Museums, Museum of London

Toxic fatberg in museum quarantrine - watch it here

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The last pieces of the “fatberg”, the monstrous agglomeration of sewer waste found by Thames Water workers under Whitechapel in East London, have become part of the Museum of London’s permanent collection – in quarantine.

Following its successful display this spring, the last pieces of the giant ball of filth have been acquired by the museum.

But they will go into quarantine because they are still toxic, and will be sealed in a specially made glass case with a livestream camera for public viewing. 

During the Fatberg! exhibition between February and June this year the large remnants hatched flies, sweated and changed colour, and since the exhibition have developed a toxic mould. The pustules that have grown and are now visible have been identified as aspergillus which can cause infection in humans and animals.

“The samples of the Whitechapel fatberg have proven to be very powerful museum objects, provoking strong feelings of fascination and disgust in our visitors whilst encouraging them to reflect on a serious challenge facing the city” said the museum’s Vyki Sparkes.

“Fatbergs are created by people and businesses who discard fat and rubbish into our historic sewer system. By adding these samples to our permanent collections we are preserving material evidence of how we live now, and, as we change our habits and attitudes, fatbergs could well become history. The fatberg livestream means these samples can entertain and educate people around the world.”

Find out more here, and watch the sample in storage live below. 



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