The Geffrye Museum has undergone a number of re-inventions over the 90 years since its foundation as a museum devoted to the furniture industry in what was then the most heavily populated and deprived district of London.
It has just emerged from a major expansion with a new name: The Museum of the Home, which reflects its evolution from a museum devoted to furniture, to a broader remit revealing the way we live, and to reflect what home means to people of different backgrounds, circumstances, and cultures.
On arrival visitors first explore the new subterranean rooms with arresting displays before ascending to the familiar run of period rooms on the ground floor which will be decorated for the Winter Festival as celebrated by different cultures in London – Diwali, Hanukkah and Christmas Past.
An early curator of the Geffrye was Marjorie Quennell who believed that children would be inspired by learning our social history rather than the dates of monarchs and battles. Between 1918 and 1934 she published a series of books Everyday Things in England 1066-1900 illustrated by her architect husband. The series remained in print until 2000. There is a small display in the museum
about the Quennells whose illustrations perhaps influenced some of the delightful new murals on the ground floor of the museum. The museum is more than ever a great experience for children and adults alike.
We are invited to arrive from 11:00 with an un-guided tour of the public galleries. We may lunch across the courtyard at Molly’s Café housed in a former Victorian pub and regroup at 14:00 when The MoTH’s curator Louis Platman will present a ‘Round Britain” selection from the 40 chairs of the Cotton collection, many familiar from Bill Cotton’s books but out of sight for many years.
The visit is limited to just 10 RFS members since we will be entering non-public areas. There is no charge. Applications by email to Jeremy Bate either to his private email or to firstname.lastname@example.org. Places will be allocated in order of receipt.