Skip to content
Open today 10am-5pm

Young Poets: Lessons in Gravity

A collection of poems written by young people aged 15–24. Scroll down to listen.


Alongside Hackney poet Anthony Anaxagorou, these Young Poets co-produced an anthology of new work responding to the statue of Robert Geffrye that stands on the front of the Museum’s buildings. Listen to the poems below.

Two people look and point at a laptop while talking Hayley Madden

From March to July 2022, Hackney poet Anthony Anaxagorou worked with a group of young people to co-produce an anthology of new work as part of the Museum’s Young Producers programme.

The programme aims to give young people from the local community opportunities for creative skill development, to contribute to cultural debates and collaborate with the Museum’s artistic programme. 

The project, in collaboration with The Poetry Society, explored themes of power, identity and the legacy of colonialism related to the statue of Robert Geffrye that stands on the front of the Museum’s buildings. 

The statue of Robert Geffrye

Robert Geffrye (1613–1704) was an English merchant. In 1714 Geffrye’s bequest funded the building of almshouses in Hackney within which the Museum is now housed. Nearly 200 years later the pensioners moved out and London County Council bought the buildings and gardens. In 1914 the site was transformed into the Geffrye Museum. The Museum, almshouses and gardens were redeveloped, reopening in 2021 as Museum of the Home. 

Geffrye made his fortune partly from his involvement in the exploitative East India Company and the Royal African Company, and his persistent investment in the forced labour and trading of enslaved Africans.

The statue's presence on its high plinth overlooking the Museum entrance is a source of pain and trauma for many in the Museum's community. The original statue was placed to commemorate Geffrye's legacy in providing the funds for the almshouses. In 1912, the almshouse pensioners took the original statue of Robert Geffrye with them to Kent. The replica statue you see today was installed to replace the original in 1912 before the building opened as a museum. 

Since 2021, Museum of the Home has been working with local youth, faith and community groups, artists and other collaborators on a programme of interpretation and exploration of this painful history and its intersections. This poetry anthology is one outcome of this programme.

Geffrye is not connected to the founding of the Museum or its collections.

Listen to the poems

A selection of poems was recorded in 2022 as part of the anthology launch celebration. You can explore these below. To read all the poems and support our young people's programme, get a copy of Lessons in Gravity from our store.

20220608 Youngpoets Hayley 1479
20220727 Lessonsingravity 0649
20220608 Youngpoets Hayley 1546
20220727 Lessonsingravity 0532
20220608 Youngpoets Hayley 1361
20220727 Lessonsingravity 0666