History comes home

tv© Redbridge Museum

Redbridge Museum will open a new permanent exhibition in spring 2023 exploring 200,000 years of local history. In the 11th of a series of articles, Museum Officer Nishat Alam looks at some of the items on show

Happy New Year from Redbridge Museum! While we remained closed in 2022, it was a very busy year for our team. We spent time meeting with local people and collecting more stories, writing text labels and panels, and working with designers to come up with some brand-new displays telling the story of the people, places and events that make up Redbridge’s history.

Through this column, I’ve explored various themes that will feature in the new museum, from Wanstead’s Roman past and local women’s history to the difficult stories surrounding historic figures and houses in the Woodford area. While it seems as though I may have covered nearly all of Redbridge’s history in the past year, there’s still plenty I haven’t mentioned. Some of the new displays to look forward to are a new and bigger early history section, a Mini Museum for under-5s and a new roomset featuring one of the most unique objects in our collection: a 1970s Keracolor ‘Space Age’ television, pictured here.

The museum redevelopment wasn’t the only thing we were working on in 2022, of course. We opened our Asian Roots in Redbridge exhibition in April, celebrating the history of South Asian life in Redbridge, and Royal Redbridge to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in May. In June, we worked with an app developer to create an exciting augmented reality experience with a Victorian mangle from our collection, combining history and technology for Redbridge Central Library’s Tech Ilford festival.

A personal highlight for me was People Powered, a major project in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery. In the summer, we held workshops with local young people and acclaimed photographer Eddie Otchere, exploring photography and the history of Ilford Limited, the world-famous photographic company. The project ended with the Ilford Limited: Analogue Stories exhibition, which opened in December and remains on show until March 2023.

Schools and families can also continue to enjoy Redbridge Museum programmes while we’re closed. Teachers across the borough can still book our popular education sessions for their year groups, taking place online or in the classroom. And anyone with children to entertain can view and download a variety of Museum from Home activities from our website. 

The good news is we don’t have too long left to go! The new Redbridge Museum, complete with old and new stories about the borough’s past, will reopen this spring. We hope that Wanstead and Woodford residents will join us to celebrate this new chapter.

For more information on Redbridge Museum and to complete a survey about the new displays, visit wnstd.com/rm