Getting to know... the William Morris Gallery
The William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow reopened in 2012 following an extensive restoration project. We spoke to the fresh-faced museum about battered satchels, tame dragons and bus passes.
Age: 63 – I may be eligible for a bus pass, but I’ve never felt sprightlier.
Describe yourself in three words: friendly, inspiring, surprising.
What is your most treasured possession? William Morris’s brown battered satchel that he carried with him on political demonstrations – a humble but evocative reminder of his campaigns for social justice.
Who was your most famous visitor? My most precocious visitor was Morris himself, who lived here as a teenager – since then I’ve welcomed many other artistic radicals, most recently Grayson Perry and David Bailey.
What is your greatest shop success? My own branded range of ‘Beautiful and Useful’ T-shirts and unique handcrafted giftware by the talented local crafts community.
Any museum pets? Look out for all the birds and animals that feature in Morris’s designs and the friendly ducks that live on the moat in the gardens. I also have a tame Icelandic dragon living in my Story Lounge!
One thing that could make you better is... extended opening hours and more late events to cope with the overwhelming demand from my visitors!
You have a museum crush on... 7 Hammersmith Terrace, home to Morris’s close friend Emery Walker – I love to travel back in time to experience its atmospheric Victorian interior.
What do you most dislike about your appearance? I love my new appearance but can’t wait to see the summer flowers in their full splendour.
You’re most happy when… I’m packed with families enjoying craft activities, interacting with the displays and living up to Morris’s belief that everyone can be creative!