Islington museum

Current exhibitions

Find out about our latest free exhibitions and displays

Fenian Outrage!

The Clerkenwell Explosion of 1867

Venue: Finsbury Library Foyer, 245 St John Street, EC1 4NB
: Information on visiting the venue
Dates: 1 December 2017 -  27 January 2018
Opening times: Monday and Thursday (9am-8pm), Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: (9am- 5pm). Sunday (and public holidays): closed
Admission: Free

150th Anniversary Display at Finsbury Library

December 2017 marks the 150th anniversary of the ‘Fenian Outrage’, also known as the ‘Clerkenwell Explosion’. This is considered to be the first explosion caused by a nationalist organisation on the UK mainland, in which 12 people were killed and several others injured. It also resulted in the last person to be publically hanged in Britain.

‘Fenian Outrage!’ tells the story of the Clerkenwell explosion in Corporation Lane (now Row) and its aftermath, and features contemporary illustrations and original documents from the event. 

‘Outrage in Clerkenwell!’

Free Guided Walks

Dates: Saturdays 9 & 16 December
Time: 11am
Meet: Finsbury Library foyer
Price: Free but booking essential (limited places). Eventbrite

Presented by Clerkenwell & Islington Guides' Association (CIGA) in partnership with Islington Museum.

Up against it image

Islington on canvas: art from the archives

Dates: Friday 1 December 2017 to Saturday 24 February 2018

Opening times: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 10am - 5pm. Wednesday and Sunday (and public holidays): closed

Admission: Free

Venue details: Information on visiting the venue

A winter exhibition of artworks from the archive collections at Islington Museum and Local History Centre.
From the early 19th century Islington began to attract both professional and amateur artists. It was an area of contrasts, industrialised Clerkenwell and Finsbury in the south and semi-rural Highbury and Holloway to the north. Together with the centrally located Upper Street area, a place of eating, drinking and entertainment, there was much to inspire the artist. Later, the borough’s many residential squares and terraced villas, as well as its close proximity to the bustling City of London, offered a convenient location for them to live and work. During the 20th century many artists were drawn to Islington’s ‘pockets’ of affluence, fading charm and unpretentious atmosphere.

One of the nation’s most foremost painters, Walter Richard Sickert (1860-1942), was to be inspired by Islington and had many connections to the area. Sickert often visited Collins’ Music Hall on Islington Green to study the artistes, audience and atmosphere for future works and, between 1924 and 1934, he lived and worked at several addresses in the borough. His third wife, (Elaine) Thérèse Lessore (1884-1945) was influenced by her husband’s love of Islington and she too was inspired to capture local entertainment. 

Walter Sickert was also a great inspiration to artist and writer Geoffrey Scowcroft Fletcher (1923-2004. Fletcher referred to Islington as having a “many-sided” character and found the combination of Islington’s affluence and poverty, and the resulting variety of buildings and people that made up the area, intriguing. 

The artworks selected for exhibition, including pieces by Sickert, Lessore and Fletcher, have been chosen by Islington Local History Centre and Museum staff, volunteers and friends of the museum as ‘favourites’. Many of these works have rarely been seen until now and ‘Islington on canvas: art from the archives’ offers an unmissable opportunity to view these specially selected works from the museum and centre’s art collection, while also bringing some well-known and some not so well-known artists to a wider audience.

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