Hornimans Museum & Gardens

Posted by @NEILMUIR1 on
Hornimans Museum was one man's dream, and he fulfilled it. Fredrick John Horniman was a tea trader who started collecting Natural History and other artifacts from all over the world for his family home in southeast London in 1860. However his collection outgrew his home, so he had a new Museum designed and built in 1898, which was opened to the Public in 1901. At first it was for Natural History specimens and musical instruments, but he acquired art & crafts, fossils and Egyptian mummies. He donated the museum and gardens to the people of London, "as a free gift to the people of London forever for their recreation, instruction and enjoyment." It is now as it was then, a free museum and gardens.

Generations of children and adults have learnt so much from this remarkable place set in southeast London not far from Dulwich Park. Nowadays we frown on the collection of stuffed animals and birds in the museum, but to the early Victorians who did not have photography or anything like it, it was fascinating. Most people had never been out of their area and certainly not abroad, so this must have been quite stunning to them at the time. A lot of the rich Victorians had cases full of stuffed birds to show off their wealth. But Fredrick John Horniman did it for a different reason, collecting and cataloguing thousands of items, for everyone to see. It was his gift of education to the people, his love of Natural History, musical instruments and arts & crafts from every part of the globe. Here is the Museum's clock tower and a unique clock inside.

2010-05-21/NEILMUIR1/1a8c8d                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/5263cb

This is just a bit of the massive musical instrument collection and a walrus that has been there as long as anyone can remember.

2010-05-21/NEILMUIR1/be6c85                              2010-05-21/NEILMUIR1/bf808a

Red Foxes are on display and the second picture gives us a look over a bit of the Natural History section. The fossils are on this top floor.

2010-05-21/NEILMUIR1/2a2015                              2010-05-21/NEILMUIR1/5bb7b6

The collection of birds is amazing, this is one small portion of them. They are often used by schools, colleges, universities as well as the public. The entire museum is large and contains untold items from all over the world.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/549dca                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/f9f277

The  Gardens are a unique area of 16 acres of award-winning, beautifully maintained formal and natural landscapes, from sunken gardens, a Tea Clipper Rose garden, herbaceous borders, to enchanting wildflower displays, a Nature Trail and a number of unique sundials. There is a medicinal garden, allotment and food garden, plus a roof garden to go with the environmental aims and educational beliefs of the museum. There is also an animal enclosure that is open to the public. Looking up to a bit of the roof garden, a sundial is present here in front of the purple Japanese maple. On the right is a Horse Chestnut with a lilac to the left.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/b34b75                             2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/bbeca0

This is both sides of the medicinal garden with plants from around the world and their medicinal uses.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/05f56d                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/f6c3b3

Here we see the formal garden with a Wisteria and a purple maple. In the picture on the right, a Rhododendron can be seen.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/3d4075                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/84c5e0

The other side and center of the formal garden.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/52a8bd                             2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/2371c1

A beautiful poppy and a Rhododendron bloom in the garden.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/96549a                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/ae63d6

A lovely Iris blooms and near it we see Ophipogon planiscapus nigrescens.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/bbac93                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/0546ff

Although a bit early yet, here is looking up the herbaceous border and the other picture is looking down a bit of it.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/a001b4                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/5cd39e

Although the gardens have many beautiful tees, two stand out to me. A Lebanese cedar or Cedrus libani and a blue cedar or Cedrus atlantica glauca.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/700d06                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/fa12a0

The Cafe with its 'Green Roof' overlooks the Victorian conservatory. A museum shop also sells books, gifts etc.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/cd4874                               2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/4a6d55

A dry area full of grasses in front of the cafe with a Ceanothus in the distance and then a view of the Ceanothus from behind.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/8e3bbf                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/2365f5

Rhododendrons in the gardens.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/15a992                              2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/64b31d

The museum also has a renowned Aquarium where you start under the sea and work up toward the top where you are on the beach.

Here is a Chusan or windwmill palm, Tracyhcarpus fortuneii and a little Alium by the main gates.

2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/cc7ee7                               2010-05-22/NEILMUIR1/c3bf22

It is strange how everyone was sent to see the museum when we were at school, then did not go back to see this gorgeous place till they were adults. But like most things in your own area, you do not think about it. That's the way it was for me  until my University sent a lot of students there to study. My mother took my nieces there and was full of praise for it but I did not know what to expect yesterday! One thing I do know, I was glad I went and was very impressed. The grant they got has been well spent and the gardens are lovely and extremely well kept. The educational and environmental facilities are stunning and that surely in this day and age is the only way forward.

Just to remind you as you go to walk out; this is just one of many thousands of things that have gone extinct, due to us Humans.



For those who so wish here is a virtual tour of the gardens:

Virtual Garden Tour.


Hornimans Museum.

Hornimans Gardens.

Hornimans Gardens By Area.

Hornimans Libary.

How To Get There And Map.

Thank you for joining me on this brief tour of the Museum, it is too large and contains so many incredible things to do one article on it.




For Nancy.

Comments and discussion:
Thread Title Last Reply Replies
Hornimans by murielw1 May 25, 2010 10:58 AM 2
Great article~ by Petalpants May 24, 2010 11:55 AM 1
link by mekos May 24, 2010 6:21 AM 2
Article is... .... by cececoogan May 23, 2010 8:50 AM 12

Give a thumbs up
Member Login:



[ Join now ]

Today's site banner is by rocklady and is called "Camellia bud"