Some years ago, the ruling on photography in the V&A was that a permit was required if a tripod was used to support the camera - but if you used no tripod then it was all ok; you could take hand-held shots of anything, anywhere.
According to his own comments on a tv program, Eric Knowles was caught out on that one - having arrived with his tripod and camera, he was approached by a steward who asked to see his permit. After admitting he did not have a permit, he made the necessary arrangements and returned to take his photos. It was only later that he found out that the permit was not required for hand-held photography!
I do not know if that ruling still applies.