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Young V&A

Coordinates: 51°31′44″N 0°03′18″W / 51.529°N 0.055°W / 51.529; -0.055
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Young V&A
Young V&A is located in London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Young V&A
Location within London Borough of Tower Hamlets
Established1872; 152 years ago (1872)
LocationBethnal Green
London, E2
United Kingdom
Coordinates51°31′44″N 0°03′18″W / 51.529°N 0.055°W / 51.529; -0.055
Visitors386,944 (2019)[1]
DirectorGina Koutsika
Public transit accessLondon Underground Bethnal Green
London Overground Cambridge Heath
Websitewww.vam.ac.uk/info/young Edit this at Wikidata
Listed Building – Grade II*
Designated27 September 1973
Reference no.1357777
Area1.5 acres (6,100 m2), 145 galleries

Young V&A, formerly the V&A Museum of Childhood, is a branch of the Victoria and Albert Museum (the "V&A"), which is the United Kingdom's national museum of applied arts. It is in Bethnal Green in the East End of London, and specialises in objects by and for children.


London Museum Site Act 1868
Act of Parliament
Long titleAn Act to provide for the Acquisition of a Site for a Museum in the East of London.
Citation31 & 32 Vict. c. 8
Royal assent28 February 1868
The official opening of the Bethnal Green Museum by the Prince of Wales in 1872.

The museum was founded in 1872[2] as the Bethnal Green Museum. The iron structure reused a prefabricated building from Albertopolis which was replaced with some early sections of the modern V&A complex. The exterior of the building was designed by James William Wild[3] in red brick in a Rundbogenstil (round-arched) style very similar to that in contemporary Germany.

The building was used to display a variety of collections at different times. In the 19th century, it contained food and animal products, and various pieces of art including the works which can now be seen at the Wallace Collection.[4] It was remodelled as an art museum following World War I, with a children's section which subsequently grew in size. In 1974 the director of the V&A, Sir Roy Strong, defined it as a specialist museum of childhood.[3]

Of all the branches, Young V&A has the largest collection of childhood objects in the United Kingdom.

The mission of the museum is "To enable everyone, especially the young, to explore and enjoy the designed world, in particular objects made for and made by children." It has extensive collections of toys, childhood equipment and costumes, and stages a programme of temporary exhibitions.

The museum closed in October 2005 for the second phase of extensive renovations, costing £4.7 million. It reopened in December 2006.[4]

In 2019 a major transformation of the museum began. "Over 30,000 objects which had been on display or in storage at the museum" were audited and packed.[5] After temporary storage at South Kensington, they were to join the rest of the V&A East Museum at Stratford Waterfront "in a few years time".[6]

Inside the museum was a cast iron statue by John Bell, which has been based there since 1927.[3] It came originally from the Great Exhibition of 1851. The Eagle slayer shows a marksman shooting at an eagle which has slain the lamb that lies at his feet. This has now been moved to the entrance of the Coalbrookdale Museum as it was cast in the Coalbrookdale Foundry.

The museum is a Grade II* listed building.[7]

The museum's reopening was announced for 1 July 2023.[8]

In June 2023, the museum - under the orders of its director Tristram Hunt - removed two books on gender and sexual orientation, as well as a poster by the charity Stonewall that read "Some people are trans, get over it!", from the museum ahead of its reopening.[9] The V&A Staff LGBTQ Working Group and trade unions PCS and Prospect opposed the removals. Union representatives appealed the decision in a meeting with Hunt, who rejected their request to have the items returned to the museum.[9][10][11][12]

Transport connections[edit]

Service Station/Stop Stop Letter Lines/Routes served Distance from
Museum of Childhood
London Buses London Buses Bethnal Green Station Disabled access Stop A 106, 254, 309, 388, D3, D6
Stop B 8, 309, D6
Stop D 8, 388, D3
Old Ford Road Disabled access Stop G 106, 254, 388, D6
London Underground London Underground Bethnal Green Central line
London Overground London Overground Cambridge Heath London Overground 400 metres walk[13]

See also[edit]



  1. ^ "ALVA – Association of Leading Visitor Attractions". www.alva.org.uk. Archived from the original on 13 April 2015. Retrieved 27 October 2020.
  2. ^ "V&A Reopens Its Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green | Culture24". Archived from the original on 27 March 2019. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c Weinreb et al. 2008, p. 65.
  4. ^ a b "Much more than a doll's house". The Guardian. 10 December 2006. Archived from the original on 14 May 2021. Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  5. ^ Young V&A: transforming the building Archived 18 July 2022 at the Wayback Machine, vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  6. ^ Moving House: Decant of the Museum of Childhood Stores Archived 22 April 2022 at the Wayback Machine, vam.ac.uk. Retrieved 23 April 2022.
  7. ^ Historic England. "Details from listed building database (1357777)". National Heritage List for England. Retrieved 8 August 2009.
  8. ^ Rufo, Yasmin (26 June 2023). "Young V&A museum opening after £13m revamp". BBC News. Archived from the original on 26 June 2023. Retrieved 26 June 2023.
  9. ^ a b "EXCLUSIVE: Young V&A removes trans poster and LGBTQ+ books". ArtsProfessional. Archived from the original on 10 July 2023. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  10. ^ Stephens, Max (6 July 2023). "Young V&A museum removes 'age inappropriate' LGBT books". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on 10 July 2023. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  11. ^ "Young V&A criticised for removing trans poster". 7 July 2023. Archived from the original on 10 July 2023. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  12. ^ "Author 'beyond angry' as London children's museum removes trans and queer books". 4 July 2023. Archived from the original on 10 July 2023. Retrieved 10 July 2023.
  13. ^ Google Maps Archived 22 December 2023 at the Wayback Machine Walking directions to V&A Museum of Childhood from Cambridge Heath (London) railway station


External links[edit]