V&A Museum of Childhood

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V&A Museum of Childhood
V&A Museum of Childhood.jpg
V&A Museum of Childhood is located in Greater London
V&A Museum of Childhood
Location within Greater London
Established 1872; 146 years ago (1872)
Location Bethnal Green
London, E2
United Kingdom
Coordinates 51°31′44″N 0°03′18″W / 51.528889°N 0.055°W / 51.528889; -0.055Coordinates: 51°31′44″N 0°03′18″W / 51.528889°N 0.055°W / 51.528889; -0.055
Visitors 406,101 (2017)[1]
Director Rhian Harris
Public transit access London Underground Bethnal Green
London Overground Cambridge Heath
Website www.vam.ac.uk/moc/
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated 27 September 1973
Reference no. 1357777
Area 1.5 acres (6,100 m2), 145 galleries

The V&A Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green in the East End of London is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (the "V&A"), which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts.


The official opening of the Bethnal Green Museum by the Prince of Wales in 1872.

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 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, including the works which can now be seen at the Wallace Collection. In the 1920s, it began to focus on services for children, and in 1974 the director of the V&A, Sir Roy Strong, defined it as a specialist museum of childhood.

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[3] with changes including a new front entrance, gallery, displays and café.

Inside the museum is a cast iron statue by John Bell (1811–1896). 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.[4]

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

Transport connections[edit]

Service Station/Stop Stop Letter Lines/Routes served Distance from
Museum of Childhood
London Buses London Buses Bethnal Green Station Handicapped/disabled access Stop A 106, 254, 309, 388, D3, D6
Stop B 8, 309, D6
Stop D 8, 388, D3
Old Ford Road Handicapped/disabled access Stop G 106, 254, 388, D6
London Underground London Underground Bethnal Green Central line
London Overground London Overground Cambridge Heath London Overground 400 metres walk[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "ALVA - Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Retrieved 21 April 2018.
  2. ^ http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/art41998
  3. ^ http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/art41998
  4. ^ accessed 8 August 2009
  5. ^ Historic England. "Details from image database (205816)". Images of England. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  6. ^ http://maps.google.co.uk/maps?f=d&source=s_d&saddr=United+Kingdom+(Cambridge+Heath+(London)+Rail+Station)&daddr=V%26A+Museum+of+Childhood&geocode=FcxQEgMdSiD__yGN544aq6qNOw%3BFfBEEgMdiSb__yHdyIVwB94bVw&hl=en&mra=pd&dirflg=w&sll=51.526238,-0.055764&sspn=0.056604,0.169086&ie=UTF8&z=17 Walking directions to V&A Museum of Childhood from Cambridge Heath (London) railway station

External links[edit]