Skip to main content


Why we need your support

Why does the Geffrye need to develop?

We want to open up our buildings, gardens, collections and archives for all our visitors to enjoy. The museum is at capacity – over 120,000 people visit every year and numbers are rising. This is great, but at busy times it means the building is often congested and overcrowded. Developing the museum is crucial to offering our visitors the best possible experience. By improving our existing buildings and creating new spaces and ways to access the museum, visitors will be able see more of our collections, get more involved with activities and events and move around the museum and gardens more easily. 

How much will the plans cost?

The total project cost is £18.1m and so far we have raised £17m. In May 2015, we secured a grant of £12.3m from the National Lottery Heritage Fund, which was confirmed in March 2017. We are actively fundraising the balance of £1.1m from trusts and foundations, companies and individuals. Help us to deliver this exciting project and donate here.

What will be in the development?

Currently only 30% of the museum’s buildings are accessible to the public; the proposed development will increase this to 70%. The main focus of the development is the museum’s 18th century, Grade I listed almshouses which we plan to open up and make much better use of. The plans include:

The Home Gallery - a new gallery space which will increase our permanent display space by 50% and allow us to explore our theme of the home more broadly. The gallery will have views of and access to the period gardens and will create a one-way circulation route through the museum, which will relieve overcrowding and congestion.

The Library and the Collections Store which will give visitors, academics and students much better access to our extensive library, archive and collections.

The Learning Pavilion in the period gardens - a fully accessible multi-purpose teaching and events space for schools, community groups and visitors. Combined with the Studio, another new events space, the capacity of our learning spaces will be increased by 30%.

A new, additional entrance directly opposite Hoxton station. Over 30% of our visitors already use Hoxton station, this new entrance will make getting to and from the museum much easier, and will connect to the central reception space and the museum café.

- A new central reception space which will serve both entrances from Kingsland Road and Geffrye Street.

Improved visitor facilities including the new café, central reception, better toilets, cloakroom and a lunchroom for school groups and families. 

- A new museum café housed within the ground floor of the refurbished former pub building and new extension on Cremer Street. 

You can see the latest images here.

Who is designing the development?

Wright & Wright Architects are designing the scheme to ensure it meets the needs of our visitors and the museum, is sensitive to the Grade I listed buildings and the busy urban landscape around the museum, as well as ensuring the Geffrye’s characteristic charm is retained

What's the timeframe for the development?

Planning was granted by London Borough of Hackney in July 2016. The museum closed to the public on 7 January 2018 for construction to get underway. The redeveloped museum is scheduled to open in spring 2020. While the museum is closed, there will still be a programme of events taking place - including tours of our restored almshouse and events in our front gardens. Sign up to our e-news to keep up to date with what's happening at the museum.  

What impact will the development have on the existing museum buildings?

By breathing life back into the museum’s 18th century, Grade I listed almshouses, the need for new building work is greatly reduced, and the planned structural and environmental improvements will make the historic buildings sustainable and much stronger.

As part of the project we are restoring the former pub on the corner of Geffrye Street and Cremer Street to create a museum café on the ground floor. The site has been sold to a developer who will build eight flats alongside and return the café space to the museum, with a capital sum to help the museum development. We are working closely with the developer to ensure the former pub building is restored sensitively and returned to public use for the first time in many years. All proceeds from the café will support the museum’s ongoing work with local people, schools and community groups. 

How can I find out more?

We want to hear your thoughts on our plans  - complete this short survey or email

Updated March 2019

National Lottery Heritage Fund