What goes on at...the Geffrye Museum over Christmas?

As an aspiring (read: struggling) actor, I have felt like a castaway trapped on the big mystical island that is London on many more than a few occasions when getting to or from auditions.

What goes on at...the Geffrye Museum over Christmas?

Everyone knows London is busy, beastly and boasting with everything artsy and cool which you have to see in order to call yourself an established english citizen. But once you get past the tourist basics, there are a range of niche, more obscure places you may have not noticed. That was what happened to me. When I thought I'd seen it all, I was very close to going home after an audition when I spotted the massively, evocatively Jacobean dome from the tube station. The Geffrye Museum is as homely as a dome can get and guess what? Christmas at the dome is where you want to be.

To those unfamiliar, the Geffrye Museum is a beautiful museum which showcases how our living room has changed since the 1600s. At Christmas, the razmatazz of the authentic greenery, lighting and festive decorations come out to play and transform the museum into 'Christmas Past', an annual exhibition celebrating how Christmas has become the jingle bell rocking event we have today. If you want to learn why you eat too much that you inevitably resemble a turkey yourself, why you have to look like an idiot during charades and why you have to kiss the less than desirable Grandma under the mistletoe, then Christmas Past is the exhibition for you.


  • The 1780s almshouse room photographed by Morley von Sternberg

If finding out the mystery of mistletoe isn't enough for you (I'm praying it's not for Grandma either), why not channel your inner historian and find out more about what Christmas was like prior to Cromwell's ban in 1660? Compare pre-1660 with Queen Victoria's lavish affair full of importing fir trees and décor from Germany and start to place the jigsaw puzzle pieces together of where all of our current customs originate.

There are various events also programmed to coincide with the exhibition, a few will have by the time this goes live on Voice, but there are a few listed below. You should ring the museum on 020 7749 6024 or email [email protected] for more information.

  • Seasonal Decorations - Create colourful, unique Christmas decoration using a variety of felt-making techniques. Saturday 19 November, 10.30am-4.30pm Tickets £35, £30 concs (includes all materials).
  • Concert by Candlelight - A moving recital of a cappella Christmas music by acclaimed group Bocca Aperta. Wednesday 14 December. Museum opens at 7.30pm, concert 8pm. Tickets £20/£17 concs (includes a glass of sherry or port and a mince pie).
  • Festive Open Evenings - Kick off your Christmas celebrations with the popular Crafty Fox Christmas market, craft activities for children and adults, greenery demonstrations, seasonal talks, music, a bar and street food. Thursday 15 December (Crafty Fox fair only) 5-9pm. Free.
  • Farewell to Christmas - Wrap up warm and join us in the gardens for the Geffrye's own tradition of burning the holly and ivy, with carol singing, Epiphany stories and a taste of mulled wine and Twelfth Night cake. Friday 6 January, 3.30-5pm. Free.
  • Christmas Past runs through to Sunday 8th January and free entry applies, however is closed on 24, 25, 26 Dec 2016 and 1 January 2017.


Kheira Bey

Kheira Bey Contributor

A very busy bee in the arts world. Kheira is an actress, living and working in London and loves anything fresh in the world of theatre, film and art. She works across theatre and film, and is trying to get better at watering her plant collection. She has previously contributed to: Voice Magazine, The Everyday, The Sun and Good Morning Britain; and is passionate about championing female narratives and new work. Arts Award Activist 2016/17 and Vaults Festival fanatic.

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  • Sienna James

    On 13 December 2016, 18:53 Sienna James Voice Team commented:

    Mmm... history and Christmas, does it get better?? :)

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