I resolved to finally visit the Horniman Museum in south London when I noticed that I could get a direct London Overground train from Hoxton station, fairly close to the RE London Shoreditch Hotel where I was staying, to Forest Hill, where the Horniman is located. It was raining during the rail journey, but fortunately dry for the ten minute uphill walk from Forest Hill station.
The Horniman Museum, built in the Arts and Crafts style, opened in 1901 to house the collections of tea-trader Frederick Horniman.
The ‘Humanity in the House of Circumstance’ mosaic at the top front of the building illustrates human aspirations and constraints.
I was impressed by the Conservatory which was being used by visitors who’d bought drinks and snacks from the Cafe and those who’d brought picnics.
I didn’t spend much time in the gardens, as I didn’t arrive at the Horniman Museum until after 4pm, I thought I’d better get into the museum, as it closed at 5.30pm. When I came out of the museum, it had started raining again. It’s a pity as I would have liked to follow the ‘Sundial Trail’.
My favourite section of the Horniman Museum was the ‘Whisper of the Stars’ temporary exhibition depicting life in Artic Siberia.
The Natural History Gallery was dominated by an enormous walrus.
There were some very vivid Scarlet ibis.
The collection of central nervous systems in various species was interesting.
Entry to the Horniman Museum is free of charge, but you do have to pay to get into the Aquarium and some temporary exhibitions. During my visit the cost for a combined ticket, giving access to the ‘eXtremes’ exhibition and the Aquarium, was £8.80 for adults and £4.40 for children.
There were some colourful photos in Gallery Square on the lower ground floor.
The Ijele (a giant Nigerian mask), which honours the dead, on display in the ‘African World’ section, was commissioned by the museum.
The Midnight Robber mask is a representation of a character who is a traditional part of carnival in Trinidad.
I wish that I’d had more time to explore the Horniman Museum and Gardens. I recommend that you make the effort to visit.