You are here

Visit from UCL's Mobile Heritage Lab & Thames21

Saturday, August 17, 2019
Nunnery Gallery & Bow Arts Courtyard, 181-183 Bow Road, London E3 2SJ

Join us in the Bow Arts’ Courtyard for a visit from the UCL Mobile Heritage Lab and environmental charity Thames21. Bring your own plastic objects for analysis by UCL scientists, who will be on hand to test and identify plastics of any age.

Thames21 will offer a fun (and clean) hands-on session scouring Thames-shore material to find all the items of plastic contained within and will be sharing knowledge gained through research and practical experience of Thames clean-ups.

The UCL Mobile Heritage Lab has on board equipment to analyse plastics for their different material make-up. Different materials indicate different age, so we can tell you what your plastics objects are made of – and perhaps where they were made! Perhaps you have old ‘ivory’ handled utensils, which are in fact early celluloid-based plastics made in east London.

A great opportunity to find out more about plastics’ history in east London and learn about different types of plastics and how they’re made, this event invites visitors of all ages to bring in samples and gain new insight into plastics and why we use them.

This event is run in partnership with the UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage an interdisciplinary group of scientists, social scientists and heritage specialists that deliver sustainable solutions to real-world cultural heritage problems; one of its key areas of research is plastic heritage, and with Thames21, the voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife.

Raw Materials at Bow Arts explores the forgotten industrial history of plastic in east London around the River Lea. The exhibition reveals the story of east London's central role in the invention and early development of plastics, showcasing some of the very first plastic objects alongside newly commissioned artwork which tell the story of this material’s remarkable journey. The Raw Materials: Plastics exhibition will be at the Nunnery Gallery until 25 August 2019, read more about it here.

Raw Materials: Plastics has been made possible through the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the project’s academic partner UCL.


Access Information

Nunnery Gallery and Bow Arts Courtyard have step-free access throughout from street level, including to the accessible toilets and both are service animal friendly. These venues do not have a hearing loop system.

Accessible parking is not available on-site but blue badge parking can be found 500m away on Fairfield Road.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility at this venue or event, would like to make us aware of any access requirements that you have in advance of visiting, or would like this information in an alternate format including Easy Read, please email or call 020 8980 774 (Ext. 3)

Travel Information

Opening hours: Tues-Sun, 10am to 5pm
Address: 181-183 Bow Road, London, E3 2SJ
Nearest station(s): Bow Road (District and Hammersmith and City lines) is a 6-minute walk away, and Bow Church (DLR) is a 3-minute walk away.
Bus: 205, 25, 425, A8, D8, 108, 276, 488 and 8 all service the surrounding area.

Get directions with Citymapper

Images by Rob Harris