V&A Museum of Childhood

The V&A Museum of Childhood is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (the "V&A"), which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts. It is in Bethnal Green and is located on the Green itself in the East End of London and specialises in objects by and for children.

V&A Museum of Childhood
Location within Greater London
Established1872 (1872)
LocationBethnal Green
London, E2
United Kingdom
Coordinates51.528889°N 0.055°W / 51.528889; -0.055
Visitors418,271 (2018)[1]
DirectorRhian Harris
Public transit access Bethnal Green
Cambridge Heath
Websitewww.vam.ac.uk/moc/
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated27 September 1973
Reference no.1357777
Area1.5 acres (6,100 m2), 145 galleries

History

The museum was founded in 1872[2] as the Bethnal Green Museum. The iron structure reused a prefabricated building from Albertopolis which was replaced with some early sections of the modern V&A complex. The exterior of the building was designed by James William Wild[3] in red brick in a Rundbogenstil (round-arched) style very similar to that in contemporary Germany.

The building was used to display a variety of collections at different times. In the 19th century, it contained food and animal products, and various pieces of art including the works which can now be seen at the Wallace Collection. It was remodelled as an art museum following World War I, with a children's section which subsequently grew in size. In 1974 the director of the V&A, Sir Roy Strong, defined it as a specialist museum of childhood.[3]

Of all the branches, the Bethnal Green Museum has the largest collection of childhood objects in the United Kingdom.

The mission of the museum is "To enable everyone, especially the young, to explore and enjoy the designed world, in particular objects made for and made by children." It has extensive collections of toys, childhood equipment and costumes, and stages a programme of temporary exhibitions.

The museum closed in October 2005 for the second phase of extensive renovations, costing £4.7 million. It reopened on 9 December 2006[4] with changes including a new front entrance, gallery, displays and café.

Inside the museum was a cast iron statue by John Bell, which has been based there since 1927.[3] It came originally from the Great Exhibition of 1851. "The Eagle slayer" shows a marksman shooting at an eagle which has slain the lamb that lies at his feet. This has now been moved to the entrance of the Coalbrookdale Museum as it was cast in the Coalbrookdale Foundry.

The museum is a Grade II* listed building.[5]

Transport connections

ServiceStation/StopStop LetterLines/Routes servedDistance from
V&A
Museum of Childhood
London Buses Bethnal Green Station Stop A106, 254, 309, 388, D3, D6
Stop B8, 309, D6
Stop D8, 388, D3
Old Ford Road Stop G106, 254, 388, D6
London Underground Bethnal Green
London Overground Cambridge HeathLondon Overground400 metres walk[6]

See also

References

Citations

Sources


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