PICTURE THE CITY: Exhibition encourages Londoners to reflect on the changing face of the docks
From 12 January, visitors to the Brunel Museum can get a different perspective on the docks as they play host to the Bank of England Museum’s Picture the City exhibition. The Museum, which sits on the site of the Thames Tunnel, has been chosen as the final stop on the exhibition tour, inviting reflection about how London’s physical and economic landscape has changed.
A reproduction of the painting Lower Thames and Limehouse Reach (1940) by Arthur Burgess (1879–1957) will be outside the Museum for all visitors from 12 January to 20 March 2022. The exhibition will be available to view online on Google Arts & Culture and can be accessed via a QR code on the reproduction painting.
The painting shows dockworkers moving precious cargoes during the Second World War, but the docklands have been an essential part of London’s trade for much longer. Its proximity to the docklands was one of the reasons Rotherhithe was selected for the site of the Thames Tunnel, the site on which the Brunel Museum sits today. Visitors to the Museum can discover this longer history and the ingenuity that built the tunnel.
The Thames Tunnel was originally conceived as a tunnel to transport precious cargo from one side of the river to the other. By the end of the 1700s, millions of tonnes of goods passed through these wharves each year. These docks were so busy ships could wait for weeks before unloading their cargo! Goods were vulnerable to perishing or being stolen, as the digital exhibition explains.
Accompanying the outdoor exhibition, is a series of family activities exploring the history of the docks during February half-term (Monday 14 to Friday 18 February 2022).
For adults, queer historians Sacha Coward and Sheldon Goodman will take revellers on a virtual time travelling bar craw through some of London’s queerest historic haunts around the Docklands where LGBTQ+ people have found safe haven, including the Thames Tunnel itself. Book your tickets to Rainbow River Virtual Pub Crawl today.