the highlight includes a pop-up Night Market (7 – 18 June) in Perks Field in Kensington Gardens featuring food and drink stalls and live entertainment. For more information, visit the London Food Month website.

  • 2 – 3 June : Mindful Living

Learn about the art of mindfulness and meditation and how it can help you in your life. Featuring keynote speakers Ruby Wax, Sharon Salzberg, Ed Halliwell, Katie Warriner and Etienne Scott MBE. Tickets: £32-£72. Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington, N1 0QH. Nearest station: Angel. For more information, visit the show website.

  • 2 – 4 June : Stoke Newington Literary Festival

A festival featuring readings, workshops and performances at venues across the suburb. Speakers include Tom Overton, Michael Rosen, Janet Ellis, Bee Wilson, Fernando Sdrigotti, Zoe Adjonyoh, Lopè Ariyo, Alex Bellos, AL Kennedy, Kate Pankhurst, Michael Goldfarb, and many more. Tickets range from free to £10. Venues include Clissold Park, Abney Public Hall, Stoke Newington Town Hall, St Paul’s Church Hall, Unitarian Chapel, Abney Park Cemetery and William Patten School. For more information and tickets, visit the Stoke Newington Literary Festival website.

  • 2 – 10 June : Brockley Street Art Festival

One week long celebration of street art, featuring local, national and international talent. Featuring activities for adults and children alike, including colouring competition, mural painting, live DJs and talks. Various venues around Brockley, SE4. Nearest station: Honor Oak Park, Crofton Park or Brockley. For more information, visit the Brockley Street Art Festival website.

  • 2 – 10 June : Brockley Max

Nine-day community arts festival featuring live music, dance, craft markets, poetry, art installations, film screenings, workshops, talks, interactive games and more. At venues across Brockley, Ladywell, Crofton Park and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Brockley Max website.

  • 2 – 14 July : Zoo Nights

London Zoo are hosting late summer evening openings for adults-only on Fridays through June. As well as getting to see the animals without the presence of screaming children, you’ll also get to enjoy the zoo lit up in neon, take part in Zooniversity Challenge or follow a forensics trail. There will also be entertainment and a world food market. 6-10pm. Tickets: £17.50. London Zoo, Outer Circle (Regent’s Park), NW1 4RY. Nearest stations: Camden Town or Regent’s Park. For more information and booking, visit the Zoological Society London website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Be a big kid at London Zoo’s late night opening

  • 2 June – 28 July : Pavilion Lates @ Dulwich Picture Gallery

A series of late night Friday events at the 200-year-old gallery and its temporary summer pavilion. 6pm-10pm every Friday except 7 July. Free entry, but you must reserve a place in advance. Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, SE21 7AD. Nearest station: West Dulwich or North Dulwich. To find out more, visit the DPG website. For Metro Girl’s review of a Pavilion Late event, click here.

  • 2 June – 2 July : East End Film Festival

For its 16th year, the East End Film Festival has been spread out to five weekends. Featuring screenings, Q&As, a Twin Peaks-themed ball and more. At venues across East London, including a Masonic temple. For more information, visit the East End Film Festival website.

  • 3 June : Carnaby Street Eat Food Festival

Food and drink festival in Carnaby, with the area’s restaurants and bars serving signature and on-trend dishes and cocktails. Featuring offerings from Island Poké, Le Bab, Dishoom, Jinjuu, Cahoots, Ugly Dumpling and Darjeeling Express. 12pm-6pm. Free entry. Carnaby Street, Soho, W1. Nearest station: Piccadilly Circus or Oxford Circus. For more information, visit the Carnaby London website.

  • 3 June : Blitz Party

Step back in time to the 1940s for a themed night of patriotic revelry, featuring swing dancing, big band music, cocktails, performers, dance classes and vintage makeovers. Dress code: 1940s glam, home front utility clothing and allied uniform. 8pm until late. Tickets from £30. In a secret East London bunker, with location revealed near the time. For more information, visit The Blitz Party website.

Read the rest of this entry

Guide to what’s on in London in May 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Head to the Country Show at Morden Hall Park

Spring is in full swing with sunnier days becoming more frequent. The longer days, warmer weather (hopefully) and two bank holidays mean May is a bumper month for festivals and events on around the capital. Fans of cycling and drinking are particularly in for a treat with many themed events on around town. Here’s Metro Girl’s curated selection of what’s on in London this May.

Click here for a guide to London’s music festivals this summer.

For London’s pop-up and open-air cinemas this summer, click here.

