The Friends of the Livesey Museum for Children is an independent charity aiming to re-open the doors of the Museum and to continue its inspirational work for the benefit of the locality and beyond. We exist to ensure that the Museum and courtyard garden remain accessible to all, providing creative and playful learning experiences for children and the wider community.
The Museum was based in the Old Kent Road in South London, in one of the most deprived areas of the city. Originally a library donated to the people of Southwark by local industrialist Sir George Livesey, the building was re-opened as London’s first museum for children in 1974. The Museum ran on a minimal budget, yet managed to produce innovative and interactive exhibitions for children. It played an important role in the community, offering a safe haven to explore and learn.
Despite the Museum’s popularity, Southwark Council decided to close it as part of a package of cuts to local services and the doors were shut on 29 February 2008.
The campaign to prevent this closure has now transformed into a constituted group of Friends. We negotiated with Southwark Council and the Charity Commission to run the Museum independently, and submitted a proposal that was supported financially by the Novas Scarman Trust. In late 2008, Southwark voted to put forward a scheme to the Charity Commission that would convert the building into a theatre rehearsal space, run by Theatre Peckham. We agreed to support Theatre Peckham in future, for example to explore the possibility of Livesey-style experiences in the building or garden. On 30th September 2009, the Charity Commission published their scheme for public consultation. See the Posts on this site for more information.
Since Southwark decided to focus on the conversion of the building into theatre rehearsal space, we have looked at ways to continue the Livesey legacy in other venues and with other local partners. More news to come soon on some initial ‘museum-without-walls’ projects.
Please click on the Posts page to see news updates.
The Friends of the Livesey Museum for Children is now a registered charity no. 1126001