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Current exhibitions

Find out about our latest free exhibitions and displays

Islington as a Place of Refuge

Dates: Monday 20 April – 11 July 2020

Venue: Online exhibition (links below).

Centred around Refugee Week 2020's theme of 'Imagine', jump back in time to imagine the various situations faced by refugees and economic migrants that came to Islington. Presented by Islington Museum and Cally Clock Tower, in conjunction with Islington Guided Walks, Islington as a Place of Refuge is an online tour of sites in Islington that tell diverse stories from migrant history.

Whether it be to escape war, persecution or economic hardships, many refugee communities have come to Islington and found a base to start new lives, grow their livelihoods and fight injustice. To celebrate the rich diversity found within our borough, we explore the reasons why people have settled in Islington and the valuable contributions migrants have made to our borough. This online tour also highlights the struggles and discrimination some have faced upon arrival in Britain, demonstrating the difficulties many endure upon migration to a new country. Islington as a Place of Refuge investigates the plight of Hungarian and South African political refugees, German Jewish refugees, West Indian, Italian and Irish economic migration, and Somali war refugees.

Islington is currently home to over 200,000 people, many of whom originally come from different corners of the globe. The stories represented in Islington as a Place of Refuge for Refugee Week 2020 have particular links to the Holloway area. Many more stories, documents and objects relating to migrant history can be found in Islington Museum and Islington Local History Centre.

Visit the Islington Life page

View the tour

We’ll Meet Again

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

Dates: Monday 20 April – 11 July 2020

Venue: Online exhibition (links below). Presented by Islington Museum

The 75th anniversary of VE-Day (Victory in Europe), marking the end of the Second World War in Europe, is being commemorated nationally on 8 May 2020.

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 abroad, all endured the hardships and sudden angers 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 the threat of untimely death. Like many parts of inner London, the area suffered badly from bombings during the Blitz from 1940-41, and as a target for V1 and V2 rocket attacks on the capital from the summer of 1944. It was to prove a long period of regulation and shortage, uncertainty, boredom, fear and anxiety, and 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: Islington on the Home Front during the Second World War in photograph (1939-45)’ exhibition portrays Islington and Finsbury’s home-front experience during these six historic years. However, despite increasing fatalities and an uncertain future and hardship, Islingtonians and Finsburyites on the Home Front kept ‘calm and carried on’.

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

The full exhibition will be rescheduled for presentation at Islington Museum later in 2020.

'We’ll Meet Again' is dedicated to memory of Islington historian Mary Cosh (1919-2020).
• Visit the ‘We’ll Meet Again’ exhibition homepage
• View the ‘We’ll Meet Again’ exhibition photographic presentation
• View Islington on the Home Front during the Second World War article

WW2 exhibition photo
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