The Secret London Museum You’d Never Know Was There: The London Sewing Machine Museum

Who would have thought that inside this rather uninviting exterior lives a sewing machine mecca.

Open for just three hours on the first Saturday of each month, the Wimbledon Sewing Machine Co.’s Sewing Machine Museum (confusingly located in Tooting Bec) houses hundreds of vintage machines which have been lovingly collected and restored since the end of WWII by owner Ray Rushton and his father Thomas before him.

Remind you of anything? Ray supplied the retailers All Saints with all the machines in their shop windows.

I needed to visit The Crafty Sewer sewing and craft shop, where I regularly go to buy supplies (especially now the Clapham branch of Sew Over It has closed down) and had recently heard about the museum so decided I’d go at the right time – they only open between 2-5pm – and I’m so pleased I did.

When we arrived (long-suffering Matthew came with me) it seemed like no-one else was there. The entrance is to the side of the warehouse with just a little sign telling you to go upstairs.  Once up we popped a couple of quid in the charity boxes for The Royal National Lifeboat Institution and
Leukaemia Research and gingerly poked our noses in the door.

At first it seemed like we were the only people there but then we saw it opened into a second huge room where a talk was midway through explaining the history of the museum.

The machines and their cabinets are beautiful.


I love this foot pedal.


Dragon alert! Sorry about the glare.

This machine was given to Queen Victoria’s first daughter Vicky and is the most expensive machine ever sold at auction.

I love the decoration on the old machines, especially the floral designs like this one.

But I also have a soft spot for the more modern machines.

And I was delighted to see this one which is the same as the one I received from Matthew for Christmas last year!

293-312 Balham High Road, SW17 7AA. The Sewing Machine Museum is open on the first Saturday of the month, 2pm-5pm. There is no entry charge but a charitable donation to either The Royal National Lifeboat Institution or Leukaemia Research is appreciated.

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