Secret Shoreditch Hidden wonders
With all the bars, restaurants and boutiques popping up frequently in Shoreditch it’s easy to forget the long standing hidden gems of the area. One such place is The Geffrye Museum. Tucked away behind a wonderful old brick wall, the front green lawn shrouded with trees and dotted with benches already provides a welcome retreat from the main streets.
You could stop here as an alternative resting place from trendy Hoxton Square and admire the old clock tower. Or if you’ve time you may wish to explore further, and catch the last few months of the herb garden being open to the public. This Victorian garden stretches around to the back of the museum. Home to many medicinal and culinary plants it is not only beautiful to see, but also good to smell!
The museum itself is open all year round. Formerly almshouses for pensioners, the actual building was constructed in 1714, and converted to a museum in the early 20th century. It’s hard to believe that at this time Shoreditch was a very squalid, dangerous and densely populated part of London, so the poor pensioners had to be moved out to a more conducive area! I wonder what they would make of it now. Thankfully the building was saved from demolition and over the years has attracted millions of visitors to squalid Shoreditch from far afield!
Walking down the long corridor you are transported to decades from a long history of English furniture and design, as each room you pass has been carefully styled down to the last detail to match the fashion and function of the time. It’s initial purpose was to provide a library equivalent of the local furniture industry deemed to be of a ‘fine standard of technical and artistic excellence’ in order to enlighten and encourage the local workers.
Although there has been alot of change to Shoreditch over the last century, the area is still home to many creative businesses from furniture designers to website designers. I like to think and hope that the original aspiration for the museum will continue to inspire local workers, inhabitants and indeed anyone that gets a chance to see this wonderful grade 1 listed building.