They took all the steam, put it in the Steam Museum…


I am hugely looking forward to a very special event tomorrow – the grand re-opening of the London Museum of Water and Steam (formerly Kew Bridge Steam Museum) after a big refurbishment. I’ve designed, written and illustrated the family trail for the museum – it’s based around the character of Robert Smith, a 15 year-old boy who worked there when it was a functioning pumping station in Victorian days.

If you’ve never been there (or even if you have), it is well worth a visit – it’s fabulous for families (specially with the brand new splash zone and the ever-popular steam-engine hauled rides at weekends). It’s also a must for anyone interested in Victorian architecture and engineering, and it’s a wonderful place to go and draw for the day – the engines are breathtaking in both scale and detail (Dickens went there and said “What a monster” when he saw the Ninety-Inch engine). It’s a particularly special place for me as both my parents are volunteers there, and I even had my wedding reception there many years ago. If you’re visiting, make sure you go up past the Hammersmith Beam to the wonderful wildflower and vegetable garden which was created by my mother – and don’t miss the Victorian lady scarecrow she made to keep the birds off the broad beans.

There are also artists’ studios and a forge, and a brand new cafe – so many reasons to pay a visit to the Museum, which is just by Kew Bridge station in Brentford. Apologies for the title of the post, but every time I think of the museum this version of the Joni Mitchell song Big Yellow Taxi pops into my head and makes me smile…


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