10 historic London homes that are now museums…5. The Freud Museum…

The Freud Museum. PICTURE: A Peace of London (licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0)

The last residence of Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, is located in Hampstead and is now a museum dedicated to his work and that of his daughter, pioneering child psychoanalyst Anna Freud.

The Freuds moved into the property at 20 Maresfield Gardens (having initially briefly stayed at a flat at 39 Elsworthy Road, Primrose Hill) in September, 1938, having left their home in Vienna to escape the Nazi annexation of Austria earlier in the year.

The house dates from 1920 and was built in the Queen Anne Revival Style. A small sun room was added a year after to the rear of the property.

Freud finished his final works Moses and Monotheism and An Outline of Psychoanalysis while at the property and also saw patients there as well as some high profile visitors including Princess Marie Bonaparte, writer HG Wells and literary couple Leonard and Virginia Woolf. Already aged in his 80s when they moved in, he died in the home just a year after on 23rd September, 1939. But his daughter Anna remained in the property until her death in 1982.

As per her wishes, it was subsequently turned into a museum and opened to the public in July, 1986, as The Freud Museum.

Among the rooms which can be visited today are Freud’s study, the library, hall and dining room but some areas – such as Anna Freud’s consulting room – are used as offices and not open to the public.

Freud’s couch. PICTURE: John Kannenberg (licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND-2.0)

The star sight inside is undoubtedly Freud’s famous couch. Located in the study, it was originally the gift of a patient, Madame Benvenisti, in 1890, and is covered with a Qashqa’i carpet which Freud added.

Other items which can be seen in the house include several paintings collected by Freud and a series of photographs by Edmund Engelman which depicted Freud’s apartment in Vienna just weeks before he fled. There’s also a portrait of Freud by Salvador Dali who visited him in London, his collection of antiquities and his painted Austrian furnishings as well as many mementoes related to Anna Freud.

The premises also hosts temporary exhibitions and a range of other events.

The garden outside – much loved by the Freuds – has been left largely as Sigmund Freud would have known it.

The house is one of the rare properties in London which features two English Heritage Blue Plaques – one commemorating Sigmund and the other Anna.

There’s a famous statue of Sigmund Freud by Oscar Nemon just a couple of minutes walk away at the corner of Fitzjohns Avenue and Belsize Lane.

WHERE: The Freud Museum, 20 Maresfield Gardens, Hampstead (nearest Tube stations are Finchley Road, Finchley Road & Frognal and Belsize Park); WHEN: 10:30am to 5pm, Wednesday to Sunday; COST: £14 adults/£12 concessions/£9 young persons (aged 12 to 16, under 12s free); WEBSITE: www.freud.org.uk.


One thought on “10 historic London homes that are now museums…5. The Freud Museum…

  1. I visited the Freud Museum many years ago and loved the experience. But the poor man loved Vienna and it must have broken his heart to be exiled so late in life. I wonder if the Hampstead House had any treasures from his earlier life?

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