Located at a small distance from the street markets, old factory buildings and designer shops in hipstery Shoreditch there is London’s Museum of the Home. From a distance, the complex looks a bit like an eighteenth-century hospital or a school, set in ample grounds with a well maintained lawn. As a matter of fact, the neatly aligned windows and many entrances of this Grade I-listed building belong to former almshouses, which once provided a home to the widows of ironmongers. But more on this later.
Inside, the museum houses a collection of interiors, furniture and household items, documenting the way people used to live in this country over the past 400 years and catering to the British obsession with antiques, knick-knacks and the ‘period features’ of their homes. As a recent Londoner I did not know it existed, so I was curious when my museum curator husband suggested a visit.
Rooms through time
The most distinctive thing the museum offers is probably its ‘Rooms Through Time’ family trail, guiding visitors through a range of halls, parlours and living rooms from the early 1600s through to the 1990s. I love old furniture and its sometimes odd shapes and functions.