  • 1 May : Beer And Bread Festival

Festival returns for the second year, featuring a wider selection of ales, beers, breads, pastries and cakes from local businesses. Includes live music from No Frills Band and CL!VE, and a performance by the Hammersmith Morris Men. 1-5pm. Free entry. Windmill Gardens (west end of Blenheim Gardens, off Brixton Hill), Brixton, SW2 5EU. Nearest station: Brixton. For more information, visit the Brixton Windmill website.

  • Now until 1 May : Canalway Cavalcade

A unique waterways and community festival at Little Venice. Features stalls, bands, kids’ activities, Morris dancers, a Real Ale bar, food and pageant of boats. Open Sat-Sun 10am-6pm, Mon 10am-5pm. Procession of illuminated boats @ 9pm on Sun 30. Free. Little Venice, Maida Vale, W2. Nearest station: Warwick Avenue. For more information, visit the Inland Waterways Association. For Metro Girl’s blog post on last year’s Cavalcade, click here.

  • Now until 1 May : Morden Hall Park Country Fair

Country show in the grounds of Morden Hall, featuring Savage Bike Skills Display Team, birds of prey flying displays, Grant Bazin the Horse Whisperer, terrier racing, children’s entertainer, Circus Skills Workshop, the goat show including bottle feeding lambs and kids, children’s petting pens, historical re-enactment and more. 10am-5pm. Tickets on the gate (or cheaper online): Adults £7.50, Children age 5-16 £3, Under 5s free. Morden Hall Road, Morden, SM4 5JD. Nearest station: Morden or Phipps Bridge (tram). For more information, visit the Oakleigh Fairs website. For Metro Girl’s post on Morden Hall Park, click here.

  • Now until 1 May : Wellbeing Festival

Festival of wellbeing, featuring workshops, demonstrations and performances on the live stage, lifestyle studio and wellbeing spa. Open Sun 30 10am-7pm, Mon 1 10am-5pm. Tickets: £11-£13. Kensington Olympia, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, W14 8UX. Nearest station: Kensington Olympia. For more information, visit the MindBodySpirit website.

  • 2 May : Candlelight Opening @ Sir John Soane’s Museum

Late-night opening of the Sir John Soane’s Museum, the former home of the 19th century architect, which is full of his sculptures, painting and antiquities. First 200 visitors in the queue at 5.30pm guaranteed entry, After that it will be one-out, one-in until 8pm. 6-9pm. Free. Sir John’s Soane Museum, 13 Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Holborn, WC2A 3BP. Nearest station: Holborn. For more information, visit the Sir John’s Soane Museum website.

  • 3 – 7 May : London Craft Week

A celebration of craftsmanship, featuring over 230 events, such as workshops, exhibitions, open studios, tastings, galleries and shops. Various venues across the capital. For more information, visit the London Craft Week website.

  • 4 May : Carnaby Style Night

A shopping extravaganza where over 100 shops, restaurants and bars will be offering 20% off. There will also be Airstream GIF booth, on street haircuts from Johnny’s Chop Shop, a pop-up bar, live music and entertainment. 5-9pm. Carnaby, Soho, W1B. Nearest station: Oxford Circus or Piccadilly Circus. To register online for your free ticket, visit the Carnaby website. For more information on the event, read Metro Girl’s blog post.

  • 4 May – September : Rooftop Film Club

Roaming cinema club launch their spring/summer programme with outdoor screenings on rooftops. Venues include the Queen of Hoxton in Shoreditch, the Bussey Building in Peckham Rye, Roof East in Stratford and Tobacco Dock in Shadwell. Ticket includes headphones, blankets and deckchairs. Tickets: £15. To find out more, visit the Rooftop Film Club website.

  • 5 May : Cinco de Mayo fiesta @ Barts

Chelsea speakeasy Barts is hosting a Mexican fiesta to mark Cinco de Mayo, including live entertainment, pinatas, Frozen Margaritas, maracas and sombreros. Barts, Chelsea Cloisters, 87 Sloane Avenue, Chelsea, SW3 3DW. Nearest stations: Sloane Square or South Kensington. For more information, visit the Barts website. For Metro Girl’s review of Barts, click here.

