Our last day was not to be wasted and we headed out to Upton Park, deep in the East End of London (actually we walked past the football ground of West Ham) to visit a very special shop…
The Doctor Who shop was gobsmackingly awesome. Our jaws dropped in a collective gasp as we entered, as we surveyed the shop. T-shirts! Figurines! Keyrings! Lego-style sets! There were vintage fan books, many of which I remember reading as a young Who fan, poster and memorabilia adorning the walls. We walked around in silent awe, before letting out a squeal. I’m sure the people who work there were quite used to nerdy people like us going slightly batty at all the Dr Who guff there was to be had.
The back room of the shop was fitted out as a museum of props and costumes from the series, and other memorabilia such as scripts and posters. Entry was via…a Tardis, of course! I was given the key to let ourselves into the museum.
The costumes had been purchased from auctions, and it was clearly a labour of love. We saw a gas mask from ‘The Empty Child”, a very old Cyberman and a costume belonging to Tom Baker, who had been my favourite Doctor until this gentleman turned up…
We didn’t go completely crazy in the shop as we were leaving that day and only had a small amount of space in our luggage. We then ventured out into the dismal wet weather that was London’s summer. Ha- just our luck to be there for their wettest three months on record!
We then ventured to the Museum of London, which is appropriately in the City of London. It’s somewhat less busy than Westminster, or other parts of London, and pretty much of what we saw was office buildings, which made for great wind tunnels. The weather was grey and it matched our moods. None of us really wanted to go home.
It was good to get out of the rain, albeit into a very noisy environment, with more school groups marking time in their last week of school at an excursion. The museum was great, with an effort being made to make history more relevant by having younger people involved in exhibits about their own contemporary London experience.
Modern-day items were displayed beside historical artefacts to contextualise their presence. A mosaic that would have been the floor of a Roman villa for example, was a floor upon which a couch table and modern lamp was placed.
The kids loved playing at being firemen wearing old fashioned helmets .
My favourite bits were the Victorian street scene and the exhibits of 20th century London. One was cool to walk around in and the other was realising that my childhood is now a museum piece!
And then it was time to go. We headed off to my brother’s flat for a final cuppa and one last look at CBBC, then we went back to our hotel to retrieve our luggage. Bye bye London, we’ll miss you terribly.