MOLA Time Truck at the Guildhall Yard (c)MOLA

An evening celebrating archaeology's power to connect

MOLA team

On Monday evening we gathered with our clients, Patrons, Ambassadors and partners for a summer party, the launch of the Time Truck and to celebrate the meaningful connections archaeology makes for developments.

In the beautiful and historic setting of the Guildhall Yard, positioned above the remains of London's Roman amphitheatre, the Time Truck welcomed visitors. Throughout the day a steady stream of people hopped on board to explore archaeological discoveries, including Britain's oldest hand-written documents, found at Bloomberg's new European headquarters in the City. The Time Truck has already been deployed at several development sites, supporting clients’ investment in their local communities. For every commercial deployment, funds are raised to support MOLA’s free Schools Programme.

Following the official ribbon cutting led by Alderman and MOLA Board member, Alison Gowman, the crowds headed into The City Centre, Roman Amphitheatre and lower Guildhall Art Gallery for drinks, canapes and bite-sized insights from guest speakers. Sir Michael Bear of Future Cities Catapult, former Lord Mayor of London and Director of the Spitalfields Development Group, Robert Allan of Cain Hoy Enterprises and Joanna Averley of Crossrail 2 and a MOLA Director and Trustee, shared their observations and understanding of how archaeology endows places with real value for both developers and communities.

Sir Michael Bear reflected on how the archaeological excavations for Spitalfields Market built opinion, with 26,000 people flocking to the archaeology visitor centre in just four months. Discoveries were deliberately celebrated and integrated in schools programmes, and in-situ archaeological structures and displayed objects now enrich the visitor experience as a legacy of the project. He told the audience: “What really transformed [Spitalfields] was actually engaging and capturing the imagination through what was on that site for all of those years and making people appreciate it”.

Robert Allan described Cain Hoy Enterprises’ experience of their development of The Stage, where excavations of the Shakespearean Curtain theatre are underway in Shoreditch. He concluded: “Fundamentally, it has shaped the entire development; it is a true placemaking piece. It sits at the heart of the development with the development flanking and shaping around it and actually embracing what was there.”

Joanna Averley spoke about archaeology's storytelling power, with perspectives on the ebb and flow of commerce, social interaction, cities and our personal histories. She commented: "The best new buildings, places and spaces all use archaeology as a positive first step to discover, record, understand, interpret, appreciate, create and enjoy places."

A raffle during the evening raised proceeds to support our free Schools Programme. We would like to extend our thanks to our Archaeology Ambassador, Angela Brady OBE PPRIBA, who kindly donated her one of her own handmade fused glass artworks as the first prize.

MOLA extends sincere thanks to all our guests and speakers for making it such a fun and memorable occasion: the City of London Corporation and the City Centre for hosting us, Arcadis for generously sponsoring the event, Rickety Bridge or donating all the delicious wines and to Café Sunlight for the scrummy brownies to add to our goodie bags.  We would also like to take this opportunity to convey our thanks to all our Time Truck Supporting Partners, our Patrons, Ambassadors and Clients. 

If you would like any more information of how to take up the Time Truck opportunity or to hear about how to become an Ambassador, Patron or Partner please do get in touch with Suzie Haworth, Director of Development and Fundraising.

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