  • 5 – 21 May : Wandsworth Arts Fringe

Two week fringe festival in the borough of Wandsworth featuring theatre, dance, art, music, comedy, poetry, workshops, talks, markets and more. Highlights include London’s Vegetable Orchestra, the Antiques Breadboard Museum Pop-Up Gallery, Everything Stops For Tea, My Fanny Valentine, Clowning With Shakespeare and more. For more information, visit the Wandsworth Art Festival websiteRead the rest of this entry

Dulwich Festival 2017: Feel like ‘Home’ as the celebration of arts and culture returns

© Helen Jermyn

A celebration of arts and culture returns at the Dulwich Festival this May
© Helen Jermyn

Returning for its 24th year is the Dulwich Festival, a 10 day celebration of arts and culture in the leafy south London suburb. A host of concerts, talks, fairs, walks and more will be taking place across SE21, SE22 and the surrounding areas over 12 – 21 May 2017. The theme of this year’s festival is ‘Home’ and what that means to people.

Kicking off the festival on 12 May will be the Festival Of Choirs featuring performances from three very different choirs – Note-Orious, The Barberfellas and Gospel Essence. Meanwhile, Jazz fans will enjoy the Harlem Meer Cats, bringing the sounds of icon Duke Ellington to Dulwich, while indie-folk quintet Patch And The Giant will be rousing the crowd at Belair House. Classical aficionados are catered for too at a performance of ‘Façade’, William Walton’s setting of Edith Sitwell’s poem sequence.

© Barberfellas

The Barberfellas will be performing during the Festival Of Choirs

Among the talks on offer will be broadcaster and journalist Robin Lustig in conversation with BBC Deputy Political Editor, John Pienaar and new Dulwich Picture Gallery director Jennifer Scott. For those looking to get some exercise and education at the same time, there will be several walks on offer, including history walks and the Street Art Walk; and for nature fans the Bat Walk or Dawn Chorus Walk.

There will be plenty to keep the children entertained, including the charity Clown Without Borders, which encourages homeless child victims of displacement to laugh and play. Meanwhile, acclaimed Tangram Theatre Company will be performing ‘The Element in the Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy about the Death and Life of Marie Curie’ for children aged 8-10 years.

During the festival there will be three fairs, representing each area of Dulwich – East, West and the Village. The Festival Fair on Goose Green on 14 May, Love West Dulwich Fair on 20 May and Dulwich Park Fair on 21 May.

In addition, over 250 artists will be opening their doors to their homes and studios during the two weekends of the festival. Visitors will have the chance to view their artwork and talk to the artists.

  • The Dulwich Festival is on from 12 – 21 May 2017 at various locations across Dulwich Village, West Dulwich and East Dulwich, SE21 and SE22. Nearest stations: West Dulwich (12 mins from Victoria), East Dulwich and North Dulwich (15-17 mins from London Bridge). For more information and booking, visit the Dulwich Festival website.

For a guide to what else is on in London in May, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Iconic London prints at Paul Catherall’s exhibition at For Arts Sake

Paul Catherall

Renowned linocut artist Paul Catherall will be the feature of a month-long exhibition at the For Art’s Sake Gallery

There’s a strong chance you’ve already seen Paul Catherall’s artwork. The London-based printmaker and illustrator has created posters for Transport for London on their bus stops and in their tube stations. More recently, he has designed posters for the #LondonIsOpen campaign on the London Underground. Catherall makes his prints by hand in a lengthy process which takes weeks to complete. He’s particularly known for his pared-down versions of iconic London buildings including Battersea Power Station, Oxo Tower and Tate Modern.

This spring, Catherall will be displaying 50 of his original prints at the For Arts Sake gallery in Ealing. Among the collection on show includes one of his newest pieces – a print of the Hoover Building in West London, which he describes as ‘a gleaming white Art Deco palace on the dreary A40’. Also on display will be his latest set of posters for the #LondonIsOpen campaign, featuring London landmarks.

During the three-week exhibition, the exhibition will be free to enter with all pieces available to buy. There will also be a Facebook competition with the chance to win a rare artist’s proof of Catherall’s Hoover Building print in pink – the only one made in this colour.

  • Paul Catherall’s exhibition runs from 28 April – 21 May 2017. Open Mon-Fri 10am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12pm-5pm. Free entry. For Arts Sake, 45 Bond Street, Ealing, W5 5AS. Nearest station: Ealing Broadway. For more information, visit the For Arts Sake website.

For a guide to what else is on in May, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

‘They shall not pass’: Fighting the fascists on the Battle of Cable Street mural

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

A huge mural depicts the Battle of Cable Street, which took place in October 1936

We’re currently living in a time of great political turmoil on both sides of the Atlantic, with effects from Brexit and Donald Trump’s presidency likely to be felt for years to come. While it’s understandable to feel despair right now, remember Londoners in the past have gone through similar tumultuous times and have managed to come out the other side. In the past year, it seems like more Londoners are expressing their anger over political issues and taking to the streets to protest. However, back in October 1936, ordinary Londoners ended up clashing with police in a historic battle.

