The Horniman Museum

This afternoon we went to Catford to meet friends and from there we all went to Forest Hill and the Horniman Museum. Today there was sunshine at last and the Museum was sunlit when we arrived.

A sunlit Horniman Museum
A sunlit Horniman Museum

The Horniman Museum has several galleries, all well set out and interesting. We first spent some time in the aquarium where a number of aquatic habitats are reproduced.

Jelly Fish
Jelly Fish

There is also a large room dedicated to Africa with a variety of types of exhibit covering a wide span of time. My personal interests drew me to the relatively small section on Ancient Egypt.

Ancient Egyptian stela and canopic jar
Ancient Egyptian stela and canopic jar

My attention was also caught by this striking piece of work. It is a cement sculpture (yes, cement) of a seated woman by the Nigerian artist Sunday Jack Akpan.

Seated Woman by Sunday Jack Akpan
Seated Woman by Sunday Jack Akpan

Beside the museum is a beautiful conservatory in glass and an white painted ironwork. It is elegant but difficult to photograph in its entirety because of being now rather confined.

The elegant Conservatory
The elegant Conservatory

The museum is set in beautiful gardens but by the time we emerged, the sun was setting and night was coming on. I was attracted by the arboreal lacework of winter-bare branches against the sunset sky.

Arboreal lacework
Arboreal lacework

As we left, the sky became dark completely and the electric lights came on all around.

The Horniman Museum at evening
The Horniman Museum at evening

To take the above photo, I had to climb onto a wall and brace the camera against the metal railings but it I think it was worthwhile for the pretty picture that resulted.

We caught the 185 bus just down the road and changed to a London Bridge train at Lewisham and thus returned home.

The Horniman Museum (admission free) is well worth visiting and there is no restriction on photography as long as you do not use flash while photographing the fish. (That should be obvious in any case.)


There were no tigers in the Museum, unfortunately (though there was a stuffed cheetah in the Natural History Gallery), but there was a lion. A handsome fellow, isn’t he?

Handsome lion
Handsome lion

On the plinth is a notice reading “Please touch the lion gently”. He deserves no less.


About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
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4 Responses to The Horniman Museum

  1. Ancient Brit says:

    Great photos – thanks for sharing them.

    Have you considered using a monopod? Collapsed down they’re not much of a problem to carry, and IME they not only eliminate shake in one dimension, they can also reduce shake considerably in the others.

    Inexpensive, and sometimes useful for hoisting the camera above an obstacle in order to get that special shot. Just a thought.

  2. Reluctant Blogger says:

    Did chuckle at the thought of you climbing on a wall to take your photo. My son is always scaling things to get novel angles on things.

    I love old conservatories and orangeries. There is one very much like that at Blickling Hall. I often wander around them if you are able to go in. I once went to a concert in one in Warsaw – there were oranges in there but I have no idea how they survived as it was mighty chilly.

    The lion looks a little scary to me.

    • SilverTiger says:

      I’ve been to Blickling Hall though that was some years ago. I went to a conference at the University of East Anglia and a trip was arranged, complete with guided tour and obligatory ghost stories.

      I wondered whether the lion had some special relevance to Horniman, perhaps as a logo or brand mark, but I have been unable to find any connection so far. This lion looks as though he might have been on a pub or other business.

      The archetypal “conservatory” was of course the late lamented Crystal Palace. I think it unlikely ever to be outdone or even matched. The one at the Horniman Museum can be hired for wedding receptions but I think they also open it as an overflow for the cafe in summer.

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