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The group visit to the Jewish Museum

By Kim - Posted on 01 November 2012

A small but select group of six Bedfordshire Humanists visited The Jewish Museum in London last Sunday, 21st October. The visit was organised by Cathy Moorhouse. Cathy had previously visited the museum and she was so impressed that she wanted to share it with other members.

The museum lies about twenty minutes walk north of St Pancras Station, so it is easily accessible. There are two Tube stations nearby, but neither of them is really, really, close, so if you are fit and have a good street map walking is the recommended way to get there.

The museum was rather impressive in its design and cleanliness; it really did seem to sparkle. The staff were extremely friendly and approachable and there were ample ‘hands-on’ opportunities for children.

We started with the cafe, then went upstairs to view the galleries. These dealt with Judaism as a religion, the Jewish migration into Britain (the original one, the expulsion, the second one), Jewish life in Britain over the years, the Jewish contribution to the First and Second World Wars, and of course the Holocaust. The last of these was very sensitively done, nothing here to scare children.

On the top floor is an art gallery and at the moment it houses a collection of photos about life in Israel. We found ourselves at a loss because none of the photos were captioned. But this apparently was what the artist intended, it was up to the viewer to provide their own meaning.

We adjourned to a pub for lunch. After this those interested in extending the day walked the short distance to Camden Market, to have a look around there. This is a rather large craft market. If we’d been perplexed by the photos in the museum, some of the stalls here were beyond our wildest imaginings!

The best part of the market for me were the iron statues of horses, farriers and wagons, which were liberally scattered about the Stables Market complex. This reflects the site’s previous life as the stables and horse hospital of the railway goods yard. Between 700 and 800 horses were used here. If you like industrial archaeology, this is another reason to go, although you’ll have to dodge the market traders and their clients.

The least welcome part of the market for me was the inevitable psychic.

It was a good trip, enjoyed by all, and both places are well worth a visit.



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