I’ve always known about the museum, being a Londoner like. A couple of years ago I went to see a special photography exhibition then thought I’d explore. There was a primary school on a visit in the hall where the photography exhibition was pasted onto the pillars so that was distracting for me. I went up the expanse of floor and stairs to view the encased exhibits of toys from back in the day. I was not one iota impressed. I felt the whole building was unwelcoming. Maybe I was used to toys being strewn over the carpets indoors and stored in white toy cupboards or maybe I felt I was in terribly middle-class land. (I wasn’t aware of the incoming of hipsters to Bethnal Green by that time.) I felt I was wasting my time and wondered later what all the fuss was about.
It’s an huge posh building by Bethnal Green station. Interesting fact about the huge building: “The Museum opened in 1872, when a prefabricated iron structure originally intended for South Kensington was moved to Bethnal Green. Originally, the museum housed collections from the Great Exhibition of 1851, and the art collection of Sir Richard Wallace (now The Wallace Collection).” It’s amazing that enemy bombs never got it during WW2.
Almost opposite and up the road a bit is Paradise Row, a line of decrepit once glorious tenements. I once complained to my grandma that Bethnal Green was all robbers and prostitutes, She answered “It’s always been like that!” so of course that put me off going anywhere near Bethnal Green and looking for a toy museum. I imagined it would be scruffy. That was years ago. And I never had the fare money.
Tomorrow I’m going there again for a free Creative Mornings event all about networking and feeling included in a group of London creative types. I am excited as Jon Daniel will tell us about his experience as a black guy making it from the seventies and his passion for superheroes and sheroes. I’ll enjoy the Afro something hero exhibition as it looks classy and it’s free. I will check how I feel. Tonight I’ll lay out my arty farty earrings and set my alarm to begin my journey at 7 am. All go. I am staying positive because I need to suppress some niggly suspicions about someone else’s party. Jump!