This comprehensive history of the Museum of London traces the ways that the relationship between Britain and its imperial past has changed over the course of three decades, providing a holistic approach to galleries’ shifts from Victorian nostalgia to equitable representations.

At its 1976 opening, the Museum of London differed from other museums in its treatment of empire and colonialism as central to its galleries. In response to the public’s evolving social and political attitudes, the museum’s 1993–1994 ‘The Peopling of London’ exhibition marked a new approach in creating inclusive displays, which explore the impact of immigration and multiculturalism on British history. Through photos, planning documents, and archival research, this book analyses museums’ role in enacting change in the public’s understanding of history, and this book is the first to critically engage with the Museum of London’s theme of empire, particularly in consideration of recent exhibitions.

Legacies of an Imperial City is a useful resource for academics and researchers of postcolonial history and museum studies, as well as any student of urban history.

part One|74 pages

The Origin Story 1826–1976

chapter 1|23 pages


Museums and Empire

chapter 3|27 pages

Empire at the Museum of London, 1976

part Two|77 pages

‘The Peopling of London’ 1993–1994

part Three|60 pages

Reception and Legacy of ‘Peopling’ 1994–2007

chapter 7|23 pages

Understanding Visitor Responses

chapter 9|6 pages