In between the two World Wars, politician Oswald Mosley (1896-1980) founded the British Union of Fascists (BUF) in 1932 after becoming disillusioned with the Labour party. His speeches were so controversial, it was predictable that BUF meetings often ran into trouble with Communist and Jewish groups so Mosley enlisted the infamous ‘Blackshirts’ for protection.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2017

The mural depicts faceless police officers clashing with working-class East End Londoners

On 4 October 1936, the BUF planned to march through the streets of East London – particularly antagonising as the area was renowned for its large Jewish population. Ignoring their better judgement, the government declined to ban the march and instead requested the police escort the fascists. Outraged by the BUF’s plans, various groups of Jewish, Irish, socialist, anarchist and communist groups decided to put up roadblocks in a bid to stop the march. An estimated 20,000 demonstrators turned up, chanting ‘they shall not pass’, and were confronted by 6,000 police officers, who were under orders to let the BUF march as intended. The ensuing clash between the groups involved protestors fighting back with anything they could get their hands on, including furniture, sticks and rocks. Meanwhile, Mosley’s BUF finally realised what an ill-advised idea it had been and retreated to Hyde Park. Around 175 people – protestors and police – were injured, while 150 demonstrators were arrested. The battle influenced the passing of the Public Order Act 1936, which required political marches to obtain police consent and banned the wearing of political uniforms in public.

Decades later, the historic clash was to be commemorated on a huge mural on the side of St George’s Town Hall on Cable Street. Artist Dave Binnington was commissioned to depict the battle on the 3,500 square feet section of wall, beginning his work in late 1979. It was initially hoped the mural would be completed by the 44th anniversary of the battle in October 1980, but the sheer scale and other technical problems led Binnington to realise it was a bigger task than he estimated. In May 1982, part of the mural was vandalised with far-right graffiti, which prompted a tired and disgusted Binnington to resign from the project. Two months later, artists Paul Butler, Ray Walker and Desmond Rochfort got together to complete the mural, with the top section fulfilling Binnington’s original designs and the vandalised lower portions covered with a modified design. The mural was finally unveiled in May 1983 by Paul Beasley (leader of Tower Hamlets Council) Jack Jones (former General Secretary of the Transport and General Workers Union), Tony Banks (Chair of the Greater London Council Arts Committee) and Dan Jones (Secretary of the Hackney Trades Council).

Unfortunately in the intervening years, the mural has been vandalised several times, but was restored in October 2011 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Cable Street. Visiting today, it’s an overwhelming and powerful piece of art. The sheer scale and details of the mural will keep many visitors lingering at it for quite some time. The 1930s setting is clear through the style of painting, while the flying milk bottles and broken windows really epitomises the unexpected explosion of violence.

  • The Cable Street mural is on the side of St George’s Town Hall, 236 Cable Street, E1 0BL. Nearest station: Shadwell.

For more of Metro Girl’s history posts, click here.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Guide to what’s on in London in April 2017

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2016

Canalway Cavalcade returns to Little Venice

Spring is here at last! The days are getting longer and the temperatures are warmer up. London’s festival season really kicks off with tons of alfresco events taking place all over the capital. This year, Easter is a bit later than usual so there will be plenty of harassed parents looking for ways to entertain the kids during the school holidays.

  • Now until 1 April : Cocktails In The City

A three-day extravaganza will see some of London’s and Europe’s best cocktails bars coming together under one roof. A host of pop-up bars and food venues will be spread across four levels. 6-11pm. Ticket: £15 includes 1 cocktail, multiple complimentary experiences and cocktail booklet. One Marylebone, 1 Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 4AQ. Nearest station: Great Portland Street or Regents Park. For booking, visit the Cocktails In The City website. For more information, read Metro Girl’s post on the event.

  • Now until 1 April : Whisky Live

Whisky festival comes to 18th century surroundings, featuring masterclasses, food pairings, the VIP Lounge and exclusive private VIP pourings. Open Fri 31st 4-10pm, Sat 1 Apr 11am-5pm. Tickets: £45-£65. Honourable Artillery Company, City Road, EC1Y 2BQ. Nearest station: Old Street or Moorgate. For booking, visit Eventbrite.

