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Cuming Museum gallery

About our collections

Southwark heritage service has three main collections.

The Southwark Local History Library and Archive has a wide range of material from historic photographs, press cuttings and films to maps, parish registers and poor law records. SLHLA is based within John Harvard Library near Borough tube station but the library is currently closed temporarily for works. For details about the collection and its access please visit the Local History Library and Archive pages on the Southwark Council website.

The other two collections are the Cuming collection and the Southwark art collection.

The Cuming Family, living in Walworth during the 18th and 19th centuries, acquired all kinds of objects from around the world. A popular and lively small museum based on the Cuming collection opened in 1906 on the Walworth Road and this continued to collect objects reflecting Southwark and its people. In March 2013 a fire damaged the building housing the museum galleries. The collection itself however suffered only very minor loss, with fewer than 50 objects out of the 25,000 items in the collection suffering severe damage. New premises showcasing the collections are under development.

The Southwark art collection comprises the collections which the Southwark council has on loan from South London Gallery and in addition other artworks acquired by the council over the 20th century.

We welcome enquiries about any part of the museum and art collections, so please email: cuming.museum@southwark.gov.uk.