Things To Do In London This Week: 4-10 October 2021

All week

Royal fashion is one of the topics covered at London Craft Week

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: October is Black History Month, with events going on at venues from Museum of London to BoxPark honouring the often unheralded accomplishments of Black Britons in all fields throughout history. You can browse the full official programme here — our picks for this week include a celebration of African-American poet Gil Scott-Heron, and immersive theatre show Breaking the Silence on the Slave Trade. Throughout October

HOKUSAI: One of London’s newest exhibitions, Hokusai: The Great Picture Book of Everything is a chance to see the Japanese artist’s work beyond his famous Great Wave. 100 of his illustrations are on display, all of which were intended to be part of his encyclopaedia, though it was never published. British Museum, £11, book ahead, until 30 January

Breaking the Silence on the Slave Trade is part of Black History Month

LONDON CRAFT WEEK: A seven-day celebration of British makers and designers, London Craft Week has more than 250 brands and galleries taking place in events all over town. Topics range from uses for bamboo to Royal fashion to calligraphy to coffee, whether you want ogle someone else’s work, or to have a go yourself. Browse the extensive programme and get booking. Various locations and prices, 4-10 October

MONTH OF THE DEAD: October is London Month of the Dead, a festival with all sorts of events looking at the many aspects of dying and death. If you’re feeling sufficiently macabre, our pick from the programme this week includes candlelit ghost stories in a cemetery, and lifting the lid on the history of bodysnatching in Britain. Various locations and prices, book ahead, throughout October

Monday 4 October

Hear from Rutherford and Fry at the Royal Institution

EXPRESS IT: Young Londoners take to the stage for open mic night Never Alone LDN. Hear them share their mental health experiences and thoughts on being young in London. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), free, book ahead, 7pm

RUTHERFORD AND FRY: Scientist Adam Rutherford and mathematician Hannah Fry join forces for a one-off Royal Institution show, based on their new book, Rutherford and Fry’s Complete Guide to Absolutely Everything. Strap in for a whirlwind evening as they cover why reality isn’t what it seems and how our minds have evolved to lie to us all the time. Royal Institution (Mayfair), £16/£10/£7, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

ELIZABETH AND MARY: Ahead of its new exhibition opening on Friday, British Library hosts a talk about the fraught relationship between Queen Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Historian Professor John Guy tells the story of how, despite being cousins, the political situation at the time saw them ending up as mortal enemies. British Library, £14, book ahead, 7.30pm-8.45pm

WORLD DOCTORS ORCHESTRA: Medical professionals from countries all over the world come together for a live performance raising money for Pathway, a charity providing healthcare for the homeless. In addition to renditions of works by Bax and Elgar, we’re told that hoovers, floor polishers and a rifle also feature. Barbican Hall, £10-£40, book ahead, 7.30pm

Tuesday 5 October

Is This Funny? at Aces and Eights

AMERICAN POETS: Ahead of National Poetry Day on Thursday, hear works by some of the greatest American poets read aloud by a selection of actors. Adjoa Andoh, Eileen Atkins, Sinéad Cusack, Jeremy Irons and Elizabeth McGovern read the likes of Elizabeth Bishop, Emily Dickinson, T S  Eliot, Robert Frost and Walt Whitman. British Library, £13, book ahead, 7pm-8.15pm

EUROPEAN DULWICH: Hear local architect and housing expert Ian McInnes talk about the large foreign community in Dulwich during the Victorian and Edwardian periods. The talk — which is raising money for St Christopher’s Hospice — covers why German, Dutch, Danish, French and Polish businessmen were drawn to the area, and how they and their families assimilated into the local community. Bell House (Dulwich), £5, book ahead, 8pm-9pm

IS THIS FUNNY?: One of our picks for comedy shows to see in October, Is This Funny? brings four great comedians — Charlie Vero-Martin, Maddie Campion , Sharlin Jahan, and Jain Edwards — together on stage for a work-in-progress show at a bargain price. Aces and Eights (Tufnell Park), £2, book ahead, 8pm

Wednesday 6 October

Spencer is one of the Headline Gala films at BFI London Film Festival

BFI LONDON FILM FESTIVAL: Today’s the first day of this year’s BFI London Film Festival, with a bumper programme. As well as film screenings, galas and premieres, events include mixed medium exhibition Museum of Austerity, a tribute to The Velvet Underground and selection of shorts, London Calling. Many of the films are being shown in local and independent cinemas too, so check your local screen. Various locations and prices, book ahead, 6-17 October

TRANSI MONUMENTS: Did you know: Southwark Cathedral is home to two transi tombs — that is, monuments which depict the dead either as a decomposing body or a shrouded cadaver. Hear the story of William Emerson’s life, and the reasons behind the choice to give him a transi monument, as told by historian Dr Elizabeth Norton. Online event, £1, book ahead, 12pm-12.45pm

BLACKS BRITANNICA: Historian Dr Onyeka Nubia leads a Gresham College lecture looking at diversity in Medieval and Early Modern England. Specifically he looks at why England is historically presented as a white space, when Africans have been present in the country for 2,000 years. Museum of London (or livestream at home), free, book ahead, 6pm-7pm

