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Becky Danks

Becky Danks

Becky Danks is a creative freelance writer, book reviewer, occasional poet and dog lover based in London. She was recently shortlisted for the Verve Poetry Prize 2017. Follow her on Twitter: @BeckyD123. Website: www.beckydanks.com.

News (4)

Four reasons to visit the Horniman Museum this weekend

Four reasons to visit the Horniman Museum this weekend

Set in 16 acres of gardens and boasting incredible panoramic views across the city, the Horniman Museum in Forest Hill is a one-of-a-kind London institution. Founded by a nineteenth-century tea trader to house his collection, today it features a wide range of exhibits and events appealing to all ages. Here are four reasons you should swing by this weekend:  It’s free! This unique south London attraction was opened in 1890 by Frederick John Horniman, a Victorian tea trader and all-round eccentric adventurer. Aiming to ‘bring the world to Forest Hill’, he went travelling and collected curiosities of natural history and art from Japan, China, Sri Lanka, Egypt and Burma, among other places. Originally in his private house, the collection and visitors soon overwhelmed him (and his long-suffering wife), and the current, purpose-built museum and gardens opened in 1901. Since day one, entry has been free. There’s an enormous (over-)stuffed walrus Arguably south London’s most famous resident, this imposing real-life specimen is over a hundred years old. It’s so fat because the bloke responsible for stuffing it didn’t know that walruses naturally have huge folds of skin, so just filled it up. It’s part of a historic collection of Victorian and Edwardian taxidermy housed in the spectacular art-nouveau setting of the Natural History Gallery. This fascinating and fearsome array of stuffed animals is not for the faint-hearted. A Bengal tiger has recently joined the crew of creatures that a

Everything you need to know about the Dulwich Festival

Everything you need to know about the Dulwich Festival

The Dulwich Festival 2017 is a ten-day art and culture extravaganza featuring walks, talks, theatre shows, food, music, fairs – and very posh street art. One-time Bond Pierce Brosnan has been known to drop into previous festivals too, so you never know who you might spot. Here are seven more things you should keep an eye out for during the fest:  Bat walk with the London Wildlife Trust If you go down to the woods at night you’re sure of a big surprise... You might catch sight of a few winged nocturnal friends. Both Britain’s largest and smallest variety of bat live in Sydenham Hill Woods so there’s a chance you’ll encounter these fascinating creatures out hunting. In the capable hands of an enthusiastic LWT guide carrying a bat detector, this is a rare opportunity to learn all about their habits. And no doubt you’ll be joined by a few wily local foxes as well. Fri May 12. 8.30pm. £6, £4 concs.    A post shared by Dulwich Festival (@dulwichfestival) on Mar 20, 2017 at 7:57am PDT   The Element in the Room This is a musical version of scientist Marie Curie’s life and death. While they may have picked an unlikely sounding theme for a vaudeville show, the amazing Tangram Theatre company plan to pull out all the stops. Expect catchy tunes, cross-dressing and comedy, all revealing what life was like for a scientifically gifted woman in a male-dominated world. Sat May 13 at 7pm. £12, £10 concs. A post shared by Dulwich Festival (@dulwichfestival)

Four reasons to visit the Kirkaldy Testing Museum this weekend

Four reasons to visit the Kirkaldy Testing Museum this weekend

If you’re curious about the industrial revolution and need to kill a bit of time this Sunday, here are four reasons why you should wile away your afternoon at Southwark’s experimental (with an emphasis on ‘mental’) Kirkaldy Testing Museum.  You get to smash things up  Pop on a pair of safety goggles and blow off some steam using antique machinery straight out of the 19th century. The architecture is Instagram-worthy The Grade II* listed building dates back to 1874 and is a stunning example of Victorian architecture at its finest. The rooms inside have also been painstakingly preserved.  You can see the gigantic ‘Universal Testing Machine’ first hand The only working contraption of its kind in the world, the UTM paved the way for modern safety checks and is the creation of eccentric engineer David Kirkaldy. While he may not be a household name today, Kirkaldy’s pioneering approach made historic global achievements – including India’s first railways – possible. It only costs a fiver Run solely by passionate, enthusiastic volunteers who tell vividly entertaining stories, keeping the place alive relies entirely on entry fees at a bargain rate of £5 (concessions £4). It’s also open on the first Sunday of every month.  Photo: Flickr / Nick Webb Find out more about the Kirkaldy Testing Museum. 

Six reasons to visit the Cinema Museum this month

Six reasons to visit the Cinema Museum this month

Ever wondered what life was like when cinema was a new invention? If you fancy a break from the digital age, here are six reasons to spend a couple of hours at the Cinema Museum this month. A post shared by Camilla Malmer (@mindthebook) on Jan 7, 2017 at 9:40am PST  It has an amazing Hollywood history  The building in Kennington dates back to 1873 and was originally a Victorian workhouse. A notorious last resort for the desperately poor, its most famous inmate was a young Charlie Chaplin.  You’ll learn about the surprisingly grisly history of cinema A super knowledgeable guide tells stories about the fires that plagued the highly flammable early cinemas. You’ll also get to hear random facts like how the certificate ‘H for Horrific’ was created especially for the release of the then-terrifying-but-now-tame 1931 film ‘Dracula’. Guided tours are by appointment and take about an hour: they include free tea and biscuits and a viewing of short films from 1910 to the 1960s. Tours cost £10 (or £7 concessions) on the door or if you book in advance then it’s £8.50 (or £6.50 concessions).  A post shared by Mandy ShuChen (@mmchouchou) on Nov 30, 2016 at 1:01pm PST You can sit inside an authentic Victorian auditorium The museum’s palatial picture house reconstruction is literally a window into a lost world. Art deco carpets, red velvet seats and plenty of faded grandeur will take you back to a time when a trip to the cinema was a special treat

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