Monday, 2 December 2013

A Good Sunday

About once a month I volunteer at the Museum of London, one of my favourite museums in the city. If I arrive early enough I can get a free pass into the current exhibition, and at the moment they have a collection on the 'Cheapside Hoard.' This collection of beautiful jewellery was found in Cheapside in the early twentieth century: necklaces, bracelets, earrings and pocket watches, all made from gold, silver, emerald and sapphire, to name a few. Exquisite skill was essential in the construction of these beautiful jewels. No one knows why it was buried, perhaps four hundred years ago…was it buried by a supporter of the King during the English Civil War, and the location forgotten when the supporter died? Was it buried out of greed? Or malice? We will never know.

I volunteered for two hours with an MoL employee, where we taught visitors about shards of pottery from the Roman and Medieval times. I don't know a lot about this subject, but my new friend Arna told me so many interesting facts. One of them stuck with me. The museum found a little pot from the medieval period, and Arna explained it was a money box, an old piggy bank if you will. A slot would have been left in the side for people to put money in, and then the pot was smashed to get the money out. Several have been found near the ruins of theatres, particularly the Rose in South London. One theory is that people would bring their money boxes to the theatre, and after the first act, if they liked the play, they were expected to pay. Someone would come and collect the boxes and store them in a room in the theatre, and smash them to get the money out. Hence the term 'box office.' INCREDIBLE.

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