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The complex, a U-shaped line of dignified brick houses built in 1714 for ironworkers, feels removed from the rush of the East End. Inside is a walk through the history of the home: re-creations of typical middle-class London abodes from the 1600s to the late 20th century, artfully arranged to appear lived-in, and complete with explanations of each item on display, including illuminating information about which pieces were necessary and which were merely trendy. To some, they’re rooms full of furniture. To others, the Geffrye is a chance to understand how people of the past lived. You know which person you are. One building here is a restored almshouse for the poor; book timed tours to see how charity cases lived back in the day (check the website for the schedule; £2.50 adults, free for children under 16). On weekends, curators plan discussions, lectures, and kid-oriented crafts workshops, which gives the place much more energy than you’d expect from a design-based attraction. Especially on fine days from April to October, the grounds are an exceptional place to relax. The walled herb garden encourages touch, to release scents, and its period plots are historically accurate, cultivated with plants used in several eras, including Elizabethan and Victorian times.