Vestry House Museum

Image of the brick built museum and garden with sundial
Guided tours icon Shop icon Library icon Study area icon Visual disability facilities icon Wheelchair access icon

Situated in the heart of Walthamstow, Vestry House Museum presents the fascinating history of Waltham Forest.

The Museum is housed in an eighteenth century workhouse, built in 1730. In the nineteenth century the house was used as a police station and one of the old police cells can still be seen. After various uses, the building was converted to a museum in 1930. The award-winning garden is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy the outdoors.

The Museum is in the attractive conservation area of Walthamstow Village which has many fine historic buildings and is well worth a visit.

Venue Type:

Museum, Library, Archive

Opening hours

Wednesday - Sunday 10.00 - 17.00
Group booking welcome on Tuesdays by prior arrangement (10:00-17:00)

Closed: Good Friday, Christmas Day

Admission charges

Admission is free

The Museum now serves as a centre for the collection, preservation and interpretation of the past and present story of the people of Waltham Forest, where visitors can learn about the long and fascinating history of the changing local community. As well as having a large social history collection of objects, the Museum holds approximately 80,000 historic photographs of the Borough, is the home for the Local Studies Library and also houses the Borough Archives.

Collection details

Archaeology, Architecture, Archives, Costume and Textiles, Fine Art, Industry, Land Transport, Law and Order, Personalities, Photography, Science and Technology, Social History, Toys and Hobbies, Trade and Commerce

Key artists and exhibits

  • The Museum holds displays on the development of local industry, the history of costume, the history of local policing and Victorian and Edwardian domestic life in Waltham Forest. One particularly unusual exhibit is the Bremer car. Built locally by a young engineer, Frederick Bremer, between 1892 and 1894, it is one of the earliest motor cars built in Britain and is certainly the first car made in London.
Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.
Exterior of Vestry House Museum

The Ex Warner Estate in Waltham Forest

  • 29 October 2016 — 19 February 2017

An exhibition exploring the history of the Warner Estate houses in Walthamstow and Leyton, and the memories of the people who lived there. Artists Lucy Harrison and Katherine Green capture the stories of these unique homes through original photography, interviews and artefacts. Find out more

Supported by Arts Council England and the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.
Take part in our murder mystery, here the murderer is being apprehended.

Hitchcock's Halloween

  • 29 October 2016 6-9pm

Join us at Vestry House Museum this Halloween and enter the world of Alfred Hitchcock. Enjoy music, and delicious cocktails and cakes from local suppliers, whilst trying to solve the murder of famous actress Charlotte Inwood. With activities for children and adults alike there will be something spooky for everyone to enjoy. Fancy dress is encouraged as you will have the chance to create your own film still in our pop-up photo booth.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£2 suggested donation for adults, children go free.


Scrooge's third visitor

Sunday Serial: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

  • 6 November 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 13 November 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 20 November 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 27 November 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 4 December 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 11 December 2016 12-12:30pm
  • 18 December 2016 12-12:30pm

Hear this classic tale read out loud in seven parts by local actors in the atmospheric setting of Walthamstow's former workhouse. Each session will start with a recap of the story so far. Every Sunday from the 6th November to the 18th December.

Suitable for

  • Family friendly


Victorian furniture

Our Houses Past and Future

  • 13 November 2016 1:30-4pm

A Family Day at Vestry House Museum. Inspired by the Warner exhibition, design and create model room settings from Victorian and Edwardian times and then create a contrasting room for a house 100 years in the future.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Exterior Vestry House Museum

Christmas Sparkles

  • 11 December 2016 1:30-4pm

A Family Day at Vestry House Museum. Add a sparkle to your festive decorations using glitter and traditional paper-cutting techniques to create a special Victorian feel to your Christmas celebrations. With artist Vanessa Brightwell.

Suitable for

  • Any age


Scrooge's Third Visitor

Victorian Family Christmas

  • 14 December 2016 4-7:30pm

Christmas Family Day at Vestry House Museum. Visit Father Christmas in a magical grotto, receive a traditional Victorian gift and make Christmas crafts.

Enjoy mulled wine, mince pies and special Christmas offers in the museum shop featuring the E17 Designers.

Suitable for

  • Any age


£3.50 per child to see Father Christmas (timed slots).


Vestry House Museum
Vestry Road
Greater London
E17 9NH




020 8496 4391

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.