Each week Our City Together will be posting a simple creative challenge for you to try out at home.
These challenges will provide a fun activity you can do alone or with your whole family and are suitable for a variety of ages to help release your inner artist and creativity. Give them a go, try out something new and then share the results with us #OurCityTogether.
This week's challenge, creating a memory map, comes from our friends at OpenCity to celebrate Open House weekend.
Who doesn’t want to try their hand at being a magician? Explore your natural surroundings and find everything you need to make your very own magic wand! Use your imagination... what spells will you cast with your magic wand?
Things you’ll need
We’ve all been enjoying getting outdoors over the last few months and appreciating the wild beauty of nature. Why not try preserving some of that beauty using a homemade flower press? Once you’ve pressed your flowers, you could keep them in a scrap book, or use them for decoration on homemade greetings cards.
Long before the era of mass transport, John Keats managed to get away from it all by heading off for a walking tour of Scotland. He sent home some of his thoughts on the joys of travel in poetic form:
A SONG ABOUT MYSELF
By John Keats
There was a naughty boy,
A naughty boy was he,
He would not stop at home,
He could not quiet be –
In his knapsack (rucksack)
Full of vowels
And a shirt
With some towels,
A slight cap
For night cap,
A hair brush,
Comb ditto, (too)
For old ones
Would split O!
Tight at his back (on his back)
He rivetted close (fastened tightly)
And followed his nose
To the north,
To the north,
And followed his nose
To the north
Sitting down to write your own poetry can be a daunting and tricky task. If you want to have a go at writing a poem but don’t know where to start, try using erasure poetry!
You may not realise it, but the City of London has featured in some of Hollywood’s biggest blockbusters. We want you to awaken your inner actor and recreate your favourite scenes from these films. Action!
Say the words ‘City of London’ and ‘fashion’ in the same sentence and the image of men in pin stripe suits and bowler hats might come to mind. But fashion in the City has always been as diverse and exciting as the people who live, work, and visit here.
We have chosen ten historical figures who we think had a distinctive fashion look. Some were following the fashions of the time whilst others were deliberately creating their own style to project an image. And they all have connections to the City of London. We have described them and their ‘signature looks’ below, together with the fashion trends we think they would be least likely to adopt today.
But what do you think they would wear? Your challenge is to choose one and update their look for the 21st century.
Acted as Lady Mayoress when her father,a City merchant and widower, was Lord Mayor of the City of London from 1752-53.
Signature look: Haute couture. Fanshaw owned the spectacular gown above. In a style known as a ‘mantua’ it is made of Spitalfields silk – the equivalent of shopping local today! Bespoke designs, including barley and hops, are woven into the cloth as emblems of her father’s brewery business.
Least likely to wear: a onesie
Writer and leading anti-slavery campaigner. Lived for a time in the City of London.
Signature look: Well-groomed. An engraving of Equiano, also known as Gustavus Vassa, appears at the front of his autobiography, published in 1789. It shows him dressed in a smart coat, waistcoat and white linen shirt, with a cravat knotted around his neck.
Least likely to wear: distressed jeans
Prison reformer and humanitarian worker. Lived in the City in the early 1800s and regularly visited female prisoners in Newgate Prison.
Signature look: Modest. As a Quaker, Fry’s clothes were plain and simple in muted colours such as grey, brown and olive green. They were loose fitting with little skin showing. She always wore a white muslin cap.
Least likely to wear: a PVC mini skirt
Secretary of the Admiralty and MP, best known for his diaries which include an account of the Great Fire of London.Born in Fleet Street.
Signature look: Showy. Pepys wrote that he found it hard to enjoy himself one evening with friends when he was not dressed as elegantly as usual! He hired a silk ‘Indian gowne’ in a dark gold colour to wear for his portrait and wore a fashionable periwig.
Least likely to wear: tracksuit pants
Queen of England, Wales and Ireland. Greeted enthusiastically by the crowds when she rode into the City of London after her coronation in 1559.
Signature look: Bling. Elizabeth’s fashion motto today would be ‘dress to impress’! She wore magnificent gowns made of the finest fabrics, embroidered with gold and silver thread and decorated with jewels. She accessorised with earrings, brooches,necklaces and finger rings.
Least likely to wear: a little black dress
City of London merchant and Lord Mayor of the City of London three times between 1397 and 1419. Inspiration for the story of Dick Whittington and his cat.
Signaturelook: Classy. In the past only royalty and the nobility could wear some luxury fabrics. As a wealthy merchant, Whittington could wear fine woollen cloth, velvet and some animal furs. He may have worn fashionable shoes with pointed toes, known as ‘poulaines’!
