Why I love shipping

Back to work today, following the Volunteer Awards on Monday. The weather was awful when I left home but it improved to the point that the sun was actually out in South Kensington by the time I arrived.

Rather than visiting the V&A at lunchtime, I decided to check out the new Information Age gallery. This is the one the Queen opened a couple of weeks ago. It is also the reason why I have such an interest in shipping these days.

You see, it used to be the Shipping Gallery and, because it was stripped out and reorganised as the Information Age, all the shipping stuff had to go. And that’s what I’m researching at work.

While I’m now a bit sad that I didn’t pay a bit more attention to the old gallery contents when I had the chance, I have to say that the new gallery is superb. It’s a lot more relevant to the age we presently live in.

It shows the evolution of computing and communication from the early days to today. Beautifully laid out and explained.

Those people are complete strangers. I don’t know why they’re posing.

Something else it also, possibly inadvertently, shows is the evolution of museum display. Rather than strict, serried rows of big glass display cases, the place is almost like an open, park space, where you wander at will, looking and reading, almost dipping into what really interests you. This means there’ll always be something to see when you return. It also makes it a lot more appealing.

The big centrepiece of the gallery is the massive 1943 transmitter from the Rugby Radio Station. It’s spider web of copper coils makes it look like some sort of steam punk artefact from a Victorian laboratory.

There’s far too much stuff to write about, however, the early telephonic objects are very interesting. Particularly this excerpt from The Book of Etiquette written in 1926 by Lady Troubridge:

Instructions should be given in answering the telephone. If asked who is speaking, a servant should reply, “Mrs Dash’s butler or maid” as the case may be.

I do wonder what little children make of all the ‘ancient’ dials and handsets on display.

But, possibly my favourite piece is the actual computer on which Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web.

Okay, as far as computers are concerned, it’s not much to look at but, it’s quite another story when you consider that this piece of electronic equipment, changed the world forever.

The new Information Age gallery is superb and I’ll definitely be spending more time in it.

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1 Response to Why I love shipping

  1. hat says:

    Very interesting, may be they thought you were a photogapher from a newspaper.
    love mum and dad xx

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