Museum Exhibitions

A temporary exhibition in the Calvert Gallery

Thousands of First World War soldiers who came back from France with terrible facial injuries were treated in a new, military hospital in Sidcup, Kent. This exhibition tells the remarkable story of the pioneers of plastic surgery from the point of view of the medical staff and their patients. Opened in 1917 and named after Queen Mary, a team of doctors, dentists, nurses and technicians were led by a brilliant, New Zealand-born surgeon, Harold Gillies. He recruited leading artists to help rebuild the men’s faces.



A Permanent Exhibition in the Austen Gallery

Discover how American soldiers stationed at Hall Place – code name Santa Fe – intercepted encoded messages sent by the Germans. GI veterans’ memories and declassified files reveal the importance of their round-the-clock, top-secret work which helped defeat the Nazis.


Previous Exhibitions at Hall Place:


16 September 2017 – 18 March 2018

The Last Curtsey: Etiquette and elocution, the life of a Debutante

From the mid 19th century young ladies of upper class wealthy families were presented at the Royal Court. Their ‘debut’ into society heralded their entrance into the adult world and search for a suitable husband. Lord Byron amusingly referred to these court presentations as ‘marriage markets’. Young ladies were whisked through endless rounds of parties, afternoon teas, balls, regattas and other social occasions – all referred to as ‘The Season’. This long standing tradition changed in 1958 when the Queen stopped court presentations, leading to a slow demise and change for the world of a Debutante.

In this exhibition discover the reality behind the glittering parties and beautiful ball gowns and uncover more about this English tradition. What did it take to make a good Debutante, and did everyone live up to the standard?



Sarah's Toy Story title

Called Mobo and made in Erith, they were no ordinary toys. The Mobo Bronco, Night Rider and Toy-toise were stars in a whole stable of mobile toys. Push cars soon followed. Kids across the UK and in the US loved them, making their creator, David Sebel, a British success story in the 1950s and early 60s. This exhibition told the remarkable story of Erith’s toy factory.

HP -PTP title lengthways

Pattern to Print

The Pattern to Print exhibition ( September 14, 2013 – March 16, 2014) unravelled the history of David Evans, the evolution of different techniques used from hand block printing and how the company advanced into screen-printing later in the 1970s. Visitors could learn about the history of silk and how it is extracted and processed, through the objects which included artefacts from a silk farm.

Pattern to Print included a carefully curated collection of original equipment from the factory including silk fabrics, printing and dying equipment, complimented by pieces on loan from collectors, organisation and even a typically eye-catching outfit from Sir Elton John himself.

A viewing room also showed original footage and imagery of the factory at work.

Exhibition title

Our exhibition Illuminated World (October 6, 2012 – March 17, 2013), highlighted Arthur Boswell’s collection of Victorian glass lantern slides, acquired by the borough in 1968. Working with Max Communications we have created a virtual tour of the exhibition so you can re-discover or see for the first time.