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Gunnersbury Park Museum

Gunnersbury Park Museum opened in 1929 and has a large and incredibly varied collection of around 50,000 museum and archive items. Our diverse collections provide an insight into the heritage and culture of Ealing and Hounslow’s past and present populations.

Our collections span the following categories:

Permanent and Temporary Exhibitions

Permanent Exhibitions

We have approximately 450 objects on display from Gunnersbury collections representing a range of themes in 9 exhibition galleries over 3 floors:

    • Skylight. Find out how the Gunnersbury Estate has changed over time since the 13th century, and get an overview of the museum collections and types of objects that you’ll see throughout your visit. Highlights in the Skylight gallery are the much-loved 1880s Doll’s House, the Stanhope Printing Press from 1804, and of course, our beloved neon Lucozade sign that overlooked the M4 for many decades.
    • People and Place. A local history gallery telling the story of how Ealing and Hounslow developed over time, from the Palaeolithic to present day. Alongside archaeological displays we tell the stories of people representing the 17 principal villages that make up the boroughs of Ealing and Hounslow – we celebrate the achievements of individuals as diverse as  Eric and Jessica Huntley, Freddie Mercury, Pocahontas and William Perkin
    • Butler’s Pantry. Meet the Gunnersbury Park House Butler, Mr Shepherd, who will talk you through how to run a large home like Gunnersbury. Learn about the staff who used to work for the Rothschilds, their roles here, and see some of the objects related to the running of a large country estate
    • Toys and Games. Have fun looking at some of our childhood collection, with toys ranging from a model sailing boat sailed upon Gunnersbury’s Round Pond, to the infamous Pedlar Doll (with 50 miniature wares), Graduation Barbie and C-3PO
    • Home. Explore the social history of the local area – find out about health care provision before the NHS was founded, the schools children and adults have attended and the variety of religions worshipped by over half a million residents
    • Leisure. What did people do for fun? This gallery looks at theatre, film, TV, sports and music played and produced locally. You can learn about Ealing Studio productions such as The Lavender Hill Mob and Dr Who, and see objects from sporting heroes like Paralympian Gaz Choudhry, Brentford FC and Fred Perry.
    • Fashion. Highlights from some of Gunnersbury’s extensive costume collection. On display are our oldest complete textiles, including a 1760s court dress and a 1675 baby’s cap, as well as more modern party outfits
    • Industry. Discover how West Londoners have earnt a living over the last 200 years, and some of the amazing products manufactured locally. You’ll see many household names such as Hoover, Lucozade, Firestone and Brompton Bikes.

 

Special Exhibitions

We have approximately 3 temporary exhibitions each year on display in our Special Exhibition gallery. Previous exhibitions have included Gertrude Hermes: In the Groove, Laura Carlin: Ceramics, and Treasured Threads: Unpicking Gunnersbury's Quilts.

Museum Collections

  • Archaeological: artefacts dating from the prehistoric period to early modern. Notably, we have a large lithic collection, and archaeological assemblages from Roman Brentford, Medieval Northolt manor, and Isleworth gun powder mills
  • Social historical: objects relating to education and schooling, health, medicine and hospitals, the home, handicrafts, and municipal objects (plaques, signs, cups etc)
  • Industrial: a large collection of objects that trace the occupations of local people over the last 200 years. These include substantial collections relating to the infamous South Acton laundries, 20th century heavy industry along the Great West Road, Park Royal and Acton Vale, river-related occupations such as barge building and lighterage, scientific equipment and radio equipment, as well as small craft businesses
  • Toys and Games: a large collection of dolls, figures, clock-work toys, board games, models, card games, and many other items dating from the 19th and 20th centuries
  • Fashion, costume and textile: a renowned collection of complete garments dating from the 18th century – with particularly good examples of fine examples of clothes belonging to the middle and upper classes and a large collection of fashion accessories such as shoes, bags, fans, and parasols. We also have a large collection of embroidered samplers and examples of fine needlework

Archive Collections

  • Materials that trace the history and development of the Gunnersbury estate back to the 17th century
  • Gunnersbury Park Joint Committee: papers relating to the management and decision making of the Gunnersbury Park Joint Committee including minutes, accession registers, and news-cuttings, dating from the creation of the committee in 1926
  • Archaeological: reports from local archaeological excavations, notably Brentford and Northolt Manor
  • Social: archives and ephemera created or collected by people living in the local area. Including: education and schooling, civic Life, domestic life, life during the world wars, theatre, cinema and social and fashion
  • Business: collections relating to local industry and employment including South Acton’s Laundries, heavy industry along the Great West Road, Acton Vale, Brentford Docks and Park Royal
  • Photographic: a large collection of historic photographs and postcards of Gunnersbury Park, House and Museum from the Rothschilds to the present day; photographs and postcards of local landmarks, houses, places of work and people; postcards, cartes de visite and family photographs. Large collections include Dennis Morris’ Southall ‘A Home from Home’ photographs and the recently acquired Roy and Beryl Gough collection of photographs from their time working at Ealing Studios and later on as freelancers
  • Ephemeral: extensive collections of Valentines, Christmas and Birthday Cards, diaries, letters and journals, receipts, bills, trade cards, recipe books, film posters etc.
  • Oral Histories: an extensive collection of recordings of local residents, particularly strong around South Asian immigration into Southall, Brentford Football and local life stories Campaign: we are particularly keen to develop the collection to document our local area’s strong activist history and now hold the archive of the Ealing Anti-Apartheid Movement

Donations and acquisitions

We still actively collect objects and documents, provided they adhere to our Acquisitions Policy.

It is important that all items accepted by the museum have a local connection or provenance, to ensure that they contribute towards our understanding of Ealing and Hounslow, its histories and communities.

If you have an object you’d like to donate to the museum, please contact the curators by email

Enquiries and Access

We want our collections to be used. If you have an enquiry about the local area, Gunnersbury Park Museum or its collections and archives, we’d be happy to help via email

We have areas for study in the museum, so please don’t hesitate to enquire about making an appointment to view any items.

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