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Work Relic - Cattle shoes, early 19th C

These shoes are made of iron and date from the end of the Georgian period. Cattle had to be driven long distances on hard roads to get to market in the City of London. They were shod with old horses' shoes to protect their hooves on the journey.

These shoes are one of the items on display in the World City gallery of the Museum of London. The gallery focuses on the years 1789-1914, from the French Revolution to the First World War, when London was transformed into a world city, and the capital of the largest empire the world has ever known.

Click here to find out how to visit the gallery.

Leisure Relic - Gin flask, 1832

This is a stoneware gin flask made in the image of a Georgian politician, Lord Brougham, who was Lord Chancellor from 1830 to 1834. Lord Brougham and Lord Grey, the Prime Minister of the day, were heroes to many working people. They were supporters of the Great Reform Bill of 1832. The Reform Bill sought to redistribute parliamentary seats on a more equitable basis, and in the process give representation to some of the fast growing towns of the north such as Manchester.

In 1831 the Reform Bill had been defeated in the Lords and rioting had broken out across Britain. There was a very real fear of revolution if the Reform Bill were to be defeated again.

Pottery manufacturers in London made gin flasks depicting supporters of the Reform Bill. John Doulton took samples to Birmingham and Manchester and returned with huge orders. Over twenty potters worked flat out to meet the demand for Reform Act pottery. It was said that London gin tasted better when it was drunk from the head of the Lord Chancellor.

This flask is on display in the World City Galleries of the Museum of London. Click here to find details of the museum and how to get there.

Building Relic - Builder's yoke, early 19th C

The early nineteenth century saw the start of the building boom in London. The wealthy could afford to move away from the dirty city centre so farms and market gardens were cleared for houses. In the 1740s villages in Hackney were still based around a single street, but by the 1830s the many villages of Hackney and Stoke Newington parishes were beginning to blend into one.

Speculative builders usually built only a few houses at a time. The strict building regulations following the Great Fire of London, in 1666, resulted in the uniform Georgian terrace facade that is still in evidence on the streets of London today. Bricklayers, carpenters, joiners, plasterers, glaziers and painters would be employed on a casual basis and would bring their own tools. This builder's yoke would have been used to lug the heavy materials up ladders and around the building site.

This yoke is on display in the World City gallery of the Museum of London. Click here for more details.

The Building Exploratory exhibition in Hackney explores and explains the development of Hackney. For details of how to visit the exhibition click here.

Cattle shoes
Museum of London

Gin flask
Museum of London

Museum of London

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