Museum of the HomeA 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 difficultiesThere 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 MuseumA 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.
Christmas DisplaysThe 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 GardensNow 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.
SummarySuch 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.
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