The creator of the theory of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud, more than eighty years old with his wife and daughter Anna, in 1938 with great difficulty left Vienna, Austria, escaping the persecution of the Nazis, and settled in London, in a quiet, comfortable and quite nice neighborhood of Hampstead, at 20 Maresfield Gardens, where he lived the last year (from 1938 to 1939) of his life.
This year was the most difficult for Freud, as he had long suffered from cancer of the jaw, and the disease was in its final stages, the pains were already worse and more excruciating. So Sigmund, having made up his mind, asked his doctor friend, with the consent of his daughter Anna, to administer him a lethal dose of morphine.
The London Freud Museum is a member of the Association of London Museums of Health and Medicine.
The red-brick three-story house and garden on a quiet side street in Merisfield Gardens, which remained the property of the family after the death of the great psychoanalyst until the death in 1982 of his youngest daughter Anna Freud (also a psychoanalyst, only for children), who contributed greatly to the development of child therapy, became the Freud House-Museum and also a research center. Not far from it, on the corner of Belsize Lane and Fitzjohns Avenue, there is a monument to Freud created by Oscar Nemon.
Going to immigration, the family took from Vienna to their new home almost all the furniture (cabinets, tables, wonderful Biedermeier chests, the magnificent Austrian country furniture of the 18-19 centuries) and, of course, books, carefully preserved by descendants of Freud.
And now they are in the museum, in a solid library with many volumes, where Sigmund himself hung photos and paintings on the walls.
Sigmund Freud, a doctor who treated almost the entire European nobility in his time, had some weaknesses, he was a passionate collector and an equally passionate smoker.
He amassed a magnificent collection of antiques (objects of art from Rome, Ancient Greece, and Egypt), which are now on display in the museum. These include the office behind which the famous doctor used to write in the mornings.
The office, where he received patients while he was still able, reflected, wrote, enjoyed the view of the blooming garden from the French window, and where euthanasia took place, is just as it was during Freud’s lifetime, thanks to the efforts of his daughter.
Anna kept everything in the garden, too, just as it had been in her father’s time: roses, hydrangeas, clematis, an almond tree, and plums, the same ones that Freud had seen when he died. Only the pine tree has grown a lot since then…
The Freud Museum gives the impression of a nice and cozy family home.
Here you can see a unique exhibit – the authentic famous couch with a raised headboard and cushions, covered with a luxurious Iranian carpet.
Sigmund Freud’s patients used to lie on it during psychoanalytic sessions. And behind the couch, behind the patient’s back (the psychoanalyst very much disliked being looked directly into his eyes) is Freud’s green chair, in which he listened to his patients.
This couch was given to the doctor in 1890 by one of his grateful patients. The museum's collection also includes a historically valuable portrait of Freud by the great Salvador Dali.
On the second floor, in the room of Freud’s daughter, who followed her father in science, visitors will see furniture and a loom that belonged to Anna.
Unfortunately, the Freud House Museum is not adapted for disabled visitors. And another inconvenience – all information in the museum is in English. Tired after viewing the last refuge of the great scientist, you can sit down for a snack in the garden. The museum store sells books by and about Freud and various small items to remember him by.
The Freud Museum of London, a member of the Association of London Health and Medical Museums, used to be known to people interested in psychoanalysis but today with the increasing worldwide interest in psychoanalysis it has become a pilgrimage place for intelligent people worshipping the subject and its author-creator.
How to get there
Address: 20 Maresfield Gardens. Take the subway to Finchley Road station; a few blocks up the hill is the museum itself. You can also take buses #13, 82, 113, 187, 268 and trains to Finchley Road, Frognal train stations.
The museum can be visited five days a week: Wednesday to Sunday from 12:00 to 17:00. Day off on Monday and Tuesday.
Tickets cost 10 GBP, admission is free for children under 12.
Prices on the page are for November 2019. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)