City sights

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 06 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 March, 2008, 12:00am

Paper 1a

This is a skimming exercise. Glance through the list of attractions in a large city, read the questions at the bottom, and then try to locate the information which will enable you to answer them.

1 Museum of Toys, open daily, 10am-5pm, admission free. A large old house is packed with old toys. There are hundreds of dolls, dolls' houses, toy soldiers and more board games than you knew existed. The collection is kept up to date with many people bringing in toys they just cannot bring themselves to throw away. Great fun for all the family. Special exhibition: A Century of Teddy Bears. Excellent souvenir shop.

2 Gordon Gallery, every afternoon except Tuesday. This small gallery changes its exhibition every six months. At the moment there is a superb display of Faberge Easter eggs, those luxurious, beautiful, diamond-covered gifts the Russian imperial family gave one another. Many have not been shown outside Russia before this exhibition. Admission GBP15.

3 Morley House, Sat-Wed, 11am-5pm, GBP3, half-price for children. A fine 18th century building with the original furniture. Beautiful silverware and some interesting pictures. The Walled Garden is especially lovely. The house is said to be haunted and many visitors report seeing strange things.

4 The House of Love, open every day, 10am-7pm, GBP5. This museum celebrates love in all its different aspects. There is a very fine collection of St Valentine's Day cards, a room of wedding photos and gowns, a gallery of famous lovers, a room devoted to Mother's Day and tributes to mothers past and present, and a very large gift shop.

5 No. 12, Deepford Avenue, open weekend afternoons only. This rather ordinary house was the London home of the famous Chinese poet and novelist Man Ming Fai, who lived there from 1905 to 1915. The house is full of mementoes of the great man and houses an excellent collection of his manuscripts. It is the headquarters of the Man Ming Fai Society.

6 SupaAqua, an aquarium, open daily 9am-8pm. There are certainly bigger ones than this, but the aquarium has a very fine assortment of interesting and colourful marine creatures. You can wonder along tunnels running through and under the tanks to get close-up views of these inhabitants of the deep. Entry charge GBP2.

7 Museum of Medicine, open Mon, Wed and Fri, 12 noon-4.30pm. Free admission. Medicine before the modern age was not for the faint-hearted. There is a frightening collection of saws and knives once used to operate on people. You can also pass through room after room of bottled specimens of deformed babies, horrible cancers and things from nightmares. The pickled Siamese twins are well-known. The Library is especially good for students of medical history.

8 Museum of Clothes, daily 10am-5pm. Admission GBP1.50. A very comprehensive collection of clothes through the centuries, including a 20th century room featuring clothes worn by famous singers, actresses and celebrities (including Madonna, Katherine Hepburn and Princess Diana). One is struck by how much smaller our ancestors were. The velvet coats of some 17th century nobles suggest they were no larger than the average modern 11-year-old. There are some very fine fabrics from India.

9 Centre for the Visual Arts, every day, 9am-9pm, free. This is a very large collection of abstract paintings. All the major names are included (Picasso, Braque, Klee, Mondrian, Pollack, Johns, Rothko and so on), as well as many less well-known artists. The centre deserves a few visits as the collection is so rich and extensive. Expect to be visually dazzled.


Which attraction would you recommend to:

a a pair of lovers

b a fan of modern art

c a lover of Chinese literature

d a jeweller

e a fashion designer

f someone fascinated by ghost stories

g someone who loves remembering childhood

h someone with some free time before a film show at 9pm

i a biologist

j a woman with a Barbie collection

Which attraction would you tell the following to avoid?

k someone with very little spending money

l someone scared of the supernatural

m someone with very old-fashioned views on painting

n someone scared of blood and ugly sights

o someone who dislikes history

p a girl who has just broken up with her boyfriend

q someone whose only day off is Tuesday


a. 4; b. 9; c. 5; d. 2; e. 8; f. 3; g. 1; h. 9; i. 6 or 7; j. 1; k. 2 and 4; l. 3; m. 9; n. 7; o. 3 and 8; p. 4; q. 2, 5 and 7