Mr Churchill wore a green velvet onesie – I kid you not – #Science #Museum #London

Mr Churchill
Mr Churchill

The Science Museum is a major museum on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London. It was founded in 1857 and today is one of the city’s major tourist attractions, attracting 3.3 million visitors annually.

Mr Churchill's green velvet
Mr Churchill’s green velvet “onsie” romper-suit, on display at the Science Museum, Kensington.

Nope, I’m not kidding. Here’s PART the ONE of my inspection of the Science Museum – it’s just too extensive to cover in one blog post!

‘… This is the ‘siren suit’, which bears resemblance to the infamous ‘onesie’, is a practical one-piece item of clothing originally designed by Sir Winston Churchill during the Second World War to be quickly slipped over his clothes in the event of an air raid. The great statesman had a variety of siren suits, which he referred to as ‘romper suits,’ including sombre, military style suits, as well as more extravagant pin-striped and velvet versions. …’

Science Museum – Mr Churchill, INVENTOR of the ‘onesie’.

It’s not something that one really expects to trip over. This invention of Churchill’s and his predilection for wearing them was not once mentioned in all of the hours upon hours of droning history spouted at me in my various schools. I’m not sure that I like it, it makes Churchill seem far too cute and cuddly.

Still, this is what the Science Museum does in spades – walk in; wow. Walk around; wow. Change to a different hall or floor; wow. It’s big, it’s bold and it presents the most amazing full-size, real-world treasures in the most laid-back and tasteful manner. This place wil slap you in the face with a haddock – but it’ll wear white cotton gloves and explain why it is doing so as it does so.

In the main hall you rather casually have an aircraft coming in to land...
In the main hall you rather casually have an aircraft coming in to land…
My very firstest home computer - the BBC Model-B.
My very firstest home computer – the BBC Model-B.

There are several items in the museum more disturbing than Churchill’s romper suit. The Nokia Communicator mobile phone for one (yes, I owned one when they were new, and I loved it). The Psion Revo palmtop (yes, I owned one when they were new, and I loved it). The BBC Model-B Computer – my first computer. Mine cost me £200 (about five weeks wages in those days) and I loved it – in combination with a cradle modem it allowed me to access the university mainframes and servers at home instead of having to book time and collect keys from the caretaker for the terminal room at the local college.

The BBC Model-B (from the days when the BBC wasn’t an unprofessional uber-feminist/islamist embarrassment to us all, and actually did useful things) also began to replace my trusty manual Brother typewriter – my first ‘word-processing’ application was one that I copied from a magazine, typing the code in character by character. It worked – it formatted and printed perfectly, and all with about two thousand lines of BBC Basic code.

There are one or two other items of note.

How about James Watt’s actual workbench, where he ever so slightly invented a large chunk of the Industrial Revolution?

Mr James Watt's actual workbench, although I don't think the busts were there when it was in use.
Mr James Watt’s actual workbench, although I don’t think the busts were there when it was in use.

Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ Locomotive of 1829ish? It’s here…

Stephenson's 'Rocket' Locomotive thingy.
Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ Locomotive thingy.

Did you know that the Mini was only half invented initially, and that the left-hand side had to be finished off by Issignosisisses’s assistant after the great man got bored?

The Austin Mini was the first car ever designed to be convenient during divorce cases, coming as it did in two parts - slightly less than half and slightly more than half.
The Austin Mini was the first car ever designed to be convenient during divorce cases, coming as it did in two parts – slightly less than half and slightly more than half.

The Mini was a tad easier to drive than Rover’s JET 1, the world’s first gas-turbine powered car. This wee vehicle idled at 20,000rpm and one had to rely somewhat on the brakes…

JET 1, the Rover gas-turbine car would run on anything that had vaguely fuel-like qualities. Kerosene, whisky, school custard...
JET 1, the Rover gas-turbine car would run on anything that had vaguely fuel-like qualities. Kerosene, whisky, school custard…

As if that isn’t enough to tangle your knickers, how about a rather nice Harrier Jump-Jet for a spot of vertical take-off and landing? Engine, and my Bro, shown below.

The Harrier Jump Jet was Nanny's first jet aeroplane and she loved it because she could park it anywhere she wanted, in the High Street, in the car park at the Rat & Fiddle, outside the Old Bailey...
The Harrier Jump Jet was Nanny’s first jet aeroplane and she loved it because she could park it anywhere she wanted, in the High Street, in the car park at the Rat & Fiddle, outside the Old Bailey…

Talking of jets, the invention thereof, how about a quick fondle – for fondle it you could, it was on open display – of Sir Frank Whittle’s neat little jet engine, the baby that he gave to the world?

Mr Whittle's Mother's son's world's first jet engine thingummy.
Mr Whittle’s Mother’s son’s world’s first jet engine thingummy.

Amazing stuff, all, and I’ve barely scratched the surface (more to follow).

Can I recommend the Science Museum? I most certainly can. An awe-inspiring place, and entry is FREE.

The eating there? Very ho-hum, very ho-hum indeed and I would suggest that if you simply must eat at the Science Museum that you eat elsewhere instead. Or something. That though is of minor import.

Where else could you wander in and see Mr Churchill’s genuine real-life green velvet onesie?

I don’t have a velvet onesie. Most of mine are silk. Or canvas. I have a few canvas ones that I am put into when the moon is full. Talking of the moon, they have a chunk of moon rock at the Science Museum. I’ll show you that next time.

Chin-chin.

4 Comments

  1. davidprosser says:

    Brilliant Ian. I’ve been entertained and educated at the same time….is that edutained?
    Hugs

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yikes! Have I created an infomercial? 😉 The museum was well worth a walk-around, although there was so much of it that I was seriously flagging long before I’d seen all I wanted to see.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Toffeeapple says:

    Brilliant post, I am glad that there will be more.
    The Harrier is wonderful isn’t it, so sleek and beautiful? One bowed to me at an airshow once, that was magic.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They are beautiful beasties – having one bow to you must have been incredible! Such a fantastic idea. The whole of the Science Museum is crammed with the most phenomenal exhibits, we could have spent days, weeks there…

      Liked by 1 person

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