Horniman Museum & Gardens: 2005

The Horniman Museum was opened in 1901 as a gift of Frederick Horniman. He, and his father John, had made their fortune in the tea trade. The business had begun in 1826 importing tea from China and India. Their breakthrough came in 1875 with the production of tea in sealed packets marketed as a cheap drink to the fast growing poulation.

Frederick as he travelled the world developed a passionate interest ethnography and became an enthusiastic collector. He lived at Surrey House in London Road and soon was overflowing with his fast expanding collection. It was open to the public and by 1890 he had moved out to another home to make more space. This was not enough and it was replaced by the current purpose built Museum in 1901. Designed by Harrison Townsend it was, and is, one of the most original Art Nouveau buildings in England with its distinctive clock tower and barrel roofed main hall.

It has expanded over the years with some less distinguished architecture. Then it benefittedfrom Millennium funding to replace these with a stunning new extension including the Musical Instrument Gallery and Education Centre. these were opened on 14 June 2002.