Step in to The Story Of Home
In part two of our Q&A series, we will be exploring the history of home, a subject very close to our hearts, following our successful ‘Stories of Home’ event and book launch.
And there is no better place to explore this topic than the Geffrye, which is dedicated to the home, and how it has evolved since the 1600s.
The Geffrye is currently closed for a major £18m development project, Unlocking the Geffrye, which will transform the museum for its visitors and the local community. Throughout closure, the front gardens remain open for special events, relaxation and tours of the restored historical almshouse.
Please tell us about the Geffrye Museum and its history?
We explore the changing nature of home and home life from 1600 up to the present day through evocative displays of period living, including rooms and gardens which reflect changes in society, behaviour, style and taste.
The museum is set within Grade 1 listed, former almshouses, which were built in 1714 by the Worshipful Company of Ironmongers with funds bequeathed by Sir Robert Geffrye, who was the Lord Mayor of London and Master of the Company. These almshouses provided retirement homes for up to 56 pensioners at a time for almost 200 years but as the surrounding area changed from being rural to one of the most heavily populated parts of London, the Ironmongers’ Company decided to sell up move to the cleaner, safer suburbs.
Our own story began in 1912, when the almshouses and gardens were bought by the London County Council (LCC). Following its purchase, leading members of the Arts and Crafts movement persuaded the LCC to convert the almshouses into a museum related to the local furniture industry, and so, the Geffrye Museum opened in 1914.
In 1991, we became an independent charitable trust, and since then have embarked on an ambitious redevelopment programme, which has included lots of refurbishment. The gardens have also been developed and are home to an award-winning walled herb garden and rooms that show the how town gardens have changed from 1600 to 1900.
With our exciting new Unlocking the Geffrye development set to open in spring 2020, our vision is to become an internationally known museum of the home: exploring home and home life – past, present and future.
How has home life changed since the 1600s and how have interiors and styles changed since then?
It’s fascinating to see how home has changed through the ages. For instance, did you know that during medieval times, the centre of the home would have been the hall, which served as a multipurpose space where people would eat, cook, socialise and sleep?
It was only during the 17th century when this space became divided and when rooms started to have specific functions.
In the 19th century, the use of rooms continued to develop and change, and rooms became associated with specific practices and decorated accordingly, hence why the bedroom looks very different to the kitchen.
But it was the 20th century that witnessed the most radical changes in the home, as the average income has increased, which was significantly reflected in an improvement in the overall standard of housing.
All these features have helped shaped the appearance of homes today, and it continues to change. For instance, the kitchen and main living area have started to become ever closer and, in many homes, now occupy the same space. Also, it’s very interesting to see the separate dining room disappear, as families are starting to cook, eat and relax closer to one another.
To discover more about how homes have changed through the ages, check out https://www.geffrye-museum.org.uk/explore-the-geffrye/period_rooms/. Also, sign up to the Museum’s e-news or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
If you’d like to live in an area where there’s always plenty going on, then check out the homes we have on offer at Hoxton Press. We have a selection of 1, 2 and 3-bedroom homes, as well as our stunning penthouses which are now available. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 020 3308 9813.