I’d hoped to squeeze in a day in London to see an exhibition at the end of last year, but it wasn’t possible, nor on my way down to Wink when she had her operation. There just wasn’t time. But fortunately, my local Nadfas set up a visit to this exhibition, so I was lucky after all. The odd thing was that I’d never heard of it before, had you? In case you can’t be bothered to click on the link, which is quite reasonable (the more links there are in a post, the less likely I am to click on any of them, frankly), I’m talking about the Cheapside Hoard. It is a sizeable quantity of jewellery that was found by chance more than 100 years ago.
In brief, workmen were demolishing 17th Century houses in Cheapside in the City of London and broke through some floorboards into a cellar. They spotted something shining and, investigating, found a lot of jewellery, evidently stock from a shop because of its range – that is, there were a lot of examples of similar things. Or it could have been stolen things, though maybe that’s less likely. Anyway, they gathered it up and took it to a pawnbroker, who prudently and honestly contacted the Trustees of the newly-formed and not yet opened Museum of London. He bought the stuff and it was duly shared out between museums. It was unconventional but honestly done. This is the first time that it has all been together for 100 years and the exhibition is on until 27th April, if you’re interested.
I’n not sure how many big exhibitions this museum puts on, it was well done but I could have suggested improvements, largely because too many things were gathered together, whilst there was a lot of spare wall space. A few more cabinets would have made it much easier to see the pieces without getting in other people’s way. And there was a video, doing a mock-up of possible ways the hoard was lost, which was a bit trite – a reconstruction of the finding of the treasures would have been more striking.
Its squirrelling away can be dated within 25 years, because one piece can be referenced to someone who received his title in 1640, and the house above was destroyed in 1666 in the Great Fire. It could well have been hidden during the Civil War, or else the owner died in the Great Plague. No knowing, there is no likelihood of finding further evidence.
The only other thing I will mention is that today is Tom Lehrer’s birthday. And I know that, thanks to Di, who said it on Facebook this morning. The title of this blog is a quotation from one of his songs, I grew up on his songs because my father loved them too. I appreciate satire and the sardonic, and I admire him for turning his back on showbiz and choosing to concentrate on his career as a university teacher. He’s 86 today, I hope he’s healthy and happy.