Islington museum

Previous exhibitions

Take a look at some of our recent exhibitions.

Trade - often copied, never equalled: Celebrating 25 years of after-hours clubbing in Islington (2015/16)

Founded by Laurence Malice, Trade became both highly successful and influential not only on the London gay scene but also on the dance music scene. 

Advertised as 'the original all-night bender', it operated from 4am until 1pm on Sundays and was located at the renowned Islington venue Turnmills, on Clerkenwell Road. Trade also held events around the UK and the world, as well as making appearances on TV.

Trade ended its regular Sunday slot in October 2002 but often returned to Turnmills for one-off events until it finally closed its doors in 2008. Trade has continued to 'party' at other venues around London, most recently at Egg on York Way, Islington.

Arsenal around here: 100 years in Islington (2014)

A celebratory exhibition telling the 100-year old story of Arsenal Football Club's presence in Islington (1913-2013).

In September 2013, Islington Museum marked the centenary of Arsenal in Islington with a special exhibition looking back at the club’s history.

'It’s Arsenal around here' takes visitors on a journey back to 1913 in Highbury – the club’s first home in Islington – and brings the story of the club in the borough to present day.

From Colman to Costello: a history of the Astoria Cinema and Rainbow Theatre, Finsbury Park (2013)

In 1930 the Astoria cinema brought entertainment and luxury to north London. By the 1960s it had developed a dual role both as a picture house and as a music venue. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Frank Sinatra and Jimi Hendrix all played here.

In 1971, with a change of name to the Rainbow Theatre, it became legendary as a music venue attracting some of the biggest names in music such as The Who, Frank Zappa and Miles Davis, as well notable acts from the decade’s burgeoning reggae, punk and new wave scenes.

'From Colman to Costello' takes a trip down movie and music memory lane to the halcyon days of this world famous cinema and concert venue.

A Twist in the Tale: Charles Dickens and Islington (2012)

Charles Dickens (1812-70), England’s most popular Victorian novelist, knew Islington well.  

Dickens recorded life in the area and its surroundings in fiction and in fact throughout his career as a writer. He was particularly attracted to Clerkenwell. The writer regularly visited this densely populated district, drawing influences for his work from the people that he encountered, the buildings that he passed and the scenes that he witnessed.

'A Twist in the Tale: Charles Dickens and Islington' explores his connections with the Borough. The viewer is invited to discover the streets upon which the great writer trod, observed and documented and where his celebrated characters could be found. 

In doing so, bear witness to the invaluable social and historical record that Dickens created about this unique part of north London during the Victorian era.

Malicious Damage: the life and crimes of Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell in Islington (2011)

In 1962, aspiring writer Joe Orton and his partner and mentor Kenneth Halliwell were each sentenced to six months imprisonment for malicious damage to Islington Public Library books.

Malicious Damage tells the story surrounding the life and crimes of Orton and Halliwell in Islington and reflects upon the couple’s creative and mischievous talents while resident in this north London borough.

View Malicious Damage (PDF) exhibition 

Holloway Prison and the Suffragettes (2009)

In the early 1900s, women who wanted equal rights with men began a high-profile campaign to demand ‘suffrage’: the right to vote. Many of these Suffragettes were jailed in Holloway Prison for taking militant action in their fight for the vote and the prison became the scene of the first Suffragette hunger strikes.

This exhibition examines our local links to the campaign for votes for women.

Was this information helpful?
  1. Please select


  2. Data protection: We will handle your personal information in line with the Data Protection Act 1998 and in accordance with the council’s Fair Processing Notice.