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Almshouses

An almshouse room in 1790 photographed by Morley von Sternberg

1780s almshouse room - photography Morley von Sternberg

The Geffrye is set in almshouses built in 1714 by the Ironmongers' Company, with a bequest from Sir Robert Geffrye, twice master of the Company and former Lord Mayor of London.  For almost two hundred years the almshouses provided homes for around fifty poor pensioners. They are now recognised for their historical importance as Grade I listed buildings. 

By the early 20th century Hoxton had become one of the most overcrowded and unsavoury parts of London, and the Ironmongers' Company sold its Kingsland Road property to relocate the almshouses to a healthier area.  The site was bought by London County Council who wanted to provide public open space in such a densely populated area.  Leading members of the Arts and Crafts movement petitioned the Council not to demolish the almshouses, and they were converted into a museum which opened in 1914.

One of the almshouses has been restored and is open to visitors (see dates and times below). It has been taken back to its original conditions and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s. Displays illustrate the history of the almshouses and the people who lived there, as well as philanthropic and social housing in East London.

Tours are available on the following days:

· Saturdays: 4 March, 1 April, 6 May and 3 June 2017

· Tuesdays: 21 February, 7 and 21 March, 11 and 25 April and 9 and 23 May 2017

· Wednesdays: 1 and 15 March, 5 and 19 April, 3 and 17 May and 7 June 2017

Timed entries are at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, with 4pm tours reintroduced from April 2017 

Tours are priced at £4 per person. For Friends of the Geffrye, disabled visitors (and their companion) and children under 16 tours are free. 

Places are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Please note that owing to the museum's listed building status, the restored historic almshouse has no step free access, however visitors can view a virtual tour here

Group visits to the almshouse

For advance booking for groups of 8 or more contact bookings@geffrye-museum.org.uk or 020 7739 9893.

Please note that a maximum of 10 spaces per tour can be reserved for pre-booked groups; if your group is more than 10 we can split your group over 2 tours. This allows us to keep 6 spaces for other visitors that turn up on the day.

Unfortunately we are unable to take advance bookings for tours on Saturdays.


Tickets are available on the day from the museum's front desk. Numbers are limited and tickets allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. (Please note that general museum admission is free).

  • Adults - £2.50 
  • Friends of the Geffrye, disabled visitors (and their companion) and children under 16 - Free

Tickets are available on the day from the museum's front desk. Numbers are limited and tickets allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. (Please note that general museum admission is free).

  • Adults - £2.50 
  • Friends of the Geffrye, disabled visitors (and their companion) and children under 16 - Free

An almshouse room in 1790 photographed by Morley von Sternberg

1780s almshouse room - photography Morley von Sternberg

The Geffrye is set in almshouses built in 1714 by the Ironmongers' Company, with a bequest from Sir Robert Geffrye, twice master of the Company and former Lord Mayor of London.  For almost two hundred years the almshouses provided homes for around fifty poor pensioners. They are now recognised for their historical importance as Grade I listed buildings. 

By the early 20th century Hoxton had become one of the most overcrowded and unsavoury parts of London, and the Ironmongers' Company sold its Kingsland Road property to relocate the almshouses to a healthier area.  The site was bought by London County Council who wanted to provide public open space in such a densely populated area.  Leading members of the Arts and Crafts movement petitioned the Council not to demolish the almshouses, and they were converted into a museum which opened in 1914.

One of the almshouses has been restored and is open to visitors (see dates and times below). It has been taken back to its original conditions and offers a rare glimpse into the lives of London’s poor and elderly in the 1780s and 1880s. Displays illustrate the history of the almshouses and the people who lived there, as well as philanthropic and social housing in East London.

Tours are available on the following days:

· Saturdays: 4 March, 1 April, 6 May and 3 June 2017

· Tuesdays: 7 and 21 February, 7 and 21 March, 11 and 25 April and 9 and 23 May 2017

· Wednesdays: 1 and 15 March, 5 and 19 April, 3 and 17 May and 7 June 2017

Timed entries are at 11am, 12pm, 1pm, 2pm and 3pm, with 4pm tours reintroduced from April 2017 

Tours are priced at £4 per person. For Friends of the Geffrye, disabled visitors (and their companion) and children under 16 tours are free. 

Places are limited and are allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Please note that owing to the museum's listed building status, the restored historic almshouse has no step free access, however visitors can view a virtual tour here

Group visits to the almshouse

For advance booking for groups of 8 or more contact bookings@geffrye-museum.org.uk or 020 7739 9893.

Please note that a maximum of 10 spaces per tour can be reserved for pre-booked groups; if your group is more than 10 we can split your group over 2 tours. This allows us to keep 6 spaces for other visitors that turn up on the day.

Unfortunately we are unable to take advance bookings for tours on Saturdays.