Borough museums: There are 33 London boroughs. Some of these have their own museum devoted to telling the story of the borough's local history. And some of these museums are quite good. Alas, I can't say the same for the latest addition to the list - the Islington Museum. It opened earlier this month in a basement beneath Finsbury Library, up a very ordinary street you'd never visit by accident. No expense has been spared on a shiny new lift and access ramp down from the pavement, but alas not enough appears to have been spent on making the interior interesting. The museum looks a bit like a conference centre foyer filled with display boards... text-rich and artefact-lite. The permanent display is divided up into nine categories (fashion, childhood, sport, etc), although the selected information rarely makes the borough sound terribly special. A lot of the stuff on show (wartime memories, handbells, old medicines) could have come from anywhere - it's not especially Islington. Even the purchase of local historical souvenirs is currently impossible ["we are not yet able to process your purchases here"]. But there was one display case which made my visit worthwhile. Playwright Joe Orton spent his formative years defacing book covers in Islington Library, and earned 6 months in jail for his trouble. Four of these vandalised masterpieces are now in pride of place in the Lesbian, Gay and Transgendered section of the museum. Hypocritical of the council, maybe, but belatedly appropriate, and the only (current) reason that I'd recommend a visit. Still, at least Islington actually has a museum, which is a lot more than can be said for some...
What's on this weekend? Spring Into Summer Saturday 30 & Sunday 31 May
40 free guided London walks. Purley Festival Friday 29 - Sunday 5 June
Bunting week, below Croydon. E17 Art Trail Sat 30th May - Sun 14th June
250 arty Walthamstow things.