Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nunhead & District Museum and Art Gallery

One of the highlights of the Telegraph Hill Festival last year was the 'Nunhead and District Museum & Art Gallery'. For a weekend a house in Gellatly Road was transformed into an imaginary museum setting out a fictional history of the local area. The premise was that the Museum was a collection instigated by one George Alfred Gellatly, and visitors were invited to look at its artefacts laid out in glass cases.

These included such items as: 'Smashed piano parts from the Nunhead Alhambra', apparently relics from an instrument smashed during a Teddy boy riot following the cancellation of a Jerry Lee Lewis gig in 1959; 'The Nunhead Bog Head' apparently a ritually severed head, some 2000 years old, excavated from the pond in Telegraph Hill Park; and fanzines and recordings featuring The Nunhead Cemeteries, an overlooked band from the post-punk period.

Naturally such a quirky institution was facing the perils of modernisation, with the event also featuring plans to house the museum in a new building, complete with counter-demonstrators arguing for 'No Tub in Nunhead'. Need we add that the museum, Alhambra, Bog Head, George Gellatly and The Nunhead Cemeteries were all a product of the imagination of the project's creators.

This year the Museum will be open again, but with a new twist. During construction of the new building, contractors have stumbled across previousy forgotten catacombs underneath. So for two days only there will be a unique opportunity to visit the catacombs and see the treasures found there. Open Sat 20th & Sun 21st March 2010, 2 - 6 pm at 80 Gellatly Road, SE14. More details about the Open Studios/Visual Art events here.
(all photos from March 2009)

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