Beasts Of London: Lions, Foxes And Fleas Tell Their Stories At Museum Of London

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

The history of London’s animal residents — from pigeons to lions, elephants, horses and rats — is told in a new event at Museum of London. Beasts of London gives animals their own voices to tell their stories of living in the capital, dating as far back as the Roman Londinium.

What is Beasts of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Rather than being an exhibition, Beasts of London is described as an ‘immersive tour through London’s history’, voiced by the animals who witnessed it, and showing how their existence contributed to making the capital what it is today. Museum of London worked with Guildhall School of Music & Drama to create Beasts of London, using ‘video projection mapping’ to bring it to life.

The mighty lions of the Roman Empire, and the humble rabbit — which the Romans introduced to Britain as a food source — are represented, along with the rats who were thought to be responsible for the Great Plague, and the fleas who were actually responsible for spreading it. Modern day residents including foxes and parakeets also feature.

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

We’re promised tales of ‘cruelty and companionship’, suggesting a truthful — if often brutal — and un-sugarcoated account of humans’ relationship with animals throughout London’s history. Watch the trailer for more idea of what to expect.

Which celebrities are voicing Beasts of London?

Like most Londoners, we don’t speak lion or pigeon, so thankfully the animals’ stories have been translated into human, with celebrities voicing their thoughts. Brian Blessed, Pam Ferris, Kate Moss, Nish Kumar, Stephen Mangan, Angellica Bell and Joe Pasquale have all been named as taking part so far.

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
The bacterium, voiced by Brian Blessed. Image: Museum of London

You might expect Blessed’s inimitable boom to emit from a lion or elephant, but he’s been assigned the role of… Bacterium — London’s smallest creature, and the source of the Great Plague. Ferris voices Aquila the eagle, who guides visitors through Roman London, while Pasquale voices a dormouse. The full cast list can be seen on the Museum of London website.

Is Beasts of London suitable for children?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Museum of London recommends Beasts of London for anyone aged 7+, due to scenes that may be upsetting to anyone younger than this. That said, they won’t stop younger children attending — it’s at the discretion of parents and carers. The experience takes about an hour.

How much are tickets for Beasts of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Adults tickets start at £8, and concessions at £6.40. Tickets are available to book at half-hour intervals, and it’s expected to be a popular event so we do recommend that you book — particular if you’re planning to visit in the first few weeks, or at weekends or school holidays.

When does Beasts of London open at Museum of London?

Beasts of London animal history exhibition at Museum of London
Image: Museum of London

Beasts of London opens at Museum of London on Friday 5 April 2019 and runs until 5 January 2020.

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