Least likely to wear: trainers
Queen of the Iceni people and freedom fighter. Burnt the first Roman City of London to the ground in 60 AD.
Signature look: Warrior Queen. Boudica is likely to have worn long woollen tunics and cloaks. Native Britons loved bright colours and wove stripes and checks into their cloth. As a queen Boudica would have worn chunky gold, silver and bronze jewellery.
Least likely to wear: a pussy-bow blouse
Naval commander and national hero. Awarded the Freedom of the City of London in 1800 and buried in a tomb at St.Paul’s Cathedral.
Signature look: Military. As an officer in the royal navy, Nelson wore a fitted black-blue (navy blue) jacket with epaulettes made of gold thread, and a two-corned hat called a ‘bicorne’. On formal occasions he wore the various military decorations he had been awarded.
Least likely to wear: a baseball cap
Mother to Princes William and Harry.Married Prince Charles in St. Paul’s Cathedral in 1981.
Signature look: English rose meets Hollywood glamour. The young Lady Di favoured blouses with high frilly collars and pearl necklaces. As she developed her own style, Diana became known for her sparkling evening gowns, which were often one shoulder and sometimes slit skirt.
Least likely to wear: biker boots
Poet, playwright and critic. Tried at the Old Bailey in 1895 For ‘gross indecency’and briefly imprisoned in Newgate Prison.
Signature look: Flamboyant. Wilde declared that, ‘You can never be overdressed or overeducated.’ He had theatrical tastes in clothing, from velvet smoking jackets, to silk stockings and ties, woollen suits in loud checks and fur lined coats. His signature accessory was a carnation in his button-hole.
Least likely to wear: beige
Find out more about London fashion through the Museum of London's Fashion Alphabet.
The City of London was founded by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. If cities could talk, imagine all the stories it could tell!
This is your chance to use your imagination and write or draw a story set in the City of London in the past. We have lots of ideas to get you started.
First choose one character, one place,and one object from the list below. They don’t have to be from the same time in history. Perhaps your character finds a magic object that transports them backwards or forwards in time?
If you want to have some fun, why not use a set of playing cards to help you choose? Take 4 cards with the numbers 1-4. Shuffle them and place them upside down. Whichever card number you pick is your character. Do the same for the place and object.
1. Roman acrobat: A highly skilled young person who entertains audiences in the amphitheatre. They could have travelled from anywhere in the Roman Empire including North Africa.
2. Tudor apprentice: A teenager learning a trade such as making clothes, shoes or saddles, or training to be a carpenter, blacksmith or builder. They play games in the street in their free time.
3. Victorian mudlark: A poor child who searches for objects to sell in the mud beside the River Thames. They might find bits of coal, rope, bones, iron or copper - and dream of finding treasure!
4. Civil Defence Service (CDS) worker:A volunteer who protects Londoners during WWII. They could be a fire-fighter,an Air Raid Precaution warden or an ambulance driver.
Tip! Roman Londoners lived from around 50 AD– 410 AD, Tudor Londoners from 1485-1603 and Victorian Londoners from 1837-1901. World War II lasted from 1939-1945.
1. St Paul’s Cathedral: Old St Paul’s Cathedral was built by the Normans and destroyed in the Great Fire of London. Today’s Cathedral with its famous dome was completed in 1710. It survived bombing raids during WWII that destroyed many surrounding buildings.
2. The Guildhall: Used as a civic centre for the City of London for almost 600 years. Today a curved line of dark stone on the Yard outside marks the site of the Roman amphitheatre. Here over 10,000 spectators could watch entertainments including gladiator fights!
3. The Royal Exchange: Founded in Tudor times as a trading centre for City of London merchants. Today’s Exchange is close to the site of the Roman Basilica and Forum. These were avast civic centre and a huge square used for public meetings and an open-air market.
4. London Bridge: There have been several London Bridges since the first was built by the Romans. The most famous is Old London Bridge which stood for almost 600 years. In Tudor times it had houses and shops on it and public toilets emptying into the Thames!
1. Oil lamp: Used by wealthy Roman Londoners to light their homes. It was filled with expensive olive oil through the hole in the centre and had a wick in the spout.
2. Moneybox: Often used by Tudor apprentices to save their tips from their master or mistress’s customers. It had to be smashed to get the money out!
3. Lantern: Used by Victorian police constables to light their way in dark streets and alleys. Known as a ‘bull’s eye lantern’because of the bulging shape of the glass.
