Parkesine to Perspex: the history of plastics with Carolyn Clark

20 Jun 2019

Event times

Doors open 6pm for exhibition
Talk 7pm to 8pm

Cost of entry


Nunnery Gallery

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • 205
  • Bow Road (Hammersmith & City, District lines)
  • Bow Church (DLR)

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Join us to discover a history of plastics with Carolyn Clark, a community historian and member of the Plastics Historical Society, as she traces the development of plastics from 1850 to 1950 in her special illustrated talk.


Carolyn will discuss the history of plastics with a special east London focus, surrounded by the historic plastic objects in the Raw Materials exhibition. Her illustrated talk will explore the development of plastics from its Victorian invention in Hackney Wick to its later mass-production in the 1950s, looking at materials from Parkesine to Perspex.

Carolyn Clark is a community historian and author, mainly working in Hackney and Tower Hamlets but also further afield, for example in Brantham and Tottenham. Carolyn has researched the history of the plastics industry in the UK, speaking to many former workers, is a Director of the Plastics Historical Society and deputy editor of the Plastiquarian which she has written extensively for. Her local history publications include The Shoreditch Tales and The Lower Clapton Tales and booklets on the East End canals. 

Please note that the gallery will open from 6pm for a chance to view the exhibition, with the talk beginning at 7pm.

Tickets £3/5 (concession rate applies to under 18s, students, over 65s and Bow Arts artists)

Book tickets here

Raw Materials explores the forgotten industrial history of plastic in east London around the River Lea. The exhibition reveals the story of east London's central role in the invention and early development of plastics, showcasing some of the very first plastic objects alongside newly commissioned artwork that tells the story of this material’s remarkable journey. Read more about the exhibition here.

Raw Materials: Plastics has been made possible through the generous support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and the project’s academic partner UCL.

[Access and Travel Information]

Photo credit: Rob Harris 


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