If you find yourself roaming around picturesque Primrose Hill having exhausted the posh boutiques and gorgeous delis, then may I suggest you turn off Regents Park Road into Sharples Hall Street. You'll find a small entrance into a non-descript courtyard, at the end of which is an illuminated sign revealing you've arrived at The Museum of Everything.
The current exhibition is simply called Exhibition #3 which due to popular demand has been extended until mid-February (so hurry!) I'm not entirely sure how to describe this exhibition, apart from the fact it is definitely peculiar with a hefty pinch of bonkers. One of the geniuses (or is that genii) behind this installation is none other than Sir Peter Blake, British Pop Artist extraordinaire (he designed the album sleeve for The Beatles' album 'Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band' don't you know). As well as being an artist, he is a huge collector of interesting art and extraordinary artefacts, many of which are displayed.
The feel of the place is unpretentious and fun, like being encapsulated in a giant, colourful illustration. Almost dream-like, you find yourself following a route which takes you on a nostalgic adventure involving wonky fairground mirrors; a room made entirely of seashells; a corridor full of posters and photographs dedicated to circus freaks gone-by including famous bearded ladies, midgets and giants; old Americana posters promoting sword swallowers and animal trainers sway from a high vaulted ceiling, plus Punch, Judy and a motley crew of other familiar marionettes.
Upstairs leads to a room devoted to a stunning collection of miniature fairground rides created by Arthur Windley, a retired Norfolk farmer who spent 40 years making them by hand with such wonderful attention to every minute detail. They are still all in proper working order and you can witness all the fun of the fair every fifteen minutes. He sold the collection in 2010.
There's an entire area representing Walter Potter's Museum of Curiousity - he was a reknown Victorian taxidermist and there are various glass cabinets displaying intriguing dioramas of stuffed woodland creatures, often wearing costumes and posing as humans in a whimsical fashion. A multitude of sophisticated squirrels and posh rats (at least I think they were rats) chatting, drinking tea, playing cards and even knocking each other out in the boxing ring. It's all a strange sight to behold. A dark version of the Sylvanian Family if you will. And as for the two-headed lamb. Well!
The Museum of Everything really is delightful and as the end of Exhibition #3 draws near, I urge you to see it for yourself. Entrance is free (a £3 donation is suggested) and photography apparently faces a penalty of £1000 which increases to being punishable by death! Which I assume was part of the humour. If not, I hope you appreciate these pictures, as I'm now living in fear of being attacked by a legion of axe-wielding midgets and stuffed squirrels!