Thursday 7 October

Londonist’s own Matt Brown discusses his new book, Atlas of Imagines Places

SUN AT NIGHT: Microphones suspended above metal spikes form the centrepiece of artist Shilpa Gupta’s new exhibition, Sun at Night, which opens today. Subjects including censorship and the power of speech are explored, as poetry dating from the 8th to 21st centuries in a range of languages can be heard. Curve Gallery (Barbican), free, just turn up, 7 October-6 February

BANANAS AND BREWERIES: Borough Market chair Angela Clutton and cookbook author Mark Riddaway discuss how food shaped the Bankside area into what it is today. The online talk covers how the area’s foodie history shaped the cuisine of the entire country. Online, £1, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

IMAGINED PLACES: Londonist Editor-at-Large Matt Brown has turned his extraordinary brain to fictional geography, resulting in new book Atlas of Imagined Places, which has mapped 5,000 fictional places across the globe. Tonight, he, his co-author Rhys B. Davis and illustrator Mike Hall discuss the book, which covers invented buildings, towns, countries, forests, mountains, rivers and oceans, shipwrecks and sunken cities, all laid out on beautiful maps. Stanfords (Covent Garden), £5, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

COMEDY CLUB: Ready for a midweek chuckle? Michael Brunström, Variety D, Yuriko Kotani, Jason Patterson, Fiona Ridgewell and Mark Silcox are the six comedians on the bill at the latest Catford Mews Comedy Club. Catford Mews, £6.50, book ahead, 8pm

Friday 8 October

A rare chance to see Chiswick House at night

ELIZABETH AND MARY: The British Library’s new exhibition, Elizabeth and Mary, opens today, exploring the relationship of the two queens, who were both cousins and rivals. Handwritten letters between the two leaders tell the story of their struggle for power against a backdrop of civil war and conspiracy. British Library, £16, book ahead, 8 October-20 February

LONDON TRANSPORT WEEKEND: The Epping Ongar Railway celebrates its links with London Transport at a weekend of special events. See three London Transport liveried locomotives working together, a static display of London Transport buses, a book signing, and a chance to stock up on plenty of swag at the gift shop. Epping Ongar Railway, £16-£30, book ahead, 8-10 October

CHISWICK HOUSE AT NIGHT: For the first time ever, Chiswick House opens its doors to the public after hours, letting us have a poke around at night. As well as a chance to view the house and current exhibition, the exhibition features craft and meditation workshops and a live acoustic music performance. Food and drink available. Chiswick House, £5, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

PALACE OPERA: Rising stars at the National Opera Studio give a one-off performance at Fulham Palace. See classic arias and more modern pieces performed in Bishop Sherlock’s Room at the palace. If you want to make a night of it, book yourself in for a three-course meal before the opera begins. Fulham Palace, £35 (or £80 with a three-course meal), book ahead, 7.30pm-9.30pm

Saturday 9 October

It’s London Transport Weekend at the Epping Ongar Railway

EXHIBITION ROAD FESTIVAL: Today’s the first day of the Great Exhibition Road Festival, a week of free events celebrating the South Kensington cultural hub and its museums. The programme is packed full of events for kids and adults, with some events taking place online too. Our pick for today is this look at the Great Exhibition of 1851. Topics covered throughout the week range from deforestation in Costa Rica to macramé making, to a day in the life of an art historian. South Kensington, free, some events require booking, 9-15 October

FAMILY FILM CLUB: Mia and the Migou is showing at this week’s Barbican Family Film Club. The animated French film tells the story of a South American girl who encounters a group of magical creatures called the Migou. The subtitles are read aloud via headsets for children. Usual rules still apply — all kids must be accompanied by an adult, and all adults must be accompanied by a kid. Recommended age 6+. Barbican Cinema, £3.50, book ahead, 11am

SOUND MINDS FESTIVAL: On the eve of World Mental Health Day, Rich Mix combines mental health awareness with live music for the Sound Minds Festival. Performances take place across three neurodivergent-friendly spaces, with talks, artist performances and live DJs, plus there’s a quiet room open to anyone who needs a mental recharge. Rich Mix (Shoreditch), £27.50, book ahead, 4.30pm

Sunday 10 October

Catch the Engegård Quartet at Conway Hall

LITERARY SOUTHWARK: Join Footprints of London guide Daniella King for a Sunday afternoon stroll through the streets of Southwark, visiting some of the area’s literary haunts. See where the likes of William Shakespeare, Kit Marlow and Ben Johnson lived, as well as areas which inspired them, including the site of a former prison which Dickens used as a basis for his work. Southwark, £12/£9, book ahead, 2pm-4pm

SUNDAY CONCERTS: Conway Hall’s Sunday Concert series is back, and this week the Engegård Quartet take to the stage. The Norwegian group perform pieces that reflect their Scandinavian roots, with a classical influence. The event is livestreamed online if you can’t make it in person. Conway Hall (Holborn), £10-£14, book ahead, 6.30pm-8pm

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