Caught by the River

London Lore

8th June 2013


A new exhibition mounted by the Museum of British Folklore

LONDON LORE is an exhibition that aims to give an insight into some of the many colourful, uncanny and sometimes ancient, events and customs, which take place in the city each year. Sited in the rooms of Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields, the Museum of British Folklore has collaborated with the artist Richard Sharples and sound artist Richard J. Lockley-Hobson to produce a series of ‘Raree Boxes’ to tell their tales. Raree boxes were first recorded in the 15th century and were used by street performers as a form of entertainment. Having paid a small fee you could peer into a lens or hole in the box where a scene would be revealed, usually a newsworthy event of the day such as a battle or Royal jamboree. The owner of the box would then give a narration whilst sometimes moving the scenery or closing or opening slits in the box to allow more or less light to enter.

LONDON LORE will invite visitors to explore Dennis Severs House and to discover each of the stories held within the boxes. These will incorporate a variety of techniques to bring their stories to life: Hand cranked mechanisms, Victorian optical illusions and magic lantern effects are all employed to tell the tales. The magical transformations and miniature tableaus will celebrate a particular myth, ritual or custom that the city has given birth to, many of which are still in practice today.

Among others, visitors will be able to marvel at the comic madness of the annual “Clowns Service”, be horrified by the diabolical antics of “Spring Heeled Jack”, gaze in wonder at the sight of “The Queen’s Remembrancer” or discover Lady Hatton’s dreadful secret and what she was doing in “Bleeding Heart Yard”.

LONDON LORE is an exhibition taking place for three weeks this summer (from 14th June – 5th July 2013) at the wonderful Dennis Severs’ House in Spitalfields, often listed as a “hidden gem” of London.

Dennis Severs’ House
18 Folgate Street
E1 6BX
020 7247 4013