The etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century. It is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud. Two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area. In 1999, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the foreshore north of Vauxhall Bridge. This bridge either crossed the Thames, or went to a now lost island in the river. Dendrology dated the timbers to 1500 BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to 4500 BC, were found on the Thames foreshore, south of Vauxhall Bridge. The function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on South Bank, at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the River Thames. Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans after the invasion of 43 AD. This lasted only until around 61, when the Iceni tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed it, burning it to the ground. The next, heavily planned, incarnation of Londinium prospered, and it superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000.
For what happened next you should visit the museum. The Museum of London is the result of the merger of two former museums. The amalgamation of the collections previously held by the City Corporation at the Guildhall Museum and of the London Museum, which was located in Kensington Palace was agreed in 1964. The Museum of London Act, allowing for the merger, was passed in the following year. The museum was opened in December 1976 as part of the Barbican Estate. The architects were Philip Powell and Hidalgo Moya, who adopted an innovative approach to museum design, whereby the galleries were laid out so that there was only one route through the museum – from the prehistoric period to the modern galleries. The museum comprises a series of chronological galleries containing original artefacts, models, pictures and diagrams, with a strong emphasis on archaeological discoveries, the built city, urban development and London's social and cultural life, with interactive displays and activities for all ages. Fragments of the Roman London Wall can be seen just outside the museum. The prehistoric gallery, "London Before London" and the "Medieval London" gallery have already been updated, and in 2010 a refurbished gallery on "War, Plague and Fire" opened, covering the period of the English Civil War and the Great Fire of London. The "Expanding City" gallery covers the period 1660s to 1850. "People's City" addresses 1850 to 1940s, including a "Victorian Walk" with recreated shops and public buildings, and sections on the West End, Suffragettes, World War I and World War II, and everyday life.
The new galleries place a renewed emphasis on contemporary London and contemporary collecting. "World City" is the gallery which tells London's story from 1950 to the present day. Fashion looms large here – from formal suits of the 1950s, through to the Mary Quant dress of the swinging 1960s, hippy chic in the 1970s and the bondage trousers and ripped T-shirts of the punk era. Fashion comes right up to date with a pashmina from Alexander McQueen's 2008 collection. Services available for visitors with mobility impairments: Lift access to the museum from the car park; Lift access to the museum from street level on the London Wall roundabout at the junction with St Martin's le Grand; Accessible lift serving all floors of the Museum of London; Accessible lavatories on most floors; Wheelchairs and disability scooters to borrow during your visit, which are available from the Information Desk; Folding seats available to borrow. Services available for visitors with visual impairments: Large print brochure available from the Information Desk; Access for guide dogs to all areas of the museum; Regular touch tours for visually impaired visitors; Magnifying glasses available from the Information Desk; Audio guide for the Galleries of Modern London; Free Vocaleyes tours upon request at least two weeks prior to your visit; They have a number of trained hosts who are able to give audio-described tours during our normal gallery hours. If you wish to book a tour, please contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location : 150 London Wall, London EC2Y 5HN
Opening Times: Monday to Sunday 10:00 to 18:00.
Tickets : Free.
Tel: 020 7814 5660