The Cheapside Hoard

Cheapside Hoard Earrings

For the first time ever a collection of rare jewels found under a cellar floor in 1912 is on display in the Museum of London.

Had I not been so intrigued by The Cheapside Hoard (what a name!), I might have stopped in Little Britain, around the corner. The museum is a bit hard to find, and when you see it towering above, and then discover the lift is broken, well, you really need to take in the display of fun portraits at the entrance to get your humour back.

Once through vault-like iron grills, you see that this is quite a hoard of the most delicate, beautifully crafted jewellery. Lots of shiny, gem-studded chains, perfume bottles, and glittering earrings. What a find!

Cheapside Hoard Earrings

 

But what really intrigued, and made me want to come again, was the history of the hoard; how the lot of 500 pieces from the late 16th- and early 17th-centurys had been found in 1912, and in strange but wonderful ways, found its way into the Museum. All this in Cheapside, then famous for its goldsmiths. (One of those goldsmiths even got a knighthood for so nicely drilling a hole into the large diamond of the King!) The insights into Elizabethan and Jacobean London are truly memorable; the curator did a super job. Pity not more room was allocated though, because this treasure deserves a bigger space.

Cheapside Hoard Lizard

 

And mysteriously, we still don’t know who owned that hoard, and why and when it was hidden, and why it was never reclaimed.

Call me simple, but I'd put my money on the Fire of London. Someone tucked away a good little sum and didn't tell anyone, and then the fire got him.

The Cheapside Hoard: London's Lost Jewels runs at The Museum of London through April 27th, 2014.

 Cheapside Hoard Necklaces