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Livery Society Museum of London Tour

On Monday 28th January, a group of 14 Liverymen and their guests met at the entrance to the Museum of London, where we were guests of the Director Sharon Ament and Senior Curator Hazel Forsyth.

They had very kindly pulled together a customized whistle stop tour of the Museum for us which carried us through the history of London , but with a focus on Bakery - related paraphernalia.

Amongst the many items we were shown the earliest was a Bronze Age ‘saddle quern’ - which is a stone that has been shaped so that e.g. grain can be crushed against it (like the bowl for a pestle & mortar).

There were several images of Ceres - the Roman goddess of Agriculture, including one on a gold ring; she typically holds wheat ears in one hand.

- And there were practical exhibits - like the amazing mixer shown above right, which is around 4 ft tall , and came from Stanley’s Bakery in Euston, which has 19th century origins - and a gorgeous 17th century double - sided gingerbread mould , with male and female figures.

 ….. And a wooden truncheon - that was used in the Bread riots of 1887…

- And some extraordinary examples of bakery products - including a piece of gingerbread that had been bought at the Frost Fair (held on the frozen Thames) in 1806…… and a Chelsea Bun that was baked to mark the coronation of King George IV on 29th Jan, 1820 - on the top of which could still be seen the imprint of a large crown. Amazing !!

After our visit, we walked ‘next door’ to the London Wall Bar & Kitchen for a glass of wine and some fingerfood.

We can’t thank Sharon and Hazel enough for their warm welcome and the time they had spent customizing a tour for us  out of hours.  

I might add that most of us hadn’t visited the Museum for far too long (if ever before), and we were constantly distracted by exhibits as we were taken round. 

I can heartily recommend a visit - and , if you work in Docklands, there is an extension of the Museum there too - No Excuse Not to Visit !

Max Elvidge

30th Jan 2019

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