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Previous exhibitions

Take a look at some of our recent exhibitions.

Meet Me at the Aggie (2020)

‘Meet Me at the Aggie’ showcases Islington Local History Centre’s collection of Royal Agricultural Hall posters, promoting the amusement fairs held in the 1870s and 1880s. The once World-famous hall is now the Business Design Centre on Upper Street, Islington.

• View ‘Meet Me at the Aggie’ presentation

Black Lives Matter (2020)

Events in 2020 placed a spotlight over racial inequality. The tragic death of George Floyd in America, one amongst many, resonated worldwide with demonstrations in support of Black Lives Matter.

For Black History Month 2020, Islington Local History Centre created an installation and online exhibition exploring how the death of George Floyd and the 'Black Lives Matter' movement affected Islington through acts of solidarity and support, as well as displaying images representing black history and the black community in the borough. 

Barging Through Islington: 200 years of the Regent’s Canal (2020)

'Barging Through Islington: 200 Years of the Regent's Canal' celebrates the bicentenary of the canal’s opening on 1 August 1820.

Once providing an essential transport route for industry, many Islington businesses relied on the Regent's Canal for the supply of materials for one and a half centuries. Since the 1970's, the canal has transcended its industrial purpose and become a place of leisure and enjoyment. ‘Barging Through Islington’ highlights the key developments on and around Regent’s Canal over its two-century history.

In the exhibition, discover how the canal was built, how the ice industry the canal supported brought ice cream to the masses in London, and how the glitz and glamour of Hollywood arrived by the canal. Compare key points of the Regent’s Canal through historic photographs and take part in an interactive tour and quiz.
Produced in conjunction with Regent’s Canal Heritage.

• Visit the ‘Barging through Islington’ exhibition homepage
• View the ‘Barging through Islington’ exhibition presentation

Islington as a place of refuge (2020)

Islington is currently home to over 240,000 people, many of whom originally come from different parts of the globe. The stories represented in ‘Islington as a Place of Refuge’ have particular links to the Holloway area. Many more stories, documents and objects relating to migrant history can be found at Islington Museum and Islington Local History Centre.

Presented by Islington Museum and the Cally Clocktower Centre, 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 its migrant history. Part of Refugee Week 2020.

We’ll Meet Again (2020)

Islington on the Home Front during the Second World War in photographs (1939-45)

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 photographs (1939-45)’ portrays Islington and Finsbury’s home-front experience during these six historic years.

Mapping Islington: Historic maps and plans of Islington (2019)

‘Mapping Islington’ showcases a selection of maps and plans (1553-1894) relating to the three former historic parishes that now form the London Borough of Islington.

Maps are a window into the past. They provide historical evidence and offer a valuable insight to bygone streets, industries and landscapes. They are also an important source for local history research and help us to understand the development and changes that have shaped the character and identity of our borough.

Echoes of Holloway Prison: Hidden voices from behind the wall (2018)

Holloway Prison has been an important landmark in Islington for over 150 years. Thousands of women have passed through its doors until it closed in 2016. ‘Echoes of Holloway Prison’ highlights the history and some of the stories of this highly significant place and, even though it has gone, the voices and echoes of Holloway Prison remain.

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.

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.

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