Southwark Council Libraries, Arts and Heritage Service

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Southwark Council is responsible for the Cuming Museum, Southwark Local History Library and Archive, Kingswood House, the grade 2 listed house near Sydenham and currently cares for the now-closed Livesey Museum.

The Cuming Museum is home to the rich and unusual collection of the Cuming family and a museum of Southwark's history. The gallery contains a variety of hands on activities for younger visitors as well as a lively temporary exhibition programme. Henry Syer Cuming left the collection amassed by himself and his father Richard, to the Metropolitan Borough of Southwark when he died in 1902. His will stated that " My Museum illustrative of Natural Hisory, Archaeology and Ethnology with my coins and medals and along with all other curios" be exhibited in "a suitable and spacious gallery or connection with Newington Public Library".

The Livesey Museum was the UK's first interactive museums for children and created changing exhibitions that inspire the imagination in everyone.

The Local Studies Library and Archives is the borough archive and histoy library tells the fascinating story of the development of London's most historic borough.
Kingswoof House was home to John Lawson Johnstone, amongst other owners, who made the house his own. He was the inventor and manufacturer of the meat based product "Bovril" and Kingswood is known locally as "Bovril castle".

Venue Type:

Association or society

Opening hours

Cuming Museum Tuesday to Saturday 10am to 5pm
LHLA Monday and Thursday 10am to 7pm, Tuesday and Friday 10am to 5pm, Saturday 10am to 3pm. Closed Sundays and Wednesdays.
Kingswood is not generally open to the public as it is a wedding and conference centre but its lending library is open part time.

Admission charges


Cuming World History, Archaeology and Ethnography Collections. South London Gallery Art Collections from Victorian Paintings to Contemporary Art. Local history, archives, maps, ephemera and photogpraphs

Collection details

Archaeology, Archives, Coins and Medals, Costume and Textiles, Decorative and Applied Art, Fine Art, Industry, Law and Order, Literature, Medicine, Natural Sciences, Personalities, Photography, Religion, Science and Technology, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Trade and Commerce, Weapons and War, World Cultures

Southwark Council Libraries, Arts and Heritage Service
Environment Department
Libraries, Arts and Heritage Division
Southwark Council
160 Tooley Street
Greater London




020 7525 2169

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.