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The statue of Sir Robert Geffrye

There is a statue of Sir Robert Geffrye on the Museum building. Geffrye was an English merchant, involved with the slave trade.

The almshouses in which the Museum is housed were built with his money. The source of his wealth raises important questions about his legacy: we are actively debating these questions and what to do with the statue.

Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation. The Board will consider the feedback along with other information when they make their decision.

Exterior of the Museum of the Home from Kingsland Road. The statue is beneath the clock, above the door. © Jayne Lloyd Exterior of the Museum of the Home from Kingsland Road. The statue is beneath the clock, above the door. © Jayne Lloyd

About Sir Robert Geffrye

Sir Robert Geffrye (1613–1703) was an English merchant, involved with the slave trade. He made his fortune with the East India Company and the Royal African Company.

The buildings in which the Museum of the Home has its home, are almshouses built in 1714 with money left by Sir Robert Geffrye.

About the statue

The statue is set into the building facing Kingsland Road. It is above the central door to the chapel, below the clock.

It was placed to commemorate his legacy in providing the funds for the almshouses.

Consultation

Thank you to everyone who responded to the consultation. The Board will consider the feedback along with other information when they make their decision.

Alongside this consultation Hackney Council will run a wider review into the role of statues and the naming of buildings, streets, parks and other public spaces in Hackney.

A close-up of the statue of Sir Robert Geffrye set into the Museum building A close-up of the statue of Sir Robert Geffrye set into the Museum building
Homes should be welcoming places of shelter and security, love and comfort. This is what we want our museum to represent.

We know that for many the statue of Robert Geffrye on our building represents abuse, oppression and the history of thousands of enslaved people torn from their homes and families and forced to work in appalling conditions. Sonia Solicari, Director
Statue above the green door on the Museum building © Morley von Sternberg Statue above the green door on the Museum building © Morley von Sternberg

Black Lives Matter

We strongly believe that museums should not be neutral. As a sector we have a responsibility to be inclusive and accessible.

We are committed to anti-racism and equity, and to working harder to make our organisation more representative.

We will learn from history and ensure our staff, programme and collection tell diverse stories and represent black voices, artists, visitors and communities.

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