Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 28 January-3 February 2019

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Free And Cheap Events In London This Week: 28 January-3 February 2019

All week

See archive photos of 'hilltop community' Dawson's Heights.

DISEASE X: You've only got a few more days to see this contagious display at Museum of London. Disease X looks at what London's next big epidemic outbreak could be, 100 years after the outbreak of the deadliest wave of ‘Spanish Flu’, which killed at least fifty million people. The exhibition looks at past epidemics in London and what we can learn from them to protect ourselves for the future. Museum of London, free, just turn up, until 1 February

DAWSON’S HEIGHTS: Last chance to see this exhibition of archive photography of Dawson’s Heights, a housing estate in south London designed by architect Kate Macintosh as something of an experiment. RIBA (Portland Place), free, just turn up, until 2 February

CLOSE-DRAWN PORTRAITS: Close encounters between artists and their subject are on display at this exhibition, which features work by the likes of Ingres, Picasso and Hepworth, and recent and contemporary artists including Hockney and Landy. Self portraits also feature and all the works on display show incredible skill in their particular medium, be it pencil, charcoal or oil. Drawing Room (Elephant & Castle), free, just turn up, until 3 February

TOMORROW'S TIGERS: 10 artists including Anish Kapoor have each designed a tiger-themed rug in order to raise money for and awareness of WWF’s conservation work with wild tigers. See the works on display before they’re sold off — only 10 of each design will be made so they’ll be limited edition. Sotheby’s, free, just turn up, 29 January-4 February

Monday 28 January

Polari returns to Southbank Centre

HIT SO HARD: There’s a chance to watch Hit So Hard — a documentary about Patty Schemel, the openly gay drummer of Courtney Love's seminal rock band Hole — for free. The film follows her from her childhood when she knew she was different from other children, to seeing herself on the front cover of Rolling Stone, including the personal difficulties she faced along the way. London College of Communication (Elephant & Castle), free, book ahead, 6pm-8.30pm

THE CLASS CEILING: Find out why it pays to be privileged at this LSE lecture and book launch, which looks at how class background still affects those trying to break into elite professions, and what barriers there are to upward social mobility. LSE (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm-8pm

JOKÉMON GO: At this comedy night, acts including Jamali Maddix, Lucy Frederick and Faye Treacy have the opportunity to resurface material they were forced to retire due to the zeitgeist changing/news events fading into memory/fewer people getting the references. Betsey Trotwood (Farringdon), free (donations welcome), book ahead, 7.30pm-10pm

POLARI: Author Julie Cohen is the special guest at regular LGBTQ+ literary salon, Polari. Cohen discusses her latest novel, Louis and Louise, which follows the life of a person in two realities: one in which they’re born male, and one in which they’re born female. Southbank Centre, £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Tuesday 29 January

500 years of evolution with Gresham College

GRESHAM LECTURE: The latest in Gresham College’s special series of lectures marking 500 years since Thomas Gresham’s birth looks at evolution over those 500 years. Specifically, Professor Steve Jones discusses how factors such as gold-mining and global warming have cause humans to evolve. Museum of London, free, just turn up, 6pm

POLITICS OF MEMORIALS: Memorials are a tricky one. Who deserves a public memorial, and who doesn’t? When (if ever) should a memorial be removed? A panel of experts discusses several issues around the topic of memorials in this debate. LSE (Holborn), free, just turn up, 6.30pm- 8pm

COLLYWOBBLERS COMEDY: Comedians Vikki Stone, Grant Busé, Kelsey De Almeida, Daniel Audritt, and Lorna Shaw perform at tonight’s Collywobblers Comedy, aided by MC Sion James. Between them they’ve performed on the likes of BBC Radio 4, E4, BBC One and ITV, so we’re expecting great things. The Craft Beer Co. Brixton, £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

Wednesday 30 January

Get the lowdown on recent advances in space exploration

LUNAR EXPLORATION: 50 years since Neil Armstrong and co. made it to the moon, hear Gresham Professor of Astronomy Joseph Silk talk about how space exploration has developed since, and future plans to visit the moon. It has potential for mining and tourism, but how will we avoid making the mistakes we've made here on Earth? Museum of London, free, just turn up, 1pm

LUNCHTIME LECTURE: Tweed… not as uninspiring as it sounds, as author Fiona Anderson proves. She talks about her book, Tweed, her research for which uncovered the origins of the powerful associations between tweeds, fashion and nature. V&A (South Kensington), free, just turn up, 1pm-1.45pm

MUSEUM LATES: It's the final Wednesday of the month which means the Science Museum is open late. China is the theme this month, so celebrate Chinese New Year with talks about the Chinese Space Programme, Chinese traditions and more, as well as the usual silent disco. Note, you now have to book a (free) ticket to gain entry. Science Museum (South Kensington), free (charge for some activities), book ahead, 6.45pm-10pm

HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL: Mark Holocaust Memorial Day with an evening of poetry, music and talks. Torn From Home has traditional and contemporary Jewish music from Cantor Tamara and indigenous Latin American music from Phaxsi Coca, plus Ben Gidley of Birkbeck College talks about current experiences of anti-Semitism. Union Chapel (Islington), free, just turn up, 7pm

Thursday 31 January

Hear folklore of Underground London

END OF THE WORLD: There's a theory that we're at the end of the world as we know it, due to current ecological, political and technological uncertainty. Tonight, attend the second in a trilogy of events, looking particularly at the internet, including the ramifications it has on freedom and privacy. Somerset House Studios, pay what you can, book ahead, 6.45pm-8.45pm

