50 of London's smaller museums are worth a lurk
Image: Petrie Museum
It's not hyperbole to say that London is home to many of the world's best museums. Venues such as the British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum and Design Museum can justly lay claim to being the best in their field (and most of them are free, too). But with so many world-famous museums dominating the itineraries of tourists and being a first port of call for locals with visitors in tow, it can be easy to overlook London's cornucopia of lesser-known and smaller-scale museums. They include:
3. The Old Operating Theatre, London Bridge, bringing operations before anaesthesia to gruesome life
5. The Vault at Hard Rock Café, Park Lane with its valuable rock memorabilia, including a harpsichord frequently used by the Beatles
14. The London Fire Brigade Museum, Southwark, for fans of firefighters and firefighting equipment
15. The Sherlock Holmes Museum, Baker Street
18. The Garden Museum, Lambeth, "beautiful and tranquil, with the Thames surging past its door".
19. The World Rugby Museum
24. The Petrie Museum, Euston, "small but its collection of some 80,000 ancient Egyptian objects makes it one of the greatest museums of its type anywhere"
25. Whitechapel Bell Foundry, Whitechapel, Britain's oldest manufacturing company (1570), which cast Big Ben, is still going strong.
44. The Foundling Museum, Brunswick Square, combining great artists and children
45. National Army Museum, Chelsea "The National Army Museum documents and celebrates Britain’s armed forces past and present with a series of considered permanent galleries and permanent exhibitions. . .the smaller personal effects on display bring the everyday realities of war faced by British army personnel into sharpest focus."
. . .49. Museum of the Order of St John, Clerkenwell "Most people are familiar with St John Ambulance, but fewer know that its origins stretch back to 11th-century Jerusalem. The Museum of the Order of St John examines the order’s original role as a hospital to care for sick pilgrims in Jerusalem. . .t .The museum’s setting houses an impressive 12th-century crypt."
50. Churchill War Rooms and Churchill Museum, Westminster"The Churchill War Rooms is. . .a fascinating subterranean space that allows modern-day visitors to see this crucial military epicentre as it was at the end of Britain’s war effort in 1945. An intriguing addition to the space, the Churchill Museum is the only major museum anywhere dedicated entirely to Sir Winston Churchill."
46. Grant Museum of Zoology, Euston"The Grant Museum of Zoology is a labyrinth of animal oddities, jammed with skeletons, species preserved in vials and extinct specimens."
I'd like to visit almost every one of them.