The Horniman Museum en fete

Detailed newspaper account of a festive evening at the Horniman Museum, remarkable through the decorations and illuminations displayed at dusk.
The museum was open to the public all day on that occasion. In the afternoon, around a hundred children were entertained there: 36 boys from the Boys’ Industrial Home (Forest Hill), 35 girls from the Girls’ Industrial Home (Forest Hill), and 26 girls from Lansom Home (Dulwich). They first enjoyed lemonade and buns, and later indulged in games on a large field adjoining the museum. But the ultimate treat for the children, as well as all the other visitors, came at dusk, when all the coloured lights and Japanese lanterns dotting the grounds were lit. Mr. Sparkes was the person to congratulate for the artistic manner in which all the illuminations were arranged. The Royal Standard was flying at the pole at the front lawn, and halfway up the pole lanterns making up a circle were hung. One remarkable feature was a huge Japanese lantern, five feet high, covered with colourful illustrations of some Japanese legend and placed in the middle of the lawn. Arches placed above the windows and around the lawn were hung with lanterns of various colours, creating together an impressive effect of colour and light throughout the grounds.
The visitors continued to come in a steady stream throughout the evening. Garden seats were placed about, much appreciated by everybody. At 8.45 pm no fewer than 2,303 visitors had stepped on the museum grounds that day, with plenty more to continue to come until the closing time at 10.30 pm. Unfortunately, Mr. Horniman himself was absent from this festive moment, being away at Brighton.
One of the last paragraphs of this article gives a clue regarding the type of event celebrated through this festive display of lights and decorations on Horniman Museum’s grounds: it was the wedding day of the future King and Queen, Prince George, Duke of York, and Princess Mary of Teck.

Collection Information

These objects are only a part of our collections, of which there are more than 350,000 objects. This information comes from our collections database. Some of this is incomplete and there may be errors. This part of the website is also still under construction, so there may be some fields repeated or incorrectly formatted information.

The database sometimes uses language taken from historical documents to help research, which may now appear outdated and even offensive. The database also includes information on objects that are considered secret or sacred by some communities.

If you have any further information about objects in our collections or can suggest corrections to our information, please contact us: enquiry@horniman.ac.uk