Location of the Museum of the Home in London
|Location||Geffrye Almshouses |
136 Kingsland Road
|Public transit access||Hoxton|
|Website||Museum of the Home|
The Museum of the Home, formerly the Geffrye Museum, is a museum in the Geffrye Almshouses on Kingsland Road in Shoreditch, London. It explores home and home life from 1600 to the present day with a series of period room displays.
The museum is housed in 18th-century Grade I-listed almshouses, formerly belonging to the Ironmongers' Company. These were built in 1714 thanks to a bequest by Sir Robert Geffrye, a merchant and slave trader who had served as Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Ironmongers' Company. The Metropolitan Public Gardens Association contributed to the funding for the acquisition of the former almshouses and garden by Shoreditch Metropolitan Council, and the MPGA's landscape gardener Fanny Wilkinson laid out the garden in 1900-01.
In 1911 the Ironmongers' Company sold the buildings to London County Council, who opened the museum in 1914. When the London County Council took over the site to create the Geffrye Museum, Wilkinson’s design was replaced with a new layout. In 1992 a herb garden was opened on a formerly derelict site to the north of the building, partly funded again by the MPGA, which then awarded the herb garden its London Spade Award in 1992. The museum became a charitable trust in 1991.
Several structures connected with the museum are listed on the National Heritage List for England. The main museum building is Grade I listed and the niche in the northwest corner of the forecourt of the museum is listed Grade II*. The forecourt wall, gates and railings to the museum are also Grade II* listed, and the two K6 telephone boxes on the Kingsland Road outside the museum are listed Grade II.
In January 2018, the museum closed for a two-year £18m development project, and is due to reopen in 2021. Until this closure, the main permanent displays were a series of room settings furnished and decorated to show the main living spaces and elements of domestic life through the centuries, reflecting changes in society, behaviour, style and taste. The museum's change of name was announced in 2019.
The building that houses the museum has above its entrance a statue of merchant and slave trader Robert Geffrye, a replica of the original which was removed in 1912 when the building was sold to London County Council. In July 2020 the museum held a consultation on the potential removal of the statue, with public opinion being in favour of removing it. The museum's board elected instead to "reinterpret and contextualise" the statue in its current location, under pressure from Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden.