Six objects to define the London of 2017

Six objects to define the London of 2017

From a crammed tube carriage to a jar of diesel fumes, V&A curator Rory Hyde selects six items to sum up life in the capital for future museum-goers

  • What would you preserve in a museum to define your city in 2017? Let us know in the comments. We’ll feature the best suggestions

The Museum of London recently announced it would collect a piece of the giant stinking “fatberg” clogging the sewers of Whitechapel. The congealed blob of fat, oil, grease, wet wipes and sanitary products is over 250m long and weighs over 130 tonnes, truly a monument to London. Curator Vyki Sparkes said it “will be one of the most fascinating and disgusting objects we have ever had on display”. Children will come to peer at it through the glass as it oozes and sweats, asking: “Daddy, is it alive?”

What better way to tell the story of life today? It reveals our most intimate habits (93% of it is wet wipes – who are all these people eschewing toilet paper for moist plastic?) and demonstrates the limits of our infrastructure. Joseph Bazalgette, who built London’s sewers in the 1860s, prescribed a gentle gradient to carry water and sewerage – nothing like the noxious cocktail of chip grease and sanitary napkins we pour into them today. Future historians will pore over its contents as a snapshot of life in 2017. Which raises the question: what other slices of urban life should we keep as a monument to this particular moment in time? How can you “collect” a city?

Related: Pant by numbers: the cities with the most dangerous air – listed

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Source: Guardian Transport

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