Spaces inhabited by the poor during the 19th century are brought to life through paintings, photographs and personal objects.

Increasing urbanisation in the wake of the industrial revolution placed unbearable strain on Britain's cities. The situation was amplified in London where the population grew at record rates, causing housing to become increasingly scarce and expensive. Larger properties were converted into flats and tenements to try and alleviate the problem but, with landlords failing to maintain proper standards, slum conditions developed.

This exhibition charts the story of the thousands of Londoners who made their homes in lodgings, workhouses and shelters in the 19th and 20th centuries. From the homeless seeking refuge on the street to the experience of making a home in a room shared with dozens of others, paintings, photographs and oral histories recreate their hardships.

Yet it also considers how people fought against the workhouse system, using it to their own ends, as well as the community and camaraderie of living in a common lodging house.

The Geffrye Museum of the Home

136 Kingsland Road, Hoxton, London, Greater London, E2 8EA

020 7739 9893


Opening times

The museum is now closed to undergo a major, transformational development project. It will reopen in spring 2020.

Throughout closure, the Geffrye's restored almshouse will remain open for tours and a full programme of events will be run in the front gardens.

Free to all

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