Victoria & Albert Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum

Victoria & Albert Museum

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Photo: Colin Wing
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At the end of Cottage Place is the Brompton Oratory, one of the principal Catholic churches in the UK, and the home of the gentle and much revered Cardinal John Henry Newman, whose statue stands beside the forecourt. Here turn right into the Cromwell Road. A few yards further on is the entrance to the Victoria and Albert Museum, one of the most famous collections in the world of painting, ceramics, costume and sculpture. The John Madejski Garden is in the centre of the building, where there is an outdoor café.


The Victoria & Albert Museum, now the largest museum of decorative arts and design, has its origins in 1836 and was established here as the South Kensington Museum in 1857, on part of the site of the Great Exhibition of 1851. As its collections grew, museum buildings were added and by 1883 formed a quadrangle surrounding a central courtyard garden. In 1890 a competition for new museum buildings was launched, which created the new main fašade on Cromwell Road. The foundation stone was laid in 1899, and it was on this occasion that the museum's name changed to the Victoria and Albert Museum. In 2001 a major renovation programme was launched, which has included re-landscaping of the central court garden, named the John Madejski Garden after its benefactor. Opened in 2005, it has a formal layout, with an elliptical water feature that can be drained so the area can be used for events.

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