It’s About Time!

It’s that time again!

Time to put your clocks back this Sunday, and while you are pondering the concepts of time, why not check out our book display at Aldgate Library all about watches, clocks, and time itself.

In perfect time to coincide with Head of Cass 3D, watchmaker and creator of sculptural timepieces, Marianne Forrest‘s exhibition, Acts of Resistance at the Vittoria Street Gallery in Birmingham, part of Birmingham City University, exploring her lifelong obsession with time.

Or how about visiting Christian Marclay’s 24 hour masterpiece, The Clock, on at Tate Modern, the perfect way to spend your extra hour (but will it be a 25 hour masterpiece for Sunday?). There is also a podcast available on the Tate website, exploring the meanings of time and Marclay’s film.

We hope you have time.

Books from ‘It’s About Time!’ display Aldgate Library

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Daylighting event at Wellcome Collection

Daylighting is a 4 day event at the Wellcome Collection, London, exploring the interconnections of art, activism, performance, politics, health and print, and challenging  existing archives and systems of knowledge.

The programme of events, which takes place 18 – 21st October  includes a live printing workshop,  discussions and collective writing. The production of a collaborative artwork in the form of a newspaper is at the core of the event.

One of the curators is London Met Cass lecturer (and previous library member of staff!)  Clare Qualmann, so it’s sure to be an unmissable series.

Some of the events include:

Daylighting Zine Club

Thursday 18th October 18:30—20:30

Reading Room

Take a look at zines from our growing collection and have a go at making your own zine inspired by the Daylighting programme. All materials provided.

Index as Time Capsule

Friday 19th October  14:00—15:30

Reading Room

Join the discussion about a unique Index that charts the emergence of women of colour artists during the 1980s and 1990s.

Archives and Women’s Knowledge

Friday 19th October 15:30—17:00

Viewing Room

Join archivists and librarians as they share specially selected materials from our archive and discuss what to do about inherited and problematic collections.


For a full list of events and booking information, see the Wellcome Collections event page here

Previous related posts:

Women of Colour Index (WOCI) Reading Group Tate Britain

Artists’ Book Fairs and Symposium

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American Animals

Have you been to seen the film American Animals yet? It’s all about some students trying to steal valuable books from their university library!

One of the books in question is a rare volume of Birds of America by James John Audubon; only 120 complete sets of Audubon’s 435 hand-coloured, life-sized engravings of America’s birds are believed to exist today. Sadly we don’t have any of these volumes, but we do have a copy of ‘The Art of Audubon: the complete birds and mammals’. While only coming in at 29 cms tall (compared to over 90cms for the original volumes), and certainly not worth $10 million, it still has all the illustrations from the original.

You can also access  online versions of original copies,  including Turning the pages at the British Library (virtual software that allows you to virtually read some of the valuable and delicate books from their collection), as well as plates from the Audubon Society, and also the University of Pittsburgh library  And if that’s not enough, you can access Bridgeman Education via the library catalogue and search through hundreds of Audubon images (login with username and password). So, no need to steal one.

Previous related posts:

Free online collection of nature and botanical illustrations

Image resources


Roseate Spoonbill by John James Audubon. Image from Rawpixel

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Animation talk at the BFI Library

” Why does animation play such a central role in defining our expectations and experiences of popular fantasy cinema, and why do animators often use fantasy fiction as a source of inspiration? ”

If this is a question that gets you animated, the BFI Ruben Library  is hosting a discussion on this topic, with the editors of a new book ‘ Fantasy/Animation: Connections Between Media,Mediums and Genres’,  Christopher Holliday and Alexander Sergeant, as well as contributors Lilly Husbands, Caroline Ruddell and Sam Summers.

The talk takes place on Monday 10th of September, at 18.30, tickets cost £6.50.

Animation Resources at London Met Libraries

previous related posts:

London Animation Festival 2017




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The Festival of Ideas

The Royal Academy is hosting the ‘Festival of Ideas‘, a series of talks and workshops on art, architecture, literature, design, music and more. The festival is on for 10 days, opening on 7th of September until 16th of September. Some of the speakers include Judith Kerr, Gilbert and George, Goldie, David Bailey, Yinka Shonibare, Viv Albertine and London Met’s own Bob and Roberta Smith, to name just a few.  See the full line up here; students get discount prices on tickets.

It looks like some events are selling out, so if you want to participate get those tickets booked!

Previous related posts:

The Architecture programme at the RA

Tatlin’s Tower at the Royal Academy 


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Sound effects

Did you know Aldgate library has a selection of sound effects on CD/DVD? From crowd noises to animals and nature and ‘England’ there’s a whole host of noises to uncover for your film/music/art projects. These can all be found in the music and film room on the first floor of the library next to the photography room.