4. Unexploded bomb: Hundreds were dropped from German planes during air raids in WWII. Called incendiary bombs because they were designed to start fires.
· Plan your story! How will it start? Will it build up to an exciting or dangerous event for your character? Or a funny or happy one? How will it end?
· Decide whether you will write the story about the character (3rd person) or as if you are the character (1st person).
· Make sure that you include the place and object in your story.
· If you are stuck for an opening sentence, use one of our story starters below.
· If you would rather draw your story, divide a piece of paper into 6 boxes. Draw one picture in each box.
Tip! You might want to find out more about some of the characters, places and objects before you start writing. Look on the Inspire section of our website or go to the Discover section of the Museum of London site.
· The tall outline of St. Paul’s Cathedral loomed out of the mist, dark and massive...
· A loud noise shattered the peace of a summer’s evening in the City...
· Have you ever wondered what you would do if your greatest wish came true?
· Today had not started well...
· Snow fell softly, covering the City streets in a white blanket...
· No-one could ever have predicted what happened that day...
When you have written or drawn your story take a photo of all or part of it. Or make a video of you reading it aloud – you don’t have to show your face! Share your image or video on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook and tag your post with #ourcitytogether #creativecity and @visitthecity.
The City of London was originally a Roman city, founded as a port trading in all sorts of exotic goods from the Roman Empire. What kind of dish can you make with these typically Roman ingredients?
Choose what you want out of this list of Roman ingredients and make a dish. Film yourself making it or take a picture of the finished thing.
Fruit and veg:
Lockdown has given us all the chance to become master mixologists; now’s your chance to show off your new skills! We want to see you create a signature cocktail inspired by the City of London.
In the last few months many Londoners have discovered a passion for baking. But what if you could only buy bread from one street in London? Crazy, right?
Well, that’s what happened in 1302 when Bread Street in the City was named by the king and all the bakers in London had to set up shop there.
And it wasn’t just Bread Street. There was Milk Street where cows were kept, Honey Lane, Poultry, Stew Lane and of course the world-famous Pudding Lane, among others.
To celebrate the City’s culinary past, why not share with us some of your recent baking achievements? Just choose a City street name and post a photo. Will it be Cinnamon Street, Saffron Hill, Garlick Hill or Camomile Street?
The choice is yours.
This year’s City Beerfest may not be able to go ahead, but there’s nothing stopping us enjoying a drop of the good stuff!
Rather than drink it though, why not try something a bit different - we want to see your most creative beer-based recipes!
This week, try making a Pride collage, with artist Patrick Bullock, in collaboration with Emergency Exit Arts.
The City of London is home to a wealth of LGBTQ+ history. Within the City borders are located landmarks, venues and organisations linked or actively involved with the LGBTQ+ community.
This exercise is all about playing around with ideas and drawing directly from your personal experiences using materials and objects you have access to in your own home.
Do: Create a photomontage or collage
The techniques of photomontage and collage are terrific methods for leapfrogging over the hurdles that prevent creativity. Not everyone has the skills to draw and visually interpret their ideas but pretty much everyone can use a pair of scissors and then arrange the results. See below for ideas.
First choose a topic/heading from the list below. You can do as many as you want or have time for. Interpret them however you want.
Tips on how to get started:
Once you have a pleasing arrangement, photograph it and share your image on @visitthecity on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #ourcitytogether #creativecity
Have you ever looked at the many items we throw in the bin and thought, quite literally, what a waste! Has the idea of giving the stuff that you no longer need a better use ever crossed your mind? Are you missing walking along City of London's streets and admiring some of its majestic buildings? Then release your imagination and free your artistic soul to join us by taking part in this creative challenge.
Do: Recreate your favourite City of London building out of recycled materials you have at home.
These tips below might also help:
Once you have created your masterpiece, don’t forget to share it with us on @visitthecity and @GreenSqMile on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook with #OurCityTogether #creativecity #recycledcity.
Take a look at last week's creative challenge. It's not too late to share a submission!
Did you know that the view of St Paul’s Cathedral has been protected for centuries?
Now that we are compelled to stay local, do you sometimes look longingly towards the City?
Can you spot its silhouette? Do you find yourself name checking its buildings?
No matter where you are in London, you can walk up a hill above the treetops to explore the horizon in search of familiar landmarks. Maybe you spot the Shard, Canary Wharf or the Gherkin but more often than not, your eyes will search for the familiar sight of St Paul’s Cathedral’s dome.
We would love to see your View from Afar! From your local park or your bedroom window, in the sun or in the rain, at sunrise or sunset, why not share your View from Afar?