London History Day

On Wednesday 31st May 2017 the first ever London History Day is set to he held. The date marks the anniversary of the day in 1859 when Big Ben began keeping time for the residents of London. Having been given a selection of 10 different key dates by Historic England last year, Londoners selected Big Ben’s beginning over the start of the Great Fire of London, and the date of the opening ceremony for the 2012 Olympic Games. The aim of the day is to highlight our great city’s wonderful history and is part of Historic England’s wider ‘Keep it London’ campaign, which aims to make Londoners discuss and celebrate the heritage of the capital. The London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and Museum of London are also encouraging all London primary schools to join in and go to school dressed as their favourite historic Londoner, or member of a London community, on Friday 26th May.

All across London, more than 40 galleries, museums and institution will be showing rare London-related objects, or staging special events and conducting tours to mark the occasion. A number of these special events will be happening south of the river in the more pleasant half of London. To save you time, we at South London Club have compiled a list of the events happening in South London :-

Walk history - brixton's black history: 1948 to now

First thing to do is download “Walk History” from the App Store or Google Play, then get yourself down to Brixton. The free “Walk History” app will provide you with information about local architecture, archive images and a few videos. This particular walk tells the story of the Windrush Generation, named after the ship Empire Windrush, which arrived on 22nd June 1948, carrying one of the first large groups of post-war West Indian immigrants to the UK – one of whom was Sam Beaver King, the first black Mayor of Southwark. The walk will look at why many of the first West Indians settled in Brixton, and how the area was the starting point of a long struggle to be recognised as an integral aspect of British culture and society.

Sam Beaver King

Sam Beaver King

South London Club has numerous different restaurants in the Brixton that you can use your South London Club card to get discounts in, find out:

south london gallery, peckham road fire station

65-67 Peckham Road, SE5 8UH
11am-9pm (Free)

Dating from 1867, the Peckham Road Fire Station is the oldest surviving purpose-built first station in London, it is a Grade II listed building and has been gifted to the South London Gallery by an anonymous benefactor. For London History Day, a curated display of materials relating to the first station has been bought together for visitors to view in the entrance of the SLG’s main building across the road from the fire station.

Copyright Peckham Road Fire Station. London Metropolitan Archives, City of London.

Copyright Peckham Road Fire Station. London Metropolitan Archives, City of London.

The building operated as a fire station until 1925, after which time a new station was built and it was taken over by a private company. Having been vacant for many years, the building had fallen into a state of disrepair, however, with the help of a Heritage Lottery Fund and a substantial grant from the Mayor London Regeneration Fund, South London Gallery have begun a project to convert it into a cultural centre which will open to the public in 2018.

Peckham is another area that South London Club covers, and you can find out some the great discounts on offer here:

Kirkaldy's universal testing machine talk and demonstration

Kirkaldy Testing Museum, 99 Southwark Street, SE1 0JF
6pm-8pm (£5 Adults, £4 Concessions)

Still in its authentic Grade-II listed Victorian workshop, just south of the Tate Modern, David Kirkaldy’s Universal Testing Machine was used to conduct destruction testing for numerous iconic projects across London, such as the old Wembley Stadium, and the Skylon. On London History Day, there will be a talk about the device and its history, and then a demonstration of the destructive capability of the 47-foot long machine.

Kirkaldy's Universal Testing Machine

Kirkaldy's Universal Testing Machine



London HIstory Day talk

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, Lambeth SE1 8XX
12pm-3pm (Free)

In what looks likely to prove to be a highlight of the day, the Southbank Centre will be hosting a special talk on its own rich history and its roots in 1950s London. Along with this there will be a special tour of its Grade I listed building and an opportunity to take part in a practical workshop where you can explore the creative craft of quilt making. The workshop will celebrate the ‘Patchwork of the Century’ made for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and which is now on permanent display in the Royal Festival Hall. The quilt highlights major events including women’s suffrage, the founding of the NHS and both world wars.

Copyright Southbank Centre

Copyright Southbank Centre

Recording the thames foreshore

MOLA, Thames Discovery Programme - St Mary's Putney, S17 2QJ
1pm-3pm (Free)


For London History Day, the Foreshore Recording and Observation Group (FROG) branch of the Thames Discovery Programme will be recording the foreshore below St. Mary’s Putney. You will be able to examine the footing of the first Putney Bridge, dating to 1729, whilst finds on the shore normally include artefacts relating to Thames use’ in Hindu worship. The TDP Team and volunteers will be available to answer any question you have about foreshore archaeology.

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