The autumn calendar is heating up with a whole host of exhibitions, activities, talks, markets and events. Here's what's on in the City of London this October.

The City calendar is always full to bursting with things to see, do and experience each week. From festivals and food to concerts and community fundraisers, these are the top events in the City of London this week.

EXHIBITIONS / Francis Upritchard: Wetwang Slack

Francis Upritchard creates a new series of sculptural interventions in the Curve gallery. Known for her array of archetypal figures in varying sizes, from medieval knights to meditating hippies, painted in monochromatic or distinct patterns and decorated with bespoke garments and objects, Upritchard has conceived the gallery as a spectrum in which to play with scale, colour and texture that shifts as you move through the space.

From 27 September, Sat–Wed, 11am–8pm, Thu–Fri 11am–9pm, free

Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS

EXHIBITION / British-Barbadian Nursing Revolution

Discover a stirring new exhibition about the ‘pioneers’ of British migration that challenges mainstream understandings. Worlds away from grainy black and white footage of their arrival at British railway stations or ports, this exhibition focuses on one of the earliest pioneering professional groupings among the ‘huddled masses’: the Bajan nurse (nurses from Barbados).

Celebrating 70 years of the NHS, the exhibition reveals individual stories of remarkable achievements, struggle, and leadership in global health, from famous world figures to the unsung midwives who helped to deliver Britain’s post-war baby boom.

28 September until 31 October, free

Guildhall Yard EC2V 5AE

EXHIBITION / Feliks Topolski: Drawing Debden (Sketches from the Printing Works)

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In 1957, Feliks Topolski was commissioned to sketch working life in the Bank of England’s newly-opened printing works at Debden, Essex. Displayed together for the first time, these drawings transport visitors behind the scenes, providing a unique insight into the banknote printing process, the striking architecture of the new building, and beautifully observed depictions of staff at work and leisure.

1 October, 10am-5pm (last entry 4.30pm), free

Bank of England Museum, Bartholomew Lane EC2R 8AH


CONCERT / Ethel Smyth: Grasp the Nettle

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Lucy Stevens is Ethel Smyth.

Weaving together Dame Ethel Smyth’s music, including her greatest opera The Wreckers, with anecdotes from her confidants, her letters and her own writing, this new play features performances by contralto Lucy Stevens and pianist Elizabeth Marcus. Imprisoned with Mrs Pankhurst, Smyth was the writer of the anthem for the suffrage movement The March of the Women and a composer, writer and Suffragette who was the living embodiment of the courage and passion with which Victorian women challenged the ‘male machine’.

3 October, 7.30pm, tickets £15, concs £10

Milton Court Concert Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DT

EXHIBITION / Art in the City

See an annual exhibition of works by artist members of the Worshipful Company of PainterStainers, including pieces by Ken Howard OBE RA and Peter Clossick.  Dating from the 13th century, the Painter-Stainers’ Company is the fifth oldest Guild operating in the City and supports young artists as well as running the national Lynn Painter-Stainers Prize.

8-10 October, 10am-5.30pm, Tue until 8pm, free

Painters’ Hall, 9 Little Trinity Lane EC4V 2AD

EXHIBITION / Modern Couples: Art Intimacy and the Avant-garde

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Photographer Unknown. A. Rodchenko and V. Stepanova descending from the airplane. (for the film The General Line by Sergei
Eisenstein), 1926. Courtesy Rodchenko and Stepanova Archives, Moscow

Including painting, sculpture, photography, design, literature and music, Modern Couples is the first exhibition to focus on relationships as a playground of experimentation in life and art. Featuring around 50 diverse couples, including Dora Maar and Pablo Picasso, Varvara Stepanova and Alexander Rodchenko, Lee Miller and Man Ray, and Virginia Woolf and Vita Sackville-West, the exhibition will challenge the prevailing notion that modern art was the result of solo-genius.

From 10 October, Sat–Wed 10am–6pm, Thu–Fri 10am–9pm, tickets £16

Barbican Art Gallery, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS


CONCERT / Hansel & Gretel (A Nightmare in Eight Scenes)

Simon Armitage’s new poetic reimagining of the famous tale brings together eerie, glittering music by Matthew Kaner with the dark puppetry of Clive Hicks-Jenkins, narrated by the remarkable Adey Grummet. A composite of art forms rebuilds the tale into a sinister fable for our times, Hansel and Gretel appear as two heartrending table-top puppets, struggling in an unforgiving world of curious wooden forests, desolate villages and a fearsome predator.

12 October, 7.30pm, tickets £15, concession £10

Milton Court, Concert Hall, Silk Street EC2Y 8DT

WORKSHOP / Capture The Night: a Lomography Workshop

Enjoy this unique photography workshop with Lomography UK, inspired by the London Nights exhibition. Using Lomography’s Simple Use Camera that comes pre-loaded with colour film, snap away with 36 frames of pure analogue fun. Learn how to alternate shots and get creative with Colour Gel Flash Filters. Ticket includes a camera, film, and access to London Nights.

12 October, 6pm-10pm, tickets £45

Museum of London, 150 London Wall EC2Y 5HN

PERFORMANCE / Processions in the City

Leading arts charity Artichoke returns to the City with another innovative and engaging production. Inspired by the mass parades and handcrafted banners that became symbols of the movement for women’s suffrage, Processions in the City will celebrate the dual centenaries of the first British women getting the vote and being allowed to stand in national elections. Taking place in Aldgate Square, the City’s new outdoor community and events space, the work will be developed with local people and culminate in a day-long celebration to which all are invited.

20 October, for event details check cityoflondon.gov.uk/womenworkpower

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