Pocket Number-16: Imperial War Museum, Lambeth Road, London

WP_20141207_13_50_57_Pro (2)Imperial War Museum is a free to visit, National Museum.

Huge navel guns are displayed outside the north entrance

Iconic aerial vehicles including a harrier jet, spitfire and V2 rocket dangle from the ceiling of the main atrium above a V1 rocket, tanks, WP_20141207_14_54_56_Pro (2)guns and Jeremy Deller’s Baghdad Car Bomb installation – a bomb mangled car wreck from the bombing of the historic Al-Mutanabbi street book market in Iraq that killed 38 people. The vehicle’s rusted, twisted metal hulk sits amongst the shiny military WP_20141207_14_03_54_Pro (2)WP_20141207_16_33_39_Pro (2)hardware on display, viscerally bringing home the impact of modern conflict on innocent civilians.

Exhibitions of the various conflicts of the 20th/21st WP_20141207_16_55_28_Pro (2)century are spread over five floors. As the previous participant in [25] Pockets of [London] had advised to me to see “the exhibition,” I focused my time and attention exploring the newly renovated exhibition on the Great War, complete with WW1 related artefacts, military hardware, battle trophies, a walk-through trench, movie projections and interactive touch-screen informatics.WP_20141207_15_54_41_Pro (2)

I then spent some time in “Truth and Memory: British Art of the First World War”- a new exhibition of Great War art that traces the evolution in artists’ portrayals of the war starting with WB Wollen’s heroically glorified depiction of the Battle of Nonne Bosschen, and then moving to the futuristic, WP_20141207_15_47_48_Pro (2)war-as-machine portrayals by CRW Nevinson before ending with the vivid scenes of suffering, despair and devastation painted by Paul Nash, Percy Delf WP_20141207_14_31_56_Pro (2)Smith, William Orpen and John Singer Sargent.

There were further exhibits on The Holocaust, World War 2, WP_20141207_14_35_02_Pro (2)espionage, post World War 2 conflicts, spies, war curiosities, and “The Lord Ashcroft Gallery: Extraordinary Heroes” with stories and photos recounting the sacrifices made by the recipients of the Victoria Cross and George Cross medals on display.

WP_20141207_15_24_10_Pro (2)Steve McQueen’s “Queen and Country” installation was also on display – an oak cabinet with double sided panels that can be withdrawn to view 155 sheets of WP_20141207_18_03_07_Pro (2)stamps. Each stamp sheet shows the portrait head of a soldier killed in the Iraq War between 2003 and 2008.

I was beginning to immerse myself in The Holocaust Exhibition, when the museum closed. Before leaving, I explained the project to Rob, WP_20141207_13_54_05_Prowho works at the IWM. Rob gave the project a map of IWM London and sent me to meet a barman at Crobar in Soho.

Pocket Number 17: barman (Jim) at Crobar, Soho >>



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