London History Day

Historic England will be celebrating its first ever London History Day on the 31st of May – the date that Big Ben first began keeping time in 1859!

There will be special displays and one off events for one day only from 40 different museums and galleries in London, including several near to our Aldgate campus. These include our local park Altab Ali (named after a Bengali leather garment worker who was murdered in 1978),  Christ Church Spitalfields (Hawksmoor masterpiece), and the Geffrye museum.  Or hear about the Huguenots of Spitalfields on a guided walk or learn about the battle of cable street and other London stories by downloading a free app to go on self guided walks.

We have put together a selection of books on London History, with a focus on East London, for a display in Aldgate Library to commemorate this event. Don’t forget you can also visit our Special Collections which houses the University Archive where you can  learn more about the history of London Metropolitan University and all of its precursor institutions, as well as other collections and materials relating to the University and the courses it teaches.

image copyright London Metropolitan University

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Upholstery Display

Short Courses at The Cass are sponsoring a panel discussion at the Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch,  exploring the issues around upholstery, sustainability and throwaway culture.

Upholstery has a long history here at London Met, in its many guises over the years, and we have put together a display of some of the books from our library collections at Aldgate on this subject. As well as books and journals, there is also the Materials & Products collection, where you can see samples of many materials, including those used in upholstery.

The discussion takes place on 18th May and coincides with the exhibition ’Second Sitters Upholstery: Evolution to Revolution‘ at the Geffrye until 21st May.

image copyright London Metropolitan University


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Tate Library and Archive show and tell

Did you know Tate’s Library and Archive (based at Tate Britain) do a monthly show and tell on the first Friday of the month?

These events are organised by the Library and Archive staff, offering a unique chance to have a behind the scenes visit and get a unique insight into some of the collections.

Coming up on Friday 5th May is an overview of the work by artists’ coalition AMBruno (established in 2008 with MA Fine Art graduates from Central Saint Martins).

There will be a selected display of material by AMBruno and from the Tate Library collection, as well as talks and performances by some of the affiliated members starting at 12.45 and repeated at 1.45.

Keep an eye out for future events here.


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Paolozzi and Pop

We are lucky enough to be based just around the corner from the fantastic Whitechapel Gallery, who are currently hosting a fabulous exhibition by Eduardo Paolozzi the ‘godfather of pop’.

Earlier this year his famous mosaics at Tottenham Court Road station were also restored, after some concern by Londoners that they were under threat from the development of Tottenham Court Road Station.

We have put together a display of some of our pop art books in celebration of his lasting influence of this genre.

If you fancy having a go at mosaics yourself, don’t forget you can visit the Materials and Products Collection in Aldgate library, where you can find samples of materials, including ceramics, textiles, glass, paper, metal, plastics and much more.

You can watch a video by tfl about the restoration here

If you are looking for more images of Paolozzi and his work, or many other artists, don’t forget you can search the online image resource Bridgeman Education via the library catalogue.

Image copyright London Metropolitan University


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Talwin Morris on VADS database

VADS (Visual Arts Data Service) is the online resource for visual arts, and they have just launched one of the world’s largest collections of Art Nouveau designs for book covers by Talwin Morris. The collection is held by Glasgow School of Art Library, as Morris was an important figure in developing the ‘Glasgow Style’, and can now be viewed and searched online.

VADS provides free online access to over 140,000 images for use in education, from over 300 collections across the UK, and is hosted by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA).

See here to view other collections available to view online on VADS, including our own Frederick Parker Collection of chairs.

A very odd girl, or, Life at the gabled farm / by Annie E. Armstrong ; illustrated by S. T. Dadd. Cover design by Talwin Morris.
Image rights owner: Glasgow School of Art Library.


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videos and cassettes

If you prefer your library material pre-digital, why not check out these events:

The Tiny Library at Peckham Pelican

On 18th March the Tiny Library, ‘ a travelling exhibition space that uses repurposed audio cassette carry cases, to showcase and distribute artists’ books, zines, prints and mix tapes across Europe’ comes to the Peckham Pelican. You can exchange artworks or take part in workshops.

