Wednesday, 26 June 2013

london lore

I highly recommend paying a visit to Dennis Severs' House at 18 Folgate Street in Spitalfields before the end of next week, where an exhibition entitled London Lore, curated by the Museum of British Folklore, is currently showing. Dennis Severs' House is a 'still-life drama' created by the late owner Dennis Severs as an 'historical imagination' of what life would have been like inside for a family of Huguenot silk weavers. I dropped by on Sunday and was very impressed - by the exhibition and the house itself, which I'd never been to before.

London Lore aims to give an insight into some of the many colourful, uncanny and sometimes ancient events and customs which take place in the city each year. Sited in the rooms of Dennis Severs’ House, the Museum of British Folklore has collaborated with the artist Richard Sharples and sound artist Richard J. Lockley-Hobson, to produce a series of ‘Raree Boxes’ to tell their tales. Raree boxes were first recorded in the 15th century and were used by street performers as a form of entertainment. Having paid a small fee you could peer into a lens or hole in the box where a scene would be revealed, usually a newsworthy event of the day such as a battle or Royal event. The owner of the box would then give a narration while sometimes moving the scenery or closing or opening slits in the box to allow more or less light to enter.

We spent the rest of Sunday afternoon in east London and so of course had to pop by Leila's on Calvert Avenue for a glass of chocolate milk. I love their butter dishes. I also just really love butter.

Later in the evening we somehow ended up in Primrose Hill; on the way there we walked past Cecil Sharp House, the headquarters of the English Folk Dance and Song Society, and I was reminded of how I really must find out what goes on inside. I want to pay the place a visit. Simon Costin, the museum of British Folklore's founder and director, has curated exhibitions here and a celebration was held at the society to launch the museum in 2009. Look at the sign - so beautiful. Note the little metalwork ‘Obby ‘Oss on the top of the pole.

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