Goodbye at the gates: the Geffrye almshouses lit up for Christmas. Photograph: Hannah Taylor

Goodbye at the gates: the Geffrye almshouses lit up for Christmas. Photograph: Hannah Taylor

Come 7 January next year, The Geffrye Museum of the Home will close its doors for two years, allowing major refurbishment works to take place. (These were detailed in our May ‘17 interview with director Sonia Solicari.)

For those who want to say farewell for now, details have been released about the weekend of celebrations that Solicari called their “last big shindig” until early 2020.

Saturday 6 January brings the Hoxton museum’s traditional Epiphany celebration – a lesser known festive date which in Christianity marks the presentation of the baby Jesus to the Magi, or Three Wise Men.

The bonfire burns bright at last year's Epiphany. Photograph: Jayne Lloyd

The bonfire burns bright at last year’s Epiphany. Photograph: Jayne Lloyd

Rather than gold, frankincense and myrrh, the Geffrye will present attendees with a roaring bonfire, special Twelfth Night (which falls the night before) cake, mulled wine, and live music from carolers and the London Orphean Brass Band. This event will run 3:30pm – 5pm.

On Sunday 7 January, in the final 24 hours until the shutters come down, museum staff will be on hand to chat about the development plans, which are titled ‘Unlocking the Geffrye’, and will open up a whole new floor above the current gallery spaces, a new café, a learning pavilion and more.

There will also be food, winter cocktails, music and craft workshops to take in across the weekend.

A scale model of the renovated Geffrye

A scale model of the renovated Geffrye

As Solicari told the Citizen, you don’t have to go without your historical domesticana fix for the entire refurbishment period:

“Although the main museum and period gardens will be closed for a couple of years, there will still be lots going on in the front gardens. We’ll also being going out into local Hackney schools to share our stories and collections.”

Aside from coming along to the final weekend, Hackney residents can support the museum by donating money during charity initiative The Big Give, which will double any donations made during their ‘Christmas Challenge’ period. Find out more and donate at tinyurl.com/GeffryeBigGive

Support us

The coronavirus outbreak meant that the Hackney Citizen was unable to print a monthly newspaper for three months.

We're grateful that we have since been able to resume printing. This would not have been possible without the generosity of our readers, whose donations kept the paper from disappearing completely at a distressing time for residents.

A huge thank you to everyone who gave their time and money to support us through the lockdown, and to those who continue to do so as we slowly recover from the dramatic fall in advertising revenues, on top of the existing challenges threatening the future of local journalism.

A one-off donation or a regular contribution from anyone who can afford it will help our small team keep the newspaper in print and the website running in the coming months and years.

Find out how you can donate.

Thank you for your support, and stay safe.

The Hackney Citizen team