The charming Geffrye Museum is one of the lesser known museums in London. Located in Shoreditch, east London, it is a hidden gem that is easily overlooked! Once an 18th century almshouse of the Ironmonger’s company it is now a museum dedicated to the history of the British middle class home and how it has changed over time. A series of period rooms from the 1600s to the present day offer a glimpse into how the urban middle classes have lived over the years.
The museum is surrounded by delightful gardens in the front as well as the back of the house which are especially beautiful during the autumn months when the leaves slowly change their colour.
The foliage around the house is partly overgrown around the doors and windows which adds to its charm.
The period gardens behind the main house are open between April – October, depicting the different periods of English gardening styles of the 17th to the 20th century as well as a lovely walled herb garden.
Even though the period gardens are closed during the winter months, they are still visible through the large windows of their airy cafe and the windows of this gorgeous little corridor above.
The different period rooms are off a long narrow corridor – arranged in chronological order, it is like embarking on a journey through time, witnessing how style, taste and design have changed over time in English homes.
One of the historic almshouses has been restored back to its original conditions and is open on selected days during the month to the public. They give a wonderful insight into the living conditions of the elderly poor who lived here during the 18th and 19th century.
Volunteers that accompany visitors to the almshouse from a meeting point inside the Geffrye Museum bring the almshouse to live by lighting candles and by telling stories of times gone by! I certainly recommend combining a visit to the Geffrye Museum with a visit to the almshouse – just check their website for dates before you go!
A small fee applies to visit the almshouse – the Geffrye Museum & gardens are free to visit.
136 Kingsland Road
Tel: 020 7739 9893