Fabricating Histories: An Alternative 19th Century

This is a historic exhibition. It is no longer available to visit and this page is only retained as a record of the previous event. For current and future exhibitions, visit our What's On page.

An exhibition celebrating an almost, might-have-been world

Doctor Geof


Until 21 May 2017 (historic exhibition)


The story of our 19th century inventors and pioneers is all around us, but with so many experiments, ideas and notions jostling for position, history could have lurched off on a tangent at any moment and become very different.

What if Brunel had graced Sunderland with a vast suspension bridge, or Lovelace & Babbage had computerised the 1840s? What if steam-powered airships had really taken off?

From the northern engineers behind the age of steam to the New Victorians, Fabricating Histories turns history on its head and takes a closer look at the raggedy edges, broken ends, loops and knots, the alternative threads of history that might have been.

Five artists and designers – Dr Geof, Nick Simpson, Larysa Kucak, Phil Sayers and Charlotte Cory – visited the museum archives and have produced new work which reinterprets pieces from Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums collections. Dr Geof has redesigned Turbinia as if powered by the Lambton Worm, whilst Larysa Kucak has designed a corset based on a nineteenth-century parasol. Phil Sayers is looking at and rethinking Ada Lovelace as a woman in science, and Charlotte Cory has been reworking celebrated North East painter John Martin.

This exhibition celebrates the almost, might-have-been world, of Fabricating Histories!

This exhibition is a collaboration between Northumbria University, Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums and five artists, kindly supported by Arts Council England.

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Northumbria University Northumbria University
Arts Council England Arts Council England
Wylam Brewery Wylam Brewery
Steampunk Gin Steampunk Gin