The Geffrye Museum

August 2012

One great thing about London for the poor is that the majority of museums are free! I've been making the most of this while looking for work and headed to the Geffrye Museum one afternoon. I hadn't heard much about it, but it turned out to be just the sort of thing I'm interested in. It is a set of exhibits in an old almshouse of the living rooms of the middle class from 1630 to 2000. I found it fascinating! It was interesting to see how the purpose and usage of the main rooms of the house changed over this time, and to see very good practical recreations of each room.

So, without further ado...  1630.

The main hall, 1630.

It's amazing what a change some more delicate furniture and some plaster and paint on the walls makes!
Parlour 1695.
Parlour 1745.
I was reading Jane Austen's books at the time I visited the museum, and I could just see this room occupied with muslin gowns!
Parlour 1790.
I love that you can see the room getting just a little more opulent and cluttered as we head to the Victorian period.
Drawing Room 1830.
This room just made me laugh, it was so similar to the one in Broadgreen House. I'd always had a sneaking suspicion that they had run out of storage space and as a result were storing more and more in the rooms themselves. I thought "surely people never actually lived with all this junk around them!" Well apparently they did. This photo doesn't capture all of it, nor the true glory of the bright red and green floral carpet.
Drawing Room 1870.
Room in 1890.
I love this next room - particularly the green tiles round the fireplace, and the mismatching yet co-ordinated upholstery. I think I will have to investigate the Arts and Crafts movement and Art Nouvea a little more.
Hate the pink fringed lamp.
Edwardian period room. 1900 - 1914.
If someone had told me this next room was from the 1930s I wouldn't have believed them. This is far more modern than I would have imagined for that period. I mean, look at the armchairs, I think you could find them in generic furniture stores today. I especially like the light sabres above the fireplace.
1930s period room.
The room from the middle of the century looks to me incredibly '70s! I don't know if that's because New Zealand was later in adopting these styles, or whether I just don't know what I'm talking about. But so many of the things in this room remind me of people's homes I visited as a kid in the early '80s. An interesting point they make in the notes about this room is that at this time many places began using central heating, and so the fireplace stopped being the focal point in the room, to be replaced by the television.
Mid century room. 1955 - 1965.
This 1990s apartment room looks pretty cool, but I can't identify anything 1990s about it. Maybe I'm just still too close to it, or maybe this style never reached suburban New Zealand.
1990's loft conversion.
The museum also has a garden set out in historical periods too, but the photos of that didn't come out so well. We spent most of our time in the garden watching a squirrel anyway.

A knot garden based on a pattern on the cupboard in the room from 1630.


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