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
V&A Museum of Childhood.jpg
V&A Museum of Childhood is located in London Borough of Tower Hamlets
V&A Museum of Childhood
Location within London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Established1872; 149 years ago (1872)
LocationBethnal Green
London, E2
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°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
Visitors386,944 (2019)[1]
DirectorGina Koutsika
Public transit accessLondon Underground Bethnal Green
London Overground Cambridge Heath
Websitewww.vam.ac.uk/moc/ Edit this at Wikidata
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated27 September 1973
Reference no.1357777
Area1.5 acres (6,100 m2), 145 galleries


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[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.[4] 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 in December 2006.[4]

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 connectionsEdit

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

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ "ALVA - Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  2. ^ http://www.culture24.org.uk/history-and-heritage/art41998
  3. ^ a b c Weinreb et al. 2008, p. 65.
  4. ^ a b "Much more than a doll's house". The Guardian. 10 December 2006. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  5. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1357777)". National Heritage List for 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 linksEdit