London for William Morris fans
Context is also key at East London’s excellent, free-entry Geffrye Museum. A transformed row of 18th-century almshouses, the museum’s 13 antique-line living rooms illuminate 400 years of home interiors. The 1890 room has some Morrisian flourishes, but the 1910 room has a real Arts and Crafts feel – look out for the Morris & Co chair in the hallway.
Morris’ last London home was Kelmscott House in Hammersmith, a handsome Georgian mansion on the banks of the River Thames. He leased it in 1878, building a tapestry loom soon after and staging regular socialist gatherings with speakers including George Bernard Shaw.
Now a private residence, the William Morris Society occupies its small coach house, opening its exhibition space to the public on Thursday and Saturday afternoons. Its collection is dominated by the printing press that Morris used in his final years to produce some of the most beautifully illustrated books ever created, including his celebrated, richly decorated Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Many of Morris’s books and writings are on permanent display in the society’s onsite library.