The Geffrye almshouses were built between 1712 and 1716 with money left by Robert Geffrye, Master of the Ironmonger's Company and Lord Mayor of London. For almost 200 years they were occupied by poor pensioners.
After the Company sold the property to relocate its pensioners to a healthier area, the London County Council bought the almshouses, primarily to preserve the gardens. The gardens opened in 1912 and the museum was opened in 1914.
Almshouse 14 is the only house which was occupied almost continuously from 1716 until 2000 when the last resident museum attendant moved out. Two rooms have been furnished to show living conditions in 1780 and 1880. Tours of the restored almshouse take place throughout the year.