BOOK LAUNCH: As part of her Keats House residency, author Hannah Lowe wrote her book, The Neighbourhood, about how communities survive under extreme pressure. Tonight's the launch event, with guest readings from poets Fran Lock and Anthony Anaxagorou and a Q&A with Hannah Lowe herself. Keats House (Hampstead), free, book ahead, 7pm-8.30pm

COOKERY WORKSHOP: This free cookery workshop aims to cut down food waste by focusing specifically on bread (apparently 24 million slices are wasted every day in the UK). Learn how to whip up a bread and butter pudding with your stale slices, or turn them into croutons, and pick up tips on how to make your bread last longer. Barnfield Primary School (Edgware), free, book ahead, 3.30pm-4.30pm

UNDERGROUND FOLKLORE: You've probably heard about the corpse on the tube, but there's plenty more folklore where that came from. Author Antony Clayton talks about London's underground folklore — not just the tube, but tunnels, passages, secret hidden streets and subterranean ghosts. Kensington Central Library, free, book ahead, 6.30pm-7.30pm

Friday 1 February

Free skating at House of Vans

THE KING 'S WAR: The relationship between King George VI and his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, during the second world war was made famous in 2010 Colin Firth film, The King's Speech. Author Mark Logue — grandson of that speech therapist — talks about the years that followed the end of the film. The talk is followed by a book signing. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, book ahead, 11.30am

OUTING THE PAST: Hear stories of groundbreaking gay and trans rights activists of the 1950s who inspired change, at LSE Library. Historian and author Alex Bakker talks about research into unknown LGBT+ history, including Christine Jorgensen, a former GI from New York, who had sex reassignment surgery in Denmark in the 1950s. LSE (Holborn), free, just turn up, 1pm-2pm

THE OBJECT HABIT: A UCL volunteer offers an insight into an object of their choosing from the Petrie Museum's collection, on the theme of love — just in time for Valentine's Day. Petrie Museum (UCL), free, just turn up, 1.15pm-2pm

SK8 FRY-DAYS: House of Vans — located in tunnels under Waterloo station — is quite the little gem for anyone on a budget. Tonight, there's a free skate session on the skate bowl (bring your own board/skates), and free fried chicken and beers for anyone popping out some impressive tricks. Limited spectator space available. House of Vans (Waterloo), free, book ahead, 6pm-10pm

COMEDY: Comedians Ciarán Dowd and Stevie Martin join forces for a work-in-progress show, giving you the chance to see their new material at a reduced price, before it's shown anywhere else. Pleasance Theatre (Islington), £5, book ahead, 8pm

Saturday 2 February

Meet members of the Household Cavalry

HOUSEHOLD CAVALRY: Meet members of the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment, who are taking part in a day of talks, workshops and family activities to give an insight into their jobs. See saddlers at work and find out how the horses are cared for, learn about the history of the regiment, and meet the most senior animals in the Army. National Army Museum (Chelsea), free, just turn up, 10am-4.30pm

MARKETS: A ceramics market and art market run side by side today so you can browse all manner of artworks, homewares, custom jewellery and accessories and more, all under one roof. Bussey Building (Peckham), £1 entry, just turn up, 11am-6pm

CRAFTY FOX MARKET: If that wasn't enough craftiness for you, swing by Elephant & Castle where Crafty Fox Market has curated a selection of exhibitors, including jewellery makers Esoteric London, Malako skincare and typewriter artist Keira Rathbone. Mercato Metropolitano (Elephant & Castle), free entry, just turn up, 11am-5pm

CREATURE CREATIONS: Take the whole family along to the wonderful Grant Museum of Zoology and spend the afternoon creating artworks inspired by the weird and wonderful animals on display. Grant Museum (UCL), free, just turn up, 1pm-4pm

CLOTHES SWISH: Get yourself some new clothes without parting with all your money. Take some old (but clean and good quality) items along to the Swish and Style, and swap them for items other people have brought along. Workshops showing you how to mend items and offering upcycling tips take place at the same time. New Unity (Islington), free, just turn up, 2pm-5pm

CHINESE NEW YEAR: The Year of the Pig doesn't begin until Tuesday but there are early, family-friendly celebrations at both the Museum of London Docklands and Cutty Sark this weekend, with storytelling, crafts and dancing. Free, just turn up, 2-3 February

Sunday 3 February

Attend a clown church service in east London. Image: Shutterstock

COMEDY RECORDING: Comedian Abigoliah Schamaun is filming her 2018 Edinburgh show, in which she traces her journey from the conservative Midwest of America to becoming an unabashedly liberal London-based comic, in front of an audience — that's where you come in. 2 Northdown Street (King's Cross), £5, book ahead, 7.30pm

CLOWN CHURCH SERVICE: In one of the capital's more unusual annual events, hundreds of clowns (in full costume) pack into an east London church for a service in memory of Joseph Grimaldi, the original modern-day clown. Members of the public are welcome, but seats go fast — we'd advise arriving at least a couple of hours in advance. All Saints Church (Haggerston), free, just turn up, 3pm

CRAFT SWISH: If Marie Kondo's got you clearing your flat out, get rid of your joyless craft items at the Big London Craft Swish. Take along any of your craft stash that you're not gong to use and swap it for items donated by other crafters. OK, so your flat probably won't be any emptier, but at least it'll be full of things you're actually likely to use. Cecil Sharp House (Camden), £5, book ahead, drop off from 10am, claim items from 11am

Last Updated 25 January 2019