The Cuming museum’s display galleries are currently closed following a fire at 151 Walworth Road, or former Walworth Town Hall, on Monday 25 March 2013.
The fire caused major damage to the building, which means the museum team and other council services in the same building have moved to alternative sites.
Most of the museum objects on display at the time have since been recovered and are being cleaned and conserved. The bulk of the museum’s collections were unaffected by the fire and are in safe storage.
The museum team’s work continues and our collections, project and activity programme is thriving. A new and exciting schools outreach programme is being developed and is now taking bookings. See our Getting involved and our events and education pages for details.
Contact us through the email and phone contacts on this website. Mail sent to the museum address is redirected to the team.
What is the Cuming museum?
The Cuming museum is based on the worldwide collection of the Cuming family and is also the museum of Southwark's history. Collections include archaeology, ethnography, art, local history, social history and natural history. We are part of the Council’s heritage service alongside Southwark Local History Library and Archives on Borough High Street.
Richard Cuming, and his son Henry Syer Cuming, lived locally and had a passion for collecting. Between them, during the late 18th and the 19th century, they acquired all kinds of objects from around the world. Henry left funds in his will to create a public museum, which opened above the Newington public library in 1906.
As well as the Cumings’ worldwide collection, the museum has many local history objects which reflect Southwark’s rich and diverse history and its unfolding story.
The museum opened new public spaces on the ground floor of the former Walworth Town Hall in 2006. The changing exhibition space and activity room housed regular events and exhibitions plus two permanent displays showed key items from the collections.
Southwark Council intends that the Cuming Museum will return to the former Walworth Town Hall building once it is restored. However this will take several years to complete. We are working hard on plans for the future and exploring different ways of providing access to the collections.
Look out for consultation opportunities concerning the redevelopment of the former town hall building during this year.