  • Now until 1 April : West Norwood Free Film Festival

Free film festival comes to West Norwood for the first time featuring screenings of Back To The Future, The Goonies, Memento, Babette’s Feast, Paterson and Northern Soul. At various venues in SE27 including St Luke’s Church, Knowles Of Norwood, The Clockworks and more. Nearest station: West Norwood. For more information, visit the Free Film Festival website.

  • 1 – 17 April : Urban Festival

The Southbank Centre hosts a two week celebration of urban culture, featuring breakdancing battles, dance residencies, workshops, free family events, parties and more. Events range from free to ticketed. Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, South Bank, SE1 8XX. Nearest station: Waterloo. For more information, visit the Southbank Centre website.

  • 2 April : Oxbridge Boat Race

Watch the historic annual boat race between the Cambridge and Oxford University crews. Thousands will line the banks between Putney Bridge and Mortlake to watch the action. Women’s boat race @ 4.35pm and Men’s boat race @ 5.35pm. Free. Nearest stations: Putney Bridge, Hammersmith, Ravenscourt Park, Stamford Brook, East Putney, Barnes Bridge or Chiswick. For more information, visit the Boat Race website.

  • 2 – 10 April : Camberwell Free Film Festival

Ten day free film festival comes to SE5 featuring screenings, talks, and Q&As. Film screenings include Moana, Rear Window, Son of Saul, I Daniel Blake and more. At various venues including William Booth College, Whirled Cinema, The Phoenix, Coldharbour Studios, The Crooked Well, Grand Union Camberwell, The Flying Dutchman and The Sun. For more information, visit the Camberwell Free Film Festival website.

  • Now until 2 April :  The Other Art Fair

Chance to see and buy art from 130 unrepresented artists, regardless of how experienced you are in purchasing artwork. Also features book signings, panel discussions, kids’ workshops, Carolina Mizrahi’s immersive ‘Ruby’ room with hidden underground bar, The Modern Pantry pop-up restaurant and much more. Tickets: £8 in advance. Victoria House, Southampton Row, Bloomsbury, WC1B 4DA. Nearest station: Russell Square or Holborn. For more information, visit the Other Art Fair website.

  • 3 – 28 April : I Am London exhibition

Photography showcase of iconic, pioneering, creative and fascinating Londoners and its places. Free. City Hall, The Queen’s Walk, SE1 2AA. Nearest station: London Bridge or Tower Hill. For more information, visit the London.gov.uk website.

  • Now until 7 May : The Iris @ Now Gallery

A new art installation from artist Rebecca Louise Law, featuring 10,000 fresh irises suspended from the ceiling. Open Mon-Fri 10am-7pm, Sat-Sun 11am-4pm. Free entry. NOW Gallery, The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula, Greenwich, SE10 0SQ. Nearest station: North Greenwich. For more information, visit the NOW Gallery website.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl 2012

Celebrate caffeine at the Coffee Festival

  • 7 – 9 April : London Coffee Festival

A celebration of coffee for the capital’s caffeine lovers at the Old Truman Brewery, featuring food, music and – of course – coffee. Visitors will even have the chance to make perfect coffee at home from some top baristas. Tickets start from £16.50 (advance), £22.50 (on the door). The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, E1 6QL. Nearest station: Shoreditch High Street or Aldgate East. For more information, visit the London Coffee Festival website.

  • 8 April : Rebel Bingo

Rebel Bingo turn the traditional numbers game on its head with competitions, loud music and lots of attitude. Not for the faint-hearted and strictly over 18s only. 8-11.30pm. Tickets from £13.50. Mecca Bingo, 180 Arlington Road, Camden, NW1 7HL. Nearest station: Camden Town. For more information, visit RebelBingo.com.

  • 8 – 9 April : VeggieWorld London

Europe’s biggest and oldest vegan festivals is coming to London, featuring food and fashion stalls, international food court, cookery demos, animal yoga, children’s activities and more. Open Sat 8 10am-7pm, Sun 9 10am-5pm. Tickets: £8 (advance), £10 (on the door). Kensington Town Hall, Hornton Street, Kensington, W8. Nearest station: High Street Kensington. For more information, visit the VeggieWorld website.

  • Now until 9 April : Telegraph Hill Festival

Arts and entertainment festival in South East London, including music, open studios, art shows, interactive exhibits, classes, workshops, talks, literary events, wellbeing, plays, performance art and music events. Lots of events are free, but some will cost. At various venues across New Cross, Nunhead, Hatcham, Brockley and Honor Oak. For more information, visit the Telegraph Hill festival website. Read the rest of this entry