Fact fiends and knowledge nuts rejoice — London’s first festival of knowledge is coming to King’s Cross next weekend for a programme of talks, performances, interactive games, walks, experiments and tours. It’s all free, too.
Taking place between 29-30 August, Curious? aims to get Londoners’ brains fired up with offerings from a selection of different sectors including science, culture, media and history. The body behind the festival is The Knowledge Quarter, a partnership of 55 organisations based in the King's Cross area, with the aim of encouraging learning by making their facilities, collections and knowledge accessible to the public. Members include Google, the British Library, UCL, The Guardian and Poet in the City.
We’ve pulled out our highlights here, but admittedly we do have a particular penchant for history, nerdy facts and hidden areas. It’s definitely worth taking a gander at the entire programme as there is a lot on offer from children’s book festivals to language workshops, physics experiments and interactive dance performances. Get stuck in.
Granary Square: Fountains Beneath the Surface
Top of our list is getting behind (or under) the scenes of the fountains in Granary Square. Visitors will head underground to find out how the 1,080 jets of water are synchronised, choreographed and programmed to provide their daily light and water shows. 30 August at 11.30am and 2pm
King’s Cross Energy Centre tour
Take a trip into the inner workings of Kings Cross’s on-site Energy Centre. Two huge, gas-powered engines generate electricity, the heat from which is captured and used to provide heating and hot water for the entire area. It claims to be one of the most sustainable developments in the UK — see it for yourself. 30 August at 1pm and 3pm
Coram’s Children: The Story of the Foundling Hospital
If you haven’t paid a visit to the Foundling Museum in Brunswick Square then you absolutely should: it’s brilliant. In the meantime you can hear from a patron of the museum, Jane King, and learn about the history of the UK’s first ever children’s charity, founded by Thomas Coram in 1739, that cared for babies at risk of abandonment. 30 August, 11am-midday
Curiosity Quests 1 & 2
Award-winning children’s poet Joseph Coelho and children’s writer Kathy Henderson take inquisitive young minds on poetry-filled adventures and interactive performances. Each takes place on a different day, so choose between giant group poems and imaginary bug hunts, or a walking tour with magic around every corner. 29 and 30 August, times vary
Refurbishment of the Gasholder Triplets
A screening will delve into the 150 year history of the Gasholder Triplets (nos 10, 11 and 12), which are currently undergoing refurbishment and were originally built for the storage of town gas for Pancras Gasworks — the largest facility of its kind in London. Fun fact: they’re referred to as the ‘triplets’ because their frames are joined by a common spine. 29 and 30 August, 11am-5pm
Curious? is taking place across King’s Cross, N1C on 29-30 August. The entire festival is free but some events do require pre-booking. Visit the website for further details.