Advertisement
Activism

BP-sponsored British Museum forced to close early because of heatwave

The British Museum had to shut early on Monday and Tuesday as temperatures in the UK exceeded previous records.

The British Museum is facing renewed calls to drop BP as a sponsor after it was forced to close early because of the climate change-induced extreme heat.

The museum had to close at 3pm on Monday and Tuesday as London saw record-breaking temperatures of over 40C.

BP is a key sponsor of the British Museum, but the association has come under scrutiny recently, with climate activists urging the museum to end the partnership.

Chris Garrard of pressure group Culture Unstained told The Big Issue: “This should be a wake-up call for the museum’s board of trustees who, by cutting their ties to BP, could help to turn the tide on climate delay and inaction. 

“It will be a source of shame if, after weeks of record-breaking temperatures, the museum looks the other way and continues to let BP brand its next major exhibition, helping to deflect from the company’s role in fuelling climate breakdown.”

Tuesday saw the UK’s heat record go from 38.7C to 40.3C – an increase of 1.6C. Heat records usually only increase by decimal points. It sparked fires which led to the busiest day since the Second World War for London’s firefighters.

Advertisement
Advertisement

The record heat is a symptom of climate change caused by the burning of fossil fuels, with scientists agreeing that extreme weather events will continue to worsen unless emissions are rapidly cut.

Garrard added: “Around the world, climate impacts such as storms, wildfires and heatwaves have been intensifying for years, while fossil fuel giants like BP have continued to pour billions into extracting more oil and gas that we can’t afford to burn.

“But now that extreme weather has arrived at the British Museum’s own front door, impacting its staff and visitors.”

In April, hundreds of protesters from the group BP or not BP descended on the museum, in an attempt to highlight “all of the uncomfortable facts about BP that the British Museum is trying to ignore.”

The protesters held “mini protests” and installed new signs on “stolen” artefacts.

A spokesperson for the British Museum said: “The British Museum receives funding from bp, a long-standing corporate partner, to support the museum’s mission, providing public benefit for a global audience. Without external support much programming and other major projects would not happen. The British Museum is grateful to all those who support its work in times of reduced funding.

“The director and trustees think carefully about the nature and quality of sponsorship before accepting.”

Advertisement

Every copy counts this Winter

Your local vendor is at the sharp end of the cost-of-living crisis this Winter. Prices of energy and food are rising rapidly. As is the cost of rent. All at their highest rate in 40 years. Vendors are amongst the most vulnerable people affected. Support our vendors to earn as much as they can and give them a fighting chance this Winter.

Recommended for you

Read All
Betting shops are taking over this town. But the locals are fighting back
Gambling

Betting shops are taking over this town. But the locals are fighting back

The government’s anti-protest bill is back. Here’s what you might not know about it
Public Order Bill

The government’s anti-protest bill is back. Here’s what you might not know about it

Inside the trial of the 'Barclays Seven' Extinction Rebellion activists
Long read

Inside the trial of the 'Barclays Seven' Extinction Rebellion activists

Women stage Suffragettes march to support Extinction Rebellion protesters ahead of sentencing
Climate activism

Women stage Suffragettes march to support Extinction Rebellion protesters ahead of sentencing

Most Popular

Read All
Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me
1.

Lauren Layfield: 'Normal men, innocent men' and me

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023
2.

Here's when people will get the next cost of living payment in 2023

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023
3.

Where to find grants for furniture and carpets in 2023

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push
4.

Scotland aims to cut car use by creating '20-minute neighbourhoods' in net zero push