When the Romans founded Londinium they built a bridge across the Thames, and thus Bankside was born. The bridge brought traders, shoppers, and travellers from all over the country, and to this day remains a popular area for both residents and tourists. The most popular attractions were brothels, animal baiting, and public theatres. To this day, theatre is as popular as ever, but fortunately the the brothels have been replaced by pubs and restaurants, while human street performers have spared poor animals from being mauled.
Bankside has a long and cultured history, and up until the 20th October, you can celebrate this district's heritage with the annual MERGE Festival. Promoting exhibitions, performances, and music, the festival opened up 'lost buildings', fresh debate, and brought together local communities.
Produced by Stillpoint Theatre, The Department of Unreliable Memoirs is a ten minute performance in which you are both the audience and the star. Bookings can be made for the 9th, 10th, or 11th October, with tickets costing £3.50. You will be taken to an intimate, but dated government office, in which your friendly hosts, Emma and Rachel. will help you to recover a long lost memory.
Image from mergefestival.co.uk
How scientific this process will be I can't tell you, but perhaps it could be a subject for debate on the 16th October, during The Crucible. For one evening, the Kirkaldy Testing Museum, will be a place where scientists meet artists. If you have an interest in either of these fields of study, then you might want to book a free place. It is the opportunity for two contrasting disciplines to learn off one another, and gain inspiration for future projects.
James Capper, who is leading the discussion, will also be holding an art exhibit at the test museum between the 10th-13th and 16th-20th October. Free to visit, you will be able to see his kinetic sculptures at work. It is the true epitome of art meeting science, with installations based on industrial machinery. During the exhibit, Capper will be holding workshops, using a Victorian water powered Hydraulic Testing Machine. Visitors will get to help him create new sculptures by testing the stretching points of different materials.
As you wander around the festival, look out for a variety of bands and musicians who are hidden throughout Bankside in unexpected locations. The streets will also be brimming with outdoor art, such as Before I Die, by Candy Chang. The interactive installation takes the form of a giant chalkboard, in which visitors can add their own 'to do list'. You'll also find Alex Chennick's Miner on the Moon, which depicts a series of upside down buildings due to be demolished.