Saturday, 2 May 2015


I went wrong on my walk to the Wellcome Collection – I went right across Hyde Park, up diagonally through Marylebone, Portland Place and the UCL campus and then within 5 minutes walk of my destination I wandered into the main gate of the UCL cloisters (in my defence there was a huge banner about an upcoming exhibition at the Wellcome slung across one of the buildings) and on coming out turned the wrong way and ended up somewhere past Gordon Square.

It did mean however that I noticed and took some photos of this rather nice piece of carving:

It’s over a gateway at the back of the Church of Christ the King. One of those lost rear entrances that happen when another building is built up to a church wall and the resulting appendix of road is used as a tiny private car park and (judging from personal observation) pissoir and place to smash glass bottles. A shame.

The Wellcome itself – when I got there – was a mix of old and new museum styles, collections of loosely related objects in glass cases, open areas of pleasant informality with ipad embedded desks for further information and sofas to sit and read, a library with a mezzanine that reached the ceiling.

It's is a nice size too - not so big you become fatigued by the thought you'll never get round it all, not so small you wonder why you came. Strictly speaking it's a medical museum, but as well as things like old training models and dentist's stands and fingerprint catalogues they have art works inspired by medicine  and pads of paper with questions on them to encourage you to participate. 

It seems to work. A wall of answers to the question ‘What would you like to inoculate yourself against’ provided some whimsical answers (politicians, negative people) some very straightforward (simple lists of illnesses) and some rather sad (a 22 year old wanting to inoculate against death of family members).

You’re allowed to take pictures provided there’s no flash, so I snapped this picture of a glass art work of a bacteria - there were 3, e coli (beautiful, like a furry caterpillar in glass, but it didn’t photograph well) and I thought this one was swine flu – except it doesn’t look like the images of swine flu online.

Must learn to label. 

This photo doesn't really do it justice either.

The museum is free, and open late night Thursdays and Fridays. 

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