We have always championed London’s lesser-known museums (just take a look at this post on Sir John Soane’s place, and this one on Sherlock Holmes’), but with the May bank holiday coming up it’s important to realise there are all kinds of alternative exhibitions out there just waiting to be discovered. Or, in the case of these three, waiting for us to tell you about them…
Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising (2 Colville Mews, Lonsdale Road, W11 2AR; Google Map; Nearest London Metro: Ladbroke Grove)
This exhibition in Notting Hill is testament to one man’s unerring ability to hoard stuff. Luckily, lots of it happens to be of historical interest. The MoBPA offers visitors a fascinating look at 120 years of consumerism—its fashions, fads and follies—in the varied forms of washing-up bottles, biscuit tins and milk cartons. Among the 12,000 exhibits you can also discover old billboard and print adverts, royal wedding souvenirs and even a spot of wartime propaganda.
The Fan Museum (12 Crooms Hill, Greenwich, SE10 8ER; Google Map; Nearest London Metro: Cutty Sark)
When people learn this is the world’s only museum dedicated to fans, they’re rarely shocked, yet this place is unironically brilliant. The two-room exhibition has a collection of over 3,500 antique fans dating from the 11th century to the present day, and prides itself on providing you with the social and cultural context behind each one. Honestly, this will make a fan fan of you.
Pollock’s Toy Museum (1 Scala Street, Camden Town, W1T 2HL; Google Map; Nearest London Metro: Goodge Street)
A quirky museum packed to the rafters with childhood memories, the collection here includes old dolls and dollhouses, puppets, marbles, board games, model ships and a variety of other traditional playthings … all without a computer game in sight. Collection highlights include the world’s oldest surviving teddy bear and a 4,000-year-old Egyptian toy mouse made from clay.