Sunday, August 04, 2019

V&A Bethnal Green Children's Museum

Not having visited this museum for over 30 years, the mrs maytrees suggestion that we should take  5 year old grand daughter ("microdot")  there when she  was left overnight  to stay with her grandparents, by oldest daughter Alice, last week, was  a great idea.

We decided to travel there by train to Waterloo, thence by what used to be called "the Drain" but  known now to the younger generation as the Waterloo and City Line, to Bank and thence by Central Line Tube to Bethnal Green. I had not appreciated until travelling with a five year old, how large the gaps are between the platform and the Tube in Bank station caused by the huge curvature of its platforms - probably arising from it being built so long ago in the 1880s I believe.

Arriving at Bethnal  Green,  following the exit from Underground Station reminded me firstly of the birthplace of my own grandmother (may she R.I.P.) but secondly of the panic during a WWII German bombing raid that killed many people as they fled for shelter in that Underground station though I did not mention this second point to microdot.

The Children's Museum is less than 5 minutes walk from Bethnal Green Tube. The front of the redbrick Victorian building housing the museum has been extended since I last visited but in a style that seems unattractive, to me.

Many of the old dolls house exhibits that I recalled from years ago seemed to have been removed though probably to the main V&A museum pending modernisation of the Bethnal Green outpost. However there are still some good exhibits which microdot enjoyed:

Though the  part of the museum enjoyed most by microdot was the section where children could use pieces of wood to make their own exhibits or paint, draw or have learning fun generally.  Microdot and myself played chess there for a while then old fashioned snakes and ladders.

A picnic in the museum garden afterwards was fun. 

Microdot decided she wished to return a quieter way if possible. We walked then down Bethnal Green Road which now has a large number of Bangladeshi shops selling interesting looking produce from that part of the world, for example some huge melons of a variety that I do not recall seeing previously. 

Upon reaching Brick Lane (I must return there to obtain some beigels) we took a number 8 bus to City Thameslink Station - acceptably quiet for the youngest generation - then the Thameslink Train home which too was much quieter than the Underground.

A great day out which left microdot happy but exhausted.

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