Any budding historian who’s grown up in the last 20 years is sure to be familiar with Horrible Histories. Penned by Terry Deary, the bestselling children’s book series is famed for its uproarious, warts-and-all approach to exploring the past – whether Deary’s discussing ancient civilisations or 20th century affairs.
The popularity of the series is such that recent years have seen a handful of spin-offs in other media. There’s been a Horrible Histories television series, a magazine, various stage adaptations – and now, thanks to the newly-reopened Imperial War Museum London, there’s an interactive exhibition too.
Focused on the second world war, the exhibition features an array of interactive activities based on topics like the Ruthless Resistance, Cracking Codes and Great Gadgets – all of which have a basis in real historical facts. It’s backed up with items from the IWM’s extensive collection, so as visitors get a taste of life in the world of espionage, they’ll also be able to gaze upon the equipment, supplies and disguises used by real-life spies.
Upon arrival at the museum, attendees embark upon a ‘stamper trail’ – their own special mission that guides them through the exhibits and sees them complete other fun-filled activities. These include making invisible ink, cracking codes and even using fake feet.
Penelope Beech, a spokesperson for Horrible Histories’ publisher Scholastic Children’s Books, said: “It is a great pleasure to see the gory and glorious world of Horrible Histories brought to life in so many different ways in Horrible Histories: Spies at IWM London, who understand the irreverent humour and imagination that make the books so special.”
The IWM should prove easy to reach for those staying at The Montcalm London Marble Arch hotel, being a stone’s throw from the Lambeth North and Elephant & Castle tube stops.