The smells of history

Our perfumers have created a number of evocative smells for the new exhibition ‘Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits’ at the UK’s IMW North, part of Imperial War Museums.

Designed to mark the 75th anniversary of the Second World War Blitz, the interactive event invites visitors to step back into the 1940s and experience what life was like during one of the most challenging periods in British history.

Seven Scent - IWM North exhibitionDetailed staged sets are brought to life with the addition of carefully chosen smells reminiscent of the time. The frightening reality of a bomb blast is enhanced with the diffusion of an acrid, dusty, burning smell which hangs in the air around piles of broken rubble. Elsewhere visitors are encouraged to lift the lid on boxes containing associated smells. In the kitchen the unappetising aromas of ration foods can be experienced, while out in the yard clothes on a washing line introduce an old fashioned, simple, soapy fragrance. A garden scene representing the ‘Dig for Victory’ ethos is evoked with the damp, muddy smell of soil and compost. There is even a journey out to the countryside where the fresh, lush, grass-filled air which greeted the many arriving evacuees provides a strong point of contrast to the urban tableaux.

“It has been hugely rewarding to be involved with this inspiring exhibition. The fragrances we have created add a further sensory dimension and will certainly help transport visitors to this important time in history. It promises to be a positive learning experience for people of all ages,” comments Kate Williams, one of our talented creative perfumers.

Created in collaboration with the highly successful UK children’s sketch show, Horrible Histories, and in partnership with Scholastic Children’s books, ‘Horrible Histories: Blitzed Brits’ opens on 11 July 2015 at IWM North.