On the same day as I visited Redbridge Museum, I headed further east along the TfL Rail line (soon to be Crossrail) and ended up in Romford, where I popped into Havering Museum. This museum opened in 2010, on the site of the old Romford Brewery, and seems to be popular: a map in the foyer shows the location of various visitors, some of whom have visited from all over the world, including Russia and Indonesia.
The museum explores the history of the London borough of Havering, with the main exhibition spread across two rooms. Rather than being arranged in chronological order, the displays are divided by town: so Romford, Havering-atte-Bower, Rainham, Hornchurch and Upminster all get their own section. This is a different but interesting way to arrange the displays. Each section also has its own information sheet, so rather than being overwhelmed with information during your visit, you can take home the sheet and read it at your leisure.
I learned some interesting things during my visit: Romford was originally a Roman staging post called Durolitum, on the road from London to Colchester. The Golden Lion pub by the marketplace has existed since 1440, and is said to have been visited by Dick Turpin. The museum has an interesting selection of artefacts associated with the town.
When I visited, the temporary exhibition room was hosting paintings by a local artist, and there was also a travelling exhibition, Pop It In the Post by the National Postal Museum, including two examples of early pillar boxes.
I was very impressed with my visit to Havering Museum, which struck me as being a cut above most local museums, well laid out and with very friendly and enthusiastic staff. Definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
Address: 19-21 High Street, Romford, RM1 1JU
Opening Hours: 11-5 Wed-Sat
Prices: £2.50 adults, £2 senior citizens; children free