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London Zoo’s NHS sign to be displayed at Museum of London

A giant light-up NHS sign displayed outside the Giraffe House at London Zoo has been donated to the Museum of London. 

The sign was put on display in April 2020 and has been donated by Kathryn England, Chief Operating Officer at ZSL London Zoo.

The sign gained notoriety when it appeared in ITV’s documentary “London Zoo: An Extraordinary Year”.

England said: “We wanted to show our gratitude and respect for the NHS, in what was a life changing year for so many of us. 

“The idea, and location for the sign on London Zoo’s iconic Giraffe House, was inspired by the paramedics we saw parking outside the Zoo’s gates on their hasty lunch breaks. We installed this tribute at their favourite sandwich spot to brighten their day. 

“We were so pleased to see it so quickly become a highlight for other Londoners out for their daily exercise. It became something of an emblem for London’s resilience to the pandemic and meant that even when closed, the zoo was able to bring a smile to people’s faces.

“As London’s zoo, we are absolutely delighted that this sign will now have a home with another one of London’s great institutions, the Museum of London.”

Beatrice Behlen, senior curator at the Museum of London, said: “We are very honoured that ZSL London Zoo have donated their symbolic NHS sign to our ongoing Collecting COVID project.

“Throughout the last year, while London Zoo’s doors were closed, the sign was a source of great camaraderie for the local community and front-line NHS workers.

“It represents the many messages and acts of support that came from so many of London’s institutions to uplift, provide hope and connect Londoners over the past year.”

In April 2020 the Museum of London launched ‘Collecting COVID’ to display COVID-related items in an exhibition detailing the changes that the pandemic has made to the urban landscape.

So far the Museum has received around 500 items, one of which is a homemade chain made by Councillor Philip Normal, Mayor of Lambeth.

In April 2020, Normal made a chain for his virtual installation as Mayor of Lambeth, made out of card and fabric and displaying Lambeth’s Coat of Arms. 

The Museum of London will be displaying their permanent collection of COVID paraphenalia in a new museum in West Smithfield.

Featured Image Credit: Diamond Geezer, July 14th 2007, Flickr

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