30 October 2013

The Horniman Museum, Forest Hill, Lewisham

IN 1901 BY
Frederick John Horniman (1835–1906) inherited his father John Horniman's firm, which towards the end of the 19th century was the largest tea business in the world. Frederick travelled the world collecting various specimens of natural history or cultural objects, his stated purpose being to 'bring the world to Forest Hill'.
The mosaic is Humanity in the House of Circumstance, designed by Robert Anning Bell. From the left, the figures represent Art, Poetry, Music, and Endurance; the central figure represents Humanity, with Love on the left and Hope on the right; then come Charity, Wisdom, Meditation (seated), and Resignation. The door on the left represents Birth, the door on the right Death.
The museum, in the Arts and Crafts style, was built by Charles Harrison Townsend, who also designed the Bishopsgate Institute and the Whitechapel Art Gallery.

Just an indication of the size of the place.
The Conservatory.
(As a point of interest, Annie Horniman (1860–1937), the daughter of Frederick and Rebekah (née Elmslie) Horniman, founded the Gaiety Theatre in Manchester, noted for what became known as the Manchester School of playwrights (e.g. Harold Brighouse, Stanley Houghton, Allan Monkhouse, etc).)


Anonymous said...

just by chance! Looked at your photographs - many good memories of Horniman's Museum - and park, from earliest childhood with my mother (1940s). Beginning with a bus stop (I think 185/176/12) - and wooden chalet/sweetshop a little way downhill from the entrance. (honeycomb 'crunchie bars', kit kats, pear drops & tizer) There was a kind of Japanese garden before the Museum - with tiny waterfalls, streams, stepping stones, rocks and flowers - with huge dragonflies/butterflies. I can see mind-images with sun/shadows and hear the bees and birds still. Maybe Everyman remembers the walrus in his glass case - with a patch on his bottom - and the 'apostles' clock - with judas who turns the opp. way to all the others, the glass beehive, the sound of museum silence, etcetc - but I had forgotten the mosaic and the architecture till I saw these images. Thank you for posting them.

Dr Tony Shaw said...

What a lovely comment: enough to make anyone what to go there! Many thanks for this.

Pat Bunce nee Hart said...

I too remember the beautiful waterfall garden which is no more. So sad. Bulldozed to create disabled access.
I used to visit Horseman's Museum & garden via the 185 bus from my home in Montem Rd. That was in the 1950s.
I remember the bees in their hive with a glass front so one was able to view them at work.
I also remember "the torture chair" which filled me with horror. I believe it's still there. There was a programme on BBC TV many years ago which was about the museum & they said that the torture chair was a fake. I was relieved that was the case as I hated to think of people suffering in it.
The waterfall garden tho' was my favourite place. It was on a child's scale, skipping along the narrow paths, across little bridges with the water trickling below.
Suddenly I recall the Apostles' clock, forgotten till now!
Pat Bunce nee Hart