Although we can’t quite compete with the BBC Sound Effects website, which has 16000 effects to download! Be sure to check the copyright status before using these of course (the majority are free for personal/educational use).

Music Radar article on BBC Sound Effects

Previous post about ‘Reel to Real’ archival sound project

image from pixabay

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What ‘wood’ we do without wood? With our long history of furniture making courses, alot gets  used  at London Met, and we especially love chairs! Did you know we host The Frederick Parker Collection (housed in the Special Collections)? The Frederick Parker Collection is a unique and outstanding educational resource spanning over 300 years of British furniture making and design, from 1660 to the present day. The collection comprises over 200 chairs, together with an archive of related historical documents and artefacts. Find out more about the collection here.

If you’re a wood or chair enthusiast  be sure to visit the exhibition Material: Wood currently on at Messums Wiltshire, with a focus on chair design it’s right up our street!
As well as lots of lovely books Aldgate Library also has a Materials and Products Collection, and we have put together a selection on a wood based theme for display, including some amazing bark cloth.

previous related posts

50 years of the London College of Furniture

Wood display at Aldgate library


Bark Cloth sample from the Materials & Products LIbrary

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Local History

Aldgate library, in the Calcutta House building,  is based in an area of London steeped in social and political history, and has inspired artists, writers and photographers for centuries. Currently on at Gallery 46 in Whitechapel is a photographic exhibition ‘A Sort of Home: 1970′s Whitechapel’  by David Hoffman, documenting life in 1970′s Whitechapel squats.  The exhibition is on until August the 15th.

The 1970′s were significant in Whitechapel, and 2018 saw the 40th anniversary  of the ‘Battle of Brick Lane’, when the racially motivated murder of the Bangladeshi textile worker Altab Ali  (whom one of our local parks is named after) in the area bought tensions to a head and saw thousands march to Downing Street in a Bengali-led demo.

We have a collection of books about the area in Aldgate library, but to find further information on local history, most London boroughs have local history libraries, where they keep archives and records as well as books on their local area. Tower Hamlets local history library is on Bancroft Road, although they have much available online as well, including many images of Tower Hamlets. Or how about oral histories? For example in  oral histories of the Bengali East End you can listen to three people recollecting life in the borough in the 70′s and 80′s, including the murder of Altab Ali.

Tower Hamlets have also produced a downloadable book ‘The Bengali East End’ as part of an ongoing project to fill gaps in its collections and reflect the histories of Bangladeshi residents. This is of personal significance to me, as it features my mother’s cousin Caroline Adams, who did a lot of work with the Bangladeshi community in Tower Hamlets and sadly died in 2001.  I only came across this book whilst doing research for this blog post, and the book she wrote  ‘Across Seven Seas And Thirteen Rivers: Life Stories Of Pioneer Sylheti Settlers In Britain’ is also part of our display in Aldgate library on Brick Lane.

See previous relevant posts:

Aldgate in Camera exhibition

London History Day

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Botanical Illustration at the V & A National Art Library

If Botanical Illustration is your kind of thing then get yourself to the V & A National Art Library on Monday 6th August for a self-led workshop, where you can delve into some of their collections of botanical illustration from the 18th Century to present day, to inspire your own drawings.

Tickets are from £6, and you are asked to bring your own drawing materials (only pencils or laptops will be allowed in the library).

Botanical Illustration in the NAL

If you can’t make it, there are many images available online through the Biodiversity Heritage Library, see our previous post:

Free Online Collection of Nature and Botanical Illustrations

Image taken from Biodiversity Heritage Library online archive

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The Power of Print

We’ve been digging out some of our magazines, zines and journals from the archives to display, inspired by the current exhibition ‘Print! Tearing It Up’ at Somerset House, which explores the history of British independent magazine publishing. We have many interesting, pioneering and obscure magazines and journals in our libraries, so come and check out this display in Aldgate Library for inspiration!

As well as lots of lovely printed journals, we have many available online, so be sure to always do a check on the online catalogue if you can’t see the journals you are looking for on the shelves. For example, one of the journals featured in the Somerset House exhibition ‘Spare Rib’, is available in print format in the TUC Library (part of Special Collections), but only one issue; but is also available online (in this case through the British Library Journal Archives via the London Met Library catalogue) where you can browse most of the back run (1972 – 1993).

‘Spare Rib was an active part of the emerging Women’s Liberation Movement in the late 20th century. Running from 1972-93, this now iconic magazine challenged the stereotyping and exploitation of women, while supporting collective, realistic solutions to the hurdles women faced.’ (Journal Archive website).

Power of Print display Aldgate LIbrary. Image © London Met

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