diamond geezer

 Thursday, June 28, 2018

Borough museums: Excluding the City, London has 32 boroughs. Some of these have their own museum devoted to telling the story of the borough's local history, and some don't. By my calculations about 40% don't, which is an unexpectedly high proprtion given that the average London borough has a population the same size as Newcastle, Brighton, Derby or Hull. Or it's an unexpectedly low number given that cash-strapped councils are being forced to make savings, and culture's an easy non-essential to cut.

Here's an updated version of a list I first attempted ten years ago.

London's borough-funded borough-themed museums

★★★ Barking and Dagenham: Valence House Museum [Becontree RM8 3HT, closed Mondays] (free)
15C manor house, refurbished in 2010, and well worth a trip. [review 2012] [report 2017]

☆☆☆ Barnet: No borough museum since Church Farmhouse closed in 2011. (the excellent Barnet Museum is volunteer-run)

★★★ Bexley: Hall Place [Bexley DA5 1PQ] (£10)
Tudor country house in splendid grounds, restored in 2008, but admission price a bit steep. [review 2011]

★★☆ Brent: The Brent Museum [Willesden NW10 2SF] (free)
400 objects housed in an upstairs gallery in the new Willesden Green library.

★☆☆ Bromley: Bromley Historic Collections [Bromley BR1 1EX] (free)
A scant few cases in Bromley Central Library, 'replacing' the former museum (closed 2015). [review 2017]

Camden: No borough museum

★☆☆ Croydon: Museum of Croydon [Croydon CR9 1ET closed Sun, Mon] (free)
Mildly interactive black vault at Croydon Clocktower, which I've never quite enjoyed. [review 2009]

★★★ Ealing/Hounslow: Gunnersbury Park Museum [Acton W3 8LQ, closed Monday] (free)
Three floors of sleek exhibitry across a lottery-restored mansion. [review 2018]

★☆☆ Enfield: Museum of Enfield [Enfield EN2 6DS] (free)
Unwelcoming rump tucked away inside the Dugdale Centre. (Forty Hall is much better)

★☆☆ Greenwich: Greenwich Heritage Centre [Woolwich SE18 4DX, closed Sun, Mon] (free)
Well concealed maze of ageing historical displays at the back of Artillery Square ('temporarily' closing in mid-July)

★★★ Hackney: Hackney Museum [Hackney E8 1GQ, closed Sun, Mon] (free)
Large ground floor gallery at whatever the library's called these days, with an immigration focus.

☆☆☆ Hammersmith & Fulham: No borough museum

★★☆ Haringey: Bruce Castle Museum [Tottenham N17 8NU closed Mon, Tue] (free)]
Unscrubbed 16C manor house, with numerous unmodernised displays. [review 2007]

★★★ Harrow: Headstone Manor Museum [Headstone HA2 6PX, closed Monday] (free)
14C manor house, beautifully restored, just reopened, and my top recommendation if you've never been. [review 2018]

★★☆ Havering: Havering Museum [Romford RM1 1JU, closed Sun, Mon, Tue] (£3)
Volunteer-led displays within part of the ground floor of the former Romford Brewery. [review 2011]

☆☆☆ Hillingdon: No borough museum

★★☆ Islington: Islington Museum Finsbury EC1V 4NB closed Wed, Sun] (free)]
Modern basement under Finsbury Library, with an artefact-led community focus.

☆☆☆ Kensington & Chelsea: No borough museum

★★☆ Kingston: Kingston Museum and History Centre [Kingston KT1 2PS, closed Mon, Wed, Sun] (free)
Old school Surrey museum, heavily featuring moving picture pioneer Eadweard Mubridge. [review 2010]

☆☆☆ Lambeth: No borough museum
☆☆☆ Lewisham: No borough museum
☆☆☆ Merton: No borough museum
☆☆☆ Newham: No borough museum

★★☆ Redbridge: Redbridge Museum [Ilford IG1 1EA closed Sun, Mon] (free)
Windowless millennial circuit within Ilford Central Library, plus temporary exhibition space. [review 2008]

★★★ Richmond: Museum of Richmond [Richmond TW9 1TP, closed Sun, Mon] (free)
Top class historical repository on the second floor of the Old Town Hall.

☆☆☆ Southwark: No borough museum (ever since the Cuming Museum burnt down)

★★★ Sutton: Honeywood Museum [Carshalton SM5 3NX, closed Mon, Tue] (free)
Restored and reopened in 2012, opposite Carshalton Ponds, with a lovely friendly atmosphere. [review 2012]

☆☆☆ Tower Hamlets: No borough museum

★★★ Waltham Forest: Vestry House Museum [Walthamstow E17 9NH closed Mon, Tue] (free)
Former workhouse, with a focus on transport and the domestic, plus a rather nice small garden.

☆☆☆ Wandsworth: No borough museum (closed 2007)
☆☆☆ Westminster: No borough museum


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