The London Borough of Hackney has given the green light to the Geffrye’s ambitious development plans. The ‘Unlocking the Geffrye’ project will greatly improve access and enhance the experience of all visitors to the museum’s Grade I listed buildings and gardens in Hoxton, East London.
The £15m scheme, designed by Wright & Wright Architects, will breathe life into the museum’s 18th century almshouse buildings by opening up and making much better use of spaces previously unseen by the public in the museum’s 100 year history.
David Dewing, director of the Geffrye, said:
“We have been thrilled by the support we’ve received for Unlocking the Geffrye and are delighted that Hackney Council has approved our plans. Developing the museum will ensure our buildings and gardens are safeguarded for future generations and many more people will be able to enjoy the Geffrye, be inspired by our collections and take part in our activities. With planning secured, we can now really step up our fundraising campaign to make our vision a reality.”
Architect Clare Wright said:
“It is fantastic news. Gaining planning permission gives the project credibility, which we hope will translate into financial support to match the £12.7 million vouched by the HLF and other very generous donors. This success is due to the whole team’s commitment and hard work as well as the enthusiastic support of a lot of wonderful people.”
Unlocking the Geffrye will mean that 70 per cent of the museum’s buildings are open to the public, as opposed to 30 per cent now. New spaces will be created within the existing buildings, alongside a limited amount of new build, increasing capacity so the museum will be able to welcome up to 50 per cent more visitors per year. The development includes:
- A Home Gallery, library and study, and collections store in the museum’s main almshouse building. These new spaces will allow much more of the Geffrye’s collections to be displayed and for the museum’s theme of the home to be explored more broadly.
- A learning pavilion and studio in the period gardens – two fully accessible multi-purpose teaching and events spaces – which will increase the capacity of learning spaces by 20 per cent.
- A new, additional entrance opposite Hoxton station will make the museum much more accessible by public transport and enhance the pedestrianised plaza behind the museum on Geffrye Street.
- A cafe on the ground floor of a former pub on the corner of the site which will be restored and extended.
- Much improved access and circulation throughout the museum, including direct access to the museum’s period gardens from a new central reception space.