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Review: Freud Museum in London

The Freud Museum in London is a museum dedicated to Sigmund Freud and is located in the house where Freud lived with his family during the last year of his life. The house was built in 1920 in the leafy suburbs of Hampstead.

It was in 1938, when Freud escaped the Nazi annexation of Austria and came to London via Paris, and stayed for a short while at Elsworthy Road before moving to 20 Maresfield Gardens, where the museum is situated. The Freuds moved many of their furniture and household effects to London. There are Biedermeier chests, tables and cupboards, and a collection of 18th century and 19th century Austrian painted country furniture.

The museum owns Freud’s collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Oriental antiquities, and his personal library.

The highlight of the museum is Freud’s psychoanalytic couch, which had been given to him by one of his patients in 1890. Freud continued his work in London and maintained his practice in this home and used the couch when he saw a number of his patients for analysis.

Another couch in the study is where Freud died at Maresfield Gardens.

The ground floor of the museum houses Freud’s study, library, hall and the dining room. The study and library were preserved by Anna Freud after her father’s death. The bookshelf behind Freud’s desk contains some of his favourite authors such as Goethe, Shakespeare, Heine, Multatuli and Anatole France. The library contains various pictures hung as Freud arranged them; these include ‘Oedipus and the Riddle of the Sphinx’ and ‘The Lesson of Dr Charcot’ plus a number of photographs.

The small museum shop is on ground floor which leads into the quiet and tranquil garden where you can admire the house and the surroundings.

After Freud died, the house remained in his family until his youngest daughter Anna Freud, who became a pioneer of child therapy, died in 1982. It was Anna Freud’s wish that after her death that the house would be converted into a museum. The museum was opened to the public in 1986.

The first floor of the museum has Anna Freud’s room which includes items from her life, a video room, and exhibition room which hosts contemporary art and Freud-themed exhibitions.

Although the museum through its history and collections pays tribute to the work of Sigmund and Anna Freud, it encourages debate in a number of areas with an extensive events, conferences, outreach and education programmes.

Psychoanalysis was one of the major psychological breakthroughs of the 20th century, and even critics would have to concede that Sigmund Freud was one of the most important thinkers of the period.

This fascinating and attractive museum provides some insights into the work of Sigmund and Anna Freud, the quiet suburban house and garden is a perfect place to explore their ideas which questioned how ‘civilised’ we really are ? Freud’s famous and iconic psychoanalytic couch is the highlight of a collection that would appeal to wide range of people who perhaps would like to find out more about Freud and his ideas.

Address

Freud Museum London
20 Maresfield Gardens,
London NW3 5SX

Nearest Tube

Finchley Road
(Metropolitan and Jubilee lines)
5 minute walk

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information and tickets, visit the Freud museum website here

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