See a never-before attempted feat of expertise and endurance!
A tag team from Museum of London will perform the entire history of London from 1000 to 2009, starting at 10am and ending at 8.09 pm.
At 10.30am we will be just about getting to the Normans. At one o’clock it’ll be 1300 and the Late Middle Ages. The Great Fire breaks out at around 20 to 5 and London starts swinging at around quarter to eight. The performance will be non-stop and the baton will be handed on every 15 minutes to a fresh performer.
This probably never-to-be repeated event is drop-in and free.
Key dates for the last 1, 000 years a sneak preview…
1000 – 1100
Norman Conquest – 1066
William Duke of Normandy (“William the Conqueror”) invaded England on 12 September 1066. After his victory at The Battle of Hastings, William advanced on London where English leaders surrendered and William was crowned King of England on 25 December 1066 in Westminster Abbey. England became Norman, largely removing the native ruling class, replacing it with a French-speaking monarchy, linking it more closely with Europe and transforming English language and culture.
1100 – 1200
First Mayor of London appointed – 1189
The first ever Lord Mayor of London, Henry Fitz-Ailwin held office until his death in 1212. He came to power at the time when the powerful and wealthy merchants of London were claiming increasing rights of self-government from the Norman Kings like Richard 1 and John in return for their financial support.
1200 – 1300
Magna Carta – 1215 (the Great Charter of Freedoms)
On 10 June 1215, the Magna Carta was the first document forced onto an English King by a group of his subjects attempting to limit his powers and protect their rights. Written in Latin, it required King John of England to respect legal procedures and accept that his will could be bound by the law. It protected rights of the King’s subjects and implicitly supported what became the ‘writ of habeas corpus’ – allowing people to appeal against unlawful imprisonment. Magna Carta influenced the development of modern laws and many constitutional documents, including the United States Constitution.
1300 – 1400
Black Death – 1348
The Black Death, then called the ‘Great Pestilence‘, caused the death of almost half of Europe’s population reaching London in the autumn of 1348. The huge numbers of deaths caused a shortage of labour that subsequently caused a rise in wages. The landowning classes tried to curb this development, which indirectly lead to the Peasants’ Revolt of 1381.
1400 – 1500
War of the Roses – 1450s to 1480s
The Wars of the Roses were a series of bloody wars for the throne of England between the royal families of York and Lancaster. They culminated in the seizure of the throne by the Tudor King Henry VII.
1500 – 1600
Shakespeare – 1564-1616
William Shakespeare English poet and playwright is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language. He wrote 38 plays, 154 sonnets and other poems. Shakespeare was born and raised in Stratford-upon-Avon but moved to London around 1585 joining the Lord Chamberlain’s Men and becoming a successful writer and actor. In 1599 Shakespeare and others bought the Globe theatre, arguably one of the most famous theatres in the world.
1600 – 1700
Only execution of a UK Monarch: Charles I – 1649
Charles I was King of England, Scotland and Ireland until his execution on 30 January 1649. Charles engaged in a power struggle with Parliament as he was an advocate of the Divine Right of Kings – the belief that kings received their power from God. Many people feared he was attempting to gain absolute power. During the second Civil War Charles was captured, tried, convicted, and executed for high treason. He remains the only monarch ever to be executed in UK history.
1700 – 1800
Gordon Riots: Biggest riots in peace time UK – 1780
The Gordon Riots began as a series of protests by Protestant Londoners against new legislation giving rights to Catholics entitled the Papists Act 1778. London descended into anarchy for about a week. They remained the largest peace time riots in the country until the Brixton riots in 1981.
1800 – 1900
Great Exhibition – 1851
The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of all Nations was an international exhibition that took place in Hyde Park from 1 May to 15 October. It was the first World Fair that went on to become a popular 19th century feature in other cities. A true celebration of modern industrial technology and design it was organised by Prince Albert. The Crystal Palace was designed specifically for the exhibition by Joseph Paxton, a huge building of glass, iron and timber that was six times the size of St Paul’s Cathedral. Six million people visited the exhibition including Charles Darwin, Charlotte Brontë and George Eliot.
1900 – 2000
The Blitz – 1940
The Blitz was London’s most traumatic episode of intense aerial bombing during the Second World War. The attacks were intended to destroy morale, and targeted civilian as well as industrial or military targets. By the morning after the first night of the Blitz, on 7th September 1940, more than 300 tonnes of bombs had been dropped on London, 430 Londoners had been killed and 1,600 were injured. London was bombed almost every night for the next 11 weeks. During the raids, Londoners sought shelter in the deep Underground stations. By the end of the Blitz many shelters included toilets, washing facilities, and wooden bunk beds built on the platforms and in tunnels. Refreshments could be purchased from the Refreshment Special Tube train that ran each night. The impact on civilian morale in London was severe. Some Londoners later recalled that things were close to breaking point however the general mood of perseverance became known as the Blitz Spirit.
History will be made on 27 July to 12 August as London becomes the first and only city in the World to officially host the modern Olympic Games three times.
Where do we go?
Museum of London
Open Daily 10am-6pm