In contrast to the West End's grand aristocratic town houses, this charming museum is devoted to the life of the city's middle class over the years. Originally a row of almshouses built in 1714 by Sir Robert Geffrye, a former Lord Mayor of London, it contains a series of 11 period rooms that re-create everyday domestic interiors from the Elizabethan period through the 1950s to the present day. One of the almshouses has been restored to its original condition to offer a
glimpse into how the poor and the dependent elderly lived in previous centuries (to visit the almshouse you must go as part of a tour, which is offered at 11, 12, 2, and 3 on specific days each month; check website). Outside, a series of period gardens charts the evolution of the town garden over the past 400 years, and next to them is a walled herb garden. The museum's extension wing houses the 20th-century galleries, a lovely café overlooking the gardens, and a shop.