Smelly mass of diapers, oil and baby wipes makes it to the Museum of London
Visitors to the Fatberg! exhibition will be protected from its noxious smell and potentially deadly bacteria
London's newest museum attraction is greasy, smelly and a glimpse at the hidden underside of urban life.
The museum has lovingly preserved a chunk the size of a shoe-box, whose mottled consistency a curator likens to parmesan crossed with moon rock. Close examination reveals the presence of tiny flies. Three nested transparent boxes protect visitors from potentially deadly bacteria, and from the fatberg's noxious smell.
Started out smelling like a used diaper
Curator Vyki Sparkes says the lump started out smelling like a used diaper "that maybe you'd forgotten about and found a few weeks later." The pong has now mellowed to "damp Victorian basement."
The museum is so confident of the item's ick appeal that the exhibition — titled Fatberg! with an exclamation point —comes with a selection of merchandise including T-shirts and fatberg fudge.
Sparkes considers the fatberg a natural for the museum, which charts the city's ancient and modern history. The word itself, a hybrid of "fat" and "iceberg," is one of London's gifts to the world: It was coined by the city's sewer workers and entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2015.
They debated pickling it
"Fatbergs aren't really that well understood — how they form, how quickly they form and what they are," said Sparkes.
"There is an upside," said Argent spokesman Dickon Posnett. "[But] it would be nicer for us if we could collect the fat before it even goes into the sewers. It would be nicer for the people of London, as well. So there is a way to go."
The fatberg is on display from starting Friday until July 1. Admission is free.