Bonn – Haus der Geschichte (Very British – Brexit Exhibition)

Part of the ‘Very British’ special exhibition at the museum, this was the Brexit room, showing the changing British attitudes to the European Union over the years.

In the photo above is a depiction of Theresa May which was designed by Jacques Tilly and used on a carnival float in Germany in 2017. It was used again in a pro-EU demonstration in London and has been much seen in images since then.

The Brexit countdown clock.

A Daily Mirror newspaper headline from when Ted Heath, the then Prime Minister, led the country into the then European Community, securing victory in the House of Commons by a majority of 112 on 28 October 1971. Ted Heath concluded that night:

“Throughout my political career, if I may add one personal remark, it is well known that I have had the vision of a Britain in a united Europe; a Britain which would be united economically to Europe and which would be able to influence decisions affecting our own future, and which would enjoy a better standard of life and a fuller life. I have worked for a Europe which will play an increasing part in meeting the needs of those parts of the world which still lie in the shadow of want. I want Britain as a member of a Europe which is united politically, and which will enjoy lasting peace and the greater security which would ensue.”

And Edward Heath, who I’m sure would have been enormously saddened with the current situation.

The country entered the EU on the first day of 1973.

A referendum was held in June 1975 to confirm the decision to enter the European Community, with this plate featuring the faces of Harold Wilson, Margaret Thatcher and Jeremy Thorpe.

Not everyone agreed with membership.

The sapphire dress and handbag of Margaret Thatcher. I think it’s fair to say that no-one is entirely sure what she would have thought of the current Brexit situation.

It wasn’t made entirely clear whether this was the original, although on balance, I think that it was. It’s the letter from Theresa May to Donald Tusk, confirming that the UK were implementing Article 50 and leaving the European Union.

As a side note to all this, I’m deeply impressed that a German museum managed to tell the story of Britain’s membership of the European Union and its predecessors with such clarity. I haven’t seen any museum in the UK make a similar effort, it was a magnificent exhibition as far as I’m concerned.