The Geffrye Museum is set in the former Geffrye's Almshouse of the Ironmongers' Company, and are the gardens of the last remaining almshouse establishment in Old Shoreditch. The garden in front of the Almshouses today retains many notable London planes, and the original layout of paths survives. An 18th-century brick boundary wall surmounted by a contemporary wrought iron palisade forms an imposing and characterful enclosure for the garden onto Kingsland Road. A granite drinking fountain of 1865 is recessed in the north end of the wall. The Herb Garden was opened in 1992 on a derelict site north of the building.
Built between 1712-14, the Geffrye Almshouses were one of the largest charitable foundations for the aged in London. The ground was levelled from 1712/13, and sown with grass seed in the spring of 1718/19. The gardens opened to the public in 1912, and in 1914 the almshouse building opened as a museum.
Visitor FacilitiesWalled herb garden and period gardens: April- Oct in Museum hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun/BHols: 12-5pm.
Detailed DescriptionThe Geffrye Museum is the former Geffrye's Almshouse of the Ironmongers' Company built 1712-14 under the will of Sir Robert Geffrye. The range of 14 houses accommodated up to 56 pensioners, and was fronted by a garden, with to the north the small Ironmongers' Graveyard. After the Company sold the site it was taken over in c.1910 by the LCC, mainly to preserve the garden as public open space, which opened in 1912. In 1914 the building opened as a museum, later an innovative schools programme. Since 1991 it has been run by an independent Trust. Recent improvements include development of the rear gardens with a Herb Garden opened in 1992 and a series of Period Garden Rooms laid out from 1998, showing the changing nature of English town gardens over the last 400 years.
Neil Burton, The Geffrye Almshouses (London) 1979; Clive Berridge, the Almshouses of London (Southampton), 1987; Handbook to the Geffrye Museum, c.1931; Geffrye Museum Handbook, c.1968; David Dewing, The Geffrye Museum, A Brief Guide, (Geffrye Museum Trust) 1998; EH History Files; The Buildings of Hackney; Parks and Open Spaces in Hackney (London) 1980; 'The London County Council and what it does for London: London Parks and Open Spaces' (Hodder & Stoughton, 1924); Bridget Cherry & Nikolaus Pevsner, The Buildings of England: London 4: North (Penguin, 1998); Museum guides for Herb Garden, Period Garden Rooms; Elizabeth Crawford, 'Enterprising Women: The Garretts and their Circle' (Francis Boutle Publishers, 2nd ed. 2009)
- Access & Directions
Access Contact DetailsWalled herb garden and period gardens: April- Oct in Museum hours: Tue-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun/BHols: 12-5pm.
DirectionsRail/Tube (Central, Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City): Liverpool Street. London Overground: Hoxton. Rail/Tube (Northern): Old Street. Bus 67, 149, 242, 243, 26, 48, 55, 394
- Associated People
London Parks and Gardens Trust