Museum of the Home

A 1700s Alms house, which was a large building with many housing spaces for those who had become retired (pensioners) but did not have the means to provide for themselves anymore. Sir Robert Geffrye had it build with the proceeds of his iron merchant empire (the Ironmongers), and it could house 50 people at a time on an individual per room basis.

In 1911, the Ironmongers moved to less crowded and more sanitary area of London, and the City bought the property. By 1914, it was initially a museum for furniture which was now the local dominant industry. In the 1930s, it started shifting to a representation of domestic life, then into a museum of homes. The museum feels like what we consider the current incarnation of a London home with displays ranging from the 1600s to modern day.

The Arrival - Strike difficulties

There is a train station for the Overground route, the Hoxton station, on the back fence of the property, a super easy walk, but I couldn't figure out the timetables for that route as strikes had hobbled the line. I took the Tube instead to Old Street in Shoreditch, and then proceeded to punish myself with the walk in the winter.

The Museum

A large number of the rooms were converted into display areas in the cellar and main floor. They go through not just historical displays, but also what does the idea of 'Home' mean? And another bonus, it was setup for Christmas through the centuries in the displays which I found beyond interesting.

This unassuming door is actually the entrance to the museum
Various parts of the cellar area focus on changes to homes and our relationship with them. Some cool, some kitschy, some downright disturbing.
A very emotional and deep display of the living rooms of many people living in the same housing complex, showing the differences and what makes their home important to them As many of us of a certain age, the home is where our Nintendo was and outside became no longer THE place to play
The things in our modern life we fill our house with, it's actually a bid sad how little is necessary to live I'm super glad that this is not a common scourge like it was back in the 19th and 20th centuries.  Sounds absolutely miserable One was expected to worship and give thanks to the Lord for being housed here before it was a museum
Wallpaper used to be a fashion statement for few years and replaced regularly

Christmas Displays

The evolution of Christmas celebrations to me was the most interesting anthropological aspect of this place. It's interesting to see the changes from the Feast of Christmas, to the 12 days of Christmas to the modern incarnation as shown in the homes of various periods.
The early 1600s when servants and family lived, worked, and ate together.  Christmas was a time when workers were truly treated as family and included directly in the feast By the late 1600s, servants were not part of the celebration but were expected to prepare and serve the meal before retiring to their own quarters.  I don't know what happened, but seems shitty In the 1700s, there were more sweets involved and less meats.  The feast was still a thing but spread over a couple days, and in the mirror, you can see an ugly travel blogger
Early 1800s, the 12th day of Christmas with a Kings cake Into the Victorian period, the celebration of what became insanely popular in the United States (as before this time period, Christmas was more of a drunken bash).  A tree, gifts and a more compressed time of celebration During wartime when bombs shook the house, dropping ornaments off the tree and things were left as people rushed to shelters
Welcome to the 50s for better or for worse, but a very spartan celebration of an Air Force Officer's home

The Gardens

Now it being a historically cold and unusual snow laden Christmas time in London, the gardens were kinda trashed. But, they have been an important aspect of homes for hundreds of years and they try to represent the most important time periods and usage of the eras.
I'm sure this is what many think of when it comes to English Gardens when the Victorian era moved from food production to formal gardens


Such a unique and interesting place for history buffs, social observers, and just regular people looking for something to spark questions and conversations. I found this place by accident on a map search a couple years ago, and I kept aiming to visit it through Covid cancellations and other difficulties.

Having finally gotten here, I can say I am so glad I made the effort. It creates a narrative of our human Western existence and I felt it gave great mirror to our modern life.
Of course, the Museum shop!

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