(That was the Pearl & Dean theme tune by the way. I’m setting the scene)
So, the Movieum! As it used to be known…I haven’t been there since a trip in October ’08, a week or so before our lives changed forever (funny story – I peed on a stick, now look at him!). I remember it as being a bit dark inside but quite interesting. The website said it’d been updated and improved, so I was keen to go again. My brother and sister-in-law were up, which seemed like a good excuse, so we went.
A few things to know. First off, it’s quite pricey to get in (£13.50 for an adult) but there are ways round it. None of us paid full price and I’ll tell you how. Roo is a child under five and therefore gets in free, my sister-in-law is disabled and so she gets a concession price (£11.50) and my brother, as her carer, gets in free! And as for me….well, here’s the sneaky bit. There’s another concession (£11.50 again) for people who live in Lambeth. Don’t ask me why or how, but if you live in certain postcodes – including SE11, you get a discount. Boom! Take that, tourists….
Talking of disabilities, the problem here is that the step-free access is a little…..complex. On the website, it advised to call first if you needed access but as it was, we flagged down a friendly Russian flyer-er and he took us round. If it had just been me and the buggy, I probably would have carried it up the steps, especially if I’d known just how complicated the step-free was. Basically, go past the entrance to the museum, right at the Eye, past the gift shop and playground, to the back of County Hall. Under a car park barrier, into a loading bay, up a ramp and round a corridor, then up in a lift. This brings you out into the middle of the museum, so you then have to go through the corridors in order to pay at the front desk. In other words, a bit of a faff. But at least it had disabled access – that’s the main thing, right?
So, what was in the museum? Lots of film memorabilia including costumes and props. A few big rooms, with several smaller rooms, based around themes (Harry Potter, Heroes, Horror etc…). Also an exhibition on Ray Harryhausen. All very interesting, but the problem with rooms full of valuble props is that toddlers probably aren’t meant to touch them. And in case you hadn’t noticed, Roo is quite…handsy. To be fair, there were no signs saying you couldn’t touch, but nothing that encouraged you to jump in either. In the main room, there was a phone box (from “The Krays”) and a throne (from “Elizabeth”), both of which Roo had an illicit play in/on, but I wasn’t convinced he was meant to.
In another room, there was an original set from Star Wars, which was roped off (in a totally toddler-resistant manner…or not) and that was clearly out of bounds. Photography was also verboten. But the weird thing was that the set was surrounded by pictures of people leaping around the set with light sabers. Presumably then, you could pose in there for a price…but there was no further information on how you could do this. Weird. And so, it was another place to haul Roo out of by the scruff of his neck.
So, what did he like? The model of the dinosaur skeleton, the giant Simpsons in the corridor (how did he know who the Simpsons are?! I’ve never watched it with him. I blame the lodger), the big golden seat in the main room (see above) and the driving booth. Ah, the driving booth. Definitely the most fun thing in there. It’s essentially a vintage car with both a camera and screen in front of it, so it films you then projects your image onto a background of London footage. While playing old-school chase music! Roo loved it and shouted “Hooray” every time the one-minute film finished and we “arrived” back at County Hall. We spent more than one minute in there, as you can tell. If only they had a few more things like that, it would have been well worth the money.
VERDICT: An interesting collection but not the most toddler-friendly place