Yesterday my six year old son Sam and I were lucky enough to be invited on a private tour of the Make It In Great Britain exhibition at The Science Museum with British inventor Trevor Baylis OBE, who has been lending his support to the campaign.
The culmination of the government’s Make It In GB campaign, launched last Autumn by Business Secretary Vince Cable, the exhibition has been designed to shine a light on British manufacturing and engineering, and to dispel the myth that ‘we don’t make anything here any more’. In fact, the UK manufacturing sector is worth around £130bn to the UK economy each year and employs 2.5 million people.
It’s easy for stats like these to sound a bit dull and corporate, but I have to say this exhibition is anything but. With two small boys, the Science Museum is a favourite haunt of ours and they really do know how to capture children’s (and grown-ups!) imagination through interactive exhibits. This is as far away as you could possibly get from the old fashioned notion of untouchable exhibits in glass cases. Every item in this exhibition cries out for you to get involved, and my son was able to get hands-on while there was plenty for the adults to learn too.
Sam’s favourites included the Mars exhibit where you get to design your own chocolate bar, the Jaguar Landrover driving experience, and the full-size interiors of the Sunseeker yacht and London underground tube carriage. While I enjoyed discovering that Coca Cola was first made here way back in 1900, and that woodburning stove manufacturer A.J. Wells also make the enamel signs for the underground from their base in the Isle of Wight. Who’d have known…?
Being shown round the exhibition by the renowned British inventor of the wind-up radio Trevor Baylis, was an absolute inspiration and a joy in itself. Trevor was fascinating and spoke passionately about innovation and protecting your ideas. He firmly believes that everyone, young and old, has the ability to invent, and I came across the following quote from him on Wikipedia, which pretty much sums him up: “The key to success is to risk thinking unconventional thoughts. Convention is the enemy of progress. As long as you’ve got slightly more perception than the average wrapped loaf, you could invent something”. Trevor, we salute you!
The Make It In Great Britain exhibition is on at The Science Museum until 9th September, and we’ll certainly be paying another visit before it closes. Find out more at http://makeitingreatbritain.sciencemuseum.org.uk/.