Tour Locations | Historical Pubs of London: A Tipply Trundle Through Liquid History
Sir John Soanes Museum
After we exit the park through the gate we'll be turning left. In a few steps we can cross the street and stop a moment outside the Sir John Soanes museum. It's the one clad in white Portland stone, protruding out towards the street.
It's quite possibly London's most exquisite small museum and one which we cannot recommend highly enough. Sir John Soanes was a great architect, responsible for the original Bank of England and Dulwich Picture Gallery. As his wealth grew his capacity to collect the weird and wonderful grew too. When he heard that his son was bad mouthing his style of architecture, he disinherited him from his will with immediate effect and spent every penny on the house and collection you see before you. This house is a bit like having the British Museum shoe-horned into the Old Curiosity Shop. Its eccentric, it's eclectic, it's cluttered full of paintings, sculptures and objets d'art sourced from all over the world. The basement hosts an Egyptian sarcophagus finer than any to be enjoyed at the British Museum and you will also find Hogarth's famous "Rake's Progress" paintings hiding behind the secretive panelled walls.
Sir John Soanes even managed to pass an act of Parliament so that the house is preserved to this day in the manner that he wished. This means there's no labels, no audio tours or little concession to modernity. The collection has no cohesive curation, and the items clash and jar all slightly out of context. Hopefully this has piqued your interest, so do return to make a visit at your leisure.
But for now our final pub stop awaits us just around the corner. Let's carry on past the museum and we'll be taking the next right.