100 London Rd
London SE23 3PQ
020 8699 1872
The Horniman, through its collections and related exhibitions and events, seeks to encourage a wider appreciation of the World, its peoples and their cultures, and its environments.
Victorian tea trader Frederick John Horniman began collecting specimens and artifacts from around the World in the 1860's. Horniman's key mission was to bring the world to Forest Hill and he opened part of his family house to the public so they could view the riches he had collected. As the collections increased they outgrew the family home and in 1898 Horniman commissioned Charles Harrison Townsend to design a new Museum.
The Museum opened in 1901 and was dedicated with the surrounding land as a free gift to the people of London by Frederick Horniman forever for their recreation instruction and enjoyment. The original collections comprised natural history specimens, cultural artefacts and musical instruments. Over the last 100 years the Museum has added significantly to the original bequest with Horniman's original collections comprising only 10 per cent of current ethnography and musical instrument holdings.