Centrefold: Carry on Monopolising: The Museum of London's eccentric summer collection

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Indy Lifestyle Online
'Carry On Collecting at the Museum Of London proves, if nothing else, that we are a nation of eccentrics. The exhibition shows hundreds of obscure objects of desire that people have made it their purpose in life to collect: sticking-plasters, knitting patterns, passport photos, hair combs, police badges, chewing-gum wrappers and milk bottles.

Dr John Altman (right), a medical publisher, is the proud owner of 65 Monopoly boards from around the world. He has games from the Lebanon, Bulgaria, Hungary, Beirut and even Russia, where the ideological equivalent translates as 'Co-operative'. 'I'm still looking for mainland China,' says Altman, who displays the boards on his walls, doors and even his ceiling. 'It's got a unique fascination,' he says, although he finds it difficult to pinpoint exactly why.

'Well, I suppose it's the archetypal board game, isn't it?'

'They remind me of my childhood,' says 30-year-old Barry Barnes, a freelance sound editor, who has been collecting Planet Of The Apes memorabilia for 20 years. 'It's something that's obsessed me since I was a kid.' Reminiscent of Peter Blake's early art, the collections are strangely nostalgic, like the rather self-absorbed montage of passport photographs recording a collector and friends growing up over the last 10 years.

Ronnie Davis, an antique dealer, speaks of his collecting mania as an affliction from which he has barely recovered. Hundreds of his bendy toys are arranged in rows behind glass. He looks at them almost sadly: 'It did get out of hand,' he concedes. 'I used to collect enamel signs, petrol pumps and fruit machines,' he says ruefully. But it all got too much and so he restricts himself to toys only. 'They're sentimental to me - all of them. If I sold them it would be in one mass - then I'd never dare to buy one again.'

'Carry On Collecting, Museum Of London, London Wall, London EC2. Tue-Sat 10pm-6pm, Sun 12pm-6pm. On until 16 Oct

(Photograph omitted)