10 things you never knew about Brick Wonders, Horniman Museum, Feb 2019

Brick Wonders Lego Exhibition opened this month at the Horniman Museum, just in time for half term. Built by Warren Elsmore and his team it features over 50 remarkable Lego creations. A few weeks ago I was lucky enough to go behind the scenes on installation day to find out the secrets behind the mammoth Lego builds. So here is a blog on 10 things you never knew about Brick Wonders!

Let’s get started!

1 – The Lego Models are pre-made!

Oh, so you may have known this but I wasn’t entirely sure until I turned up to see the installation but the 50 different brick installations are pre-made, packed carefully in boxes for transportation to the Horniman. Before they came to Forest Hill they were on show at Stirling Castle. Even though they are pre-made a lot of work goes into bringing them to life, particularly for the ‘Great Barrier Reef’.

2 – There is still a bit of Lego building that goes on during installation!

Even though the models are pre-made there can be a few accidents on transportation and a little bit of Lego surgery is often needed. If you can only remember where all the bits go without any instructions….

3 – The models aren’t glued…. but…..

The models aren’t glued but for safety reasons the ones hanging from the ceiling such as the stingray and the International Space Station are so that bits don’t go falling on your head when you are visiting. We all know how painful it is to step on a Lego brick, imagine being hit on the head with one!

4 – You don’t need a PHD to be a master Lego builder but …

Building Excitement…

You CAN have a PHD and still build Lego models you will be pleased to hear, as a number of the Warren Elsmore team have PHDs (but sadly not PHDs in Lego). Lego ain’t just a kids game.

5 – You never forget your favourite Lego set…

My brother’s Lego memories.

I remember my brother’s first big set, it was a Lego Castle set from the 1980s. It has now been handed down to my son, we even have the box, even if I am not entirely sure where all the bits have gone. For Alistair Disley, one of the team behind Brick Wonders, he still remembers his favourite Lego Kit – number 744 – a universal set with motors!

6 – It is not just Lego…

A bit early for Easter but a polystyrene egg comes in really handy.

Wowed by the Lego Barrier Reef? Did you know the best way to create wavy coral is with the use of a polystyrene easter egg!

7 – How accurate is the Lego Horniman Museum? 

Count those steps…
Exactly the same number of steps and Lego Horniman even has a handling table!

Apparently the Lego Horniman model has exactly the same steps from the ground floor to the lower ground floor that the real Horniman has (although to be honest I didn’t count them but feel free to double check). This was one of the trickiest parts of the build.

8 – Could this be the only Lego model that has a ‘Blue Plaque’?

Can you see the small round blue plaque above the main entrance to the clock tower?

If you look closely at the front of the Horniman Lego Museum Model it even has a little blue plaque just like the real thing!

9 – Lego models can teach you about things you never even noticed before! 

Windows? What windows?
Ahhh windows…

What impressed me most is you can look at an amazing Lego model and learn something about the real building that inspired it! Alistair Disley told me windows on the right hand side of the Horniman model were really tricky to get right. Windows? What windows? I didn’t remember any windows on that side of the museum but that is because all the staff and behind the scenes offices are on that side and they have the windows. You can’t see them when you are in the gallery! When I left the exhibition I took a look at the real thing and lo and behold there are a whole load of windows I never knew about. Amazing!

10 – Did you know the mini Lego Walrus has a croissant for a moustache?

Very handy for breakfast.

This is absolutely true, and absolutely fabulous even though I am not entirely sure why?

Huge thanks to the Horniman Museum and Warren Elsmore staff for letting me go behind the scenes on ‘Brick Wonders’. In the opening week I took my family of Lego fanatics along and I think my 8yr old sums it up best –

“That is Brick heaven”. 



Brick Wonders is on at the Horniman Museum from 16th February – 27th October 2019, for more details on opening times and ticket prices please see the website – https://www.horniman.ac.uk/visit/exhibitions/brick-wonders#image-2

For more information on Warren Elsmore the company behind Brick Wonders please see their website – https://warrenelsmore.com

For a related post on the Lego Walrus follow the link – https://tinctureofmuseum.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/ode-to-a-brick-walrus-horniman-museum-brick-wonders-jan-2019/


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