A Day in Walthamstow

What do William Morris, Europe’s longest street market, an ancient house and 26,000 burials have in common? They’re all found in Walthamstow.

London is far more than just the West End. If you’re visiting and you have more than a couple of days, or if it’s not your first visit and so you’ve already been to Madame Tussaud’s and the Tower of London, then it’s well worth exploring a bit further than the usual Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent  Garden circuit.

Hop on a tube or bus and get out into the surrounding towns and suburbs. They are all so different and have their own characters and sub-cultures, and as there’re always plenty of interesting things to do and places to eat, not only will you have a great day, but you can go home and say you’ve seen a bit of the ‘real London’ too. Continue reading “A Day in Walthamstow”

A Rainy Saturday in Wolverhampton

I hadn’t planned on spending a rainy Saturday in Wolverhampton, but as I did I may as well tell you about it. Then you don’t have to. Unless you really want to of course.

I hadn’t planned on spending a rainy Saturday in Wolverhampton.

I hadn’t actually planned on visiting Wolverhampton at all.

I probably would have got there at some point as part of my unofficial mission to visit all the random cities of the UK that no-one really goes to, but it hadn’t been my intention to go there this weekend. Continue reading “A Rainy Saturday in Wolverhampton”

Is Craven Arms Shropshire’s Best Kept Secret?

A sign about mammoths lured me into this little town I’d never heard of.

Why have I never heard of this town before?

I had no intention of going there (obviously, as I’d never heard of it), but ended up spending two nights. Continue reading “Is Craven Arms Shropshire’s Best Kept Secret?”

People’s History Museum, Manchester

The People’s History Museum documents the history of ordinary working people with posters, banners and artifacts.

I’ve been to this museum a few times before, sometimes for talks and sometimes to just look around it. I always manage to learn something new.

This time I was looking around with a friend’s daughter who is currently studying in Manchester. As she was originally from Manchester, but moved away as a child, this was a good place to re-introduce her to her roots. Continue reading “People’s History Museum, Manchester”

Fusilier Museum, Bury

You don’t have to be a military history buff to be fascinated by the many stories told in this museum.

I’m not particularly into military history which was a bit of a problem when I was given a unit of local history to teach. The unit  included lessons on the Lancashire Fusiliers which I was expected to plan myself. Fortunately Bury is home to the Lancashire Fusilier Museum so I took myself along one Saturday to do a bit of research and recce it for a potential class trip. Continue reading “Fusilier Museum, Bury”

Freud Museum

A visit to the final home of psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud.

Sigmund Freud, Austrian Jew and renowned psychoanalyst, fled the Nazis and arrived in London in 1938. Until his death the following the year he lived in a large house in North London, just off Finchley Road and not far from Finchley Road underground station. Continue reading “Freud Museum”

A Sunday in Umeå

I had just one day to explore this small city in the north of Sweden.

I only had one day in Umeå and wanted to make the most of it. I’d arrived late the evening before and though I hadn’t had chance to really take it in, I’d liked what I’d seen. Continue reading “A Sunday in Umeå”

Västerbottens Museum, Umeå

This museum is about everything Västerbotten

I was only in Umeå because that was where the bus ended up and it was where I could pick up the night train back to Stockholm. I’d spent the summer walking northern Sweden’s Kungsleden trail and now I was on my way home. Continue reading “Västerbottens Museum, Umeå”

The British in India Museum

Entrance to British in India Museum
Spot the museum

The British in India Museum is hidden away in a warehouse in Nelson (Lancashire). It’s not signposted and is difficult to spot. We drove past it several times before we spotted the sign over a side door to the warehouse reception area. As it’s closed at the weekend I’d already waited a long time for the chance to see it and so was determined not to let its camouflaged location beat me. Hardly surprising really that it ranks at one of the top five least visited museums in Britain.

inside the British in India Museum

The museum started life as the private collection of Henry Nelson who had served in India in the 1940s. He came home with a suitcase of souvenirs and continued to develop his collection and his interest. By 1972 he had enough to open a museum.

Tiger skin

The museum is as museums used to be. It smells musty and is crammed with artifacts and memorabilia; everything from a tiger (complete with black and white photo taken of the party who shot it) to medals, newspaper cuttings to weapons and clothes to model soldiers. There’s a lot of information to read and even more to see. We walked round several times, each time seeing things we hadn’t noticed first time round.

soldiers on stilts
The Indian Princely States could not afford war elephants, so they trained infantry on stilts to combat the elephants of their wealthy neighbours. The officer is on foot.

Originally the museum was housed in a building in Colne and it moved to its present location a few years ago after the death of its founder. His son now runs the museum, but it is a sideline to the warehouse. The entrance is shared with the warehouse reception. The man on reception walked us through to the museum and from then on we were left to our own devices. He told us that there are a lot more artifacts in storage, but it’s a massive job searching through everything and getting it all catalogued.

collapsible camping chair
A rather ornate, but completely collapsible camping chair. It puts my canvas camping chair to shame.

Although it seemed obvious that the museum could do with a full-time curator and a new roof, as well as a bigger space, part of me hopes it will never change. There aren’t many museums left like this and visiting it is an experience in itself. And I like that I’ve been to one of the least visited museums in the country.

ornate chair
Detail from the top of a carved chair

detail from ornate chair

I wonder what the number one least visited museum is? Maybe I could go there next?

Sambo books
I’m sure I had some of these as a child. They seem so politically incorrect now.

Here’s a short clip of the museum I found online.

Can you recommend any unusual or little-visited museums?

Friday Flickr – Skansen Open-Air Museum

My first Friday Flickr album is from Skansen Open-Air Museum in Stockholm. It was the world’s first open-air museum and is huge. AND it has bears!

As part of being super-organised with my new website (and being super-enthusiastic) I’ve decided to have a regular feature.

Yes, just like the real bloggers.

As I have an abundance of photos that I’m slowly trying to upload to Flickr, I thought I could do myself a favour and make my Flickr albums multi-functional by using them on here.

I’m also thinking that linking my social media accounts in this way might generate more readers and be good for my SEO. I sort of understand what SEO is and why it’s important, but actually I don’t really. Pearls of wisdom in the comments section below will be welcomed.

So, onto my first Friday Flickr (drummm rollll) …

It’s an album filled with the best of my photos from Skansen, a photogenic place if ever there was one.

Skansen can be found on the outskirts of Stockholm and was the world’s first open-air museum. It was opened in 1891 and has been growing ever since.

It showcases historic buildings from the full length of Sweden and also has a zoo and an aquarium. People dressed in periodic costume demonstrate crafts from times gone by like breadmaking and glass-blowing.

But best of all, I got to see bears. Real ones! They looked so cute and cuddly. Well, except for their huge claws. I think I’m probably glad I didn’t meet any in the wild when I walked the Kungsleden.

Fika

I spent a very long day wandering round and only stopped for one quick coffee (couldn’t miss out on fika, especially when it looked like this). I saw pretty much everything except the aquarium, but felt like I was rushing. I would have liked to have taken it slower and had more time to watch the animals. Two days would have been much better, but there were so many other things to see in Stockholm and my time was running out, so I couldn’t really justify it. I’d definitely go back again though.

Click on the image below to access the Flickr album.

Skansen Open-air Museum, Stockholm

The website for Skansen can be found here.