ICA Video Library on until 16th April

The ICA’s Video Library (1981-1993) offered public access to over 1000 tapes. This display explores the role of public access collections, taking the ICA Video Library’s 1986 complete catalogue as a starting point. There is a series of events alongside the exhibition, including ‘Artists’ Film Club: Learning in a Public Medium: Library Live(s)‘ on 18th March.

Aldgate library contains some videos from the ICA’s collection, for example Locations of culture [videocassette] : discussing post-colonial culture. For copyright reasons, some videos cannot be recorded on to DVD, or are not available in another format, but fear not! We have a video player in the library if you need to watch any video cassettes from the collection.

image by Toby Hudson (Own work) [CC BY-SA 2.5 au (], via Wikimedia Commons

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Animals and nature display

To coincide with the current exhibition at the Wellcome Collection, ‘Making Nature: How We See Animals’, we have collated a display of animal themed books in Aldgate Library.

It includes books on artists and illustrators who depict animals or use them some way in their artwork, such as Picasso or Polly Morgan, to wildlife law and art theory . Or how about some zoo architecture or carousel animals?

As March is biodiversity month at London Met, we have extended the theme and also have a display of ‘nature’ books.

Other animal/nature exhibitions on include

Wildlife Photographer of The Year at the Natural History Museum

Josef Frank at the Fashion and Textile Museum

Or how about a trip to the Grant Museum of Zoology, where you can join in some ‘Dead, Life Drawing’ on March the 16th?!

If you are looking for more animal themed books or images, the Zoological Society of London also has a dedicated library which contains a unique collection of journals and books on zoology and animal conservation, as well as housing the zsl archives, drawing and print collection and image collection. It is open for all to use as reference only, you just need to register on your first visit.

Or how about the Natural History Museum library, which ‘maintains the world’s finest collection of natural history literature, artwork and manuscripts’? Again it is accessible to all, but check their web pages on the conditions of visiting.

image copyright London Met

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Celebrate libraries at the British Library

Are you passionate about libraries? Hopefully, if you are reading this! The British Library have a season of events coming up, ‘Between the Sheets’ which celebrate and consider the role libraries play in our past, present and future.

The season starts on 28th February with a talk about the British Library itself, and is followed over the following few weeks with events , talks and discussions about everything from book burning and archiving, to unusual libraries and feminist publishing.

It is sure to be a fascinating series of events, for all who love libraries.






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Water For Life display

February is spotlight on water in London Met’s environment sustainability action areas, to help promote this we have put together a display of some water themed books from Aldgate library’s collection.

From paintings by Turner, Whistler or Hockney or the iconic photographs of water towers by Bernd and Hilla Becher, through to swimming costumes and pools or wood carvings of water birds, water is a very broad theme that  highlights the variety of topics we cover in our library.

image copyright London Metropolitan University

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Map it Out

To coincide with the current exhibition at the British Library ‘Maps and the 20th Century: Drawing the Line’, we have put together a display of some of our map related books in Aldgate Library.

Maps have long been a source of inspiration for artists and designers, from Leonardo Da Vinci’s map of imola (thought to be the first map drawn from a bird’s eye view) to contemporary artists like Grayson Perry, and Alighiero Boetti as well as Harry Beck’s iconic London Underground map.

London maps feature in our display, and if you are quick there is a ‘salon’ at the British Library ‘London Lines: Mapping the Metropolis’ on February the 10th.

London Metropolitan University subscribes to Digimap (an online database of maps), both the Ordnance Survey Data Collection and Historic collection. With Digimap you can view, annotate and print maps from a variety of geospatial data providers, download geospatial data in a variety of formats for use in CAD and GIS systems and access Help. It requires registration for first time use.

Some other useful map links:

Charles Booth’s poverty maps of London at L.S.E.

New perspectives on the world in maps at

Contemporary artists re-imagine maps of the world (look out for Old Castle street on Gilbert and George’s ‘Fournier Street’ map!)

Information about the latest tube map cover, designed by Gillian Carnegie

image copyright London Met

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