The Museum of London documents the history of London and its people, from prehistoric to modern times. It holds the largest archaeological archive in Europe.
This museum is the amalgamation of two former museums: the Guildhall Museum, founded in 1826, and the London Museum, founded in 1912. Both collections came together after the Second World War and, in 1976, the new Museum of London was inaugurated.
The Museum of London comprises a series of galleries that are laid out chronologically in a way that there’s only one route through the museum, from the prehistoric to the modern period.
London before London
The first gallery tells the story of the Thames Valley and of the people who lived there from 450 000 BC to the arrival of the Romans in AD 50.
The city where London now stands, Londinium, was built by the Romans. The bridge over the River Thames and the net of roads that connected Londinium with the rest of the country turned Londinium into the largest city of Britannia.
In this gallery you will discover what life was like in Londinium, from around AD 50 to 410.
This gallery depicts a long period of time, from the collapse of the Roman city of Londinium in the 400s to the accession of Queen Elizabeth I in 1558.
During this period the city of London was destroyed by invaders, racked by famine, fire and disease, and torn apart by political and religious controversy.
War, Plague & Fire
From 1550s to 1660s, it was a turbulent time of great expansion and terrible devastation.
This gallery tells the story of London from Elizabethan times, through the damages of the English Civil Wars and the cataclysmic disasters of the Great Plague of 1665 and of the Great Fire of 1666.
Expanding City: 1666 – 1850s
After the Great Fire of 1666 London suffered a rapid growth. This was a period of wealth and power.
Many treasures, such as the original door from Newgate Prison, can be seen in this gallery.
People’s City: 1850s – 1940s
By the 1850s, London was the world’s wealthiest city, however, it came at a price. The city was divided in two worlds, the one of the riches and the one of the poor. This social division is well reflected in this gallery.
It was both a time of wealth and glamour and a time of conflict and poverty.
World City: 1950s – today
After facing poverty and war, London became a kind of world city. It became a youth, multicultural and vibrant modern city.
New forms of entertainment, technology and fashion transformed people’s life.
Now, we face up to London’s future. What will London look like in the coming years?
The City Gallery
This gallery celebrates the city of London itself. In this area ancient traditions exist side-by-side with cutting edge architecture.
The magnificent Lord Mayor’s Coach, commissioned in 1757, is the centrepiece of this gallery.
The Sackler Hall
This vast and contemporary hub provides a space for rest and refreshment. By consulting some computers placed in there, one can get more information about any object on display.
While resting, one can also watch a film that is showcased in nine plasma screens and in a suspended elliptical LED curtain that creates a giant loop around the hall.
There’s also a changing programme of exhibitions that takes place in the Sackler Hall. Usually, it features contemporary art from the museum’s own collections.
The London 2012 Cauldron: designing a moment
This is the new home of the 2012 Summer Olympics and Paralympics cauldron, which was designed by Thomas Heatherwick’s.
This gallery tells the story of this iconic symbol and celebrates the unforgettable moment it was revealed to the world during the Olympic opening ceremony.
Opening hours (Monday to Sunday): 10:00 – 18:00
Entrance fee: free