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

Support us

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

The need for quality news and reliable reporting is crucial - however, this is an increasingly challenging time for local journalism.

Our main source of income, print advertising revenue, fell suddenly - and so we are asking you, the readers, for your help.A one-off donation from anyone who can afford it will help our small team get our newspaper back in print and keep the website and social media feeds running through this unprecedented crisis.

Find out how you can donate.

Thanks in advance for your support, and stay safe.