Museums in East London
Exploring aspects of the past can be a great way to spend
an hour, an afternoon or a day, and in east London there
are more than enough to keep the boredom at bay.
Two of the museums you’ll find on the east side
are to do with the joys of childhood, the Ragged School
Museum [map] and the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood [map].
Set in three canalside warehouses on Copperfield Road
is the Ragged School Museum [map].
Opened in 1990 this museum focuses on what it was like
to be at school in the Victorian East End. There are activities
for young people of all ages including history talks and
canal walks but probably the most invoking is the recreation
of a classroom of the time.
The Childhood Museum [map] in Bethnal Green covers over 400 years of childhood from
the 16th century to the present day. With more than 6,000
items on display including some of the first jigsaws and
puzzles, there’s bound to be something here to inspire
the young and reawaken happy childhood memories of hours
If the multitude of home improvements programmes on TV
have turned you into an interior's addict with a passion
for beige, MDF and Moroccan style radiator covers then
you may need to visit the Geffrye Museum [map] in Hackney E2 for the antidote.
This delightful museum will give you an insight into
middle class living room interiors from Elizabethan
times to the present day – from the covers to
the colours, the furniture to the flooring. This museum
also has an award winning walled herb garden to enjoy
if the sight of all the real wood furniture gets too
Hackney is also home to its own museum – the Museum
of Hackney [map].
Established in 1986 with the specific aim of collecting
and interpreting evidence relating to the history of the
area. The 6,000 artefacts held at the museum’s Technology
Learning Centre include a 1,000-year-old Saxon long
Walthamstow also has a museum to honour and preserve elements
of its past. The Vestry House Museum [map] tells the story of Walthamstow and its people, and its
treasures include an original police cell from 1840 and
the Bremer car. The Bremer car was the first petrol driven
motor car to be seen on the streets of London and was
built by Frederick Bremer in Walthamstow.
One of the hidden gems of the area is the Old Operating
Theatre Museum [map] and Herb Garret. Although not nearly as wholesome
as memories of childhood this little museum which houses
the oldest surviving operating theatre, is fascinating
Although strictly on the south side of the river the
Old Operating Theatre Museum is close enough and unusual
enough to make the effort worthwhile.
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