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Swashbuckling ‘Captain School Kidd’ helps launch pirates’ invasion of Bethnal Green childhood museum

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:02 18 July 2018

Captain Hook... ready to weigh anchor at V&A Museum of Childhood in October 2018, in drawing by William Nicholson for 1904 'Peter Pan' production at Duke of York's Theatre. Picture source: V&A Museum

Captain Hook... ready to weigh anchor at V&A Museum of Childhood in October 2018, in drawing by William Nicholson for 1904 'Peter Pan' production at Duke of York's Theatre. Picture source: V&A Museum

©Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Schoolchildren have turned to ‘piracy’ in Bethnal Green helping to create a swashbuckling show about fictional pirates.

A young pirate ready to swash the buckle for the V&A Museum of Childhood. Picture Source: V&A MuseumA young pirate ready to swash the buckle for the V&A Museum of Childhood. Picture Source: V&A Museum

The pupils at Globe Primary came on board to help the V&A Museum of Childhood’s exhibition called A Pirates Life For Me being “launched” in October.

The adventure began when they were asked to help with the set design that takes youngsters into a world of adventure and exploration, from a seaside tavern to a large-scale pirate ship and a tropical treasure island where they can dress-up and sing sea shanties.

Secrets of the exhibition have been unwrapped today by museum staff rather than walking the plank.

Learning the ropes... Pirates' workshop at Globe Primary School in Bethnal Green. Picture Source: V&A Museum of ChildhoodLearning the ropes... Pirates' workshop at Globe Primary School in Bethnal Green. Picture Source: V&A Museum of Childhood

“Children love pirates,” curator Will Newton said. “Captain Hook, Long John Silver and Jack Sparrow are among the most enduring children’s characters ever conceived.

“We’ve included children’s voices in this celebration of mischief and adventure throughout the history of pirates in popular culture.”

The museum also worked with on an audio project with Hackney Pirates, a charity running children’s literacy programmes, telling the story of the exhibition.

'Shiver me timbers'... even girls nowadays turn to piracy on the High Seas at this pirates' workshop at Globe Primary School in Bethnal Green. Picture Source: V&A Museum of Childhood'Shiver me timbers'... even girls nowadays turn to piracy on the High Seas at this pirates' workshop at Globe Primary School in Bethnal Green. Picture Source: V&A Museum of Childhood

The show in October explores the origins and development of fictional pirate characters from Victorian Britain to the present day and how they have been romanticised in popular culture.

It includes famous toys, original costumes, games, books, illustrations and comics spanning 300 years. Rare, home-made and historic artefacts have pirate themes such as mischief, adventure, and exploration.

Visitors will see the original illustration of the costume design for Captain Hook who crossed swords with Peter Pan in the first theatrical production in 1904 at the Duke of York’s Theatre and the first-ever painting of Captain Pugwash used for the 1950s’ TV cartoon series.

But there is a touch of reality with the location—the map reveals the museum being less than two nautical miles due north of Execution Dock on the Wapping waterfront where the real-life Captain Kidd swung by his neck in 1701.

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