I visited the V&A Museum of Childhood on a grey Sunday afternoon, while I was suffering from a malady of some sort. I honestly don’t recall if I had a migraine or had suffered an anxiety attack, but I do recall my husband telling me, through my snot and tears, I didn’t need to go if I didn’t feel up to it.
And as with the many bad starts I’ve endured, once again I refused to let my conditions get in the way, and pushed past the urge to avoid. The reason I mention this is that, for anyone suffering with anxiety or a similar condition, our automatic reaction is to run and hide. Our bodies fill us with a surge of biochemistry telling us to duck and cover, for fucks sake get yourself hidden you tiny watership-down-soon-to-be-dead-bunny. The last thing you want to do is to do the exact thing causing you all that stress. But the thing is, that stressed reaction is a bullshit lie.
So, on the eight day of Christmas, I was hunting for maid’s a’milking, and what is more human than lactating women? And where is the best place to breast feed in London? The internet says it’s the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green.
Over the past few weeks, I have made myself put on clean undies, brush my knotty hair, and leave the house to “experience life” and to photograph 12+ toilets (some I visited but changed my mind about their suitability or my waning interest). Because the thing is, it’s not just been about the toilets but about making me get out and engage with the city around me. And I can say with all honesty, I have ended up enjoying every single event. Though many have started with tears, none have ended that way, and that is always a positive lesson, no matter how many times I need to re-learn it. Push past the anxiety and you get to enjoy the loveliness of hot naked ladies, Turkish spas and drinking good quality, adult piss with your friends, all of which make the world a better place.
In my, slightly bias, opinion a museum is always a good option for a day out when you can’t face a day out. On the weekends particularly, museums are filled with people who want to be there. The same cannot be said for malls or cinemas or parks. A museum is a collection of magical history that you get to see in real life, in quite often a really fucking cool building. The Museum of Childhood is a perfect example of that.
Though it looks like an old warehouse or market place, this massive iron structure was purpose build, and opened as a museum in 1872. The splendid fish-scale pattern, monochrome, tiled floor was laid by female inmates from the Woking Gaol. I bet they were some hard as fuck ladies.
The museum was closed for refurbishment in 2005/06 when they added the new entrance and the toilets below. I could have sworn the loos were straight out of the 1970’s but perhaps the then Director (now Director of my own museum work place) had a real thing for the brown and blue colour palette. I doubt I will ever get the chance to ask her.
The bathrooms at the Museum of Childhood are pretty good, not Wallace Collection good but they are nice and clean, private and plentiful.
I liked that the men’s room had baby changing facilities as well as the ladies. I didn’t like that, again, the door to the disabled access was locked and you had to request a key.
They offer a ‘quiet room’ which I imagine doubles as a place to breast feed, should a woman require privacy, or as a place to settle you baby to sleep if need be etc. I didn’t open the door just in case someone was in there but it turns out I could have as I saw a woman enter a few minutes later.
Cleanliness : 8.5/10 It was clean but dark brown is a pretty forgiving colour.
Interior : 7/10 I’m not a huge fan of a stall set-up over individual bathrooms and they had plenty of space to do either or both.
Exterior : 8/10 The museum is gorgeous and the bathrooms are very easy to find, right in the front entrance and down the stairs.
Safety : 9/10 It felt like a den of safety and attentive parental protection. I did at one point freak out when I thought I saw an evil Ex of mine, but I headed in the other direction, thus avoiding any issues should I have been correct. My eyesight isn’t great so it might have been any other general douchebag.
Snugglitude : 6/10 The museum was great and provided good facilities but I think a bit more thought could have gone into the overall design and look of the new development and how the 70’s theme looked beside a stylish late Victorian structure such as this.
Total : 38.5/50
I’m thinking this sculpture shows that they are pro open feeding and pro tits. Both of which are things I am adamantly in favour of so I like it very much.