The Geffrye Museum in Shoreditch is one of the most delightful places in London. It’s a small but perfectly formed Museum of front rooms, from 1600 to the present day. Christmas is without doubt the best time to visit, as each of the room sets are decorated in period style with lovely attention to detail and information boards describing how the event was celebrated by people in each era. In the Stuart era, there’s plenty of Pagan greenery and sweetmeats decorated with glittery gold leaf, the Georgians had an afternoon of music and a grand Twelfth Night Cake with a dried pea and bean hidden inside, to determine who would be King and Queen for the day.
Our family favourite is the Victorian room which is full of beautiful wooden toys, a tabletop tree decorated with musical instruments, flags and candles and Christmas carol music on the piano. It looks like every picture of Christmas you’ve ever seen in old story books.
The 1960’s room brings back memories of mine and Steve’s childhood Christmases with paper chains, Thunderbirds toys and a tree with multicoloured lights. Although I hasten to add that I wasn’t actually born in the 1960’s.
And how we laughed at the huge cathode ray tube TV in the year 2000 room. Until we remembered that we still have one of those in OUR sitting room…
A pre-Christmas visit to the Geffrye is the best possible thing to get you in the festive mood, even if you are feeling a bit Scroogy. Now where did I put those giant, tissue paper, concertina, ceiling decorations and the Slade CD?