Plastics Roadshow


06 Apr 2019
Opening times:


Bring your own vintage plastics for identification, discover historic plastics going back over 150 years and find out more about the plastics waste affecting London’s waterways.

This special event introduces Bow Arts’ upcoming Raw Materials: Plastics programme, the third in a series of heritage projects exploring the industrial history of the lower Lea Valley one material at a time. In 2019 the focus is on the material plastic, following the little-known history of the development of the world’s first ever plastic in Hackney Wick, east London in 1866 - while working with UCL’s Institute of Sustainable Heritage and environmental charity Thames21 to reflect on current questions of value and waste.

The Plastics Roadshow brings the UCL Mobile Heritage Lab to Bow Arts' courtyard, with scientists on hand to test and identify plastics of any age. Bring your own plastic objects for analysis – or put them forward for valuation by experts from the Plastics Historical Society. The lab will also be investigating wide-ranging plastic objects gathered from London's River Thames, recently collected by environmental charity Thames21, which will be on show at the event. There will be a display and information about historic plastics spanning the last 150 years from the Plastics Historical Society.

With thanks to University College London, Thames 21 and the Plastics Historical Society. The UCL Institute for Sustainable Heritage is an interdisciplinary group of scientists, social scientists and heritage specialists that delivers sustainable solutions to real-world cultural heritage problems. One of its key areas of research is plastic heritage. Thames21 voice for London’s waterways, working with communities to improve rivers and canals for people and wildlife. The Plastics Historical Society was formed in 1986, and aims to support the collection and preservation of plastics artefacts, and the recording of the history of how plastics continue to transform society.

Photo credit: Clearwater Photography


Access Information

Bow Arts Courtyard has step-free access throughout from street level, including to the accessible toilet and is service animal friendly. This venue does not have a hearing loop system.

Accessible parking is not available on-site but blue badge parking can be found 500m away on Fairfield Road.

If you have any questions regarding accessibility at this venue or event, would like to make us aware of any access requirements that you have in advance of visiting, or would like this information in an alternate format including Easy Read, please email or call 020 8980 774 (Ext. 3)

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