London Motor Museum

Tags

, ,

London Motor Museum London Motor Museum

In my bid to visit every London museum, the London Motor Museum was an obvious choice for my next trip as it is located fairly near to where I live. The museum, which is the only custom car museum in Europe, is a short walk from Hayes & Harlington train station, so I headed down one sunny Sunday.

London Motor Museum

The museum was founded by Elo, a former model and fashion designer, who turned a passion for collecting special cars into this unique museum. It began in 2001 with just seven cars, and moved to its current location in 2007, with a collection of over 200 cars.

Motorbikes

The museum is large and airy, with information boards hanging on the walls. The cars are displayed by theme, with sections for cars of different eras, as well as one for cars from films and TV shows. As well as Mr Bean’s famous yellow Mini, there is a wooden wagon from Robin Hood and there is even a ‘Bat Cave’ with both the 1966 and 1989 Batmobiles.

Only Fools and Horses Robin Reliant

Only Fools and Horses Robin Reliant

Robin Hood medieval wagon

Robin Hood medieval wagon

Mr Bean's Mini

Mr Bean’s Mini

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Batmobile

Batmobile

The museum doesn’t just have cars: there is a section with motorbikes and another rather bizarre one with tractors.

A car enthusiast would love this museum. The biggest problem is the cost. The adult entrance fee is a whopping £30 which I frankly wouldn’t have considered paying. I was able to get a much better deal from the Living Social website. If you can get a good deal, however, it’s worth paying this museum a visit.

My kind of vehicle

FACTS

Address: 3 Nestles Avenue, Hayes, UB3 4SB

Website: londonmotormuseum.co.uk

Opening Hours: Daily 10am-6pm

Prices: Adults £30 (£22.50 online), concessions £20 (£15 online). Annual membership is available.

Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 – Royal Academy of Arts

Tags

, , , , , ,

2017_0329Revolution01

My longstanding interest in Russia meant that the Revolution: Russian Art 1917-1932 exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts was right up my street. The exhibition covered the period between 1917 and 1932, when Russia was settling into life post-revolution and artists were first excited by the opportunities the new world presented, then dismayed at the restrictions imposed by Stalin.

During this first fifteen years, artists enjoyed considerable freedom, and revelled in the new possibilities that the new regime offered. However, in 1932 Stalin decreed that Socialist Realism was the only acceptable style for the Soviet Union, ending this burst of creativity.

The exhibition features work by many acclaimed artists, including Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko. Interestingly it also features film clips of life in Russia, from both films and documentaries about the Soviet regime.

One of the most powerful things about the exhibition had nothing at all to do with art. In the last room, there was a video booth showing photographs of people who had been arrested and sent to gulags by Stalin and his cronies. The faces staring out of the screen are still haunting me.

How do we look? Exploring the scientific gaze at the Crick – Francis Crick Institute

Tags

, , , ,

2017_0329Crick02

On a day off from work I visited the recently opened Francis Crick Institute, located next to St Pancras station, to see the first public exhibition, How do we look? Exploring the scientific gaze at the Crick. The Institute is the largest biomedical library in Europe, and the exhibition looked at some of the images created by research scientists at the Crick in order to help solve scientific problems.

The images had aesthetic value in themselves, being, on a shallow level, fascinating and beautiful. The actual science I must confess is a bit beyond me, but I thought the exhibition did a good job of making the theory behind the images as accessible as possible. If nothing else, it certainly served to increase my respect for the cutting-edge scientific research being undertaken here.

Bond in Motion – London Film Museum

Tags

, , , , ,

2017_0329BondInMotion01

It might sound weird but I am a really big James Bond fan. When I was younger I watched all the films and I still go to the cinema every time a new one gets released. I’m certainly not immune to the franchise’s flaws, but it doesn’t stop me enjoying a bit of escapism.

The London Film Museum – not a place I’d ever been aware of, although it’s been in its present location in Covent Garden since 2012 – is currently dedicated to a Bond in Motion exhibition, showcasing many of the vehicles from the James Bond films. It’s been on for a while, but I’m glad I waited until now to go, as it now has a selection of vehicles from the latest film, Spectre. To be honest, the exhibition shows no sign of leaving, and it wouldn’t surprise me if it eventually contained vehicles from whichever Bond film comes next.

2017_0329BondInMotion03

Little Nellie

As you enter the exhibition you can see Little Nellie, the helicopter from You Only Live Twice, hanging from the ceiling. A small exhibition space on the mezzanine contains diagrams and other memorabilia, but its when you take the lift down to the basement that the exhibition proper really begins.

There are many, many vehicles on display: mostly, but not exclusively, cars. They span the whole half-century of Bond films. Some have damage that was caused by stunts used in filming.

2017_0329BondInMotion12

Crocodile sub from Octopussy

Information panels explain the statistics relating to each vehicle: I confess I didn’t pay much attention to these. Of more interest were the short film clips demonstrating each car in action.

At the end of the exhibition there is a cafe and a small gift shop. You exit into Covent Garden, right beside the London Transport Museum. The cafe is open to all: it might be a good refreshment option if you’re passing through the area and all the cafes are really crowded.

Obviously, Bond in Motion is going to appeal more to those who love cars. I’m not one of those people, but it was nice to experience a bit of escapism and relive some of the fun moments from the Bond films. The exhibition is pretty pricey, but look out for offers: I got mine through Living Social.

FACTS

Address: 45 Wellington Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 7BN

Website: londonfilmmuseum.com

Opening Hours: Daily 10am-6pm (except certain closure days advertised on website), open until 7pm on Saturdays

Prices: Adults £14.50, concessions £9.50; under 5s free

Adventures in Moominland – Southbank Centre

Tags

, , , , ,

The Adventures in Moominland exhibition at the Southbank Centre, introduced as part of the Nordic Matters festival, has been so popular that it has been extended by several months (it’s now on until 20 August), but when my friends and I booked our tickets we didn’t know that, and all the adults-only slots had sold out. As it turned out, though, our group consisted of only adults in any case.

The Moomins certainly transcend age. I wasn’t a particular fan as a child, but I’ve been reading the books recently, and the combination of gentle humour and wry observation have made me into a fan.

The exhibition, which begins at the Southbank’s Spirit Level, is really more of an immersive tour into the world that Tove Jansson created in her Moomin stories, featuring various environments from her works and the inspirations for them, arranged in a roughly chronological order. You get to see original Moomin pictures from Jansson’s archive, and hear narration by Sandi Toksvig. Our guide was incredibly enthusiastic, taking us deep into the world of Moominvalley, a place one of us quite wanted to leave.

Whether you’re a young or an old Moomin fan, check out this exhibition. It’s an unforgettable experience.