Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids

An exhibition and a book all rolled into one – and the exhibition is basically excerpts from the book, so if feeling frugal, the exhibition is a cut-down version of the book to save you buying it.

Book author and photographer, Sara Hannant has travelled around the UK photographing the various “ye olde traditions” that still manage to cling on in our modern world. Whether it be Morris dancers, horn dancing or fire barrel rolling, she recorded them.

Selected photos from the book are now on display inside the Horniman Museum, with shorter versions of the text that accompanied the book.

Some of the London festivals I have attended are mentioned, such as the Deptford Jack and the Bankside 12th Night. I wasn’t aware of the Primrose Hill event though, and now am, so shall attend this year – maybe. She did miss off the Easter Chair Heaving that takes place in Greenwich though. Tut tut!

The last entry in the book looks like an editorial mistake has taken place, but no, there really is a group of mummers artists called “insert name here“.

The book is more a collection of photographs, with more text than in the exhibition, but it does leave you hankering for more information about each of the traditions. Which is a good excuse to lose a few hours in research later.

Otherwise, it is quite a good “calendar” of traditions around the UK, and one I can see myself dipping into for inspiration when compiling my “outside London” events blog posts.

The photos are quite inspirational as well.

I picked up the book at the Horniman Museum the other day for the full price, and noticed later that I could have got 10% off if I had shown my ticket to the aquarium. Whoops!

In related news – tomorrow evening (Thur 26th Jan) is a night of traditions at the museum associated with the photo exhibition.

Come and hear about the history of Twelfth Night customs from the Lions Part, who celebrate Twelfth Night on London’s Bankside, every year. See their wonderful costumes, join in a traditional Wassail, come a-Mumming, and learn a song or two.

There is also an opportunity to view the exhibition between 7-7.30pm before the event starts. Tickets are free, but book in advance by emailing marketing@horniman.ac.uk or calling 020 8291 8721

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