Sunday, 21 October 2012

Modern British Childhood

The school half-term holiday is here. As always, the problem is finding something to entertain the cherubs whilst not boring or bankrupting their parents. Try Modern British Childhood at the V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, east London (CLICK). It explores the huge changes that have taken place in children's lives in the 64 years from the London Olympic Games of 1948 to those of 2012. Kids were still playing on bombsites back in 1948. Now they have mobile phones and far less freedom. So, lots of interest for kids and nostalgia for grown ups and it's free. Wendy Hurrell tours the show in a BBC London video: CLICK. The painting above - Edwin Bale's Waiting For The Skipper - has nothing to do with the show. In fact it's in storage at the Museum of Childhood and needs a clean. I found it while researching this post. It is no romantic vision of childhood. The heavy clouds, breakers beyond a beached boat and seagulls flying inland to escape a storm all imply a worried boy hoping his fisherman father will return safely. The story is timeless.


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