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Work Relic - Matchbox

This matchbox is on display at Hackney Museum. In Victorian times some women in Hackney worked at home making matchboxes. They were paid as little as 2p for every twelve dozen (144) boxes they put together and out of this they had to buy the glue to stick the boxes together.

At Hackney Museum you can time yourself to discover how quickly you can make a matchbox. You can also try on Victorian clothes and learn about life in Hackney, not just in Victorian times but throughout history.

Click here for visitor information.

Leisure Relic - Theatre poster, 1860s

Theatres and music halls were hugely popular in Victorian England. This poster is advertising the 'startling scenes', 'exciting situations' and 'astounding effects' of the drama, 'Twenty Straws'. The play was based on a story by Eliza Winstanley. Although she was born in England, Eliza grew up in Australia, where she was a very successful actress. She moved back to England in 1846 where she continued to act before becoming a writer.

Twenty Straws was performed at the Britannia Theatre, Hoxton. The Britannia was very popular; it could seat 3,250 people and was patronised by Charles Dickens and George Bernard Shaw amongst others.

This poster is on display in the World City gallery at the Museum of London. For details of how to visit the Museum of London click here.

Building Relic - Queensbridge School, 1897

This school was built in 1897 and is a classic Victorian Board school. It has separate boys, girls and infants entrances, and outside toilets; all very typical of schools of the time. It also has a weathercock, a feature popular in late Victorian building.

Built in the typical Board school style of red brick it originally had another common feature, symmetrical gabled wings, but one of the outer wings was demolished following a direct hit by a World War II bomb. The school is very imposing and was designed to dominate the area and tower over the surrounding terraces. To allow maximum natural light the windows reach up to ceiling level.

Today, part of the building is still a school but it is also home to the Building Exploratory, an interactive exhibition exploring architecture and the built environment. Here you can learn all about Hackney, not just in the Victorian era, but from prehistoric times to the present day.

Click here to visit the Building Exploratory website for details of workshops tours and other activities.

Box of matches
The Building Exploratory

Britannia poster
Museum of London

Victorian school
The Building Exploratory

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