190 Objects of Eldon House

A sepia image of a white house. There are extensive gardens in the front and there is a lady with a parasol on the lawn as well as a man gardening.
Eldon House ca. 1866. Image courtesy of J. Saddy

Eldon House was the Harris Family home for a 125-year period spanning four generations. Built by Edward Matthews, the house was completed in the summer of 1834. On September 10, 1834, John and Amelia Harris moved into Eldon House along with eight of their children. Two more children were born in the home. During their time as residents, the family home changed. Additions were built in 1877 and again around 1890, and technology was added to the home including plumbing and electricity. The Harris Family also collected items from international travels which they used to decorate and redecorate their home. Upon the death of their last and longest resident, Milly Harris, the final generation decided to donate the house, its land, and artifacts to the City of London.

An image of a white house with green shutters. There are red, orange, and yellow tulips in the foreground.
Eldon House, April 2024

When Eldon House was first donated to the City of London in 1959, people commented that the idea of creating a new museum was interesting, and there were doubts that it would be a success. Many were surprised that by the late 1960s it was one of the most popular tourist destinations in London. This resulted in formalizing the Harris agreement with the City and preserving the Museum as an important heritage institution.

Since 1960 the Museum has seen hundreds of thousands of people through our doors and on our grounds. And now, the house turns 190! Museum staff have been excited to celebrate this amazing milestone. To showcase our collection and to commemorate 190 years, staff have put together this exhibit. It features 190 different objects from the Eldon House collection. Some of these items have been in the house since its opening in 1834, some items have been a product of recent donations. All these artifacts tell a story. They tell a story about the Harris Family or the people who worked in the house, about diverse world cultures and travel, about craftsmanship, or even about the history of museum work.