The Geffrye Museum – there’s no place like home

Geffrye Almshouses in autumn

Geffrye Almshouses in autumn. Photography: David Clarke and Marcus Leith

The Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch explores the home from 1600 to the present day, focusing on the living rooms of the urban middle classes in England, particularly London.

It shows how these homes have been used and furnished over the centuries, reflecting the changes in society and patterns of behaviour as well as style, fashion and taste. A series of period rooms lead the visitor on a walk through time, from the 17th century with oak furniture and panelling, past the refined splendour of the Georgian period and the high style of the Victorians, to 20th century modernity.

Often described as an oasis in the inner city, the museum is housed in the former almshouses of the Ironmongers’ Company, elegant 18th-century buildings set around a leafy courtyard.

An award-winning walled herb garden with over 170 varieties of plants and a series of period gardens chart the changing style of town gardens.

One of the historic almshouses has been restored to its original condition, offering visitors a rare glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s.

A programme of special exhibitions exploring themes around the home is run throughout the year. A favourite with visitors each December is the annual Christmas Past exhibition when the period rooms are adorned with authentic festive decorations to reflect 400 years of seasonal traditions in English homes. Events and activities for visitors of all ages are organised regularly, including free activities for children and families during school holidays and weekends.

Facilities include a restaurant overlooking the gardens serving home-cooked English food, and a gift shop. Admission to the museum and gardens is free. Tours of the restored almshouse are available on selected dates (£2.50/free for disabled visitors and children under 16.

The Geffrye Museum
Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm and Sunday 12-5pm.
136 Kingsland Road
E2 8EA

Tel: 020 739 9893

Overground: Hoxton Station (directly behind the museum)
Underground: Liverpool Street – Bishopsgate exit, then bus 149 or 242
Old Street – exit 2, then bus 243 or 15 minute walk.

Buses: 67, 149, 242, 243, 394