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Current exhibitions

Find out about our latest free exhibitions and displays

Mobilise! Mobilise!

Holloway Fire Station on Hornsey Road

Art exhibition

Dates: Saturday 1 February – 31 March 2020

Opening times: 10am-5pm daily (except Wednesdays and Sundays closed)

Admission: Free

Venue: Islington Museum, 245 St John Street, London EC1V 4NB

‘Mobilise! Mobilise!’ highlights the unique work of Islington artist Niki Gibbs.

A local fire station is a building that we often walk past but only perhaps become aware of when a big red fire truck emerges to deal with an urgent situation. Little is known about the training, daily checks, maintenance of kit, inspections of buildings in the community, and other outreach work performed by the firefighters.

We regularly see fire crews at work during television news broadcasts, with individuals performing heroic acts in the line of duty, often in the most difficult of circumstances. What is not seen is the everyday life of the crews as they operate around the station, relax, prepare and eat food, while waiting for that sudden emergency call out.

Drawing inspiration from photographs, artist Niki Gibbs worked with Holloway Fire Station on Hornsey Road, Islington, to capture its four crews going about their routine daily work.

‘Mobilise! Mobilise!’ art exhibition is the result of this intimate and insightful collaboration. 

Download ‘Mobilise! Mobilise!’ exhibition free events leaflet.

We’ll Meet Again

Islington on the Home Front in photographs (1939-45)

Dates: Monday 20 April – 11 July 2020

Opening times:
10am-5pm daily (except Wednesdays and Sundays closed)

Admission:
Free

Venue: Islington Museum, 245 St John Street, London EC1V 4NB

The Second World War was a conflict fought on several fronts. Not only was victory secured by the forces fighting on the front line, but also by the daily sacrifice and determination of the people they left behind on the ‘Home Front’.

This experience between 1939 and 1945 was unique in British history. Twelve million British families fought their own battle, including those in Islington and Finsbury, who went without all but the most basic necessities. Civilians, alongside men and women in the armed forces not posted aboard, all endured the hardships and sudden dangers in what also became known as the ‘people’s war’.

Aspects of the Home Front were common to all: rationing, the blackout and, more terrifyingly, enemy air raids and, with it, the threat of untimely death. It was to prove a long period of regulation and shortage, uncertainty, boredom, fear and anxiety, and also a time of dramatic change. Children were evacuated, men and women conscripted into the forces or directed into essential war work, homes disrupted and lives were put on hold for an indefinite duration. Those not called to the armed forces helped the country in many ways: Civil Defence, the Women’s Voluntary Service, working in munitions factories, digging for victory, raising money for the ‘war effort’, or simply making a contribution by remaining cheerful and ‘making do’.

With its title taken from one of the most famous songs of the war, and sung by Vera Lynn, ‘We’ll Meet Again’ portrays Islington and Finsbury’s home-front experience during these six historic years. Like many parts of inner London, the area suffered badly from bombings during the Blitz from 1940-41, and from the V1 and V2 rocket attacks on the capital from the summer of 1944 onwards. However, in spite of increasing fatalities and an uncertain future and hardship, Islingtonians and Finsburyites on the Home Front kept ‘calm and carried on’.

Upon the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War in Europe, this unique photographic exhibition commemorates all who bravely endured life on the Home Front in Islington and Finsbury and beyond.

‘We’ll Meet Again’ is dedicated to memory of Mary Cosh (1919-2020)

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